Pope John XXIII School at Saint Nicholas Parish in Evanston, IL- Mental Health Education

About fifteen parents of school aged children and adolescents gathered at Pope John XXIII School at Saint Nicholas Parish in Evanston, IL for a presentation in Spanish titled “The Effects from the Process of Adaption in Our Families and Communities”.  The presenters were Dr. Gregory Benson-Flórez, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Concepción Marín, Masters student of Counseling also at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  The presenters created an open environment to facilitate discussion with and among the parents.   Many aspects of the acculturation process were included such as the various stages of acculturation and the importance of ethnic identity.  Psychosocial factors that influence the acculturation process including language, the immigration process, discrimination and racism were part of the discussion.

Perhaps the most intriguing topics discussed included the importance of preserving the Latino culture and the differing levels of acculturation among family members.  A father mentioned how he and his wife make efforts to instill important Latino values in their children but find it challenging since they are not able to visit family members that live outside of the U.S.  Other parents mentioned the importance of speaking Spanish in their home and also maintaining contact with family in Latin America through phone communication in order to increase their children’s level of ethnic identity.  In addition, the presenters emphasized the importance of having family members empathize with their diverse acculturation experiences and differences to improve the communication among the parents and their children.  The presentation concluded with a high level of participation by the parents in a question and answer session.