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TRAUMA & PSYCHOSOCIAL ASSISTANCE
A HANDBOOK BASED ON THE EXPERIENCE OF GEORGIAN NGO

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION CHAPTER 1 – BASIC PRINCIPLES 1.1 Basic principles for a project on the psychosocial rehabilitation of IDPs 1.2 Role of the Helper 1.3 The First Contact 1.4 Psychosocial Support for IDP Children and IDP Adolescents CHAPTER 2 – DISPLACEMENT AND TRAUMA 2.1 Evidence of Traumatic Stress 2.1.1 The Trauma of IDP Children 2.1.2 The Trauma of Adult IDPs 2.1.3 The Trauma of IDPs in Collective Centres 2.1.4 The Trauma of Privately Accommodated IDPs 2.2 Coping with Crisis CHAPTER 3 – PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION OF IDP CHILDREN: INTERVENTION METHODOLOGY 3.1 Levels of intervention 3.2 Basic Intervention Techniques 3.2.1 Play 3.2.2 Drawing 3.2.3 Creative Imagination 3.2.4 Metaphors 3.2.5 Folk Diplomacy 3.3 Fields of Psychosocial Rehabilitation for School Age Children and Adolescents 3.3.1 Group work with Children and Adolescents 3.3.1.1 Training on Communication Skills 3.3.1.2.Training on Conflict Management 3.3.1.3 Working on Overcoming the Enemy Image 3.3.1.4 Creative Thinking 3.3.1.5 Training on the Environment 3.3.1.6 Peculiarities of Group Work with Pre-School Age Children 3.3.2 Community Work 3.3.2.1 Working with Parents 3.3.2.2 Working with Teachers 3.3.2.3 Working with the Host Population 3.3.3 Casework

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Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs CHAPTER 4 – PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION OF ADULTS: INTERVENTION METHODOLOGY Intervention Methods: 4.1 Focus Groups 4.2 Problem-Solving Groups 4.3 Brainstorming 4.4 Simulation of Problem-Solving Situations 4.5 Self-Help and Mutual-Aid Groups 4.6 Targeting Skills Training: Job Creation 4.7 Psycho-Correctional Groups 4.8 Family Counselling 4.9 Individual Help

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Nino Makhashvili.” Nodar Sarjveladze. The book may be copied or reproduced in part or in whole for non-profit purposes. Displaced Persons. Zurab Beberashvili. 4 . and Natalie Sarjveladze.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs The authors of this handbook are as follows: from the NGO “Foundation for the Development of Human Resources. July 2000 1 Regional Conference to Address the Problems of Refugees. without prior authorisation from the organisations involved. and Naila Gusaienova. The book was not written for commercial purposes and selling prices are to cover printing costs. providing no changes are made to the text and that credit is duly acknowledged. We thank the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. which funded translation and printing costs of the first edition. Manana Gabashvuli. who edited it. Credit must also be given to Manisha Thomas. and OSCE. Darejan Javakhishvili. IOM. from the Norwegian Refugee Council. The book was initiated within the framework of the CIS Conference1 Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance facilitated by Patrick Daru from the Norwegian Refugee Council. Other Forms of Involuntarily Displacement and Returnees in the Countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and Relevant Neighbouring States by UNHCR.

The other type is NGOs composed of social helpers who had a specific emphasis in their programmes on the psychological well-being of their beneficiaries. Numerous books and academic articles have been written on traumatic stress.” “distortion.” “syndrome. rehabilitation does not have this connotation.” and “illness” do not appear in this handbook. Rehabilitation here should not be read in its medical sense: in both Georgian and Russian. One type of NGO is composed of psychologists and psychiatric doctors who had to change their casework approach to a more community-based one in situations where masses were affected by traumatic events. 2 5 . The authors hope that it will also contribute to the future establishment of standards in this field of assistance. chose not to overload the text with such references. one can distinguish between two types of NGOs working in the psychosocial area. social helpers should avoid the idea of “abnormality” or of a “subconscious disposition” to disease. which have been some of the most innovative and original in the field of assistance to IDPs and which have had little Western financing. the persons assisted by psychosocial workers are healthy and the authors consider traumatic stress to be a normal reaction to abnormal events. In the south Caucasus. Both categories of NGOs have designed projects to help IDPs regain social functioning and to restore their psychological well-being: two intrinsically linked aspects that are mutually beneficial to the rehabilitation2 process. Persons working with displaced populations are supposed to find in this book the basic background knowledge and practical recommendations necessary to start a psychosocial project and/or to improve already running social projects by taking into account the specificity of traumatic stress and by actively supporting the rehabilitation of the beneficiaries. The authors of this book. however. Words like “symptom.INTRODUCTION This book is the result of the experiences of three Georgian non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in their psychosocial work with internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” “disorder. These NGOs have academics and volunteers who have given their time and knowledge to the service of the populations that have suffered from internal conflicts and which still have not found a permanent solution to their plight. as it is a field that has not yet been investigated for standardsetting. When assisting traumatised individuals. This book is based on these projects. This book will hopefully help to disseminate the lessons learned to NGOs assisting IDPs and other categories of forcefully displaced persons around the world. In the majority of cases.

These factors combined hinder the integration of the displaced into the community. The sympathy shown by the host population during the first days of the IDPs’ arrival continues to decrease and social relationships become tense. Those who live in community centres face the additional problem of being isolated from the host community. However. students. More than nine years have passed since the majority were forced to flee from their homes. Psychosocial work represents a permanent search for new solutions beyond stereotypes and restrictions and the authors hope that the readers will look at the methods described in this handbook as a possible basis. Some working age men died during armed conflicts. which can lead to feelings of alienation and perceptions of the host community as being hostile. they should be adapted in accordance with the situation and the trauma the person is experiencing. The Environment Affecting Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Georgia More than 280. procedures. techniques. and is starving. especially when the IDPs are scattered throughout an urban environment.”). and confrontation with a new physical and socio-cultural environment.000 persons were displaced within Georgia as a result of ethnopolitical conflicts between 1991 and 1993. The dire economic situation in which they live additionally has a negative impact upon the severe psychological trauma that they experienced as a result of their displacement. women. Children. provided by both governmental structures and international organisations. more than 40. Psychosocial rehabilitation includes a wide variety of methods. but many still cannot cope with both the material and human losses. but also towards those who failed to prevent “the disaster” (the government and state security bodies). and exercises. others left the 6 . IDPs often express feelings of revenge and anger.000 persons were displaced for a second time. may provoke the fear of identity loss. exile. has decreased sharply and the living conditions of the displaced have worsened in recent years. Defeated during the war and living with an acute feeling of injustice. The amount of humanitarian assistance. has no job. Sometimes the changes are so significant that almost an entirely new method is introduced. forcing them to experience again the loss of relatives. which can be elaborated for their own work. Many have also experienced destruction and/or captivity and most suffer from high levels of stress. and humiliation. not only towards opponents. In May 1998. Others are accommodated in the private homes of friends and relatives. The loss of relatives and friends. he is depressed because he is lonely. violence. Such an approach hinders the helper’s capacity to penetrate deeply the world of a traumatised individual and might lead to professional helplessness and pessimism. games.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs The authors do not attribute the trauma only to social factors (“Obviously. Most of the displaced now live in overpopulated centres lacking basic urban facilities. and the elderly form the majority of the IDP population in Georgia.

