I just returned from an exciting conference. Yes, a conference CAN be exciting. It was the 37th Annual Mental Health and Missions Conference in Angola, Indiana. Psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors, over 240 of us, from all over the county come together to discuss how we can use our talents to support those who work in cross-cultural settings. These are people who know what it’s like to get outside their own comfort zone and connect with people who do life differently. The theme is on the sign . . .
So, what are the emerging realities?
- Safer technology. Many commonly-used video connections like Skype are not as confidential as many think.
- Positive Psychology. Mental health practices traditionally have aimed at healing the sick. This approach is looks more at the characteristics that allow a person to function with maximum happiness and effectiveness. Health is more than the absence of sickness.
- Secure Attachment. Adopted children require special care after being uprooted from their birth homes. Also, children of missionaries (and others whose work takes them around the globe) require extra kinds of attention to reassure them of their safety.
- Trauma Healing. Life-threatening experiences are not uncommon these days. Think of those struggling with PTSD. Traumatic experiences are rooted deeply and do not diffuse with the passing of time.
So that’s the technical part. Aside from all that, I got to connect with some outstanding people in the field. What a thrill to experience being part of something far bigger than just me and being able to make a small contribution. Now, to follow up with several new friends.