Fulbright Scholar Dr. Anna Kudiyarova, an authority on psychological therapy in Eurasia, spoke to psychology students and faculty on the campus of Bluefield College, Friday, November 19.
In the United States as a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University in New York, Dr. Kudiyarova shared points in a psychology class about the practice and preparation of psychologists in Kazakhstan, an independent country from the former Soviet Union. She also spoke to the psychology students about the change in perception of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in her country.
“The concept is new to my people,” said Dr. Kudiyarova, a professor of psychology and president of the Kazakhstan Psychoanalytic Association in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “Until now, most people in Kazakhstan thought of psychotherapy as punishment, because if you disagreed or said anything against the Soviet government, then you would be seen as crazy and be sent to a mental hospital. So we educate and show the people that it is designed to help and not to punish.”
Dr. Kudiyarova spoke about additional differences and similarities within the profession between Kazakhstan and the United States. She shared thoughts about how psychoanalysis can be used to avoid conflict, not only personally and with other individuals, but also between countries, cultures, and religions.
“Because if we understand one another’s inner thoughts,” she said, “then we might avoid conflict and find peace.”
Dr. Kudiyarova also met with members of Psi Chi, BC’s national honor society for psychology majors, and shared dinner with psychology students, professors, and other invited guests.
“This is a great opportunity,” said Dr. Gerardo Cummings, director of Global Education at BC. “How often do we get psychology professors from Kazakhstan around here?”
Dr. Kudiyarova’s visit to the United States was funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Scholars in Residence Program. It was managed by the Council of International Exchange of Scholars, which relies on the support and willingness of host institutions, like Columbia University, to share their scholars with other American colleges.
Her visit to Bluefield from Columbia was coordinated by the Bluefield State College Office of International Initiatives, and her stop on the Bluefield College campus was organized by BC’s Global Education Program.