and the uncertain future of IDPs provide the necessity for psychosocial rehabilitation and for the facilitation of the reconciliation process. alienation.nsf/wCountries/Georgia 7 . Protracted conflicts. and providing information to people scattered around town. intolerance. The younger generation is in an especially difficult situation since it has “inherited” victimisation.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs country in search of employment – mostly to Russia. and mistrust. Further information on the situation of IDPs in Georgia the reader can be found in the Norwegian Refugee Council country profile on the Global IDP Database: http://www.db. there is a real threat of a trans-generational transmission of trauma. the number of projects targeting IDPs who are privately accommodated is relatively small and reaches only a limited number of beneficiaries.org/Sites/idpSurvey. The majority of families are missing family members and this absence further complicates the social functioning of the community. As a result.idproject. political and economic instability. Without timely intervention and psychosocial support. such as additional costs for setting up special rehabilitation centres. This book is mainly based on the NGOs’ experiences with IDPs in collective centres. NGOs’ psychosocial projects are primarily directed at persons living in collective centres. Assistance to those living in private accommodations comes with a number of problems.

but a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances.1 Basic Principles for a Project on the Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Orienting the personality towards growth and development The critical state in which a displaced person finds him/herself after a traumatic event should not be considered a disease. psychosocial workers (hereinafter referred to as “helpers”) should never follow pre-designed recipes. first and foremost. empathise with the group with which they are working and should listen to them. should have a good understanding of the person’s psychological problems and potential before applying any methodology. including: the economic crisis. the person reaches a new stage of his/her personal psychological state. Helpers should. psychosocial assistance. at supporting the development of these skills rather than offering ready-made prescriptions or quick how-to advice (even if examples of possible activities are also included as suggestions). first and foremost. Professional assistance should only complement and strengthen the resources and potential of a traumatised beneficiary. More importantly. 8 . It is the hope of the authors that practitioners will be able to enrich further the following list. stems from some basic “tried and true” principles singled out during field experience.” This section discusses the general principles of psychosocial rehabilitation and describes the skills needed to work in this field. Crisis is a process of personality development: if overcome positively. Knowledge of the language is key. Understanding the culture and traditions. as explained in this book. is important. psychosocial rehabilitation should be considered as a support element in the long-term development of the personality rather than as a form of treatment. 1. Helpers. It emerged as a response to various factors. Consequently. numerous ethnic confrontations. We aim. and. renewed conflicts. major population displacement in a “country in transition. These principles should never be considered as dogma. as well as the reasons and result of their flight. the failure of state public services in providing adequate welfare.Chapter 1 BASIC PRINCIPLES Psychosocial rehabilitation is a relatively new field in Georgia. Listening and understanding before acting While assisting others. therefore. above all. They are being constantly redefined and supplemented thanks to accumulated experience.

any psychological intervention. Therefore. helpers work in the halls of dormitories or in the yards around buildings. turn any obstacles into positive resources. which allows the helpers to assess the IDPs’ real difficulties and to witness family/community relationships. space. First and foremost. such work has huge rewards.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Flexibility Helping traumatised persons is similar to travelling through unknown territory. helpers should be acquainted with the structure of the community network and at least be able to answer the following questions: • • • • • • • Are the community members closely bound to each other? Who is the leader? Who are the members left out? What are. which can be adapted accordingly as new elements about the displaced are learned during the process. use even the smallest opportunity for active rehabilitation. even at the level of a small group. has an impact on the whole community as an integrated organism. new paths for healing will be discovered each time. Fieldwork requires flexibility and the ability to improvise. the mechanisms of support and assistance among community members? What social links need to be strengthened? What links disappeared because of the traumatic event? What links do not need intervention at all? Adaptability to the environment Field psychosocial interventions differ significantly from those that take place in centres set up for this purpose. 9 Chapter 1 . Knowledge of support networks According to the rules of social psychology. and the final stage of the crisis. There are several constructive approaches to assisting a person in overcoming psychological crisis. Despite practical inconveniences. In most cases. but some ways end in deadlock. Helpers should be able to do the following: • • • • quickly assess the mood of the community and the general “atmosphere”. This plan should be instrumental for the helpers in understanding: • • • the structure of the crisis. as well as the relationships that IDPs have with the host population. Helpers have direct access to the displaced where they live. the why and how of traumatic experiences. or chairs for group sessions. if any. Despite our experience. Before providing concrete assistance. encourage initiatives coming from IDPs. helpers need to have a plan that serves as a guiding thread. there is a lack elementary conditions – warmth.

These qualities can de developed through appropriate training. Formulas such as. listening. As is well known. and taste.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • work with problems as they arise. The main task of the helper is to support the displaced person in making the best use of his/her resources. The given principle is similar to the medical principle of “Do no harm. It is important for the helper to find a niche in existing social networks where he/she can be helpful and possibly strengthen it. but without disturbing or destroying natural and already existing forms of assistance. helpless. the helper needs to encourage him/her to use efficiently his/her inner resources and the resources of the social environment.” Empathy Empathy is the ability to feel as the person does and to look at the world through his/her eyes. Training of this quality gives the helper the opportunity to become a very efficient facilitator achieving good results. but such moments generally occur in emergency situations. They could be divided into three main sensation systems: visual. the helper should play the role of a catalyst by promoting the development and preservation of dignity. and kinaesthetic (including touch. touch. scent. Helpers as catalysts A good helper is not one who takes over all responsibilities and organises everything by him/herself. There are moments when the IDP needs a guiding figure. Rather than making the person dependent. The ability to perceive quickly the signals coming from a person or group makes it easier for the helper to understand and empathise and to penetrate deeper into the problem. etc. scent. The helper is only a small part of the IDP’s social environment and he/she can not usurp the roles and functions of the IDP’s family members and friends. To find one’s niche Psychological intervention is only one link in a chain of possible and actual sources of support.” reflect a misunderstanding of community support mechanisms. 10 Chapter 1 . Empathy differs from an objective. Sensation channels that are open to the environment make a person very sensitive and attentive to any “indignation”. He/she starts noticing things that are not noticeable at first glance. and taste). Ultimately. Improving one’s skills The helper should be very sensitive and attentive in his/her work in order not to miss even the slightest details that eventually could turn out to be crucial for rehabilitation. Helpers’ efforts only partly contribute to the total assistance. impartial knowledge of the IDP. audio. and needy for assistance. “It is only us who are able to assist these displaced persons. a person perceives the environment through one’s senses – vision.

