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Counseling Psychology students bring back lessons from Mumbai

April 18, 2008

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    Teresa McDowell, associate professor of counseling psychology and coordinator of the MCFT program, arranged the international collaboration with the Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work. Sebastian Perumbilly, doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut, co-led the experience. Here, Lewis & Clark students and Perumbilly pose for a photo with Nirmala Niketan faculty. All participants reported learning more than they could have hoped for.
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    Students visited the Kripa Foundation, a substance abuse treatment center in Banda, and talked with a large group of men in treatment. The staff and those in treatment were extremely welcoming and open, telling their stories of addiction and recovery.
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    Students were hosted for an afternoon by a large joint family in a rural village. The day ended with a lively ride on one of the family’s fishing boats.
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    Several marriage therapists talked with the Lewis & Clark students about compulsory counseling with couples seeking divorce. Special attention was paid to joint families and marital therapy.
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    Students visited two women’s groups in Muslim areas that support single women and securing women’s rights to divorce, financial support, safety, and economic development.
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    Students met with social workers and women in poverty who participate in small economic units that sew fair trade items, engage in micro-economic programs, and learn/teach trades. They visited sewing shops in the community including Creative Handcrafts Andheri East.
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    Informal learning experiences outside of the program (e.g., shopping, visiting a Temple, site seeing) raised questions and uncovered biases and assumptions that could then be addressed in more formal learning contexts. Semi-structured dialogue sessions throughout the experience were another important learning activity.
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    The combination of lectures and real world experience was perfect. The amount of knowledge and insight into Indian life was vast, but the experience of meeting so many amazing people in the field truly brought home the information given in the lectures. I returned humbled by the complexities of Indian society, but inspired by the amazing work the people I met there were doing, said a Lewis & Clark student participant.

(Portland, Ore.)—Ten students from the Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling traveled to Mumbai, India in December as part of their coursework in the Marriage, Couple and Family Therapy (MCFT) and Community Counseling programs.

Teresa McDowell, associate professor of counseling psychology and coordinator of the MCFT program, arranged the international collaboration with the Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work. Sebastian Perumbilly, doctoral candidate at the University of Connecticut, co-led the experience. In addition to their time spent in classes, Lewis & Clark graduate students visited a treatment center, court, a rural fishing village, several schools, and numerous women’s NGOs.

“The faculty at Nirmala Niketan arranged a rich and extensive learning experience for visiting students by integrating formal lectures with field experiences,” said McDowell. “Students were able to develop conceptual frameworks during lectures and then apply what they were learning to understanding the experience of single women living in poverty, women’s micro-economic groups, schools, and so on. All U.S. participants were very pleased with the program which consistently exceeded our expectations.”

 

For more information:

Vanessa Fawbush
Communications Officer
503-768-7992
fawbush@lclark.edu
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