The most difficult factor faced in clinical work is creating deep connections with individuals over time, only to carefully terminate those relationships, and hope that the therapeutic work has a positive influence on the (or hopefully both) individual(s). I have become all too familiar with the various forms of ‘boundaries’ in therapy, and the flexibility of such boundaries, depending on the therapist and his/her clinical judgment.
Research on the brain has brought our attention to the impact of earlier life experiences on the development of the brain. What occurred in the past can condition our brain to have certain expectations about the future which impacts how we experience our present moment. This raises a concern about the growing up experiences of gay children (Gay here refers to our entire LGBT community) who often experience homophobic mistreatment.
My mom’s family and my dad’s family are complete opposites.
Once a ‘disorder’, not always a disorder....
When horrific acts of violence happen around the world, our first instinct is to try to understand why. We look for solutions and try to understand what drives people to commit these seemingly senseless acts. When these violent acts happen in our backyards, we begin to wonder about the safety of our families and the people around us.
As a gay Iranian living in Los Angeles, I would like to do my part in bringing attention to the fear, shame and isolation that many gay Iranians (gay primarily refers to the entire LGBT community) experience living in Iran and overseas. Per my dialogue with other gay Iranians, who are still living in Iran or have recently escaped the country, and as noted in several news articles, countless number of gays have been tortured and persecuted by the Iranian government.
For my new years resolution, I have decided to be very intentional with transforming the ways of thinking that cause internal suffering. An incredibly powerful avenue for me to break down suffering has been through being conscious of when I might be “othering” or “demonizing” another human being. Demonizing “others” is often a coping mechanism for people when dealing with threatening situations. When I demonize “others,” I feel spiritually disconnected, and I ultimately suffer.
In the field in psychology, I find that we are constantly being trained to be culturally aware and sensitive to the needs of underserved members within our communities. I have found that many times, our multicultural training focuses heavily on issues affecting non-American or nonwhite individuals and groups.
I recently started working as a counselor at the Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) center, located in Los Angeles, and close to Compton. The majority of the residents within the neighborhood are African Americans, and 95% of all the participants at our medical center come from the same population. Considering that this is a low income neighborhood, many participants are living in low income housing or board and care, with few participants remaining homeless.