In addition to the major earthquake this week, I have a more minor shake up in my life as I am taking a new job.
The earthquake is still a major challenge in New Zealand. My sister-in-law and a friend were visiting and they were bumped off their flight this weekend because Air New Zealand was flying back 7 injured people to either the States or England. I recently heard that 4300 people have come up to Auckland from Christchurch. There was also an article in the paper about this guy who was lifting these big slabs of concrete off of some trapped people right after the quake. I saw the video and thought, wow, those must be some other material than what they look like, because he just picked up these slabs and moved them aside without seeming to exert much effort. Here is a link to the New Zealand Herald if you are interested:
My new job is at Buchanan Rehabilitation Centre, which is an inpatient/residential centre for 40 clients who live there. The model is a very positive and hope-inducing one that gives intensive support in a holistic framework. There is a gardening program there where clients can learn to grow plants that are then planted and cared for at various sites in the community. It is also very multi-disciplinary in its focus, with a lot of group work and it is aimed at helping people get back on a developmental track in their lives and to be less stigmatized and identified as “mental patients,” and encouraged to move beyond or through their illness experiences. I am really excited about working there. I’ll be starting part-time work there in March, increase my time further in April, and then I’ll be working 4 days a week there in May, one day a week I will be taking off for writing, and I will be ending my work at the community mental health centre.
I have had a really challenging time working at my current job. It has been difficult for me to sort out what are problems at the sub-culture level and what are larger issues with the practice of psychiatry in New Zealand. When I was at my interview in Christchurch as part of my credentialing for the Medical Council, I was told that over 50% of psychiatrists pracitising in New Zealand are internationally trained. That means that the norm is that a psychiatrist in New Zealand is from another country. That makes for a very interesting and diverse work environment, but it could also contribute to a degree of transience in the work force and has a number of challenges for New Zealand in structuring and operating mental health treatment.
At this point, I am really glad to be leaving my current job. I have put in a lot of time and energy and taken on various projects to work toward changing the work environment there. It is really challenging to be working in a system in which the staff are resistant to change, and negative, also, there are various administrative level challenges as well. The more I learn about Buchanan, the more of a sense of relief I feel. My own holistic approach should be very welcomed there and also seems very similar to the therapeutic approach used there. Here is a short article, from an old newsletter, that gives a brief overview of BRC. It is on page 5 of the newsletter.
I know this blog post is a little all over the place, talking about my job and the earthquake, so in honour of that all-over-the-place energy, here are a couple dolphin photos from the boat trip we took a couple weeks ago.