Monday, May 20, 2013

An Afternoon in Reggello

Hi Everyone! This is Heather checking in from Italia! Today I skipped breakfast since I was feeling so tired... I just had some of the fruit that was left over from our time in Rome. We then had a seminar by Dr. Remley, The Culture and Counseling in Italy. I was thrilled to be able to hear what Dr. Remley had to share with us, since he has spent 10 years on this trip as well as living in Italy during a Sabbatical. He has a unique perspective of the Italian culture, through an American's eyes.

Our next lecturer was Paola Salbioni, who is an Italian American who now permanently resides in Italy. She grew up in Manhattan and is a practicing counselor. I was intrigued to learn about the limitations that counselors experience in Italy. She mentioned that if they have a client that is displaying depressive symptoms they must refer them to a psychiatrist or psychoanalyst because a counselor is not permitted to conduct therapy. I thought they would be very complicated as I currently assist people with multiple diagnoses and through our training at GSU we should be competent in working with and treating those with mental illnesses. According to Paola, the counselors in Italy are experiencing difficulties with the psychiatrists. This reminded me of some of the complications in the United States between the roles of social workers, counselors, and psychologists.

After a delicious lunch, we then we gifted in watching a presentation on mask making by Vito Albanese. Vito is a local artisan whom crafts masks, wooden candle holders, as well as working with bronze. He walked us through the process of making the molds and doing paper mache. I am struck by the introspection of many of the Italians that we have met. They seem to hold very different philosophies than Americans and the way that they approach life is very appealing to me. Vito mentioned that he is currently not making any new masks because he has not felt "the inspiration." Another participant of the Institute asked if he got his inspiration from the outside or other art, but he stated that his designs "come from inside" and if he hasn't thought of anything new, he will not begin any new masks. I found this very different from most people I have met in the States, who seem more interested in producing and selling, rather than on the art.

After Vito finished his presentation and we had spent some time trying on his large variety of masks, a group of us took the bus into Reggello. Jenna and I planned to go to the Super Mercado (the town's super market) and then have some gelato. We spent more time in the supermarket than we had initially expected, but it was so interesting to see the different types of items that were offered compared to at home. People here also shop here everyday or every other, which is contrary to what most Americans do when they go to big box or bulk stores to stock up for as long as possible. Unfortunately Dr. Remley's recommended, or favorite, gelato store was closed, but I was able to have a nutella, pistachio, and chocolate cup which was soooo good! We sat a people watched for awhile and it was amazing to see a depiction of small town Italian life in action. This is such a different pace compared to home.

After dinner there was some vino and excellent company from all the great new friends that I have been making here. I have met so many people from around the country and I have been enjoying the opportunity to speak to other counseling students and make new connections. I can't wait to see what the rest of this adventure will hold for us!

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