But I digress...I wanted to talk about my time spent with Edna, the only trained counselor at Tenwek Hospital. She is not a social worker, per se, but she has a bachelor's degree in psychology and hopes to return to school within the next few weeks to begin a master's in counseling psychology. Edna works alongside the chaplains for short-term counseling and follow-up spiritual care with the patients. Since she knows I have a degree as a mental health professional, she basically gave me free range of any English speaking patients.
I spoke to one man who was recovering in the hospital after a suicide attempt while intoxicated. From what I have seen, his story speaks for many other people who struggle with substance use in Kenya. He reported that he was riddled with guilt because, although he worked hard 6 days a week, he was trapped in a cycle of drinking away all of his hard earned money during his day off. Although he was not a daily drinker, he fit many of the criteria for alcohol abuse, including:
A maladaptive pattern of alcohol abuse leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by one or more of the following, occurring within a 12-month period:
- -Recurrent alcohol use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
- -Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
- -Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems.
- -Continued alcohol use despite persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of the alcohol
What I find most different with this experience from counseling in the States is the integration of the expectation of spiritual growth. About 75% of Kenyan citizens are Christians, which makes broaching the subject of spirituality less awkward. I think Tenwek demonstrates a good contrast between US culture, which often neglects the spiritual wellness of a person when considering recovery. It boggles my mind how people can be so individualistic as to believe they can actually do it alone without God's help and stren Jesus said, "What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?" -Mark 8:36