Symposium

Online international conference
18th DAYS OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY

-Current challenges in psychological science-


FOREST BATHING WITHOUT THE FOREST: THE URBAN NATURE
EXPERIENCE
Moderator:
Denise Dillon
School of Social and Health Sciences, James Cook University, Singapore

The concept of forest bathing nominally implies immersion within a forest setting, and many research studies testing effects of forest bathing use urban landscapes for comparative purposes. However, there are many forest therapy practitioners operating in highly urbanised environments without ready access to forest experiences such as extensive trails, uninterrupted vistas or time away from traffic noises that one might expect in such settings. In this session, we invited (1) papers from researchers with evidence-based experience of using forest therapy or other types of nature immersion practices in highly urbanised settings; (2) reports of studies employing mindful or spiritual walking or similar techniques in urban settings; (3) reports or conceptual proposals dealing with the matter of ‘nature’ and how perceptions or constructions of nature have changed over time with the consequent need for updated operationalisations for research purposes. The 4 papers we received report on the current status and/or cases of forest bathing in Japan and Thailand, and on technologically or digitally derived forest bathing practices

SHARE YOUR ATTITUDE: MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, ASYLUM
SEEKERS AND NATIONALISM – UNDER THE VEIL OF PERSONAL AND
SOME OTHER FACTORS
Moderators:
Darinka Ilić & Katarina Minčić
Psychological Counseling for Students within Students’ Cultural
Center Niš, Serbia

The aim of this symposium is reflecting upon some of the attitudes and  viewpoints of the youth in regard to meaningful topics such as social dominance, nationalism, conformity and social anomie.  We asked students from different Universities in Serbia, mainly from the University of Nis, to give us the opportunity to better understand  their outlook on social change, immigrant crisis, asylum seekers and the internal or external support that is necessary in such moments. Over 280 students and young adults participated in this research and shared their attitudes with the volunteers of the Psychological counseling for students. Who are the individuals who would seek help and support from a mental health professional?  Are the attitudes toward seeking such help positive or negative? When do we tend to reconsider reaching out and what are the personality traits,  our own viewpoints, that could support this sort of behavior? On the other hand, how do we view those who may be in need of our support? Could our own attitudes and traits be meaningful in  reaching the decision to support someone in need and could they contribute to perceiving certain phenomena as threats? Some of the attitudes regarding these questions can be found in the research results below. The significance of this symposium is that in our region, mental problems are seen as “the elephant in the room”, and that is why we consider it important to research the attitudes of young people about seeking mental health services. We also consider it important to examine attitudes about asylum seekers and what is behind the curtain of nationalism among young people because it leads to a better understanding of these things.

SOCIAL DYNAMICS OF MINORITY EXCLUSION AND
INCLUSION
Moderator:
Michael Sweigart
Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter School for Peace & Conflict Resolution,
George Mason University, United States


This interdisciplinary symposium will discuss issues related to the social exclusion and inclusion of minority communities across four diverse country contexts. Seeking to understand the roots of a high per-capita rate of refugees resettling in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,  United States in recent years, Naomi Kraenbring will present the findings content analysis of ten years’ worth of media articles to identify themes describing and potentially shaping Lancaster County, Pennsylvania’s attitudes and actions towards refugees.  Findings of this research include foundations in the history of the county, faith and religious implications, and morality and virtuous traits. Turning to Italy, where the church fulfills many of the State’s functions in supporting the integration of migrants and refugees, Beltina Gjeloshi will discuss her ongoing research on how the meaning of religious and national identities impact church-led practices of migrant integration in Italy. Recognizing that non-migrant ethnic and religious minorities also face challenges to social and political inclusion, Natia Chankvetadze will discuss the importance of integrating ethnic and religious minorities into nation-state with the strong sense of civic identity. More specifically, she will discuss insights from her extensive experience as a peacebuilder in Georgia, a multi-ethnic, religious and linguistic state with two breakaway regions (Abkhazia and South Ossetia/Tskhinvali Region) that are under Russian control and have been separated from Georgia proper for last three decades. Finally, Michael Sweigart will discuss his research regarding tensions between global and domestic norms that often produce backlash to transnational movements for the rights of stigmatized minorities. Within this framework, he will present his ongoing research focused on how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) activism impacts social norm perception and personal attitudes in Serbia, where LGBTQ+ rights movements are framed by far-right political groups as a foreign-driven threat.