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MLAC Partnership with Consuelo Foundation

by Hannah Morillo

One of the most fruitful projects that the MLAC Institute has started in 2016 and continued to this year is its partnership with Consuelo Foundation, Inc. True to living to its motto, “Giving hope”, Consuelo Foundation with MLAC, was able to provide psychological intervention to at-risk youth and survivors of trauma and abuse, to its partner organizations, Messy Bessy (House Foundation) and Purple Centers Foundation.

The MLAC Team (Uzi Araneta-de Leon, Rory Catipon, Bless de Asis, and Hannah Morillo) led by Dr Honey Carandang, set out to the production house and office of Messy Bessy in Pasong Tamo, Makati, and to the school of the children in Purple Centers Foundation, Tondo, Manila to provide individual therapy sessions, group and family therapy, and group mindfulness-based expressive arts and play therapy. Being able to reach out especially to people where psychological intervention is not readily available is one of the most gratifying ways MLAC offer psychosocial support. We look forward to continuing partnerships such as this, and to extend our services to those who need them most.

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Tita Honey during one of our group mindfulness-based expressive arts therapy sessions. (Photo by Hannah Morillo)

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Traversing Tondo: on our way to Purple Centers Foundation. (Photo by Rory Catipon)

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Looking out from Purple Centers Foundation in Tondo, Manila. (Photo by Hannah Morillo)

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The final session of the girls from Messy Bessy was a culmination through their music therapy, among others. It was a “treat” to witness a live and intimate performance from the artist (Dr. Chris Carandang) whose original compositions have touched their hearts throughout their therapy sessions. (Photo by Hannah Morillo)

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A visit to the MLAC Institute clinic: The children of Purple Centers engage in free play and a jovial exchange of stories and experiences. (Photo by Hannah Morillo)

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One way of sifting through one’s experiences is through art. (Photo by Uzi Araneta-de Leon)

The Young Mothers of Tumana

by Rachel Ann Rosales Parr

The MLAC team, spearheaded by Dr. Ma. Lourdes “Honey” A. Carandang, went to Barangay Tumana (Marikina) on April 22nd 2017 to conduct a parenting workshop with about 30 young mothers of the community. This was the 6th of an ongoing annual series of parenting activities organized and facilitated by MLAC in partnership with LINKS School for Life for the residents of Tumana.

The workshop started off with the main idea phrased as a question, “Paano maging mahusay na magulang?” (How does one become a good parent?) This may sound like a daunting question but it is one that falls squarely in place with the MLAC flagship advocacy entitled, “Parenting is Nation-building.” This advocacy was given its name by Dr. Honey Carandang and was borne out of her unwavering belief in the critical role of parents/caregivers as co-builders and shapers of our children’s identities – the very identities that will create and impact the future of our nation.

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Dr. Honey talks to the mothers on how to become a good parent

Unpacking this huge question was done through an informative talk wherein Dr. Carandang discussed the importance of communication; disciplining with dignity; truthfulness; family bonding; having fun with your child; finding a support group; and most importantly – taking care of oneself. Participants were then divided into smaller groups, each assigned with an MLAC team member to act as moderator/facilitator. The young mothers in each group were invited to reflect on the talk, identify the points that resonated with them, and impart ideas on how they could apply or use these take-home points.

Learnings shared

One of the more salient points noted was about the challenges involved in disciplining a child. While many mothers talked about not wanting to curse, shout, or become violent towards their children; the stressors of being hard-up, having poor role models, and the lack of support systems often led to lapses in their efforts to be kind and respectful parents. Several mothers talked about the difficulties in shielding a child from learning how to curse or how to unlearn the behavior of using foul language. This is an impossible task for so many who continue to live in conditions where swearing and the use of offensive language are rampant in the community, in social media, and in local television where well-known public personalities are constantly seen touting this behavior as a sign of power and bravado. There were several young mothers who, despite the harsh living conditions, recognized the value of being truthful and being able to talk to their children in a way that does not hurt or diminish the child. For some of them it was time to break the cycle of being hardened and desensitized to violence and cruelty.

