Empathy without exceptions

In the beginning of the course, I was worried about what i will learn. I thought the course will be tackling torture issues, as it did, but in a way that focuses on treatment and therapy solely. However, i was glad and enthusiastic when i was presented to know more about the survivors and surprisingly the perpetrator as well. It is not a common attitude that people usually emphasize with the abuser, killer or raper. This course has changed the way I perceive people.

It is not only reflected on the way I emphasize or try to look for the reasons and the circumstances whether psychological, behavioural or environmental thresholds that triggered the perpetrator’s anger. It is not usual that I try to justify others aggressive behaviour when dealing with others or even my parents anger at me sometimes.

empathy_romania.jpgHowever, I found myself during taking that course that I am trying to calm down during an argument with my parents or even friends and thinking of some reasons that might be contributing to their anger. For instance, today is the day when Egypt’s Air plane disappeared with 66 passengers on board. I don’t know any of the passengers on the plane, but i have a huge feeling of sadness, empathy and worry about those people without knowing the reason for my feeling towards them. I believe that before that course, I wouldn’t have felt the same; I will be sad for the people but i would soon forget about it. It might be because i am thinking of their families and their psychological being when they know about the plane. In addition to learning about shared trauma and secondary trauma. I am not on the plane, but my parents are in Paris today are supposed to depart tomorrow from Paris to come to Egypt on Egypt Air airlines. It might be due to the given association that i have thought of because of what i have learned through the course.

Further, the story “Moral Injury” ha altered many of the stereotypical thoughts i have for American soldiers in Iraq. Empahsizing with the soldier who used to take commands to kill children and dogs in the streets would not have been the case, if i didn’t learn about the power of the authority, shrinking moral horizon and fear of being stigmatized out of the group. I learned about different cultures that should be taken into consideration during therapy sessions and that some cultures imply certain traditions on its people that might cause traumas to individuals from different cultures.

Various cultures impose that traumatic experiences are perceived the same way in all cultures and thus definition of trauma differs depending on the culture, socio-economic class and educational background. For instance, some people might consider marrying their daughter at the age of 12 years old to a 40 year-old man, won’t traumatize her, while other cultures, especially Western would definitely consider it illegal, unethical and psychological and physically harmful for the girl. It is the same with cultures that are based on the well-being of the individual and his/her decisions primarily and others prioritizing the group and the family first.

In addition to learning to never take anything for granted, whether it is told to you by a professor, in a research or even if you see it effective; it doesn’t mean it is an effective therapy that can be applied to all cases and in various contexts. We should always suspect any theory or treatment, not fro the sake of falsifying it in a negative way but to prove its validity and its efficiency to use it will other cases. In fact, in the corse, we have studied “Evidenced Based Practices”, supporting that even the supported, evidenced theories by the most famous psychologists and psychiatrists are vulnerable to failure. Moreover, in our critique paper, we are trying to find supportive or opposite researches to the main article each one of us has chosen to ensure the information will be delivering to our peers and professors in the presentations are correct and reliable. Before taking the course, i didn’t use to question any academic research, since its approved by an academic institution that promotes accuracy.

One last thing i want to mention is that at the beginning i did not like the idea of having all those reading for every class and the workload was a lot along with other courses i am taking as a graduating students. By the time, the course was about to end, I realized that i wouldn’t have been encouraged or had the initiative to read all those readings about therapies and trauma in specific, without being pushed or put under the stress of the course, which is a good thing for me. The same goes for the “Self-Care”plan that I am sure i would have never done it if it wasn’t for the purpose of grades but today it is the reason I got back to practicing and eating healthy.

 

 

 

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