Thunder Dragon Institute in Bhutan

The Thunder Dragon Institute, which offers collaborative service learning opportunities developed by Old Dominion University (ODU) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), held its second trip to Bhutan in October 2012. Clinicians and counselor educators from the United States and Canada spent nearly three weeks in the capital city of Thimphu, providing counseling-related services, teaching and consulting. Participants worked in a variety of settings, including a drop-in substance abuse center, a domestic violence program for women, a foundation for rural development, a private college and several private schools. During the experience, some participants met with the counseling leadership of Bhutan to assist with the development of national counselor certification. Other participants taught the 30-hour Mental Health Facilitator curriculum, hosted by Royal Thimphu College. Additionally, the Institute reviewed its collaborations with the Royal University of Bhutan counselor education program and planned new programming for 2013.

One of the purposes of the Thunder Dragon Institute is to introduce participants to Bhutan so that they can plan a three-month, or longer, sabbatical to promote counseling in the capital city and surrounding rural areas. More than half the people of Bhutan are subsistence farmers with no access to mental health services. Clinicians, counselor educators and supervisors are greatly needed for extended visits to assist with the provision of counseling services and training.

The Institute is directed by Dr. Ted Remley, NCC, of ODU and codirected by Dr. Sonya Lorelle, NCC, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Dr. J. Scott Hinkle, NCC, director of professional development for NBCC.

Additional service learning opportunities are planned for Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2013 and Lilongwe, Malawi, in 2014. For information, please contact Dr. Hinkle at

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