Counseling Association presentation to cover ‘Somatization in Asian-American Populations’

Counselors can earn continuing education credit at March 21 event

Lisa Takara and Shiraz Tata

Lisa Takara and Shiraz Tata

As scientists learn more and more about the intersection of mental health and physical health, the numbers become more and more alarming.

Studies estimate that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of encounters with the medical industry have some sort of mental health component. Yet many doctors, nurses and other health care workers admit their own lack of confidence in screening for mental health concerns.

To compound this issue, in some populations, such as the Asian-American population, somatization is a frequent way in which individuals express mental health distress.

Somatization is defined as the tendency to express psychological symptoms in the body. A patient might express anxiety or depression through gastro-intestinal distress or chest pain, complaints which can confuse both doctor and patient.

NIU Counseling Association logoIn an increasingly diverse world, it is imperative that professionals in health services such as nursing, physical therapy, allied health, rehab services and mental health be aware of this phenomenon and know how to screen for it.

At 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21, the NIU Counseling Association will host “Emotions of the Body: Somatization in Asian-American Populations,” presented by Lisa Takara, a doctoral intern from the Counseling and Student Development Center, and Shiraz Tata, licensed clinical psychologist. They will discuss the definition of somatoform disorder, cultural differences in conceptualization and treatment, the ways to improve mental health status among Asian Americans, and indigenous coping methods.

This presentation, which will take place in Room 423 of Graham Hall, promises to offer a look into an important multicultural competency for those who work in any part of the health industry. It is free and open to all.

One hour of Continuing Education Credit is available from the National Board for Certified Counselors. NIU’s counseling program, an NBCC-approved continuing education provider, may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

For more information, email etsherrill@gmail.com or elisa.woodruff@gmail.com.

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