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Psychotherapeutic assistance to victims of mass protests in Ukraine – new field of activity of Caritas Ukraine

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21.05.2014, Ukraine
Lately, Caritas Ukraine launched a project, aimed at psychological follow-up of victims, family members of deceased people and those who witnessed recent mass protests in Ukraine. Such activity will be implemented during a year and is supported by the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia.

After such terrible events of abuse, murders of hundreds of innocent people, it is possible to foresee a growing need for psychological assistance during next months. It is expected having people with PTSD, loss reactions, stress and etc.



«As the situation in the country is somehow stabilized it is necessary to provide psychological assistance and support to: protests’ victims,  protests’ witnesses, family members of deceased people. The total number of individuals who will be under care of Caritas Ukraine makes 100 participants – on the long-term basis and not for one-time consultations,” says Lyudmyla Sukharyeva, project coordinator.

Beneficiaries are selected from the injured and witness, and families members of victims of mass protests and will manage the case of every client based on client-oriented approach Caritas Ukraine uses in all its social projects. With the assistance of medical and social specialists, clergy, district departments of health and social protection, people who are the most vulnerable will be selected.

Moreover, Caritas Ukraine provides other types of help for victims of events that happened in December 2013-February 2014:
A) medical rehabilitation of complicated cases of victims;
B) social and material follow-up for families of deceased people and victims;
C) care for internally displaced persons from Crimea.

Psychological follow-up of victims, family members of deceased people and those who witnessed recent mass protests will be implemented in the partnership with the Institute of Mental Health and the Institute of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) of Ukrainian Catholic University, also in close coordination with local communities, religious communities, and medical services.

At this stage of project implementation the evaluation of needs was conducted in regional organizations of Caritas Ukraine and psychological help is rendered to victims in Kolomyia, Novovolynsk, Drohobych, Kyiv and Donetsk. Furthermore, last week two educating seminars were conducted in order to improve psychological services delivery and enhance professional level of project experts’ team.

The first training was held together with UCU (Institute of Mental Health) and was called “Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Crisis help in case of psychological trauma”. The trainer of the event was Rostyslav Shemechko, PhD in Philosophy, deputy director of the UCU Institute of Mental Health, psychotherapist in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and trauma treatment (EMDR – Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).

Among topics that were examined during a studying process were: “What is stress? Traumatic event.”, “Types of memory. Traumatic memory.”, “Crisis phases. Symptoms overview.”, “Phases of traumatic crisis in society.”, “Crisis intervention. Psychological support and intervention.”, “Pyramid of psychological assistance.”, “Crisis psychologist. Crisis psychology in work with clients and with social environment.”, “Stabilization and reorientation.”, “Restoration of feeling of safety.”, “Position of psychologist while working with acute trauma.”, “Factors of stabilization. Psychic stabilization. Protection from stress.”, “Assistance to relatives and friends.”, “Information resources.” and others.

All this knowledge, – points out Lyudmyla Sukharyeva, – is presented for experts of new Caritas project by top-level professionals and with exact examples. It will favor optimally efficient delivery of psychological assistance and follow-up in case of psychological trauma to victims, and not many specialist in Ukraine can deal with it.

The second training was targeted at receiving of theoretic and practical skills in rendering of psychological help during crisis intervention. It was organized with support of partners and with financial assistance of Caritas Olomouts (Czech Republic). Experts-trainers: Blue angel NGO, crisis intervention team that focuses on reducing impact of crisis situation in acute phase after the event –  Radovan Branik, Karin Branikova, Boris Demeter, Ivan Solopiga.

33 experts from Caritas and partners organizations of different regions of Ukraine explored how efficiently and in a quality manner to weaken influence of crisis situations in acute phases before and after the events. The following topics were examined: “Psychosocial assistance. Phases of psychosocial assistance.”, “Objectives of crisis intervention. Psychosocial support.”, “Practice of group techniques.”, “Main rules of stabilization. Crisis intervention (basic model).”, “Suicide. Myths that exist in society. Stages of suicide”, ” Sense of guilt. Work with children” etc.

 

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