and to be more effective in our support. The only way to develop empathy is to find similar experiences in one’s own life and put oneself in the person’s shoes. we are able to better understand the psychology of the beneficiaries. IDPs may not want to receive psychological assistance if they feel it affects their dignity. The attitude towards a traumatised person should not differ from the attitude towards a healthy person in full control of his/her own resources and with his/her own vision of the world. uniqueness. Such a relationship implies an interaction between equal subjects where each sees and recognises the personality. Parity The helpers’ attitude should be based on “I-you” relations. They might eventually engage in psychosocial rehabilitation activities. Helpers should not behave in a manipulative manner. powerful transformations can take place. or expose inferiority. psychological assistance can be rejected.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Formally we may know a lot about the person. especially if it is presented in a humiliating form. The feelings of the displaced in a deep psychological crisis are of a similar nature to our feelings when we suffer from regular. 11 Chapter 1 . At the same time it is very important that helpers remain open to any new information. I-you relationships empower both the helper and the traumatised IDP to share knowledge and experiences. When we add sincere empathy to the genuine will to reinforce the trust that the displaced have in their capacity to change their own destinies. as well as practical skills for assisting people. as if they were fully in control of their environment. Competence Psychosocial intervention in crises implies that helpers have a good theoretical knowledge of trauma psychology. and dignity of the other. Trust and voluntary engagement Psychosocial support implies the voluntary presence and involvement of two persons: helper and the IDP. They will strive to preserve a strong self-perception. so as not to lose even a small chance of enriching their knowledge and skills. especially in cases where their self-esteem has already been lowered by the crisis. Without trusting relationships between them. but may still be unable to understand him/her. to better perceive the essence of their feelings. try to demonstrate their superiority. daily stresses (although of greater intensity). Once we have drawn parallels with our own experiences. but only after overcoming feelings of mistrust towards the helpers.

Not all IDPs express wishes that coincide with what they actually need. Their stocks of sympathy and humane compassion are sometimes exhausted. to be biased because of their speciality. social worker (during mass actions or the mobilisation of a social help network). Facilitation Facilitation (from the English to facilitate – to help. However. In order to be efficient. removing psychological barriers. sometimes. Economy Psychosocial support in crisis situations requires great strength and energy from helpers. decide that the IDP needs only what he/she can provide him/herself. the helper appears in different roles – as a facilitator or co-facilitator (working with the group). Two helpers take turns in the roles of leader and co-facilitator. and also with debriefings. one needs to assess what IDPs lack and what they really need.” One of the ways to prevent burn-out is a system of co-facilitation in psychosocial sessions.2 Role of the Helper While working. He/she has to show sincere interest in everything that is happening. skills development. Helpers also need to be supported with sessions on cohesion. make easier. The helper may. 12 Chapter 1 . moderator (in focus groups). Continuity No matter how qualified. a small team of helpers (12-15 persons) cannot embrace the whole caseload of IDPs. and psychotherapist (during individual interventions). the helper turns out to be facilitator and it is for this reason that we give more precise details of what exactly this role entails. The assistance plan should be based firstly on a fact-based assessment of the needs of the IDP. for instance. it is necessary for the helper to develop these skills. helpers tend. 1. promote) means an action directed at easing the interaction of people. the facilitator has to be concentrated on the situation in which he/she is present. and to impose their skills on those they are assisting without properly identifying their needs. The experience gained needs to be passed onto other helpers in order to be able to rely on a network that will allow project co-ordinators to reach out to more IDPs. trainer (in training groups). capacity-building.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Reality (Expectations and biases) Before providing any psychosocial assistance. On the other hand. in most cases. The process of facilitation mostly depends on the skills and abilities of the facilitator. and increasing personal activity. His/her presence should inspire hope and confidence in all participants. • Firstly. They are then “burnt-out.

13 Chapter 1 . the possible result. Fourthly. one has to meet this person at the place and moment where he/she is. In order to lead the other person towards change. The co-facilitator should guarantee feedback to the leader both during the session by acting as a “mirror. In psychological language it is called rapport or joining the other person’s reality. even a professional. But. he/she should not interfere. the facilitator should be able to communicate.e. show that he/she controls the situation and knows what he/she is doing. Finally. it is necessary to determine where the person (or group) is and then show him/her (or the group) the way to alternative choices. the facilitator has to be open always to both verbal and non-verbal information.e. The principle of co-facilitation provides a good opportunity for interactive teaching and the exchange of experiences. i. Thus. cannot manage to control everything. he/she should be flexible and creative. Thirdly. These outlined abilities do not cover the whole spectrum. rather then the problem itself. Assistance to traumatised people requires a lot of energy and one person. The facilitator should always be oriented to the process. If the facilitator sees that the group is spontaneously moving towards the positive change.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • • • • Secondly. He/she should speak in such a way that the listener gets the necessary information and listen in such a way that the speakers know they are being understood. the process of facilitation can be described in the following way – first. The basic principle of facilitation is: If something happens – do nothing. and after the session. The most important step in facilitation is the establishment of mutual understanding with the person or group. he/she should take action. the facilitator has to be able to be impartial and unprejudiced.” smoothing the “sharp edges” or absorbing “negative” moments of the group process. thus guaranteeing protection from possible professional “burn-out”. The main task is to facilitate the process towards this change. He/she should be ready to face any event and be able to direct the IDPs in the necessary direction. The co-facilitator also plays the role of a “buffer” or of a “sponge. by analysing the work.” reflecting an efficient process. The role of the co-facilitator is also very important. be able to speak and listen. i. The facilitator and co-facilitator take turns and complement each other. but are certainly skills without which no helper can work. Facilitation is a process. if nothing happens – do something. The main goal is to evoke a positive change. He/she should accept any position and not judge it. if he/she sees that the process is stuck.

In this phase he/she is a “leader” (leading the hands). “led. touching the partner’s palms. the facilitator takes on the responsibility of the third participant and the exercise is done in pairs. The given strategy. The other participant is. Procedure: Two participants sit opposite each other with out-stretched palms.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Exercise: “Dance of Palms” Goal: Elaborate the skills of rapport and interaction with the partner. Materials: This exercise can be implemented in any available place comfortable for the participants. The exercise gives more efficient results if done with closed eyes – participants can more easily concentrate on their own sensations. No materials are required. during this exercise the participants feel the whole gamut of sensations – from the sensations of domination and subordination to a harmonic relationship with the partner. Composition of participants: Two persons carry out the exercise. Then after the command of “stop” the movement of hands is stopped and after a short break.” The participants are instructed to observe their own feelings and sensations. They experience that “joining” the “dance” removes tension and resistance. participants change roles – the “leader” becomes “led” and vice versa. consequently. If the exercise is conducted in a group. The first phase lasts no less than 5 minutes. still touching the partner’s palms. The most vital part of the exercises is that the pairs carry out the exercise in silence without any verbalisation or comments about any inconveniences or other sensations. one of the participants begins to freely move his/her hands. 14 Chapter 1 . The third participant gives the commands and clarifies the analysis of self-reporting by the participants. can be used during group training for the development of skills in efficient communication. The length of the second phase also lasts no less than 5 minutes and is ended by the same command of the facilitator – “stop. as well as others described below.” In the third phase participants share their own impressions with the group and the facilitator highlights the most important nuances of the self-reports of the pair. The participants report on their experiences only in the third phase. After the command. Usually.

