Summer Semester, Session Three (?)

Hello Readers! I keep thinking to write here but it never got done until now. I would like to take this time to explain in brief detail what occurred during session three of summer semester. However, under the registration for classes, it classified this course as session two instead of session three. But the course sequence list I was given at the beginning of the program entitles this as a session three class. And Mikhaile (the Graduate Enrollment Counselor who could answer general questions concerning the counseling program) had even mentioned to me, around the time of signing up for classes, that it was taught during session three. This is why I put “(?)” in the title of this post.

Any way you look at it, I took the class (Multicultural Issues in Counseling) and it is over with! :D This was a “heavy” class because of the short time limit (only four weeks) and also personal issues students were having within the course objectives. Hmm… What all to share that wasn’t personal enough to place on the Internet?

The first day of class included a list of what us students and professor would do to refrain from belittling a culture: down puts were to be avoided as well as similar derogatory acts or behaviors. The idea was a good one and, to be honest, I believed we all tried to walk on egg shells when the cultures of classmates and professor was the topic of the day. However, when it came to the Arab descents, people were not too careful. It hurt to hear some things that were said about the group but I won’t say nothing more on the matter.

What I had liked about the textbook, Developing Multicultural Counseling Competence, is how honest it is. There is about twenty different authors which contributed to the textbook but two editors took the credit in regarding which authors to label within citing the textbook. I admired their presentation of each culture, especially the American culture (the chapter is called “Individuals and Families of European Descent”). According to Dr. Freeman, this exact chapter was the reason why this textbook became the one we used for class. In the past, multicultural textbooks failed to present European Americans (or, as the textbook say is more politically correct, White Americans) because the majority of people that went into the field I am entering in was once White Americans. When we looked around the classroom, we only saw two White Americans out of 12 (was it 12 in our class?) classmates.

Back to my original point: The American Dream. According to Hays and Erford, this “dream” is the manifestation of the cultural values of White Americans, stating that America is considered the “utopia” of the world (2014). As many of the readers know, the common belief held in America is that anyone can grow up and be whatever they desire to be: own a business, be a star, etc. This is an example of what the textbook called meritocracy: an individual’s success is based on his or her abilities, personal skills, and work ethic instead of external factors (Hays and Erford, 2014). However, as minority groups have experienced, this is far from the truth. Even though this is an impossibility, many White Americans believe in this “false advertisement” and, therefore, often blame minority groups for failing to push hard enough to achieve their goals.

What I just said right there caused the classroom to feel tense to me. I might be wrong but that’s how it felt for me. It’s been a personal battle on this subject alone. But I won’t go into detail. Instead, I will explain the other end of this pendulum: playing the victim.

The idea of playing the victim was brought up in class. I’m so glad it was brought forth because it is true. One of my classmates mentioned how he noticed many African American males who had this concept that the world was against them and there was hardly anything they could do in a career but entertainment. He heard this a lot while he was a police officer. I feel safe to say this because I am an African American. So, please don’t respond that I am not in a position to agree with this ex police officer. :/

What I had learned from this course is that a competent multicultural counselor would do well to gain awareness of how he or she views cultures; knowledge in diverse cultures; and gain skills to work with clients or patients of different cultures. Another thing I learned is that a multicultural counseling experience can still occur even if the counselor and the client/patient is of the same culture. This is when the concept of worldview comes to mind. One example is spiritual diversity. If two people attend the same church and have come from the same culture, one may be experiencing a different spiritual experience than the other.

I can write about this course for a long time but I realized I’ve been writing for almost 30 minutes so I will stop. If I make this blog entry too long, people won’t want to read it. :P I have learned a lot from this course. I just wished it was done during the fall or winter semester (when we have about 12 weeks instead of 4 weeks to master the course objectives).

I’m so proud of my fellow classmates for going through this journey with me. Dr. Freeman said that one’s cultural identity development is a journey and everyone is one different levels and different models. The class itself was a journey in which I believe every single classmate has changed for the better because of this course.

Summer Semester, Session One

After posting yesterday’s post, I realized I failed to post something about my first summer class at Southern. How did that happen? O_o Drug and Addicts was a fun class. The professor (Dr. Dickinson) and my classmates made the class fun. I learn better when it’s mixed with a “fun, no worries” atmosphere.

