Psychologist camp

The 24th and 25 November, 2012 was a weekend away for the 55 teenagers living with HIV/AIDS at the Jan and Oscar House, Sarnelli House and Nazareth House. Thanks to the generous support of Professor Srivieng from Sringarind Hospital, Khon Kaen and her connection with trained psychologists who have worked on UNICEF and disaster projects in Thailand, we were able to conduct a 2 day program to help develop self esteem, trust and resilience for these teenagers. Three psychologists came from Chiang Mai and the fourth psychologist was from Ubon in northeast Thailand, they have degrees in counseling psychology which is only just beginning to be recognized as a valid field of study,. The camp was held at a camp site right on the Mekhong River looking over to Laos, almost 100 km from Nongkhai. The setting was peaceful and green and the teenagers shared bungalows – 4 people to a room. The energy was high for the whole weekend -  when these teenagers get together there is no need for introductions or getting to know you exercises as they have known and lived with each other, some for as many as 10 years. There were trust building exercises and creative time and the teenagers were split up into small groups to share and validate their feelings with the psychologists. The meals were hot and spicy and despite having to be dragged out of bed for the morning exercises the kids had a great time and deepened their relationships with each other and learnt new skills. Hopefully there will be ongoing opportunities to continue these sorts of exercises for the kids as they enter into their adult years armed not only with good health and an education but with personal skills to navigate relationships and to be self aware.