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  • Kenneth Ekene

Opportunities and Challenges 2020: COVID-19 Edition

Updated: Oct 19





Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the lives of everyone and created increasing challenges for social workers and other healthcare professionals. Difficulties in accessing resources by minorities have increased in light of the pandemic, thus leading to more reliance on the services of social workers. The mental well-being of these social workers became more prevalent because of spikes in demand for their services in communities, leading to increased stress levels. With these in mind, P.E.A.R.L Institute, in collaboration with Silver School of Social Work, New York University, hosted a webinar series to meet the needs of many.


Table of Content

Introduction

Program Overview

Breakdown of the Sessions


Program Overview

This webinar series focused on coping skills using a holistic and integrative mechanism. It focused not only on the well-being of the health service providers but also on bringing them closer to the clients they serve. This way, we offered more opportunities for interested participants to further their continued education in social work and clinicians, a much-needed resource for the community during the COVID pandemic.



The sessions were created and led by lecturers with extensive backgrounds in integrative wellness and spiritual healing. Notable among them were Dr Robert Davis, Dr YuHwa Eva Lu, Dr Joseph Yang, Weijing Shi, and Dr Gil Ontai. We worked to bridge ideas from the East and the West, introducing body-mind-social and spiritual integration - a culturally congruent and holistic healing path for people experiencing the negative effect of COVID-19 on their mental health and well-being.


More specifically, the webinar promoted coping strategies learned from serving Chinese communities and Chinese traditional medicine that enabled medical providers, psychotherapists, social workers, and other professionals to improve treatment results through combinations and integration with western medicine. The utilization of Chinese medicine and mind-body connection to promote mental health and stress reduction enabled attendees to promote emotional regulation at this changing time for patients and clinicians.



The series consisted of 8 sessions, with a total of 812 participants. It began with the video “How to Better Cope Holistically with COVID-19 Pandemic”, and moved on to “Existential Crisis to Re-Emergence: My Body and Body Politics”, “Neurobiology of Emotions: Amy and Amos”, “COVID-19 Mental Health Impacts And Solutions”, “Bringing East to West: Traditional Chinese Medicine and Mental Health”, “Affective Neuroscience of Self-Awareness in Times of Ambient Anxiety”, “Ben Shen Psychotherapy”, “Integrative Wellness and Spiritual Healing”, in successive order. The webinars were covered by the board members of P.E.A.R.L. Institute and supporters of P.E.A.R.L. Institute, all professionals in their respective fields of study.


Outcomes

The webinar series helped us achieve the following:

  1. Bridge ideas from the East & the West and body-mind-social and spiritual integrative orientation, a culturally congruent and holistic healing path.

  2. Promote Mental health and Stress reduction through traditional Chinese medicine and the mind-body connection.

  3. Enable attendees to promote emotional regulation in this challenging time for both patients and clinicians.

  4. Facilitate better social connection in an online environment.

  5. Promote teaching crisis recovery and facilitate the transition to the new normal POV.

  6. Promote sharing of personal observations of neuro-survival responses to people, events and places in a bifurcated cultural world.

  7. Promote coping strategies learned from serving Chinese communities.

  8. Promote public awareness of the CTM, enabling biomedical doctors, psychotherapists, social workers and other professionals to combine it with western medicines to improve the treatment results.


Breakdown of the Sessions

Session 1: How To Better Cope Holistically With COVID - 19 Pandemic

Date: April 11, 2020

Presenter: Sheying Chen, PhD; Robert Davis, MD - VP; YuHwa Eva Lu, PhD, LCSW; Gil Ontai, EdD, March., AIA; Joseph Yang, PhD, L.Ac.


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

130 Attendees

2 hours (2 Continuing Education Contact Hours or 0.2 CEU)


Outcomes

  1. An increased understanding of happy hormones

  2. An increased understanding of traditional Chinese medicine and the mind-body connection

  3. An increased understanding of various coping strategies for social connection in an online environment.

  4. An increased understanding of how to identify existential crises during the COVID-19 pandemic


Session 2: Existential Crisis to Re-Emergence: My Body and Body Politic

Date: June 6, 2020

Presenter: Robert Davis, MD - VP;

Discussants: Gil Ontai: Ed.D (Neurobiology) YuHwa Eva Lu, PhD, LCSW; Joseph Yang, PhD, L.Ac.



Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

99 Attendees

129 minutes (1.5-hour course, 1.5 CE Contact Hours or 0.15 CEU)


Outcomes

  1. A better understanding of the cultural and historical impact on individuals' value systems.

  2. A better understanding of the embodiment of individual identity and social identity in the context of practice.

  3. A better understanding of Granovetter's social economic model and its impact on re-emerging from existential crisis (ie: pandemic, racism, etc).



