MLAC Team Gives Group Training to PAP Members

MLAC Team Gives Group Training to PAP Members

By: Jaymee Q. Leonen

Last December 9, 2013, the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) requested Dr. Carandang and the MLAC Psychosocial Services for Wellbeing (formerly MLAC Institute for Children and Families) to conduct a seminar on Group Trauma Therapy. This was held in Room 5, Institute for Social Order Building, Ateneo De Manila University. This was a seminar-workshop sponsored by the PAP especially for PAP members who wish to assist the survivors of Typhoon Yolanda.


Dr. Carandang gives her talk to the PAP members who attended the seminar-workshop.

The seminar-workshop was opened by Ma. Regina M. Hechanova, PhD, the President of PAP. She welcomed participants and introduced Maria Lourdes “Honey” Carandang, Ph D,  who talked about trauma and the recovery process. During her lecture, she shared the culturally rooted framework for recovery she designed as a result of her years of experience in working with survivors from different natural disasters. In the seminar, she was able to share practical guide statements to approaching trauma,   bearing in mind the importance of taking care of the self throughout the whole process. She emphasizes the need to preserve the dignity of those whom we are helping and letting them take the lead. In order to do so, she reminds therapists to always be mindful of their own beliefs about communities and the process of recovery because these serve as the foundation for their intervention processes. You design your modules and your interventions based on these beliefs. Therefore, it is important to always be aware of them. But apart from that, therapists should also be mindful of their own issues , how they react to different types of problems and clients. As what Dr. Carandang said, it is important to “be aware of these issues, to own them, and to take care of them like a mother cares for a crying child”. Nearing the end her talk, she discussed the importance of the 7 Basic Psychological Needs with special emphasis on Transcendence, and how as therapists, it is important that we believe in the inner resources that each survivor possesses. The final hour of the morning session was devoted to an open forum for participants to ask Dr. Carandang on anything about group trauma therapy. This led to fruitful exchange of knowledge from the diverse experiences shared by some members of the audience.


Dr. Carandang answering some of the questions of the audience during the open forum.

In the afternoon session, the session was opened by Dr. Carandang’s introduction of the MLAC Team members. To get the group started, a short demonstration of laughter yoga facilitated by Paolo Trinidad. After this, the MLAC Team facilitated a workshop on expressive arts therapy. The participants were given time to draw their feelings and reflections on the after effects of Typhoon Yolanda. Then they were divided into small groups each facilitated by an MLAC Team Member. Participants were given time to share about their drawings. After the group sharing, MLAC facilitators were then asked to briefly summarize their group sharing to the big group. The design of the workshop was experiential in nature, so that they may also understand better the journey of their participants. As a closing activity, a human orchestra was conducted by one of the MLAC Team Members, Marisa Marin.

*** Dr. Ma. Lourdes “Honey” A. Carandang is a renowned Clinical Psychologist in the Philippines. Some of her most distinguished professional achievements include serving as President of the PAP from 1981 to 1983 and receiving awards such as Outstanding Psychologist Award (1988), National Social Scientist (1995).

MLAC Institute for Children and Families (now formally called the MLAC Psychosocial Services for Well-Being) is a team of psychologists she founded in 2010. The Institute is founded on our solid belief in the innate truthfulness and honesty and wisdom of children. The main goal of the foundation is to apply the scientific principles of psychology for the well-being of Filipino children and families, especially the poor, the disadvantaged and the traumatized.

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