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As we move forward with the class, I want to encourage you to keep in mind some of these
principles that would not only help you utterly understand the material, but if you plan to go into the healing professions will serve you well and please

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1. First of all, you need to understand you are NOT treating disorders; you are
. While patterns of pathology are largely consistent across peoples and cultures, how that disorder may be manifested, how it may be presented to you, and even how symptoms may differ from different times/situations, may seem confusing. However, the most consistent and most important factor, the key to understanding is the person itself, in other words, to attend to and keep in mind the person who suffers; ALWAYS.
2. Similarly, any behavior in question, whether is normal or abnormal is
. The basic understanding of human behavior is that IT is always the interaction of the person and his/her environment. No one acts in a vacuum, dissociated from culture, his or her personal history and even the beliefs and expectations of the culture. Look at these short films of the now PTSD diagnosis that once was called ‘Shell Shock” during WWI. Today you would never see such a presentation; why? Because it is not part of the culture anymore, and PTSD has a totally different presentation. At the time, “shell shock” presented itself as a hysterical disorder, mimicking a neurological condition. It was a common belief that the exploding artillery shells, created the confusion and disorientation you see in those patients (today we know there is such a thing as Traumatic Brain Injury TBI), which could be caused by expanding blasts from artillery, IEDs etc, but that is different from PTSD). While Psychological Trauma is a reality now as it was then, the
presentation of the disorder was different.

3. Human behavior is always
, and while your patients may not be able to effectively communicate his or her distress, that does not mean it lacks purpose and meaning. Even the language of schizophrenics if properly deciphered would reveal its purpose.  Today we do not bother much with that since we aim at controlling symptoms, rather than understanding people; it is faster, cleaner and more in tune with the goals and expectations of our society, but unfortunately it is wrong if it is the only thing we do. Everything we do, from the simple superficial acts such the way we talk or dress, to the most complex and impenetrable of human psychopathological condition is rich in meaning.
4. It is important to develop and attitude for learning and commitment to your profession. In other words, you need to be
. You may eventually be done with your formal schooling, but you should never stop learning. Your “formal” learning may stop with your Masters or PhDs, but I hope you understand that you will always be learning. You are both a life student and a student of life
5. IN addition to academic or professional knowledge, you need to develop your
. In working with patients, this will often be your more successful tool. We often see and hear more than our senses tell us; that is intuition. It is not only about learning disorders and describing problems; it is looking beyond the obvious as well.
6. Finally, you need to
The ability to empathize and be in “tune” with our patients will carry you, and your patients, even at times when things do not seem to be clear or the problems seem insurmountable. This is extremely important, if you cannot “be with the one who suffers”, do not go into Clinical Psychology, at least not into Therapy.

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