Each day, we had a quiz before class. That was challenging because it wasn’t multiple choice (essay writing instead). But I got through it. It helped me to know the material.

We were also to get into groups of two to present a chapter (some had to do do two chapters) to the class. It was neat to see how diverse my classmates were in presenting the chapters. I really liked the Jeopardy game one group had created. :)

For those who were wondering, I got a B in Statistics. Yay! I don’t have to take it again!

I would write more but I must start my day. :)

Summer Semester, Session Two

What a wonderful day! I was able to have most (missed one classmates because she slept in–you were missed, chicka) of my fellow group members (one of three assignments involve groups) over to go over our individual summaries and portions for the PowerPoint presentations. I was also able to attend a birthday party (one of my son’s old classmates turned five).

Starting next week, I will be on week three (of four) in Advanced Lifespan Development class. Dr. French was assigned to teach this class during the second summer session at Southern Adventist University. It has been such a wonderful class. I am learning a lot. The reading is intense but informative. I am trying to scan to get the just of it (I’m going to have to keep The Life Span textbook, by Broderick and Blewitt, for at least until I can get my hands on the current edition) but the textbook is so golden, I don’t know how to scan it to give it justice. :/

The group that came over to my apartment is the group that is assigned to volunteer for three hours at a place to observe certain developmental stages. Each group member was to observe different aspects of development: social, cognitive, physical, etc. My group, between early childhood and later adulthood, decided to observe at The Lighthouse Center. It was an eye opener for me! We sat in a domestic abuse class that taught males, who had went to jail for domestic abuse, how to deal with anger. To make a long story short, my group was to summarize what they have observed (individually) and then present their observations to the class.

Another group is assigned to create questions and essays for the final. Each chapter we go through, we are to create five multiple questions (from each three groups) and one essay question (bullets as answers). This group is the easiest one yet. From the questions and essays that are created, Dr. French will choose which one will be on the final. Therefore, he encouraged us to swipe notes so we can study from one another.

The challenging group is to create a YouTube video (10-12 minutes in length) to educate the public about major issues in lifespan development. My group decided to find a total of eight myths (each individual find two myths and also will do the research that proves the answer is “true” or “false”). Each myth will be read out to someone, as in an interview, and each group member will record the interview.

The birthday party was so relaxing! It was like being on island time again. *Sighs* I came home ready to go to bed. However, as a tradition, we kept the family movie idea up and watched a movie together before putting the boys to bed.

My husband and I watched “Little Bit of Faith” (a Tiana Hailey Film) this evening (after the boys were in bed) and that was a nice one. It made me smile. It’s on Netflix if you would like to check it out.

I am so blessed in so many ways. I would like to go over my “Breaking Free” Bible study series by Beth Moore but I am so full that I need to spill my thankfulness to someone else. So I am here typing out here on WordPress. So now that I am done typing, I will publish post and get to my Bible study. :)

Winter I Semester and Finals are Over

WOW!!! I haven’t written here since midterms. That’s embarrassing. I kept saying to myself “Now, Melanie, you should really jot something down real quick at But… *sighs* I never did… :/

I know for certain that I had passed my finals and class for Counseling in Community Agencies. Dr. Dickinson has reported the grades for the final and our overall final grade for the class at eClass. Actually, she’s been faithful in posting all of our grades here. As for Dr. French… *laughs* He’s different. He just encourages us to do our best (in Psychopathology and in another class I had with him) and, basically, “hides” our grades from us.

My classmates have been programed so much about worrying about grades that they miss the entire purpose of going to college: get an education. I use to be like that in high school. But with college, if you don’t know what you should know as a profession, you shouldn’t be in that profession. So, what I keep telling my classmates, when they turn to me and ask what grade I got on whatever assignment, quiz, or test, is that I am not interested in memorizing my grade number/letter. I am interested in learning knowledge!

Dr. Wilder’s Statistics class hurt my head! I like the idea of statistics. It’s just learning the second half of the semester’s information was ruff. A lot of my classmates were anxious, even though Dr. Wilder attempted to reduce the anxiety. Anxiety is not your friend when you are attempting to learn something new. Something about panicking that causes your brain to fail to process information.

