I saw this young man for about 3 years in my practice of clinical counselling. We ended the treatment when he felt that he was stable enough and ready to end his therapy. His self-report of traumatic experiences was quite horrifying and I had the opportunity to receive supervision while working with this client. It was about 4 years ago that he ceased coming in for his weekly counselling sessions. I wished him all well and that was it. Now, however, something quite unique is happening. Every now and then, sometimes a few months apart, I receive a phone call from this past client who just likes to update me on how he is doing. His updates are mostly about his improvements and new learning experiences. I listen to all his updates with compassion, interest, and empathy. His most recent update was a couple of days ago. I have been thinking of his reason for why we have these short 5 minutes phone calls or updates. I realize that it was not me that he is updating at all! He is, instead, confirming with himself that indeed he is doing well and there is no reason for fear anymore. This person has indeed done a tremendous amount of changes in his life; having a full-time job, having gone back to school and working towards his bachelor, plus being in a stable relationship. As to why he needs to update me; it is because he needs to remind himself that he is on a right path. If I as a therapist have witnessed his suffering, now it is time to witness his success stories.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC
Canada is in the process of accepting a large number of refugees, in particular people from Syria. Welcoming and bringing home refugees from Syria became a happy news in December 2015, when the first group of those individuals and families started to make the airport life more exciting than normal.
You could think that most settlement agencies across Canada, have instructions or plans in order to settle refugees and help them to integrate into their new communities’ best they can. However, the great question remaining is that what is the plan for the provision of mental health services for this population? What is the plan for treating and providing for mental health issues that most of the refugees are dealing with? Surely the research shows that refugees are the population prone to develop mental health issues due to the level of experienced pre-migration and at times post-migration challenges.
As a refugee, you arrive with the deep level of emotional pain and trauma simply because your life has been turned upside down. It is simply traumatic if you are forced to leave the known environment and knocking on neighbour’s doors for protection. For many people, it is challenging to ask for help and surely there are those who could require more services than others.
Therefore, it is important to understand the level of trauma that refugees are carrying with the self. Treatment of trauma and emotional pain is an absolutely important part of the settlement program for refugees, however regretfully, this issue could be overlooked easily. Treat the pain as the first step towards settlement, that is smart and helps the other steps to happen much faster.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC
Norooz is the new day that we all are waiting for, a new day that earth awakens and all species start a new cycle of growth. Norooz is the oldest tradition and celebration as it is stemming from spring, which is the beginning of all new starts. In the ancient Persian history, Norooz is considered to be a “winner” as Norooz is a fighter that always wins the battle with the darkness of winter, it is a real source of hope and light.
Norooz is the day that human mind will integrate itself with the freshness of earth, the beauty of nature, and the brightness of daylight.
Over time of human history, Norooz has been there and it has had many enemies, however Norooz is a winner of all time and no one can stop it from happening.
Norooz is beyond tradition or religion or any boundaries, Norooz is about life and growth that naturally is waiting for us all. Norooz is about surviving darkness and challenges and surviving the days that no lights are in the sight.
Norooz is an answer to all our pain and sorrow while it has a component of natural cure for all pain. The cure is to go back to our mother earth and find the real source of hope as Norooz is on our door.
Happy Norooz and happy spring.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC
Canada is accepting refugees from Syria. This is a great news and while the world is struggling to deal with Syrian refugees, Canada has already started to settle in those who are arriving every day.
It is important to understand that what refugees need is beyond physical settlement. Psychological settlement includes helping the individuals explore the traumas that they have endured. What the global community is dealing with is not a refugee crisis but a human crisis leading to millions of people feeling like they do now in Syria and that region.
As the Saadi Shirazi said in 1291:
Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you cannot retain.
In my professional view and in the position of having worked with refugees a longer time, I would argue that most of the refugees arriving with some or multiple symptomologies related to the Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome or PTSD.
For the professional community, it may be obvious that refugees are a group of individuals who are arriving with many challenges including trauma, loss, grief, and emotional pain. Still, it is important to educate both the public and the arriving refugees about the meaning and reason for symptoms that encompass PTSD. I will continue writing about those symptoms soon.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC
A new mental health issue in our super sensitive world: Easily Offended Syndrome
Have you not met those people who get offended by all and anything you say? If not, have a look around and you will find those people easily.
Angry husbands, nagging wives, high maintenance family members, or anxious friends are those individuals who possibly will be easily offended by anything you do or say. However, if these easily offended individuals are in power positions, then those who “offend” will get serious consequences. Worst comes to worst, as soon as these easily offended individuals manage to silence others simply by using various excuses such as a belief systems to their assistance. This latest, putting the belief systems in pedestal and rising flags for it to make a point, is a dangerous – manipulative game that easily lead to wars and conflicts.
