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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Clinical Perspective

I wanted to share some thoughts and things I learned when we went to the Clinic in Haiti. Me and another girl went to the clinic on Wed. and thought we would be doing counseling. Since I am a counselor, I thought I would be talking to people about how they are feeling about life events. Well, we did do counseling, but not that kind. We did medical-type counseling. We talked about the importance of taking medication and preventative measures they could take to help keep them healthy. Although it was not what we originally thought we would be doing, it was still helpful for the people.

Something I have been thinking about is although many Americans realize they are supposed to take their prescribed medications, there are also many that don't understand the importance of continuing to take it even when they are feeling better. I know several people that stop taking their prescriptions without talking to their doctors as well. This abrupt discontinuation of medicine can cause serious side effects if not careful. It is important to continue taking medication until you and your doctor have come up with a different regimen for you to follow.

It is also important to stress preventative measures. In Haiti we talked about ways to prevent getting Malaria and Typhoid, such as covering your water with nets to keep mosquitoes from getting into it. So this reminds me, we need to stress preventative measures here in the United States as well. We may not have to worry about Typhoid or Malaria, but there are other things we can prevent. For example, we can prevent anxiety by planning ahead, managing time effectively, keeping a journal to reduce stress and avoiding alcohol and drugs which may add to one's problems, only to name a few. Prevention before a problem exists is better than trying to cure a problem after is has already occurred.

Something else I heard while in Haiti is that counseling is not something they are familiar with. Some say it's because they have too many other basic needs to worry about rather than the tradegy that has occurred in their lives with the earthquake or other circumstances. Others say it's because they have not been introduced to the concept of talking through their issues. I am not sure which it is, but I am curious about your opinion.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic.

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