Tag Archives: Buddhism

Songkran: Thailand’s Splashy New Year

When I first starting traveling, I found it very odd that different places celebrated New Year’s at different times. That way of thinking is long in the past. I’m pretty sure that it’s possible to celebrate New Year’s once a month (at least) if you really want to. In April 2016 I was in Thailand for New Year’s which they call Songkran Festival. I’ve also heard it called “Thai Water… Read Article →

Forced Marriage During the Cambodian Genocide

In October 2014, the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Cambodia (2014) published a qualitative/ quantitative study on the long term effects of forced marriage during the Khmer Rouge genocide. It’s called “Like Ghost Changes Body: A Study on the Impact of Forced Marriage under the Khmer Rouge Regime.” You can download it here. The report is extremely thorough describing tradition marriage practices, how forced marriage fit into the Khmer Rouge’s ideology, and… 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 →

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 →

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 →

Where Happiness is a Place: Defining Happiness in Bhutan

Last week I went to the International Conference on Gross National Happiness. Along with over 500 participants representing 48 countries, we analyzed, surveyed, charted, and debated happiness for three days. Gross National Happiness was first mentioned by Bhutan’s 4th King in the 1970’s. He said that the country would measure GNH and prioritize that over GDP. What use is it, he said, if you are economically successful but unhappy? Since… Read Article →