International Partners Share Their L&C Partnership Experience
November 19, 2014
We had the privilege of having two of our international partners join us for our International Research Forum (IRF) this Fall and to share their goals, research, and experiences of working with L&C MCFT students. Our presenters were Dr./Fr. Paschal Kabura and Brother Mathew Panathanath.
Both Fr. Paschal and Bro. Mathew share some common firsts. They were the first to study in their fields and to develop their own institute and college to encourage growth in the field. Fr. Paschal and faculty member and Department Chair Dr. Teresa McDowell first met in 2005. Fr. Paschal is the first person to study and founder of the Bishop Magambo Counsellor Training Institute (BMCTI) in Fort Portal, Uganda. BMCTI is the first and only counselor training program in the Toro Kingdom in rural Uganda. Through this partnership with L&C, Fr. Paschal has been able to receive materials, books, and teaching opportunities to encourage the growth of the institute. In return, the MCFT program has had the chance to send a group of students every other year to collaborate with BCMTI. Earlier this year when second year students Elsa Kraus and Rachel McDonald were visiting Uganda, they were inspired to spearhead a nonprofit organization, It Takes a Village, that facilitates the cross-cultural exchange of knowledge and ideas between students and professionals in the United States and parts of Africa.
Bro. Mathew first met Dr. McDowell in 2012 and has continued to work towards collaboration for opportunities for MCFT students to work with the first counselor training program and center in India-Sampurna Montfort College. Bro. Mathew is the founder of Sampurna Montfort College and is widely acknowledged as a visionary with inspiring insights into the human spirit. His work in the field of counseling education has spanned more than two decades as he has trained students in clinical work with Indian individuals, couples, and families.
Meeting for the first time because of the MCFT partnerships developed and for the IRF, Fr. Paschal and Bro. Mathew shared about their individual goals and research. Fr. Paschal is doing research in how global capitalism impacts family counseling and Bro. Mathew is exploring research in sexuality and gender, where most of it remains a sensitive issue due to current politics. During their visit, Fr. Paschal and Bro. Mathew found that they have a shared interest in research that explores the integrated approach of Eastern and Western practices in counseling and psychotherapy. They view it as a balance of recognition and understanding traditional methods of healing and how they are finding a place in modern counseling.
As they continue to work with the MCFT program and students, they have found a great appreciation of commonalities shared in Family Therapy and in what they are doing in their academics for their students and professionals. They found that there are the same challenges that are shared across continents and the similar realities faced while in the field. Both shared about their gratitude for the interest that MCFT students have for Uganda and India by knowing about its communities, readiness to reach out and help students and the communities in need, and the encouragement to collaborate in joined research. By having supportive MCFT faculty and students, Bro. Mathew expressed that the “openness and sharing of views shows a movement to international family therapy and that it is happening everywhere.”
We’d like to thank Fr. Paschal and Bro. Mathew for taking the time to visit and share their experiences with our MCFT and CPSY students. We look forward to our ongoing collaborations and the opportunities to come for all our students.