Some people chide me for being a workaholic. One of Rekindle’s clinical interns said to me yesterday that he could not fathom how I manage to do all that I do. I replied that during my Ph.D. studies, I was three times as busy as I am now. He didn’t seem very encouraged.
I admit that I am busy and sometimes physically tired from all the work, but I don’t feel tired in my soul. I love what I do. For instance, while I was sitting on the plane alone traveling to my holiday destination, I found myself thinking about what could be done to train up good marriage and family therapists in Malaysia. Instead of watching an inflight movie, I opened my new book, Common Factors in Couple and Family Therapy (authored by one of my mentors, Doug Sprenkle) and devoured it for ideas on training therapists.
When I take a break, I need two things: time and quiet space. I need enough time to catch up on sleep and recuperate my body so that my mind can function at a high level. Then, I need a quiet space — with beautiful scenery for added inspiration — to read and think beyond the everyday. This is recreation, or re-creation. On a holiday, it is important for me not only to rest but also to have the time and space to re-create the future. It is the time needed to grow deeper in my roots so that I can grow taller and stretch out further through my branches.
I will be away for two weeks. I will miss seeing my clients, but I will be re-creating by asking deep and meaningful questions about my next project: to develop a really effective systemic therapy education programme to help train up the first generation of family therapists in Malaysia. Not just to plug and play programmes from America to Malaysia, but to develop something that is well thought through, incorporating both Western research and Malaysian contextual understanding to create something truly effective and truly Malaysian.
In light of this, I am looking forward to contributing in the upcoming IFTA 2015 Congress to be held in Kuala Lumpur where I will be moderating a couple of panels on the topic of family therapy education in Asia. If you are mental health professional or a student in the field, do join us. It is the FIRST international family therapy conference to ever take place in Malaysia. It will go down in the history books as a landmark event in our field for Malaysia! Register by August 31st, 2014 for the early bird!
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