6th April – A sort of homecoming

This morning we returned to the Pauline Hotel to re-establish ourselves here for the coming week. The day commenced with a training session for the research team that focused on Phase 2 of the research plan. This phase of the research focuses on interviewing ‘key informants’ in the community who are deemed to be knowledgeable about the problems identified during phase 1. The morning went in quickly as we utilized role-plays to demonstrate key aspects of the work. Fr Ponsiano and the team made phone calls to see if we could secure time with some of the key informants that participants had named in Phase 1. He did a great job at securing time with 6 of these people. So, in the afternoon the team departed into the heat of the day to meet with the informants. It was not until 5pm that they returned. The research team met with the supervisors to debrief and get some tips on how to develop their technique for future interview. It was a busy but productive day. More interviews are planned for the next few days.

This evening afforded an opportunity to discuss with Rosco how the training of counseling and clinical psychologists in Uganda is heavily influenced by Western cultural assumptions. The textbooks used in Uganda for educating psychologists tend to be written and published in Western countries such as the UK or the USA. As such, the guidance that they provide on issues (such as ethics, therapist stance, therapist-disclosure, professional boundaries etc.) is greatly determined by the standards and practices that are commonplace in those countries. A key point to appreciate however is that these codes of practice may not be consistent with the ways in which people in non-Western societies interact. We reflected on our shared hope that in the near future African psychologists will step forward to produce texts that are tailored to the diverse cultural norms of the individuals living on the continent.

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