ThinkFest talk on Cambodian survivors

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  • Dany Pen (Photograph supplied)

    Dany Pen (Photograph supplied)


Activist and artist Dany Pen will be the speaker at the final ThinkFest on Sunday.

Ms Pen will deliver a presentation entitled “Mental Health of Cambodian Survivors After the Khmer Rouge Genocide, Enslavement and Imprisonment: The Ethics of the Cambodian Language translated in Psychology”.

She is pursuing a master of science degree in clinical psychology at Walden University in Massachusetts, where she is exploring how survivors of genocide and slavery cope with and/or find resolutions for their trauma.

Ms Pen’s research paper explores how Cambodia’s history with genocide and slavery impacts mental wellness in the country today; the impact of ethical issues with the translation of the Cambodian language in the field of psychology; and how culture influences communication for therapy and treatment.

Her presentation will include how mental health is viewed around the world, such as in Europe, Africa, Asia and in America, using her current thesis research on “The Ethics of the Cambodian Language translated in Psychology” as a starting point.

She will also speak to how cultural differences and language could play a role in unresolved trauma and how unethical research processes could impact real solutions.

Ms Pen will explore Bermuda’s history and speak to unresolved trauma in connection with European, African and Native American cultural and language influences.

She said: “The relationship between psychologists and clients is heavily dependent on communication and when language becomes a barrier, informing clients of research participation, mental health assessment and diagnoses becomes very difficult.

“For the Cambodian community where mental health vocabularies are still being developed and introduced, both psychologists and clients are having to use cultural expressions and idioms to interpret and translate mental health symptoms.”

Sunday’s event takes place at the Bermuda College’s North Hall Lecture Theatre starting at 5pm.

Co-hosting the event will be Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, vice president of the Bermuda College.

Dr Curtis-Tweed graduated from Emory University with a PhD and then pursued postdoctoral training in psychology in the highly selective Clinical Research Training Program in Social Psychiatry at Harvard University.

She was an instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School for five years and taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Simmons College and at the Harvard affiliated Hospitals.

She has published and presented at national and international conferences on issues in psychology and education.

Ayo Johnson, founder of ThinkMedia which is producing ThinkFest, said: “We’re excited that Dany Pen is joining us as a ThinkFest presenter. Her research expands the range of topics covered in this seminar series and highlights an important aspect of mental health that is of relevance to all cultures.”

Tickets for ThinkFest 2017 events can be purchased online at https://think.bm or at the door.

Offline sales are being managed by Age Concern during office hours at its new location at Fort Knox (#1 Burnaby Street). Five dollars of every ticket purchased (standard price only) through Age Concern will go directly into the seniors’ hardship fund.

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Published Nov 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm (Updated Nov 20, 2017 at 2:49 pm)

ThinkFest talk on Cambodian survivors

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