One thing I really love about DIS is that we all have tons of opportunities to meet people from different sites and areas to get a broader view of the subject related to our core courses.
In Feb, we have a core course week which usually all the students go to a place in or around Denmark. For instance, my European Clinical Psychology course went to Aarhus for three days and then two days back in Copenhagen. Depending on the core course, some classes also went to Sweden or Germany.
In March, we will have another week called long study tour to go to a place that is further away, our class will be travelling to Vienna and visit some sites there.
From Feb. 4 to Feb. 8, we had our core course week. Our European Clinical Psychology course went to Aarhus (The second largest city in Denmark located in Jutland) for three days and then two days in Copenhagen visiting some psychological clinics or related sites.
I really loved this core course week, spending a week with my teacher and fellow students. We had bonding activities such as “Escape room” where we tried to escape the room by solving a series of puzzles and riddles using hints, clues (we got out ✌️A ✌️), we also had “Bonfire & Snobrød” during the first night. (It was rather cold that night, but the little snow did not blow out our excitement). Snorbrød is a type of bread that we roll the dough into a long sausage shape and then twist over the end of a long stick, and bake over on the bonfire.
The visits were also quite nice. It is indeed a highlight that DIS offers this kind of trip to see people in the field and learn more about the different (future) possibilities regarding the core course topic.
Since I am in European Clinical Psych, we visited many clinics work with different kinds of people, such as patients who have cancer, refugees, young people etc.
- Hejmdal: Kræftens Bekæmpelse is a house for the Danish Cancer Society in Aarhus, which is an open place for people who have cancer or their relatives. It was a really nice house, providing people with a feeling of inclusive and support. We learned how psychologists work with cancer patients and their families.
- We visited Aarhus university hospital to learn more about personality disorders and some cases that public clinic take care of the patients and treatments.
- Psychologist Christina who works in “cognitive center young life” told us about cognitive therapy for youth. We also learned about the current Danish Welfare System and its pros and cons that affect the youth who are in need of psychological support in Denmark.
- Last two days in Copenhagen, we visited En Af Os “one of us”, a national campaign to counter stigmatization and promote tolerance and openness to people with mental illness. We also visited the Center for Familieudvikling where we learned about the family development and how psychologist intervenes to improve relationships and family member’s wellbeing.
The one I loved the most was the trip to Kasper’s site. Kasper is a psychologist working with refugees and asylum seekers who flee to Denmark from other countries mainly from the middle east like Syria, Afghans. Kasper had a very interesting presentation on his daily psychotherapy work with the refugees to help them understand and alleviate maladjustment from different aspects. In-depth, he talked about his case stories and some interventions he usually does with the clients during sessions. He also talked about some difficulties during the work as well as some challenges balancing his work and his personal life. Unconsciously or purposely, he emphasized the good thing about the office as he and his fellows always have lunch together. He mentioned it twice, once at the beginning of his talk and again during his presentation. I think it is rather helpful and important for him to have lunch with his fellow colleagues as he can have a break from the issues or traumatic events he heard from his clients. Some cases can be extremely overwhelming, and by talking to someone he may be able to relieve a little bit. He interacted with us a little bit with his usual interventions such as mindfulness, the activities he usually does with his clients.
At the different sites, one of the main things we talked about is the issues that may still exist in the welfare system.
Danes are being regarded as the happiest people living in the world. For sure, Denmark has the highest welfare among other countries. The schools are free of charge, citizens have universal healthcare and a universal pension in return. However, from presentations and discussions, we can still see some flaws in this system, particularly in healthcare. Some mentioned that even though public healthcare is free of charge, the number of psychologists and the resources provided in public institutions (public hospitals) are limited. To be able to see the doctors and get treated, some clients need to wait for a very long queue usually could take up to MONTHS. However, unlike getting a cold which can easily be cured by one’s immune system, mental health issues can be very severe. For most cases, people are unable to suffer for months to wait in the line.
Clients do not have to wait long for private clinics, but on the other hand, they have to pay from their own pockets to get treated. It could be an issue as well, people who truly have mental illness or issues may not be able to afford the fee to see the private doctors. By not seeing a doctor, they may not be able to recognize the problems on themselves, and it can get worse. According to Barghadouch et al. (2016), the children who obtained residency in Denmark as a refugee or as a result of family-reunification made up a lower percentage of having the first-time psychiatric contact and were in lower household income-groups than Danish-born children, even though children who identified as refugee have a higher rate of mental health issues. Even though this welfare system is seen as a modeling system for some other countries, there perhaps still have some improvements for people from the middle class and for people who suffer from psychological problems.
I could not imagine what happens to the refugees who just escape from a bad situation. Will they be able to truly escape? They might be able to, eventually. But they are still more likely to suffer from some aspects especially when they just enter a new country. Separation from their loved ones, language and culture barriers which can hinder them from being truly engaged in the society. Luckily, there are people who just like Kasper to help them endure the difficulties.
The trip went really well overall. I was kind of exhausted and I had an over 12 hr sleep that weekend… Anyways, I am really glad that I chose DIS, chose ECP and I am so grateful to have a great teacher and fellow students.
- Barghadouch, A., Kristiansen, M., Jervelund, S., Hjern, A., Montgomery, E., Norredam, M., & Jervelund, S. S. (2016). Refugee children have fewer contacts to psychiatric healthcare services: an analysis of a subset of refugee children compared to Danish-born peers. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51(8), 1125–1136.
We went to ARoS the last day – Aarhus Art Museum
Nice museum, nice exhibitions, recommended. >>> probably will be featured in one of my future museum posts, we will see 😉
Can’t wait for the trip to Vienna in Marts (March)!
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