by Denny Cheong
On Tuesday, November 27 senior psychology students visited the Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie (IPIN), a psychiatric hospital located in Wilanow, to learn more about mental disorders.
According to Mr. Cokerdem, he wants psychology class “material to be as real and relevant as possible to students,” as he believes in “Making the world your classroom.”
“I am seeking to partner with Polish mental health practitioners to help reduce the stigma of what it means to suffer from these issues. And, when ASW students visit these centers and see other good, decent human beings who are getting help to live better lives, I hope that seeds are being planted such that the same ASW students will become more understanding and enlightened about this entire facet of human existence.”
Going inside the hospital, students were able to look at the wards, but not interact with the people in the wards. Looking at the wards, Candy (12) said, “I actually felt like they were normal people like us. So it made me realize that everyone around me can also have the same problem, which I could have not noticed.”
They had the opportunity to meet 4 psychiatrists that worked there who gave them a presentation about the types of mental disorders they encounter in their jobs such as depression, anxiety, bipolarism, and schizophrenia.
Tomek (12) said, “It was really interesting to see that what we’re learning is actually viable and applicable. They talked about the ways they diagnose people and how uncertain things in psychology really are. Nothing is really certain and the cases always vary.”
“The psychiatrist taught me that diagnosis is a really hard process that perhaps at times is even harder than treatment, “ said Tomek.
Candy (12) said, “Everyone around me can have some kinds of mental disorders and we should try to pay attention to them, because mental health is so important.
The students were not the only ones benefiting from the trip as Mr. Cokerdem also took things from it.
“I picked up some technical knowledge about mental health. I also gained insight about what it is like for patients that are in a clinical setting. And, I also reflected on how important it is that we honor each other as human beings and seek first to understand, and then to be understood”
However, not all of ASW’s senior psychology students were able to go to the trip as Mr. Cokerdem states that based on institutional factors, the hospital limited the amount of students that went there so one of the class sections didn’t go.
“We are hoping to bring the doctor and maybe one of her residents to ASW to visit that class. And, during that time, we could have a detailed discussion and Q&A period – right here on campus!”