Thank you for your comment.
Group therapy is a quite common part of a therapy programm in clinical setting (psychiatric hospitals). What I like to do though is help individuals and communities to enhance their knowledge about trauma and foster their resilience in the face of trauma. I am convinced that being ‘trauma-informed’ can help us all cope better with traumatic events in our lives and in the world. We need to talk about trauma and pain more openly. We need to adress trauma and pain more directly, not only in the setting of a psychotherapeutical process.
As for the financial aspects of my touring, I would like to be able to work also with people with little or no ressources. So, I plan to combine normal charging with pay-what-you-can fees. I also plan touring and helping in the refugeecamps of the mediterranean area - that part of my tour needs funding. I did not find extra financial support yet … but I hope I will soon!
Maybe we can help?
I really like the idea of a mixed model. We are now in the middle of a crazy operation to find support for about 150 care-related initatives. Maybe you could be one of them?
models of group trauma management
Hi @Alberto, and thanks for a great and inspiring post, @ybe!
A couple of examples of previous models spring to mind:
- People used Somatic Experiencing techniques with survivors of the Boxing Day tsunami, and with social service workers after Hurricane Katrina, with some success. Here’s a nice TV spot on it being used in a group setting post-Japan earthquake.
- Somatherapy was developed during the military junta in Brasil as a combination of psychotherapy, capoeira and anarchist theory. It favours use of enjoyable, play-based physical activities and emphasises placing individual mental health within the larger political context.
Predictably enough, given my day job, my bias is towards body-based practices, or at least forms of psychotherapy that incorporate some aspect of physical engagement - I don’t know if @ybe already incorporates these ideas in her practice, and in any case other forms of psychotherapeutic intervention are also very effective.
But the advantages of this kind of approach, as I see it, are:
They engage with the somatic anchoring of trauma, bringing quick results.
The physical nature of the practices can help overcome language difficulties, which might be useful in a scenario like Calais.
They can be applied efficiently in a group setting - rather than waiting their turn to speak, everyone engages in the practices at once.
Because individuals can continue to use the exercises outside the therapy session, fewer sessions are necessary, meaning lower costs and/or more people can be seen.
Somatherapy in particular also emphasises the importance of group work as part of building a community of solidarity and support in the face of potentially oppressive political situations; moving beyond reliance on external care to develop personal and political assertiveness.
Of course, acupuncture is also used extensively in relation to trauma, either alone or as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Organisations like World Medicine run multibed acupuncture projects in places affected by natural disasters, war and poverty. I know of at least one British acupuncturist treating people in the Calais camp, but perhaps @Alex Levene would know more about that.
Thx @steelweaver for your comment. As for the somatic apporach, I totally agree. I often use somatic experiencing, especially for chock trauma. Before going to Calais, I need to look up soms good group exercices for the volunteers. Suggestions welcome.
Connecting you with @Village-Psy
Hi @ybe, have you read the story of @Village-Psy and the work they do with education on healing trauma on Mt. Pelion, in Greece?
Hello Pavlos, thx. Yes I already read their story and and also the one of Aravella Salonikidou, I left a message for both of them and am waiting for their response. Looks like in Greece a lot of people are doing good work
Are there cultural differences to account for?
@ybe I’m happy to meet you, my name is Noemi and while I haven’t dealt with the issue at all, maybe this is silly to ask: but I’m wondering if people in different places have own preferences to express themselves, or if language can be an obstacle?
Have you tried getting in touch with Médecins Sans Frontières for a collaboration? I was reading about them offering psychological first aid, but apparently there are not nearly enough people on the ground.
Connecting with local entities en route
Dear @ybe - it’s great to hear of your initiative! Following up on Noemi’s suggestion - I agree that local organizations/groups/individuals on your trail could also be insightful in identifying groups in need of your services, offer insights on any cultural differences, or support you in a number of other ways (including in overcoming language barriers if existant). I was wondering if you have considered mapping your desired/planned route to facilitate connecting with local groups/individuals before you arrive - maybe a very basic online map? I think it could facilitate reaching out to people on the route and could have potential as a planning tool.
indeed a good plan needs a map
Thx @andra.B for your suggestion. I am indeed planning to do that in the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted
Ps Where are you living, maybe I can come along and meet you?
