I am happy to say I have just had the privilege of completing a time in Ireland as a Fulbright Scholar. (This is somewhat to explain my absence as a frequent blogger but really it is no excuse!) I will try to share some insights as I integrate them, as my experience here gave me a very interesting new perspective on the helping professions and counseling in particular. More on that in a future blog. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.
All that said, you might be wondering what does this blog have to do with crack? Well, as those of you who have visited Ireland know- there is a word for the convivial and humorous time spent in pubs or with friends- talking, laughing, sharing...that word is "craic" and is pronounced like "crack". So it takes some getting used to being in Ireland when people would greet me with "hows the craic?" or "that place has some good craic"... but eventually I came to appreciate it very much. This word was actually a relief from the associations of "crack" in my home state of Oklahoma which has been blighted by crack epidemics in recent years. Ireland is just now coming to see the impact of many drugs, and heroin remains the most virulent addiction at this time. But many other substances are creeping in. There are some things we don't need to share internationally and drug habits are one. But we might all consider the "craic" in our lives and give that more attention. So I end this wishing you some good craic in your life as we get through the long dark wintry days.
Joan Phillips is a counselor, art therapist, and marriage and family therapist. She maintains a private practice and teaches at the University of Oklahoma.