Obviously. The First Phase: Training of the visual system. as shown by the following examples. Procedure: The group is divided into small subgroups of three persons. and attention.” They begin to touch the “receiver’s” back or the shoulder with their palms. The “receiver” has to concentrate on these signals – he/she becomes “all ears” and has to guess who is the “sender” of the signal. whistle). The Third Phase: Training of the kinaesthetic system (mainly senses of touch). three persons are enough.” The “transmitter” sends him/her some audio signals (e. The “receiver” turns his/her back to the “transmitters. the play becomes very complicated – the changing becoming so insignificant that the “receiver” has to notice even the tension in different parts of the body or changes in mood of the “transmitter. Then when the minute expires. One of the participants – the “receiver” – within one minute remembers the posture of the “transmitter” who is sitting or standing before him/her without any movement (“frozen”) and then mimics it. 15 Chapter 1 . Gradually the “receiver” “learns” the distinctive nuances of each “transmitter. Materials: If the exercise is done in a group.g.” Participants can then change roles. The third participant acts as an observer and jury. The “receiver” has to guess who is touching him/her. which are necessary skills for the facilitator. Composition of participants: The training is conducted usually in a group of 12-15 persons. the “transmitters” try to confuse the “receiver” by changing the way of touching and thus complicating the exercise. The “transmitter” changes slightly his/her posture and again becomes “frozen.” The exercise becomes complicated and more difficult to distinguish the audio signals presented – even the breath might be used as a signal. The “receiver” turns his/her back to the “transmitter. the “receiver” turns around. two rooms are necessary. Benefit: These exercises can be of great benefit for the future specialist. sensitivity.” The “receiver” turns around and has to guess what has changed. The “transmitter” will send his/her signals without any sequence. One person is the “receiver” of signals. Gradually. but in smaller groups.” The Second Phase: Training of the audio system. A very important moment of the whole exercise is the self-reports of the participants at the end of each phase when they share their own strategies of “guessing” and ways of “reading” the signals of each other or of the group. one of the “transmitters” simply stands behind the “receiver” who has only to guess who is standing behind him/her). the other two are “transmitters. (In this case.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Exercises for the Development of Sensory Sensitivity Goal: The development and reinforcement of sensorial perceptions.

the professional can notice very important nuances: not only from the client’s gestures. Be friendly. Traumatised persons can easily distinguish any hint of insincerity or manipulative attitudes. mistrust. but also by changes in his/her breath and face colour. But most interesting is that it is a subconscious recollection – the client even has not realised it. voice intonations. to any attempt to intervene in their lives or into the life of their community with caution. and the breath becomes more frequent. That means that the client has recalled an incident. The loss. Tips for helpers • • Do not promise or offer more than you can do realistically.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Example 1: Working on trauma-processing. and sincere. pain. in fact. The client simply sits before him/her with closed eyes. They need to talk about their problems frankly and openly and. They believe that they have learned to identify the people who. traumatised people miss warm. and frustration of displaced people are all aggravated by the empty promises they often get from the authorities. but also has bent forward. friendly. The questions “What is this?” or “What do you see?” assist the client to realise and give accounts of the recollection. the head is also moving. They feel they have been deceived many times and perceive that their needs and requirements are neglected. and sincere relationships. 1. Then suddenly. he/she seems to see the event at the distance. Example 2: The client is not only moving his/her eyes. At the same time. Otherwise he/she could simply miss the episode and have it miss his/her consciousness. the tension of muscles. the client’s eyes behind the eyes begin to move. The dispositions of helpers play an important role in establishing trust. However. thus. Certainly. benevolent. They react. Further co-operation depends heavily on this very meeting. therefore.3 The First Contact The first contact with a displaced community is very important. or even aggression. the therapist asks the client to recall a traumatising event. Displaced persons easily “catch” helpers on this point. based only on body movements it is impossible say what exactly happens. by expressions in his/her eyes. having accumulated experience. and even by changes in body temperature. relieve their pain. They no longer want to be deceived or manipulated. If he/she bents backwards. That might mean that he/she is participating in the event. want only to satisfy their own ambitions or gain something and do not really want to assist IDPs. 16 Chapter 1 .

Thus. Active listening is the best way to deal with this situation.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • Do not reveal any kind of superiority over people you are assisting – neither by wearing expensive clothes or jewellery nor by demonstrating your own social status. they immediately react positively – they “see” that these “strangers. Within the displaced community. have genuinely kind goals. What we need is food and a roof. Adults remain suspicious for some time. there exists a kind of prejudice towards psychological help. During the first visit. before trust is established. Helpers often discuss the issue of how to introduce themselves to the community – as psychologists. step by step. It is also important to change the spatial arrangement. they non-verbally express their isolation and confrontation. aggression. levels of anxiety. eventually the community becomes aware of what the helpers’ real goals are and the attitudes towards psychosocial assistance change. where they are from. Helpers must remain patient and listen attentively. Example: Displaced persons stand in “one front line” facing “strangers” at a certain distance and start to “interrogate” them: who they are. The first contact with IDPs in their temporary shelters immediately following their displacement is a special case. 17 Chapter 1 . The visit of psychologists might cause some suspicion or comments like: “We do not need any psychological help. When displaced people stand as a wall at a certain distance. why did they come? These questions are all accompanied by anger and dissatisfaction. special techniques of psychological intervention are required like “active/empathetic listening” and “reduction of effect”. which in fact is not directed at the helpers at all. it is premature to plan any specific rehabilitation activities other than with children. Helpers have to try to change the line into a circle.” i. Therefore. as well as within the society as a whole. It is important to give the possibility to traumatised people to discharge their anger. The trauma is new. they only enter into simple. “Mirror” the posture and gestures of a speaker – take a similar posture. and mistrust are extremely high. they are happy to see their children engaged in activities. However.e. teachers.” However. spontaneous conversations. helpers take places on both sides of the “barricades. social workers. Everything is OK with our minds. The majority perceives psychosocial assistance as psychiatric care. or someone else.” Helpers can even use some psychological tricks: • • Stand in a position “at the corner” – almost next to the traumatised person – preserve a personal distance and at the same time be close and try to create the optimal position – a circle. In the beginning. when the adult IDPs see the helpers “playing” with their children. They are happy to see that the assistance takes care of their children. helpers.

