International Educator - November/December 2014 - 15

SHUTTERSTOCK

Getting Started
Initiating an international experience for students in mental health fields is not unlike other disciplines and typically
involves networking and developing personal connections. Stetson's Meghan Walter recommends attending
an appropriate international conference as an interested
faculty member. Make as many connections as possible
and scope out the logistics at the first conference. Spend
the time before the next conference building an itinerary,
including opportunities for students to present posters
or workshops individually or with a faculty member,
meet with local professionals, visit clinics or other sites,
or participate in a service-learning project. Walter also
recommends investigating one- or two-day trainings offered by specialized institutes in such areas as clay therapy,
expressive art, or working with trauma victims.
For Norman Epstein, director of the Couple and
Family Therapy Program at the University of Maryland, a simple "yes" when a Chinese medical professor
asked to visit Maryland as a visiting scholar led to two
decades of student travel, conferences, and research collaboration. Fuguo Chen, MD, stayed in Maryland for 18
months. The two jointly researched the views of U.S. and
Chinese couples on the characteristics that lead to satisfying relationships. Later, Epstein presented
workshops for mental health professionals at Shanghai Second
Medical University, including
sessions for school counselors
on treating depressing and anxiety. A Chinese student who earned
a doctorate at Maryland introduced
Epstein to her mentor at Beijing
Normal University and another opportunity for international faculty and
student collaboration was born.
In 2012 Epstein and Xiaoyi Fang,
director of the Institute for Developmental Psychology in Beijing, organized
the first Sino-American Forum on Marital and Family Therapy attended by 13
U.S. graduate students from the University of Maryland. In 2013 Fang
and three colleagues spent a month
in College Park, Maryland, seeing
American family therapy firsthand and planning the second
Beijing conference in 2014.
Epstein led his first students to Beijing in 2009 when

Different Setting,
Different Needs

G

raduate students in counseling at Marymount University
in Arlington, Virginia, could easily meet soldiers,
chaplains, and military psychologists right in their own

neighborhood, which encompasses not only Forts Belvoir and
Myer but the Pentagon itself. So why take students all the way
to Germany to treat U.S. soldiers?
Ramstein Air Base is the critical crisis center for service
members with physical and mental health injuries. Landstuhl
Regional Medical Center provides long-term care. At these U.S.
bases in Germany, students "get a firsthand account of what
providers do in the initial crisis stages," explains Lisa JacksonCherry, who chairs Marymount's Department of Counseling.
"What struck students most was the impact on soldiers of
being away from their support systems...and even though we
hear how the military is open to mental health counseling, there
are still perceived consequences for staying in the military if a
soldier has mental health issues."
Victoria Holmes, a doctoral student at Marymount,
is passionate about working with military families. She
appreciated "meeting with army chaplains because they were
very open and shared powerful stories about their work with
active duty military members...
This gave me more awareness
about the unique needs of
my population." Marymount
doctoral student Maya
Georgieva volunteers at a
suicide prevention hotline.
Noting that suicide is both a
problem and a difficult topic in
the military, Georgieva said she
feels even more motivated to be
involved in prevention efforts
after her conversations with
military chaplains in Germany,
who "place a great emphasis
on building trusting
relationships with
the soldiers."

N O V + D E C .14 INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR

15  



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2014

International Educator - November/December 2014 - Cover1
International Educator - November/December 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2014 - 1
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