All posts by Int'l SW

About Int'l SW

I’m a social worker from the US and passionate about global health and international issues. Currently volunteering in Bhutan.

Resource: The Psychosocial Support and Child’s Rights Resource Center

I’ve been a little busy developing my own materials for some new work I’ve taken on. It was in the course of this work that I was referred to the Psychosocial Support and Child’s Rights Resource Center.   This organization out of the Philippines has downloadable research articles and practice materials. The materials cover a range of issues facing kids like disaster response, child labor, trafficking, migration, and child protection. Many of the practice tools… Read Article →

Development and the Middle Path: Beyond the Criticism

I used to be a therapist at a summer camp for teenagers. We had a rule for groups: you can bring up any problem you like as long as you offer a reasonable suggestion, too. After reading The Ideology of Development by William Easterly, I wish I could apply the same rule to him. In the article Easterly talks about “developmentalism” as an ideology where developed nations and global organizations… Read Article →

No Monsters Here: Why I’m Not Angry About FGM

Tomorrow (Feb 6) is the UN’s International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Here’s a fact sheet from the World Health Organization about the practice. As I tried to think of what to write—and what hasn’t already been written?—I remembered my time as a volunteer advocate at a rape crisis center in college. I answered a hotline and accompanied survivors during medical and police exams. I also… Read Article →

Culture Bound Syndrome Series: Latah

Let’s talk about culture-bound syndromes. One by one. Today brings us to Malaysia and Indonesia where we can find latah. In Malay, latah means nervous, ticklish, jumpy, or love-madness. Latah is a chronic condition that falls into the family of startle-syndromes. When a person with latah is startled, he or she responds with a unique set of behaviors. These behaviors include: coprolalia (blurting out sexually explicit words), forced obedience (the… Read Article →

Who’s in Charge Here? Rethinking Locus of Control

Last week in class I read about locus of control (either internal or external) being a cultural construct. For those who are already confused: locus of control refers to beliefs regarding who has the power to shape a person’s destiny. If you believe that you have the power, then you have an internal local of control. If you believe that your destiny is determined by outside forces, then you have an… Read Article →

Book Review: Class by Paul Fussel (funny & informative!)

A few days ago I wrote a blog post unpacking my own cultural identities. Culture is funny. It’s pretty hard to describe your own without a little push. We tend to see our own culture as default with other people being divergent. This is especially true if you are in the majority or are somehow privileged. Really, though, there is no default. I read the book Class: A Guide Through… Read Article →

Unpacking Culture

I’ve started Certificate in International Development from UBC! Currently I’m enrolled in Culture, Communication, and Development. The homework this week was to unpack your own cultural identities. A sort of self-reflection. Mine is below. My homework: The cultural identities that most strongly influence me are nationality, generation, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socio-economic status, religion/ spirituality, family/ marital status, and voluntary group identification. (By voluntary group identification, I’m referring to the peer… Read Article →

A mountain stream flows through the jungle in Bhutan.

Exploring the Link Between Intimate Partner Violence and HIV Infection

This week I’ve been listening to lectures from Confronting Gender Based Violence: Global Lessons with Case Studies from India on coursera.org It’s a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) through John Hopkins University Center for Clinical Global Health Education. Some MOOC’s are meh. Not this one. It’s like a podcast series on rocket fuel! Plus they provide lots of links to free articles (at the bottom). The #4 lecture of week… Read Article →

A bird flying in the sky.

6 Things I’ve Learned about Cross-Cultural Staff Development

Tomorrow I’m going to a small town on the Indian border to lead a three day training. I’ll be teaching from the Ministry of Health’s handbook on counseling skills to use with patients with substance use disorders. Staff development has been the most interesting and rewarding part of my assignment here. The Bhutanese educational system is new. Prior to the 1950’s education only occurred in the monasteries. The teaching style… Read Article →

12 tips for working with lay interpreters

12 Tips for Working with an Untrained Interpreter

High quality professional interpretation is a wonderful thing that every patient deserves. I would always choose to have a professional. Interpreters undergo training and testing. They have a code of ethics and professional standards. It takes true skill to center yourself in the conversation but not participate. When working internationally in underdeveloped systems, professional interpretation is a rarity and a luxury. Like now. We don’t have any professionally trained or certified… Read Article →