1. During rehabilitation sessions. 7-12 year olds: More attention is paid to staging role-plays. He/she will work towards bringing together generations separated by displacement trauma to strengthen positive links in the community. drawing. and teachers. grandparents. and elements of body and motion therapy (sport games). a safe environment is secured that can encourage the child to express him/herself and open him/herself to the world. Adolescents: The sharing of problems and discussion increases. Orientation in the community The helper needs to have a global approach to the child's development.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs These “tricks. Age differences Work methodologies should differ with the age of the child and the main interests of the child. and active listening contribute to the effective reduction of anger and the establishment of an atmosphere of trust. 2. If there is a need to correct his/her destructive behaviour. including his/her social environment: parents. Pre-school: This group concentrates on learning through games. 3. The child should be accepted as he/she is and not judged.4 Psychosocial Support for IDP Children and IDP Adolescents Unconditional positive attention Mutual trust and mutual respect are the basic roots of good adult-child communication. We can distinguish three groups: 1.” together with empathy. sincerity. the helper makes sure the child understands that his/her behaviour is targeted – not his/her personality. art-therapy. and story telling (fairy tales). 18 Chapter 1 . singing.

the loss of relatives. The difference is that ordinary crises often trigger natural mechanisms of support and do not require the intervention of a specialist. friends. If an event develops rapidly or happens unexpectedly.Chapter 2 DISPLACEMENT AND TRAUMA Psychosocial rehabilitation projects for the displaced should take into account the specificity of the individuals’ and the communities’ trauma: they lived through war. divorce. and for which they cared. the more significant and valuable the thing is. The point is not only that the widow/er faces solitude. lost an extended part of his/her ego. but also numerous resulting problems. the more painful it can be. humiliation. day-to-day life. As in the case of every loss. in fact. An example of an event beyond our control is when one is fired from a job. etc. the loss of a job. and relatives with which they had very close relationships. we have time to realise that it is inevitable and can do something about it or prepare ourselves for the loss. Such an event shakes our self-image of a competent. The house was a part of their ego. severe illness. If an event develops slowly. Feelings we have experienced will also help us to get closer to the person in deep psychological crisis. hard to experience and leave a deep mark on the soul. good employee. But. destruction. we have little or no time to control the situation. violence. They invested their love and energy into their homes and were proud of them. captivity. He/she must give up the mutual tasks and plans the couple was intending to fulfil. many people lose family members. obviously. An unexpected loss is perceived as an event that is beyond our control. Moreover. and the more sudden and unexpected the loss was. in fact. Some Situations of Daily Life Crises The death of a spouse is one of the most severe forms of loss. Such events are. which is crucial to the helper’s work. This death may also have financial consequences. The unexpected loss of a spouse ruins usual. However. We find ourselves in trouble and facing an uncertain future. and the loss of homes.” Friends and neighbours also perceived him/her as “half of the whole.” The widow/er has. he/she perceived him/herself as “his/her wife/husband. In armed conflicts. Will I be able to find a new job? How will 19 . Being fired deprives one of the resources that were used to support self-confidence. the nature of the traumatic experience has much in common with daily life crises. decorated. This is the key to an empathetic attitude. such as the death of a loved one. Many also lose their homes that they built. parallels between ordinary crises and traumatic ones will help us to better understand the structure of the trauma.

the majority of IDPs has faced a real threat of physical harm or elimination. Such events often involve whole communities. Both the present and the future are undetermined for them. That is why they often are called basic beliefs. 20 Chapter 2 . and threatening events. but in daily life too. prolonged stress. in the case of severe diseases or in traffic accidents. can be defined as traumatic. provokes feelings of humiliation and helplessness. Unexpected.000 IDPs are among the most vulnerable. These are as follows: 1. makes our future undetermined and uncertain. In these events. we face not only an event beyond our control.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs my family react? Will they pity me or criticise me? Suddenly.” His/her model emphasises his/her personality and his/her similarity with other people. Age and life experiences bring certain changes to these perceptions. We also face two more characteristic features of a crisis – an undetermined future and a sudden distortion of our regular lifestyle. is unexpected. violent. distorts usual self-images. includes a threat of physical harm and/or elimination. The horror induced by such events increases with the number of persons involved. We face crisis if an event: • • • • • • • • • provokes intense. Above all. houses. includes spiritual and/or material loss. They have not only lost their jobs. distorts one's usual lifestyle. and relatives. In this case.g. trauma implies a sudden. for the sake of simplicity. Belief in self-immortality. These perceptions are elaborated throughout life and are reflected in their experiences and are adapted from them. massive. we have to face the fact that our future is limited and that life is not endless. unexpected. The 300. Human beings act on the basis of the perceptions they have of themselves and of the world. from the very beginning. These basic perceptions or belief systems are formed in early childhood and. threat to the security of human beings. Most of Georgian society faces a similar crisis situation now. but also loss and humiliation. Our everyday habits and agenda become senseless. is beyond our control. We can already sum up the above-mentioned explanations on crisis characteristics. We face a threat of death not only in cases of cataclysms. but even in adulthood these perceptions are quite strong. but most of them have had to start living from scratch in a new environment. we move from a structured world to an undetermined one. they serve as a defence mechanism. Traumatic stress goes hand-in-hand with catastrophes. property. The helper who assists victims of catastrophes also faces an acute emotional experience of his/her own. Although the distinction between traumatic stress and nontraumatic stress is quite relative. Every human being has his/her own unique model of the world and of the “self. e.

Traumatic events push a person into a severe and unmerciful reality. Belief in a “simple” structure of the world.” Thus. There is no guarantee of security. Traumatic stress ruins these basic perceptions. Victims of crises experience humiliation and shame for “what has happened to them” and “what they could not avoid. and helpless.” Basic Beliefs 1. and fair. The comfortable world suddenly appears chaotic and full of threats. structured. striking such a strong blow on the “self” image that a radical re-understanding of the existing situation is needed. They believe that they are strong and are able to do a lot. We believe that we “get what we deserve. murders. It is a long-lasting and painful process. This is the best start for a profound understanding of the IDP’s problem. Once a traumatic event happens. It 21 Chapter 2 . We are faced with a real threat of physical destruction.”) 3. regulated. AIDS.” Traumatic events totally destroy our world perception: “Why did it happen to me? What did I do? How unfair the world is!” 3. Belief in self-innocence. as well as daily life crises. cancer. the usual models of the world and the “self. etc.” It destroys the beliefs that help us to feel safe and secure. Belief in immortality Although almost everyday we hear about car accidents. It changes. we believe that these things will never happen to us. This belief helps human beings to achieve a certain peace of mind. trauma is related. Basic beliefs help us to live without fear and despair. these beliefs also make us more vulnerable to crises. they feel unhappy. we face a difficult reality. understandable and just. which can no longer reflect the existing reality. unexpectedly.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 2. But when they face a situation that is beyond their control. This belief protects us from fear and anxiety and reinforces our feeling of safety. However.. Belief in a “simple” structure of the world Human beings need to believe that the events happening are understandable. to the contradiction between the reality and our perceptions of the world and the “self. Helpers have to identify the distorted part of the “self” image and the image of the world. Traumatic events force human beings to change their usual models of the “self” and of the world. Belief in self-innocence Human beings usually assess themselves quite positively. 2. Yet we “do not want” to accept this reality. weak. It is difficult for us to acknowledge this fact as it entirely changes our perception of reality. (“The world is well-organised. It is difficult for us to imagine that one day we will die.

