Have you ever wanted to be a Superhero? To have magical powers like Harry Potter or to have superpowers like Superman or Wonder Woman?
My name is Janina Scarlet. I was born and raised in Ukraine. When I was just a few months shy of my third birthday, there was a massive nuclear explosion a few cities away from us at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This event forever changed my life.
My immune system was severely weakened due to radiation exposure. I would get sick very easily. I got frequent nosebleeds, which wouldn’t clot. I spent many years in and out of the hospital.. A side effect which still affects me to this day is that whenever the weather changes, I experience severe migraines, and sometimes seizures.
Clinicians experienced in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are likely to be familiar with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the primary treatment approach. This highly effective treatment typically consists of three basic protocols:
psychoeducation about the disorder
cognitive interventions that challenge distorted ways of thinking about experiences
behavioral interventions, namely, exposure and response prevention (ERP), which involves confronting obsessive fears intentionally and resisting related compulsive physical and mental acts.
These are all buzzwords that have become more and more present in our national discourse in recent years. Within the mental health field, however, these discussions have been written about and researched for decades. In fact, there have been multiple taskforces, divisions, and guidelines developed to integrate multicultural competence in the provision of mental health services and research. Yet, there appears to be lingering challenges in translating the call for multicultural competence from literature to practice. Illuminating the greatest challenges to being or becoming a culturally competent therapist allows for strategic planning to ameliorate such barriers in ethical and effective care.
Last week I was giving a webinar to a few thousand people, which is a lot for anyone I guess, and as I was getting set up a memory flashed through my mind of completely mangling a word in a elementary school class presentation. I almost involuntarily winced with embarrassment before noting with a sense of curiosity and a bit of humor that I’m the only person alive today with that memory.
It can be especially hard if you are a helping professional. No matter what setting you work in, whether it's a hospital, clinic, or private practice, you will likely encounter deep suffering every day. It's in the nature of the business. People rarely come to us with simple, easy-to-solve problems. More often they bring lifetimes of secret hurts and private struggles.
As an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) practitioner, what keeps you awake at night? If you are like me, you worry about client progress and whether you can help a particular family. You worry about confrontational parents, grandparents that are sabotaging your plans, and contentious IEP meetings. You worry about staff faced with severe aggression and self-injury and your ability to support them.You imagine the pain parents are going through as they watch their child struggle to learn basic skills, and grieve the loss of the life they thought they would have. And you worry about the reports you need to write, and how you are going to manage everything, and still do a good job… I would assume that almost anyone would agree what we do is difficult.
ABA practitioners are tasked with changing behavior that is generally creating huge problems for an individual and those around them.
Couples work can be hard, however it can also be exceptionally rewarding.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) helps people relate to their internal experiences and behaviours in a way that fosters valued action. For couples, ACT can help people understand what it means to be the loving partner they want to be.