Friday, August 5, 2011

ETD's Profound Effect

I am a therapist by profession and a board member of Erasing the Distance (ETD). As a contributor to the blog and as a clinician, I welcome any questions or feelings you have about mental health issues, but to start I want to share with you why I am part of this organization.

Some of you may be a fan of Malcolm Gladwell. I am, if for no other reason than he effectively challenges the “norm” of how we understand things. In the introduction of his book Outliers, he talks about a study done by Stewart Wolf and John Bruhn on the community of Roseto, PA. This community was intriguing because it was made up people who were both psychologically and physically extraordinarily healthy. After looking at a series of things such as individual genetics and the physical environment, they found the strongest component was how they interacted with one another. Here is an excerpt:
Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that they wouldn’t be able to understand why someone was healthy if all they did was think about an individual’s personal choices or actions in isolation. They had to look beyond the individual. They had to understand the culture he or she was part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town their families came from. They had to appreciate the idea that the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.
The outcome of this study exemplifies two reasons I am involved with ETD. First, everyone I interact with here is committed and approaches both work and personal interaction with kindness and integrity. I find this inspiring. I like to be inspired. Secondly, as a therapist I get to work with individuals who are willing to courageously face things that are often confusing and painful. Witnessing people connect with, understand and accept themselves is an amazing privilege. I love working in this capacity, but I am equally driven on a social level. The content of our mind and the actions of our behavior impact the health of our society. What ETD does through performance, training and residencies encourages the expansion and awareness of content and behavior on both an individual and community level. I think this can have a profound effect; it has on me.

Thanks for reading,

Jamie Pekarek Krohn, LCPC is a board member with ETD and received her Master's from DePaul University in Counseling and Human Services. She worked as a therapist at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital and is currently in private practice. Click here to read more of Jamie's posts. 

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