I think I flopped Statistics. Before the final, It appeared that I had a low B. I decided to not do the calculations of what grade I needed on the final to pass the class because it wouldn’t help me to do well on the final. Too much pressure causes me to freeze during an important test as such. To be honest, as Dr. French constantly says, it’s not worth stressing over (this is your health and many abnormal disorders occurs as the result of too much stress). So, to avoid a future of terrible health, I refuse to stress over it. If I have to take statistics again, sure, that is money. But is it worth messing up my health? NO!!!

Now I know a few of my classmates may read this (since it will be posted on Facebook). So, I want to encourage my classmates to try not to stress so much next semester. Just do your best! I am praying for you all and remember that God holds our future in our hands. And for everyone else that are not my classmates, please keep us in your prayers. Thank you.

Winter I Semester Almost Over

Hello Readers,

It’s been a while and, although I have some reading and classwork to do, I thought I would write a brief update. Yesterday was my midterm exam for Statistics. This is the only class that actually had their midterm exam the following school week after midterm week (note: we had spring break the follow week after midterms so this is why I had said “the following schooh week”). I spent my spring break studying a little bit each day. However, as many of my other classmates also believe, the statistics exam was too long to finish before class time was over. Dr. Wilder gave us 15 more minutes after class for the few students (including myself) to finish. When the 15 minutes were over, he gave us an additional 5 more minutes to finish up the problem we were on (so we wouldn’t have an incomplete problem). And this is after he shortened it from the exam he used on the students who took it during the previous semester. :(

Today is Psychopathology class. Dr. French will be lecturing on some “hard to speak about” topics, such as eating disorders and sexual dysfunctions. Hopefully the lecture will “balance out” with the other topic: sleeping disorders. I’ve already read upon these topics during in Psychology undergrad classes. However, there has been new findings that have been rather interesting to read in the “Abnormal Psychology” textbook by Barlow and Durand (7th edition).

So that is my short update. Winter I semester is almost over. It ends next month. But there is so much more to learn. I’m not going to like my final exams. :( *Sighs* I won’t worried about them. My current task is to focus on learning. If I learn it well, then I will do well. I must stay in the here-and-now (not in the past or in the future). I must enjoy what is before me. This will bring true happiness.

It’s Been a While and it’s Snowing So…

Hello Readers! I’m still alive. :) It’s been a while and it’s snowing so… why not write in my blog, eh? Hmm… where to start? My sons only went to school on Monday. Tuesday, Wednesday (today), and tomorrow have been cancelled due to weather conditions. The first day were only flurries with terrible coldness. The second day started off with snow and a mixture of rain. The snow only stuck on plants. At the end of the day, when the sun had set, it was cold enough to start collecting on the cement.

Southern Adventist University was closed today. As of now, emails went out saying that they are planning to work on a delay schedule (morning classes are pushed to the afternoon). Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny but I don’t know how much melting the sun is going to be doing until tomorrow arrives.

Midterms are in two weeks. I don’t feel ready. I’m so tired of all the reading and assignments. They keep me so busy throughout the day that when I am finished for the day, I feel zoned out! I’m getting some good sleeping in tonight. I finished early today (since I couldn’t get to campus today to work on my SPSS homework assignment for Statistics) so I had found time to write here.

My instructor, for Counseling in Community Agencies, has already planned that we won’t have class tomorrow evening (master degree classes are held in the evening). So I have a PowerPoint presentation to review at home if I don’t see it in class. :) I already turned in my assignment for tomorrow (Yay!) and way ahead in reading for that class.

Statistics is killing me!!! Not the information. It’s the massive homework! The homework is from two textbooks and one SPSS data sheet. I don’t have the IBM SPSS Program on my personal computer (I cannot get myself to order it from Campus Store or so I need to get this section of my homework done before class on Monday. :/ I tried to get there yesterday before class but that didn’t happen. I tried to go on Monday before class but I needed to grab something to eat at the Village Market (all by foot so it took up time in buying and walking towards Herin Hall).