More precisely. In the case of emotional overload. the consciousness “gives it out” piece by piece. events are kept in the IDP’s memory as a frozen copy of rough experiences in order to be processed later. A similar phenomenon happens when there is an overload of information in crisis situations. but an emotional overload as well. fury. It is not only an information overload. anger.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs also helps to find ways to support the IDP in his/her quest for new and adequate models of the “self” and the world that are consistent with reality. sadness. or rage – and tries to establish an explanatory link between these reactions and the present situation. it exhausts itself. In most cases. under various forms. he/she does not succeed and these over-reactions remain unexplained both for him/herself and others around him/her. they gain useful experiences that strengthens their capacity to deal with the future. The person does not consider them to be unprocessed parts of his/her past traumatic experience. panic. Each event has its beginning. 22 Chapter 2 . In the case of information and emotional overloads. and end. Displaced persons also need to make-up a new model of reality consistent with their traumatic experience. is not enough to memorise and digest it. tears. 2. unusual anxiety. The information is unacceptable and painful. However. continuation. People cope with most of their life events and. For instance. The person is reminded of the existence of these frozen copies through unpleasant recollections and other evidences of trauma that need to be resolved. However. He/she experiences these events and learns lessons from them. The experience we need has been gathered out of it and the event is left behind. the processing stage may not happen at all.1 Evidence of Traumatic Stress What happens during a traumatic experience? It is difficult for the human mind to process the information related to traumatic experiences. Therefore. an overly condensed lecture cannot be digested in a short period. the information processing can also be delayed and lessons learned later. he/she often considers it to be an over-reaction to a present event – for instance. He/she ascribes them to the present reality. like in normal times. processing the information. What is traumatic stress? When traumatic experience remains unacceptable for the beneficiary. there are cases when people face such a volume of information that they cannot cope with the processing task. but only in amounts with which the person can cope. the student will manage to understand it and freely master the information contained in it. after several days spent thinking about it. no matter how pleasant or unpleasant it may be. as a result of processing these events. If the event goes through all these stages. The life of any person is comprised of a long chain of events. However.

In daily life it is usually manifested as a loss of interest towards what was valued for them prior to the traumatic experience. Avoidance often blunts emotions so much that IDPs lose the ability to experience strong feelings like love. Avoidance By trying to reconcile the traumatic experience with the new reality. headaches start every time the person approaches a bridge or he/she suddenly turns away and runs from a red car. and places when or where traumatic scenes can be remembered. Flashbacks Sudden. “Flashback” is a term used in cinematography to refer to the insertion of a short retrospective shot in the current action. involuntary revivals of traumatic scenes or unwelcome recollections are known as flashbacks. They avoid thinking or talking about it (“We should not talk about trauma”). In these cases. But any accidental stimulus that reminds the person of the traumatic experience is enough to provoke automatic reactions related to it again. and indifferent towards. their families. These feelings are revealed both in dreams and nightmares. 23 Chapter 2 . as if the traumatic event never happened to them. The traumatic event comes back to the person’s memory even without any external stimulus and he/she then experiences a feeling similar to the trauma. friends. and colleagues. The IDP may also not recollect significant episodes of traumatic events because the most painful fragments are left beyond consciousness. creative enthusiasm. At the same time.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Involuntary reactions related to the trauma can subside in time and may not attract the constant attention of the beneficiary. This is the so-called prolonged avoidance. which frequently takes such forms that the persons completely lose memory of the trauma. joy. For instance. Nothing attracts them any more and they become alienated from. but to the others. Psychological Absorption The source of the stress may also absorb all the capacities of the beneficiary. the IDP experiences sleeping difficulties as traumatised IDPs may involuntarily resist sleeping in order to avoid difficult scenes in their dreams. They also avoid thinking or talking about situations. IDPs may actively avoid everything that is associated with their traumatic experience. moments. It is mostly revealed in obsessive recollections and flashbacks. They provoke strong and painful emotions that are accompanied by fear and feelings of helplessness. Some specialists argue that this systematic avoidance of reality is a part of the self-defence strategy of the human mind. and spontaneity. unprocessed traumatic experiences try to attract the person’s attention.

Depression As described above. They perceive regular “peaceful” life as dull and uninteresting. as if always ready to confront both inner and outer threats at any moment. they perceive their futures as being blocked and feel neither safe nor secure at present. They are constantly tense. they recruit themselves as mercenaries in hot spots. This phenomenon develops mostly in those combatants who have participated in warfare and have experienced particularly acute and intense trauma. the trauma has given a special meaning to their life. they often take unjustified risks. Fundamental components of traumatic stress are anxiety and depression. Anxiety. and may be reluctant to participate in demilitarisation programmes. Beneficiaries had to be extremely vigilant during the traumatic events in order to survive and they simply did not shift back to their prior behaviour. their future existence does not make any sense. In order to fill a deficit of impressions. They often lose the desire to build a new life – for example.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Hyper-arousal Another manifestation of traumatic stress is so-called hyper-arousal. thus. it may be explained by the same mechanisms as avoidance or absorption. to think of a career. Anxiety is caused by an undetermined present and an uncertain future while depression is caused by hopelessness. For instance. As a result. work as bodyguards. They consider themselves unfit for “regular” life. consequently. memories of traumatised IDPs have not been processed and. 2. Psychologically. Such feelings often lead to the use of alcohol and/or drugs and they are frequently inclined to violence or suicide. The point is that the experienced feelings were so intense that the traumatic event ultimately equalled their entire life. Risk-taking Although IDPs consciously avoid clashes with traumatic scenes in their imagination. Hyper-arousal requires great effort from IDPs and does not give them the opportunity to relax or rest. not been completed. Their lives are divided into two parts: before and after the traumatic experience. 24 Chapter 2 . or children. They perceive themselves as the ones who have experienced the hardships of life and have become wiser with this experience. It is as if the IDPs are watching themselves to avoid falling accidentally under the “source” of past painful experiences. They think that they have already seen everything in life and. They do not want to find themselves again in the “hell” out of which they managed to escape. marriage. perceive themselves as being rejected by everyone and do not feel needed. 1. Traumatised IDPs’ addictions to alcohol or drugs may also be explained by their desire to suppress tough and unacceptable experiences.

