Greg interviews Rex de Koning and Johanna de Koning Schaaij from New Counseling Service, who have been working as therapists in Thailand since 2001. Rex and Johanna begin by explaining that traditionally in Thailand there was no concept of mental health other than the idea that a person is either fine or crazy – nothing in between. Slowly this idea has been changing, however, sparked significantly by the tsunami crisis of 2004, which caused large scale trauma. Johanna notes that traditional sources of emotional support – the family, monks, and fortune tellers – are playing less of a role in modern Thai life, especially in Bangkok, where many people are working long hours, often estranged from their families or home towns. 

Rex discusses his and Johanna’s deep understanding of Thai culture, which comes from their decades of experience treating Thais with a variety of mental health issues, from depression and anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD. Johanna talks about the changing role of the family in both Thailand and the West, which may be the root cause of the rise in attention-related disorders, among others. 

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