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 →

Reflections on 10 Months as a School Counselor in Bhutan

Guest post by Moira Herbert, BSW University of Sydney I’m a social worker/ youth worker from a small town in Australia. Last year on a whim I applied for an ad I was sent over Facebook. At the time I truly believed I had nowhere near the level of experience that was required, but I thought it would be good to experience the interview process. Three months later I found… Read Article →

reading books about cambodia

5 Must-Read Books about Cambodia

I really love Cambodia, and I’m not sure why. The history is heartbreaking, the environment is ravaged, and the people are traumatized. Still, I love it. And I’ve always had feeling I’d go back. For most people, when they think of Cambodia, they think of the Khmer Rouge. That makes sense. Pol Pot led one of the most horrific genocides in all of history. But it’s not enough to understand… Read Article →

A building in Amsterdam at night along the canal.

Higher Rates of Psychosis in Migrant Populations

I was recently listening to a podcast about global mental health. The guest speaker mentioned that   Perceived #discrimination is a risk factor for #schizophrenia in #migrant populations. Click To Tweet   What??? This set off one of my more intense google binges. As I wrote about before, I am interested in the experiences of migrants. These are often innocent people who are often fleeing their country of origin because… Read Article →

A sunset seen through storm clouds in the mountains.

A Little More about Suicide in Bhutan

As promised in my last post about Bhutan’s suicide problem, here’s a little info about religious beliefs, academic stress, and the government’s plan to address the problem. Religious Beliefs about Suicide Many of the articles I’ve read identify a need to promote spiritual identity as this is a protective factor against suicide. Bhutan is a Buddhist country where Tantric Buddhism is practiced. Beliefs around karma and reincarnation are central. Most… Read Article →

Liebster Award

Officially Accepting the Liebster Award!

I was nominated for a Liebster Award! Yea! What an honor for someone who’s been blogging for just two months. Thank you to Faye at Leap of Faye who nominated me. Faye has a great blog where she writes about parenting, blogging, and finances. I especially appreciate her posts where she writes about her experiences writing for various content brokers. I had a brief and moderately successful stint writing content for… Read Article →

Grief and Mourning in Bhutan

Mourning is a deeply cultural process. Westerns are somewhat restricted in their grieving. It’s ok to show some emotion but not to go overboard. People understand that there’s a grief process, but they also think it shouldn’t last too long. Even the somewhat-new “Celebration of Life” practices have a feeling of trying to put a positive spin on death, making it less sad. As a therapist, I would often try to… Read Article →

A mountain stream flows through the jungle in Bhutan.

Culture & Talking to Patients & Families about Cancer

“He was yelling at me! He said I could not tell her she had cancer! No one here ever tells them!” We were standing just outside the gate of the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan. I looked up at the oncologist, squinting into the afternoon sun. That afternoon he had been working with patients, as usual. He was just about to tell his patient that she had cancer and that it was a terminal… Read Article →

Making Sense of Bhutan’s 2015 GNH Survey Results

92.1% are reportedly happy in Bhutan, per the provisional findings of the 2015 Gross National Happiness Survey. That’s a very specific number, and it’s worth looking at how it was determined. Luckily, I was just at the International Conference on Gross National Happiness where they explained it all. How does the GNH survey happiness? Actually, it doesn’t directly measure happiness. It measures the GNH “domains,” and that data is used… Read Article →