Antioch University New England Applied Psychology Students Will Travel to Peru to Help Children

Graduate students from the Department of Applied Psychology at Antioch University New England (AUNE) will travel to Peru from May 24 to June 6, 2015, with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). Established in 2007, IVHQ has grown to become the world’s leading volunteer travel company, offering a variety of projects for volunteer travelers.

On Monday, May 18, a group of AUNE students met to review plans for their volunteer trip to Peru. One activity they plan to incorporate into their visit is using a parachute to play games with the children. During a break from their indoor work, the group headed outside to practice some activities.

Led by Dr. Barbara Andrews, director of the clinical mental health counseling program at AUNE, Dr. Catherine Lounsbury, chair of the Department of Applied Psychology, and Elizabeth White, administrative director, AUNE students will provide services for children at two sites near Cusco, Peru. At the first placement, they will work with girls residing in an orphanage run by the government. There are multiple reasons why the girls are in the orphanage, but the most common reasons are abandonment and abuse. The second placement was established in 2005 as a shelter for girls who have been sexually abused, physically abused and in some cases forced into prostitution.

“Our students will not only be experiencing another culture, but helping a very worthy nonprofit to better the lives of underserved children and communities,” said Dr. Lounsbury. “They’ll also travel and experience one of the most historically significant areas in the world. We look forward to our study abroad trip and are quite excited.”

For nearly two weeks, AUNE students will engage the children in a multicultural, trauma-informed practice, emphasizing play therapy, experiential therapies and body-mind approaches to trauma integration, resolution and recovery. They will incorporate a strength-based approach, with a focus on resiliency and post-traumatic growth.

AUNE students will be staying in the Inca Empire capital of Cusco, Peru, one of the oldest cities in South America. While there, they will also have the opportunity to explore the one-time Spanish colony, visit Machu Picchu, the renowned Incan citadel in the Andes Mountains, and Ollantaytambo, a historic Incan archaeological site.

“This experience is going to push all of our comfort zones—physical, emotional, environmental—and in ways we can’t even imagine yet,” says Ami Lindemann, a student in the Master of Arts program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at AUNE. “It’s like Neale Donald Wash said, ‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.’ That is where we will be during this experience. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity we will be talking about for years.”

For more details, contact Dr. Lounsbury: [email protected]

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