Psychopathology is too much medical information for me brain to care for. This is one reason why I couldn’t become a nurse: I cannot recall anatomy! If I could only remember which part of the brain (and the name for the brain structure) is associated with anxiety, depression, and other emotions. Then what is the difference between serotonin and dopamine, again? :/

While the boys have been at home, we have played school with them. I keep finding worksheets online to print out. Daddy is teacher to older sibling while I get the hyperactive one. Daddy knows what the teacher is expecting older sibling to conquer so it was only reasonable for him to be his teacher. Younger sibling was homeschooled with me prior to him finally being accepted into the Pre-K program at his current school so it was reasonable for me to be his teacher. Oldest working on sentence structure and three-digit subtraction with regrouping. Youngest working on tracing name and learning numbers and alphabet.

Whew! It’s almost midnight! I’ll post this and go on to bed, now. Good night, everyone! (Or good day if you are reading this in the day time)

Counseling in Community Agencies Class – Week Two

The second class for Counseling in Community Agencies involved a nice discussion regarding the difference between a psychologist and a counselor. From there, we went on to discuss the sigma of counselors: is it “in fashion” yet to go see a counselor? How does history and culture relate to counseling? Did people close to the early 19th century needed counseling less in comparison to those living in modern time?

Our instructor asked us questions so that we would be ready to respond to certain clients concerning our ability to help the client. If the client continues to ask questions in regarding our qualifications, one of my classmates said she would ask them why he or she is asking the questions so she would know where the client is coming from. She mentioned that this is part of Adler’s therapy technique: to see where a client is coming from prior to assuming the counselor know what the client means. Another classmate said he would be honest with the client: say that we can look over the client’s hesitancy by stepping into his (the counselor’s) office. Only because precious time is going by and if one waste time on assuring credibility, that is the time that could have been spent in helping the client with whatever issues he or she is dealing with.

As for me, I had mentioned how “The Gift of Therapy” (Yalom’s book) mentioned to keep counseling transparent: state what counseling is. Counseling is about listening to the client and allowing the client come to a decision in his or her own: empowerment. Although diagnosing clients/patients is a part of counseling (mostly for billing purposes), counselors take on the wellness perspective (instead of the medical perspective). Counseling involves wellness in relationships, emotions, physical, social, environment, and similar areas. Counseling is not “mind controlling.”

The need for counselors appears to have increased because, like in America, many people have lost the social connections that were previously cherished prior to technology increasing. Because people fail to connect face-to-face, counselors often step in and can become the “face” that people often desire to talk to [summarizing a classmate]. However, society often views counselors as something that only rich people are able to afford (as one of my other classmates had mentioned). To remove this stigma would benefit the person (as in the person who decides to go see a counselor), his/her family, his/her friends, his/her job/school, and other relationships/environments. One classmate mentioned that connecting counseling with the client’s/patient’s culture would be a way to remove cultural guilt from going against cultural norms (ex: a counselor can encourage a Native American client/patient to speak to their chief or someone who they often go to within their tribe for “counseling” after speaking with a therapist/counselor).

We also discussed the pros and cons of using mental health labeling on clients/patients (using the DSM-5 to diagnose a client). Most of us had participated in a class debate the previous day in regarding this same subject. However, we were placed on sides (by coin toss) and didn’t get a chance to speak as a individual on which side we were on. As another classmate noticed, I also noticed a lot of us sided on the against side. I had mentioned how Yalom’s “The Gift of Therapy” mentioned about self-fulfilling prophecy: the client/patient taking on the symptoms after learning what he or she is diagnosed with.

This reminds me of how another classmate said that there is a difference between saying that someone has depression or someone is depressed. This is in relation to one of the psychotherapies I had read about in the my Theories and Techniques in Psychotherapy class but I cannot recall it right now (nor find it in my searching). When someone says they have depression, it is something that doesn’t consume them all the time; there are episodes when they are not depress. However, when someone says they are depress, this becomes the person; they are not separate from their diagnosis. To empower someone (to give them hope and not to allow them to feel helpless), one should avoid saying that they are a diagnosis but to say that their diagnosis doesn’t have to consume their identity.