anger is a reaction to the threat directed at one’s personal safety. Hopelessness and unpleasant feelings may drive the person to despair. such as psychotic “splitting.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Permanent anxiety may arouse the feelings that were experienced during the past trauma – tension and threats – and in regular daily situations. anger turns into aggression. frequently projected at the immediate social environment of traumatised persons (family members. It may also be analysed as a projection (transfer) of the pain to the outer world and the discharge of feelings (fear. is characterised by the phenomenon of anger and feelings of shame and guilt that destroy self-dignity. occur. It is very difficult to accept a different opinion when you are angry. The nervous system of traumatised persons is very sensitive to threatening stimuli even if they are irrelevant. may be considered to be a defence against helplessness and frustration. above this. friends. These reactions are of great concern among ex-combatants. at that particular moment the imaginary threat was “real” to us.” Aggression In some cases. therefore. humiliation. Anger might not be directed at the person who appears to be the target of aggression. colleagues. relatives. it is very important not to let anger grow into physical aggression and to prevent IDPs from doing harm both to themselves and to others.” Nevertheless. In the majority of cases this is a normal reaction to perceived humiliation and injustice. This is why frequent outbursts of anger and fury.” They also blame the authorities. At the same time. And. But traumatic stress. IDPs might also experience anger towards themselves as “they could not manage to take revenge. we realise that before getting angry we have certainly experienced some threats. they cannot “pull themselves together” and “they do not understand what is happening to them. Real targets of aggression are primarily those who caused the suffering. Aggression is. and even God). They complain that at such moments. 25 Chapter 2 . However. mockery). like anger. Aggression. offence. Anger Anger arises when we are hurt or perceive ourselves as being offended. it may provoke reactions of extreme fear and panic. if we analyse the situations when we are annoyed. It often happens that the helper becomes the target of the IDP’s aggressive reactions. These threats might be meaningless. and all the others who could have prevented the traumatic experiences. These forms of reaction to stress are more or less “understandable” to us. You wish to hear only a confirmation both of your thoughts and emotions. indeed. which are characteristic of traumatised persons. Such “outbursts” give traumatised persons temporary relief and may protect them from the extreme forms of loss of control.” and as “they appeared to be helpless in this situation.” though later they “do regret what happened. the public security services.

an IDP considers that he/she is the one to blame for the death of his/her relative because he/she cursed him/her before the disaster.” “If I had not allowed him/her to go out . for instance. He/she wants to run far away and hide. These emotions have a negative impact on self-esteem. They start to engage in auto-destructive behaviour.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Shame and Guilt As mentioned above. Anger and aggressive behaviour. the trauma is caused by a sudden.e. and horror. They are stuck in the past. in any situation. Self-blame for non-action: Undoubtedly. 26 Chapter 2 .” To sum-up. The problem is that the “judge” is the person him/herself. Guilt (the feeling of moral responsibility for the fate of other victims) is particularly destructive. Guilt feelings may arise in the following cases: 1. 2. feelings of helplessness. Shame is also caused by humiliation of the person’s dignity. displaced persons desire punishment. Self-blame for being alive when the other is dead: i. This feeling comes with the perception that there is a judge somewhere observing him/her with despise and disgust.” 3.. and inevitable threat to personal security.” “If I had only paid proper attention to it. Involuntary automatic reactions and reactions to accidental stimulus that reminds one of traumatic events. Evidences of traumatic stress include: • • • • • • Repetitious. The feelings of shame that victims experience coincide with their own system of beliefs in a fair world. they do not look forward to anything. “survivor’s guilt” or the “syndrome of concentration camp prisoners. unexpected. Self-blame for imaginary faults: For instance. The feeling of guilt is a basic experience in traumatic stress. Hyper-arousal. Displaced persons may experience it because..” part of us considers victims responsible for their suffering.. and they even consider that they do not deserve to be alive. anger may be viewed as a substitute for fear and helplessness. they could not manage to take care of a relative they left behind. Since we consider that “we live in a fair world. and provokes intense fear. Recurrent nightmares related to the trauma. Anxiety and depression. Time is needed to change their perceptions and to regain their selfdignity. obsessive recollections and flashbacks. Traumatic stress happens when traumatic experiences are not processed. the IDPs may discover that they might have avoided the disaster if they had done something else: “If only I did not hurry.. When feeling guilty. where human beings always get what they deserve. massive.. during the evacuation.

Stories of forced displacement. 27 Chapter 2 .Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • • • • • • • • • • Feelings of shame and guilt. unspoken and unexpressed aggression. We have come from Abkhasia. Forgetting important episodes of traumatic events.1 The Trauma of IDP Children Two types of trauma can be distinguished: 1. Loss of desire to build a future. revengeful and aggressive tendencies. and loss of a family member. “victimisation” and “the enemy image” may be later revealed in two alternative ways of vicious development: 1. Identification with an aggressor. as well as those who were born in displaced families after the forced displacement.. other persons). A new folklore (songs and poems based on traumatic events of the war) may appear. and stories of forced migrations are constantly exchanged. and actions that are related to the trauma. places. they suffer from societal trauma. we have found shelter here. 2. unprocessed grief.1. conversations on trauma. However. Alienation and indifference to their human environment. Humiliated. tortured. feelings of shame – all of this “heritage” lies as a heavy burden on their shoulders. 2. Loss of the ability to experience strong feelings. Loss of interest towards everything that existed earlier. Active avoidance of stimuli that remind them of the trauma. i. Addiction to alcohol and/or drugs. have avoided the first type of traumatic experience.e. This is part of a song written by an IDP from Abkhazia: We are refugees. the trauma caused by the direct witnessing of traumatic events.. captivity. The trauma based on direct and personal experience during bombing. feelings. The image transforms itself into intolerance to “the outsider” (other opinions. Children often adopt a victim attitude and develop an image. If not addressed. The trauma they share with the whole population or “societal trauma” inherited by the younger generation. Insomnia. the stories of war and defeat. dissatisfied with the unsettled present. Children who left the conflict zone before the hostilities. IDPs are nostalgic about the pre-displacement period. and anxious about the future. Active avoidance of thoughts. persecution stories. Children absorb this atmosphere “with their mothers’ milk” from a very early age. In collective centres for displaced persons. let the whole world know about it.

” The drawing shows the boy’s view of our future: life will worsen and the planet will finally find itself in a garbage can.” Anxiety about the future. or even a smaller creature. feelings of guilt Along with the feelings of helplessness and distrust of the world. They do not accept new games and want to repeat a previous one to which they are already accustomed. being asked to draw on the topic “The Earth after five centuries” children represented World Wars. have similar psychological problems. Shame. Their psychological state is even more severe. For instance. would defend the view that “nothing depends on a human being. we have been expelled.” children would frequently express the desire to become an invisible creature. then “I am nobody. You live. or an earthquake strikes. but they are more acute. Identification with a victim: passive life position. we are chased. There are several indicators that can predict these developments in a child: Feelings of insecurity and helplessness The child feels that he/she is in no position to change his/her life or to control his/her existence. low self-esteem. If the helper talks to him/her about the future. Expectations for the worst will make the child reluctant to any change. and everything is ruined. the children’s first reaction is often to refuse. who have witnessed traumatic events. the answer usually is: “What can we do..” Children. you can go and stay where you want (even to your own home) and nobody will notice you or hurt you.. as a rule. dangerous events. These reactions are completely natural – if I am helpless. expectations of the worst.” The child perceives the world as a source of unpredictable. When the helper is suggesting any new activity. running away from responsibility.” Children’s low selfesteem is revealed in the fear of expressing themselves and in the difficulty of 28 Chapter 2 . injured and evil civilisations. and searching for a “rescuer. a fly. fear of change The above-mentioned feelings of insecurity are closely associated with an anxious and suspicious attitude towards the future and a systematic expectation that only the worst will happen. Their motivation is that “in that case you are left alone. and feelings of shame. and death. “The Earth in a Garbage Can.” If asked: “What would you like to become and why. Particularly significant was the drawing of a 16-year old boy.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 2. if nothing depends on me. Star Wars. children develop low self-esteem. you do no harm to anybody and suddenly the war starts. During discussion on the topic of “What depends on human beings and what does not?” children.

