Update on Disaster and LGBT Psychology by Leading Filipino Psychologists at PAU

March 2, 2015

Article from the Winter 2015 Edition of Global Mental Health NewsletterWritten by Lynn Waelde, Ph.D.

It was a whirlwind week of talks at PAU and Stanford School of Medicine, and research presentations at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, in addition to constant meetings to plan their future disaster and post-conflict intervention work. Thank you Palo Alto University for your support of the visit of our colleagues from the Philippines, Professors Maria Regina Hechanova, Pia Ramos, and Pierce Docena in October 2014.

I think it fair to say that the PAU community benefited tremendously from learning about their work and numerous accomplishments in the areas of disaster, conflict, and LGBT psychology and social policy.

All these activities flow from Dr. Allen Calvin's initiative to provide support to the Philippines following Supertyphoon Haiyan. As they reported to the PAU community, the work we have done in partnership with these faculty has resulted in the development of two manualized and modularized post-disaster interventions, one for immediate post-disaster and the other for more specialized needs in the longer term aftermath.

These disaster intervention manuals have integrated mindfulness and meditation practice to address the stress component of disasterwork. A collaborative manuscript describing the manual development has already been submitted for journal publication.

Hundreds of disaster responders have been trained in the interventions which are now impacting the lives of thousands of disaster survivors. A generation of Filipino psychology students has been inspired by these efforts to consider clinical psychology as a career option, though training resources are not commonplace there. I continue our collaborative efforts with Professors Hechanova, Ramos, and Docena and am very gratified by the opportunity to do this work.

Photo caption (above):

  • From left: Pia Ramos, Ph.D., Ateneo de Manila University; Gina Hechanova, Ph.D., Chair, Psychology Department, Ateneo de Manila University, President, Psychological Assoc. of the Philippines; Professor Pierce Docena, University of the Philippines, Visayas