Individuals who get easily offended tell you: Do not talk to me, obey my rules, and shut down, or else. Easily offended syndrome has numerous symptoms that should be explored: Acting defensive, using violence, anger and rage, playing victim role, using guilt trips, blaming, and controlling is what these easily offended individuals do to get attention.
If there is no other way to quiet you, then these easily offended persons would blame you for acting against them, religions, profits, or / and god. Basically, it does not matter what you say nor do, these people can judge you quickly, get offended easily, scare you, violate you, and rule over you since they need to be in control. Easily offended individuals know best.
But who get easily offended?
• individuals with low self-esteem, low self-worth, and low self-confidence,
• individuals who would not take responsibilities for the short comings or wrongdoings,
• individuals who were raised to be god and not less than, perhaps suffering from some narcissistic personality characteristics,
• individuals who are delusional, in-congruent, irrational, and super sensitive,
• And individuals who are neurotics, in fury, and hateful towards others.
What is the treatment for this illness? The real treatment would be promotion of respect for diversity and communication.
Hopefully justice and respect for human rights can be the governing forces in our world, consequently the easily offended individuals would not be able to lead, rule, or demand silence. Open dialogues without fearing these easily offended individuals are the real answer.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC
Last words shown by Amanda Todd in a video, a young 15 year old year who committed suicide due to a horrific act of bullying. She was bullied for years and she suffered silently. The story has caused much pain and guilt feeling for her community and everyone here in British Columbia, to the level that B.C. Premier Christy Clark had to convey a message about the issue. Amanda could not take it any longer, while questions remain why people around her, school teachers, or counsellor whom she saw could not see the killing pain in her. As an outsider we like to be assured that those who saw her on a daily basis did what they could, however it is sad to say that they missed the signs. With the amount of pressure on a young person’s mind, bullying and fear of being ridiculed constantly is the most horrible assault someone can take. Bullying is an organized crime that the offender may not see the consequences of. Bullying seems to be involved with the power imbalances and abuse. Bullying occur everywhere with no regard for race, age, gender, or ethnicity. Bullying kills and that is a fact.
The loss of Amanda Todd is a hard lesson while it happens once in a while. Bullying is a challenge and struggle affecting young souls, while this is a problem not only for school authorities but parents and people involved in a young person’s life.
Some parents may not recognize the behaviours of a child and they misinterpret the signs that are often number of them out there. Parents of a bully and a bullier are both victims of not knowing how to raise their children and youth with a healthier personality. Victims of bullying often suffer from lack of self esteem and self appraisal, why Amanda made the disaster of interpreting the abuse with lack of self worth.
Amanda gave us a piece of lesson with those cue cards she used in her posted video; she explained the whole process of crashing someone’s soul, from beginning to an incomprehensible end.
She wrote on those cards what occurred and how this never ending negative and damaging cycle took her life. Throughout her story explained with individual sentences and often words tighten to one another, she was hoping for an angel to arrive and save her. There are many Amanda’s out there. There must be numerous girls / boys in Amanda’s age and situation who do cry for help out there, therefore adults around them should know better.
We need angels out there. Education will do it.
Not only teacher education but also Parent education is a must and should include developmental stages of a child’s life to adulthood. May she be in peace now.
Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC.
Banning women from life, does not work anymore.
These useless men in the shaking filed of power in our beloved home country do not know how to walk on their toes any more. Just these days we hear the news that Islamic government of our country in prison, banned women from 70 university programs. This is well another effort to remove women from the social life filed. However does it work?
Not only they have killed, raped, burned, stoned, slashed, and put down our women in the past 32 years of their malicious existence, but also they try to terrorize women from existing in all areas of life. All the intimidation, punishments, killings, and brutal actions against women in Iran have only made women to become more resilient, stronger, and more willing to ask for change. Iranian women is not afraid of any treats anymore, this is a reality that these stupid men deliberately try to ignore.
The hardships that Iranian women and also men have experienced will never stop them from willing to change their situations. The governments as such may be in power with help of all their weapon or coercive forces on the streets; however adversity and censors will only encourage people to be willing to learn more and to discover their rights. Appetite for education and life skills among Iranian women have never been this much on the stake, this is why these sick minded men who think they are in charge try to yet again push women backwards. Women in Iran turn out to be the most the intelligent and flexible beings; they know how to ignore these nonsense rules and bans.