It was also observed and noted that a significant number of the participants were single parents who lived with or near the houses of other family members. This was seen as a highly valued social condition that allowed them to leave their child in the care of relatives in order find work and earn a living. Unfortunately, there were quite a few single mothers who did not have the same supportive family conditions. As a result, some have become despondent, while others talked about abandoning and neglecting their children.

The value of self-care appeared to be relevant to many of the young mothers. Several of the participants saw themselves as young adults who should give importance to looking good whenever possible, notwithstanding the stressful and worrisome lives they lead. However, the lack of social support, resources, and the lack of time prevented many of them from even fulfilling the most basic tasks of eating on time and bathing as regularly as they would want to. Those who were married and those with common-law partners mentioned the need to find ways or strategies to get their partners to participate and be more engaged in taking care of the children. This, in turn, would create more “bonding time” for father and child and allow more “me-time” for the mothers. Some mothers seemed to find the concept of relaxation and doing things for the “self” alone as ideas they haven’t thought of for a long time.

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The MLAC Team, Dr. Cecile Palma, and the young mothers

Reflections and conclusions

In the small groups, each young mother appeared to listen intently to the other, seemingly in quiet acceptance of their differences and perhaps smiling as if to echo the oneness and interconnectedness of their experiences – as mothers and as Filipino women. Part of the value of these small group sessions is in the way that the interactions reaffirm the uniqueness of each participant within the context of the shared experiences that connect and bind them to one another. Dr. Honey Carandang and the MLAC team work with Filipino families through a dynamic process that involves communicating knowledge and creating shared spaces, which participants may use to appreciate their individual and common experiences in a deeper way. It has always been a main objective of these parenting projects to have participants emerge with renewed energy and gain insights that they can own. Hopefully, being able to claim and give meaning to their own stories will give these young mothers the courage and the optimism they need as caretakers and co-builders of the next generation.

Paano Maging Mahusay na Magulang: MLAC Team returns to Brgy. Tumana for Parenting Workshop

Dr. Honey Carandang and the MLAC team in partnership with LINKS School for Life conducted a Parenting Workshop for the teenage and young adult mothers of Brgy. Tumana. LINKS School has been the venue of the workshop for the past six years. A complete writeup will follow care of our team member Richie Parr.

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MLAC Team at The 11th Hour: A National Conference on Climate Change Adaptation and Mental Health

The MLAC Institute served as a partner for The 11th Hour, a conference organized by Balik Kalipay Center last March 22 and 23 at De La Salle University. Dr. Honey and our team members, Ms. Bless de Asis and Dr. Joanna Herrera, were able to give presentations on the following topics:

  1. Psychosocial Impact of Disasters on Women and Children – Dr. Honey Carandang
  2. Mindfulness and the Clinical Practice – Bless de Asis and Joanna Herrera
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The MLAC Booth Outside the Conference Hall

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Dr. Honey giving her talk on the impact of disasters

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Dr. Honey with the panelists

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Dr. Joanna starting the session

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Dr. Joanna giving her talk on Mindfulness

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Tita Bless talking about the Gifts of Mindfulness

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Dr. Joanna and Tita Bless during the panel

Congratulations to Dr. Honey, Dr. Joanna and Tita Bless!

Learning Session on Mindfulness and Work – Life Balance at the Senate Electoral Tribunal

Last March 14, Dr. Honey Carandang was invited by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) to give a learning session on Mindfulness and Work-Life Balance.

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Dr. Honey explains the flow of activities for the day

The talk was divided into two parts: BALANCE: The Key to Emotional and Spiritual Wellness and Mindfulness. The talk emphasized the need for balance between work and play, being with others and solitude, doing and being, and caring and being cared for.

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Participants trying out a mindfulness activity

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Employees of the Senate Electoral Tribunal check out the books of Dr. Honey and MLAC Institute

Dr. Honey also emphasized the need for mindfulness practice in helping the employees of SET to cope with the daily challenges of their lives both at home and work. She ended her talk with mindfulness exercises such as the use of imagery. Participants were also able to ask questions and share their thoughts on the topic.

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A participant asking Dr. Honey a question on mindfulness

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Dr. Honey hands out a certificate of participation to an employee of SET

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Participants hold up their certificates as they pose with Dr. Honey for a group photo

Examine yourself; see what you may be missing: A reflection on Parenting Academy 3

by Joanne Mabanta

As the day began, guests of different ages trickled in little by little. Everyone arrived to listen to Dr. Honey Carandang’s talk on ‘The Power of Compassionate Discipline’. As a well-known clinical psychologist and national social scientist, she has done many contributions to the field of psychology as well as given many talks.

