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Name: Stacy (Gilmore) Cecchet
Degrees held: B.A., Psychology, University of Puget Sound; M.A., Psychology, Seattle Pacific University.
Degree Currently Pursuing: Doctor of Philosophy, Clinical Psychology (Ph.D.) - Seattle Pacific University
Intended career path post doctorate: I would like to take my post-doctorate work in a number of different directions. First and foremost, I plan on continuing my work with the pediatric trauma population on an international level, specifically through my work with children who have been victims of severe trauma like child sex trafficking, sexual abuse, torture, and war as well as disasters. Secondly, I would like to supplement that work with a faculty position at a university. So much of what I do has been inspired by my professors, my advisor, Dr. John Thoburn, in particular. A dream of mine is to inspire future students the way that I have been inspired.
Can you give us a brief description of the trip to Haiti and what it was all about?
Interestingly, the work that I intended to do was not the work that I ended up actually doing. Originally, I had planned on working with psychologists on the mental health team to continue training individual psychological support teams in disaster first aid. Upon my arrival, however, I realized that children made up more than half of the population seeking medical and mental health attention at our clinic, and I was the only person there that specifically worked with children. Under Dr. Thoburn's supervision, I organized a children's mental health team to provide supportive therapy to children undergoing medical procedures without anesthesia, and I ran a number of play therapy groups for children in surrounding orphanages and medical clinics.
What were the goals of the group for psychology?
The overarching goal for the mental health team was to continue building a sustainable mental health program. The goal was to train indigenous psychological support teams on the basics of disaster psychology, like how to be a better listener, how to use breathing and mindfulness to decrease trauma symptoms and suicide prevention. These support teams would implement the skills taught and then teach others in the community how to implement these skills themselves..
What were your personal goals?
My personal goal for this trip was to provide safety, support, and hope to the children of Haiti, even if it only lasted for the time that I was there. This was my first experience working internationally and providing psychological first aid to disaster victims, so another goal was achieving growth as a clinician through my work with the children and through supervision from Dr. Thoburn and other psychologists on the mental health team..
Describe some of your accomplishments while in Haiti.
The mental health team made amazing accomplishments. A new indigenous psychological support team of 52 people was trained and the team that was trained on the last trip in May returned for a debriefing and further training. In addition, approximately 150 children were able to participate in play therapy groups, many of whom had never seen crayons or stickers before and were thrilled to play with them.
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