Session 3: Neurobiology of Emotions: Amy and Amos

Date: June 27, 2020

Presenter: Gil Ontai: Ed.D (Neurobiology)

Discussants: Robert Davis, MD - VP; YuHwa Eva Lu, PhD, LCSW; Joseph Yang, PhD, L.Ac.


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

141 Attendees

156 minutes (1.5 CE Contact Hours or 0.15 CEU)


Outcomes

  1. To better understand the brain’s system and function

  2. To better understand the evolution of the brain (the primordial instinct to survive)

  3. To better understand how the brain communicates emotions

  4. To better understand how to manage and read emotions in self and others



Session 4: COVID-19 Mental Health Impacts And Solutions

Date: June 28, 2020

Presenter: Tiebang Liu (MD)

Discussants: Robert Davies (MD--VP), Weijing Shi (LMSW), Yuhwa Eva Lu (PhD, LCSW), Joseph Changqing Yang (L.Ac, PhD)


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

113 Attendees

154 minutes (1.5 CE Contact Hours or 0.15 CEU)



Outcomes

  1. A better understanding of the psychological impact of COVID-19

  2. A better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 and psychological stress

  3. A better understanding of ways to address COVID-19 psychological interventions


Session 5: Bringing East to West: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Mental Health


Date: August 22nd, 2020

Presenter: Tiebang Liu (MD),

Discussants: Robert Davies (MD--VP), Yuhwa Eva Lu (PhD, LCSW), Gil Ontai (EdD, MArch)


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

67 Attendees

136 minutes (1.5 CE Contact Hours or 0.15 CEU)


Outcomes

  1. A better understanding of the fact that TCM can treat mental illness

  2. A better understanding of the basic concepts of mental phenomena in Chinese medicine

  3. A better understanding of TCM's four basic treatment techniques

  4. A better understanding of how TCM has its own mental illness diagnosis system

  5. A better understanding of the fact that TCM has unique natural therapies


Session 6: Affective Neuroscience of Self-awareness in Times of Ambient Anxiety

Date: September 19th, 2020

Presenter: Dr Gil Ontai, EdD, March.

Discussants: Dr Robert Davies, MD; Dr Eva Lu, LCSW, PhD; Dr Joseph Yang.


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

83 Attendees

233 minutes (1.5 CE Contact Hours or 0.15 CEU)

Outcomes

  1. An increased understanding of how various parts of the limbic system trigger emotions

  2. An increased understanding of the brain’s emotional wiring

  3. An increased understanding of why and how emotions are triggered

  4. An increased understanding of ways to manage emotional intelligence



Session 7: Ben Shen Psychotherapy


Date: October 16th, 2020

Presenter: Dr Joseph Yang

Discussants: Dr Robert Davies, MD; Dr Eva Lu, LCSW, PhD; Dr Gil Ontai, Ed.D., MArch


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

70 Attendees

124 minutes (1.5 CE Contact Hours or 0.15 CEU)



Outcomes

  1. A better understanding of the meaning of Shen

  2. A better understanding of the TCM psychotherapy

  3. A better understanding of the basic TCM psychological concept and the harmonious conditions of the healthy Shen.

  4. A better understanding of the most basic TCM psychotherapy principles and techniques in relation to clinical psychotherapy.

  5. A better understanding of TCM psychotherapy requirements and the situations of cyclicality and relapse in treatment.



Session 8: Integrative Wellness and Spiritual Healing


Date: November 20, 2020,

Presenter: Dr Eva Lu. Discussants: Dr Robert Davies, MD; Dr Eva Lu, LCSW, PhD; Dr Gil Ontai, Ed.D., MArch., & Dr Joseph Yang, PhD.


Outputs

Lecture & PowerPoint presentation with Q&A & online synchronous

109 Attendees

159 minutes (2.0 CE Contact Hours or 0.2 CEU)


Outcomes

  1. An increased understanding of the spirit meaning in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

  2. An increased understanding of the realm of spiritual activity in TCM

  3. An increased understanding of the conditions of spirit affecting healing in TCM.

  4. An increased understanding of the spirit and Shen associated in TCM.

  5. An increased understanding of the multiple approaches of healing in TCM.

  6. A better capability to describe the latest neuroscience research on spiritual location in the brain.

  7. A better capability to describe emotions and their expressive role in the mind-body-spiritual relationship.

  8. A better capability to describe the evolution of the human brain in terms of how the brain uses spirituality to cope with danger, uncertainty, and hostility.

  9. A better capability to describe what is known and unknown about neuro-spirituality.

  10. A better capability to describe elements for an integrated model for neuro-spiritual wellness.

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