I am another you, you are another me
@noemie, thx for thinking along with me.
In my experience (I work in a refugee center in Belgium) there are cultural differences, of course. But aside these differences, we all share humanity and the fact that, in some way or another, we all are familiar with pain, with trauma. Not sharing the same language can be difficult too, but I’ve helped many people talking in a language that is neither their not my mother language. Also, communication is larger than words: expression, visual support, eye contact and even touch can be means of understanding and helping too. When their is no common language, I work with a translator sometimes too.
As for Medecins sans frontières, I applied for a position in the field - but was not accepted. Like many ‘traditional’ NGO’s they have quite rigid and out-of-date conditions of admission - like requiring a master degree in psychology. I have a master in philosophy, 4 years of study in psychotherapy and a specialisation in psychotraumatalogy plus 10 years of experience. Nevertheless I do not meet the ‘official’ requirements. The recognition of psychotherapy as a valid profession is a complex issue and one that is colonized in Belgium by the medical professions, which is the mean reason why people like me, highly skilled psychotherapists, are not recognized as such. It is a pity that organisations like MsF follow mainstream politics regarding this issue.
One reads about NGOs becoming institutions and not in a good way. This is very hard to digest in the real world, since your mission is supposedly to fix a problem. Sorry to hear about that unfortunate experience, we will be on the lookout for other options.
Hello and welcome @ybe. Thanks for sharing your story.
I know for certain that your experience and skills would be really useful to the volunteer organisations working down at the Calais refugee camp.
Many volunteers have been working out there for the last year and there is a real need for access to professional mental health care.
It will be required even more when the French Authorities start their planned clearance of the camp. At the moment we do not know when this will happen. But the volunteers current support nearly 10000 refugees on the camp and will probably put their lives on the line to help protect the refugees and their things during the eviction. It will certainly be highly emotional and very fraught.
I would be happy to be of help for the Calais volunteers. How could we organise it? What do they need? Information about trauma and about helping traumatized people? 'Help with ‘secondary’ traumatisation (being traumatized by the suffering of others)? An in which way would it be doable - a workshop or a bring-your-questions informal conversation? Should we provide time for individual help too?How many people are involved?
I could come over for a day or two, or tree in october of november, before touring to the south. I am fluent in EN, DE, FR and NL. Would it be a good idea to skype and talk things through?
I suggest a Skype call early next week. Perhaps Tuesday. you can email me alexalevene[at]gmail[.]com
I’m no longer at the camp but i can definitely put you in contact with the best people to organise with. I know they would be really greatful if you could go along for a few days.
The best use would probably be to spend a day talking to the management team and helping them develop an ongoing practice. Then a couple of days running large group training the daytime and one-to-one sessions in the evening.
There are a lot of people there who have a lot of different personal mental health issues. Its probably a better use of your time to focus on this ‘secondary’ trauma, rather than working with people who have experienced it.
ok sounds like a good plan already
I just send you an email. My mailadress is firstname.lastname@example.org and skype is chez_filly19
Hi @ybe. It’s a long post now so excuseme if I’ve skimmed too much. As @Alexander_Shumsky posted the WeHandU we were talking about the importance of psycological aspects of assistive technology. My experience is that people having sustained a stroke, spinal cord injury or living with MS have a need to talk about it. I’s not what you intend by trauma, but I think it could be interesting include your expertice in a 360* service.
What do you think?
@Rune I think you’re right: psychological aspects should be taken into account. Medical diagnosis and treatment are often very ‘traumatic’ = overwhelmingly disturbing. I don’t know if I am the right person to advise Wehandyou - there must be traumaspecialists more familiar with the people affected by these kinds of trauma and the technology involved. Nevertheless, I am open to collaboration. Lets have a bit of a longer conversation on skype? What do you think?
I’d love to exchange informations
Dear @ybe, can I propose that we do the discussion in a shared document, i’ll send you the link. Then it could evolve into some structured persitent document serving others sharing our thoughs?
Others wanting to join, please send me a message.
Trauma healing for first responders
Hi @ybe, Have you considered providing trauma healing for cops? They are the ones who inflict much of the trauma in my area and they could use a big dose of emotional processing!