International Educator - November/December 2014 - 22

"To be completely honest, that is the
hallmark of a great mental health
practitioner-a person who is willing to
take risks, look at things with a broad
perspective, a person willing to be
uncomfortable at times as a professional."
growing interest in the field. Froming says hundreds of
thousands take a counselor licensing test in China, which
requires book knowledge but no clinical experience. The
GACE program enables students in Beijing to earn a
master's degree in counseling through online seminars
and academic courses coupled with training sites on the
ground such as the Beijing United Family Hospital. The
first four Chinese students are expected to graduate in
2014. A similar program in Argentina enrolled its first
students in 2011. There are also opportunities for U.S.
doctoral students like Leighna Harrison to gain clinical
training experience in Argentina. Harrison wanted to
improve her clinical skills in Spanish but she said the experience also "reinforced for me the notion of being an
'informed not-knower,' reminding me that there is always
something new to look for, always a different question
to ask, or a different approach to conceptualizing cases."
Froming found that he too was an "informed notknower" in a place like Rwanda. "I have been in this
business for 30-40 years and know about counseling and
psychology. But I go to Rwanda and know nothing." PAU
offers an emphasis in cross-cultural training and trauma
22  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V + D E C .14

counseling, but "here in the United States we deal with individual trauma," Froming explained. "In Rwanda you have
to reach millions." He has taken three groups of U.S. graduate students to Rwanda, where they have visited mental
health agencies, families that have adopted children orphaned by genocide, the Kigali Genocide Memorial, and
national survivors organizations. "Students see the resilience of people and the solutions they create." They were
introduced to a female drumming troupe of Hutu and
Tutsi genocide survivors. "Why do you drum?" Froming
asked the women, especially since drumming is traditionally a male activity in Rwanda. "It makes me feel good,"
the women answered. While Americans might have been
discussing all kinds of cognitive-based treatment for these
women, Froming said the Rwandans themselves "found a
solution we would never have thought of." Now PAU associate faculty member Helena Young, an expert in crisis
and trauma counseling, has received a Fulbright Fellowship to pilot a counselor training program in Rwanda.
PAU was also invited to the Philippines after Typhoon
Hayan in November 2013. Professor Lynn Waelde provided disaster mental health consultation for a team of
faculty and graduate students from Ateneo de Manila
University, including mindfulness training for self-care by
first responders. Currently, Waelde and two other PAU
graduate students are evaluating the effectiveness of both
this training and a newly published manual of workshops
on resilience for Filipino survivors.
Personal growth is a significant element of any study
abroad experience, but perhaps especially so in the fields
of mental health, psychology, and counseling, whether a
student is building professional skills, shadowing practitioners in a different culture, or providing crisis intervention.
Charles Lindsey at UW-Oshkosh senses a growing interest in study abroad programs in the mental health field in
part because "multicultural and social justice issues are
hot topics right now," he says. "In two-and-a-half weeks
of being abroad, the things the students learn and come
into contact with would be very difficult to replicate on
our campus," explains Lindsey, adding that he wants his
students to "experience a vastly different way of life and
world view...To be completely honest, that is the hallmark
of a great mental health practitioner-a person who is
willing to take risks, look at things with a broad perspective, a person willing to be uncomfortable at times as a
professional. How are we going to ask our clients to do
that if we don't do it ourselves?"
IE
KAREN LEGGETT is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.
Her last article for IE was "Influx From the Middle East," which
appeared in the November/December 2013 issue.

SHUTTERSTOCK/ KASHA MALASHA

ing, provost at Palo Alto University (PAU), asked himself,
"Can we do something with what we know and what we
are good at to benefit people in other countries where
there is a complete absence of mental health professionals
and no infrastructure to train the next generation?"
Froming is working on several fronts with PAU's
Global Advancement of Counseling Excellence (GACE),
which offers a master's program in counseling psychology
that combines long-distance online learning with on-theground clinical practice in the student's home country.
The most advanced program currently is in China, where
there is mixed awareness of the need for counseling
services. During the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, China suddenly "recognized the need for counseling," says Froming.
"The ways they used to deal with everything privately and
in the family are breaking down." PAU is building on this



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