The Parenting Academy, now on its third year, is focusing on compassionate discipline because of the current prevailing culture of violence that is evident in society. According to Dr Carandang, parenting is the means to nation building. It is important, now more than ever, to carry the core value of respect and dignity that each human deserves. An individual, as a parent, may install these values by disciplining his children, not out of fear, but out of love and respect. This proper discipline allows children to incorporate a mode of thinking in their lifestyle that can prevail across different situations. It tells the child what he can or cannot do, and in doing so, the child has a sense of stability and security. If an individual begins early in disciplining his child, the child can then develop a sense of self-discipline that he can use to regulate his own behaviour, and would thus allow him to act according to the values that have been early on instilled in his life. This discipline is done not only so that the life of the parent may become easier, but also it allows them to have something to hang on to. In this manner, a two-way relationship is established between the parent and the child.

Admittedly, disciplining children can be very testing and challenging for the parent. It requires complete attention, consistency, and patience. Being the parent means that you have to be sure of what you’re doing; otherwise, authority will not be effective in the eyes of the child. Thus, to maintain this discipline, one must always remember his purpose in doing it: it is all for the child. After all, the child does not necessarily do these bad things simply just to do them; it is just that they do not know that what they are doing are good or bad. This explains the importance in delineating to them exactly what they can and cannot do.

Dr Carandang stressed that the necessity for discipline does not automatically mean that one must do it with such violence. Oftentimes, there are parents who shout or shame their children when they do the wrong thing. However, this manner of discipline only encourages the child to avoid the adult, instead of correcting the wrong behaviour. It fails to establish a connection with the children that is necessary and will become helpful in the years to come.

My biggest takeaway from Dr Carandang’s talk was the importance of this connection; with it, the parent does not have to worry about the child as he grows up, because you as the parent have already helped him build up his own identity upon growing up. He already knows what to do, and he knows that he can count on you to be there for him whatever happens. Your compassionate discipline when he was younger will act as his moral compass for him to be his own person, the best and good version of himself. This then stresses the importance of good parenting: as a parent, one must know how much role he plays in the life of his child.

You might want to think about if you’re parenting your child well. Examine yourself; see what you may be missing. Maybe all it takes is a little awareness for your child to be able to go the extra mile.

Highlights from Parenting Academy 3: The Power of Compassionate Discipline 

We’d like to thank you again for supporting Parenting Academy 3: The Power of Compassionate Discipline! 

Based on comments and suggestions from Parenting Academy 1 & 2, Dr. Honey Carandang and the MLAC team changed the format of the event this year by making the afternoon session an experiential workshop, where participants were able to share and discuss their thoughts and insights on the morning talk by Dr. Carandang with fellow participants. To give each participant the time and space to talk and be listened to, the small group sharing was limited to 6-10 participants per group only. 

Since words may not always be enough to express what they were feeling, the participants were also given a chance to express themselves through the arts – using paper, colored pens, clay, and other art materials. 

Another change in format was that the open forum was led and facilitated by Dr. Honey’s son, former broadcast journalist and communications secretary Ricky Carandang, and acclaimed broadcast journalist Ces Drilon. Ricky and Ces’ questions allowed for an even deeper discussion about Compassionate Discipline not only in the family but also in the country.

Thank you very much for your very positive response to these changes in our format. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Below are some more pictures from the event:

 

Dr. Honey Carandang gives a talk on The Power of Compassionate Discipline in the morning

 
 

The open forum was led and facilitated by Ricky Carandang and Ces Drilon

 
 

The afternoon workshop included a lot of experiential activities

 
 

The participants were able to express themselves through the arts during the afternoon workshop

  

Examples of artworks by the participants

 
 

Examples of artworks by the participants

  

Examples of artworks by the participants

 
 

Dr. Honey Carandang with the participants from the Nanay-Teacher team

  

The MLAC team and MLAC volunteers (mostly Psych students from Miriam College) pose for a group picture after a job well done!