Another example: the hero of one story.” “expelled. the rest of the group immediately ridicules any different behaviour. aggressiveness Basic needs of security. Acceptance of the other is an important element of success for the rehabilitation process. But this aggressor – be it the confronting party or the government – is at an unreachable distance from them and not available for discharge or aggression. and therefore. Very interesting discussions about guilt took place in one of the adolescents’ groups. in the future. they referred to themselves as “refugee. and self-dignity are frustrated in traumatised children. at the same time. which implies an exile from the homeland. During the first stages of rehabilitation sessions. children know that there is someone who is guilty for their misfortunes. They strongly identify themselves with him and with his vulnerability. safety. is traumatising. For instance. for instance.” or “chased. the word “IDP” itself. material dependency. In this case.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs engaging themselves in an activity in which they express their individuality. At the same time. However. 29 Chapter 2 . I will behave in another way and will be able to avoid the disaster. They suggested that nothing depended on them (or. The frustration provokes a reactive anger and possibly some cases of direct aggression. on human beings). at one of the sessions they were asked to name the characteristics they value in themselves and those they do not like. Under negative characteristics. by doing so. invented by a group of children. I am not so helpless and. Another analysis would be that children only explain their lives through external factors and. and being differentiated from the rest of the society. more generally. Usually the first opinion or the first drawing is repeated by the rest of the group. activities. is a disabled man (without an arm) rejected by the rest of society. and personality styles. it should be as a result of misdeeds. Case study In Georgia. This enemy image may be compared with an empty frame that “floats” around and can fix itself on the first available object. Yet. Anger. if it is a punishment. The easiest target among surrounding persons is the “other. avoid taking responsibility.” the different one.” This “negative” image was actually perceived by them as an integral part of their identity. It is then not a surprise that children reveal a negative attitude towards different opinions. viewpoints. guilt feelings can be interpreted as a defence mechanism to decrease anxiety: being guilty proves that something also depends on me. Children often speak about it at rehabilitation sessions. they considered displacement to be a punishment of God.

However. Some drawings reveal helplessness as the following: “Thoughts of the Leaves in Autumn”: “Look. flowers. most often the trauma prevents the IDP from expressing his/her losses and difficult experiences. Thematic drawings. the displaced population is characterised by high standards of hygiene and clean habits. showed obvious signs of anxiety. the loss of self-perception. Case study In Georgia. Moreover. seemingly. The child is even in a more difficult position. or houses. and were reluctant to join. which are usually not properly maintained. When living in collective centres not far from the local population. and. birds. That is the way people are. is associated with the feeling of loss – the loss of a beloved relative or friend.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Intolerant attitudes towards “others” are sometimes revealed in conflicts with the host population’s children. children do not know the city or its suburbs. displaced children often play separately and do not enter into relationships with the locals. the only means of expression they rely on is 30 Chapter 2 .” Unprocessed grief Sadness is a characteristic of trauma. as previously mentioned. plants. one leaf told the other. but no humans. insignificant. when excursions and sightseeing tours were organised. However the above-mentioned mechanism of replacement of the enemy image could explain it. Frequently. Alienation from the social environment The floating “enemy image” might “fit. as his/her thinking and speech abilities are not developed enough to articulate experiences. etc.” not only the person. Displaced children did not choose to live in collective centres.” frequently show an empty interior of the child’s home. but also the entire social and even physical environment. But being able to express it reduces the grief. The pretext for these conflicts is. for the discharge of aggression. There are also certain para-autistic tendencies that can be identified in the children’s drawings. for instance). alienation from their physical environment is revealed also in the fact that in spite of a long period of residing in Tbilisi (more than 6 years). Any trauma. They might burn them. Our experience shows that these conflicts are frequent in schools where displaced children and local children are isolated from one another (by studying in several turns. In Georgia. Children have careless attitudes towards their living environments. the loss of hope in the future. people below us are sweeping the ground and soon they will gather our friends and throw them into the garbage. Private rooms are clean but common premises (“nobody’s place”) are presented as objects for destruction and garbage. usually. such as “My Family. children considered them dangerous. “Free” topics represent nature. for instance.

for instance by saying: “You are already grown-up and you should not cry. we will not meet again. have bought apartments. “probably. reviews his/her experiences. They do not include improvisation or roles. in the collective centres where second-time displaced IDPs lived. Immediately after displacement. the authors witnessed these four stages. and are engaged in a new social network. 4. burning the goods brought in by NGOs. the authors witnessed strong reactions of protest like the damaging of cars of humanitarian organisations. Today it is already possible to meet families that have reached the coping stage – they are employed. searching for those who have caused their suffering). 3. Coping: He/she slowly accepts the new reality and decides to establish new social links. Despair: He/she expresses nostalgia for the pre-traumatic past. IDPs face severe material problems and have no time to mourn their dead relatives or the material losses they have experienced. Denial: The traumatised person does not accept the objective reality as it is.” etc. that return in this period of time was an unattainable dream. but rituals. However. Adults may resent this habit and oppose it. They denied reality and did not confess. Four stages of mourning can be distinguished: 1. 3. Post-Traumatic Games Traumatic games differ significantly from a regular imitation game in the following: 1. 2. Although IDPs’ folklore may include mourning elements. They do not serve children’s development. Last year.” “You are a brave girl. The unprocessed grief of IDPs is especially acute with children and adolescents. even to themselves. but by fear. etc.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs crying. the majority of IDPs are still blocked in the stage of despair (nostalgia for the past. Then there are only two ways left for children – either to emotionally isolate themselves or protest by anger or aggression. 2. strong desire to return. Case story During four years of work with Georgian IDPs. Protest: He/she attempts to revert the new reality. points at the mistakes he/she or others have done. When the project started.” as they strongly believed they would return home in a month’s time. They are accompanied not by joy. 31 Chapter 2 . their intensity does not correspond to the degree of trauma. each session was ended by the IDPs’ farewell.

Adults forced them to stop as it reminded them of the past. Anxiety and panic reactions take place during the distribution of humanitarian aid among displaced persons. Repetitious Actions Extreme reactions to the traumatic event will be repeated over and over. They would take them from one grave to another. cats. Such a panic reaction can be explained by the poverty these IDPs experienced during the first stage of their forced displacement.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 4. hoping to re-bury them later in their native land. These recurrent reactions can be witnessed among children. During the displacement some people died of hunger and of cold. in the ditches along the road. as was the case during their displacement. It is obvious that these war games were not the usual imitations all children play at this age. Another traumatic game they played repeatedly was the re-burial of dead birds. behaviour is often the only way children express it. They looked like real events. They are afraid that they will not get the products and want more. Two children playing this game had crossed the Svanetia Mountains when they fled their native place. Traumatic games are contagious. Case story Kindergarten and elementary school teachers in Georgia reported that displaced children played war games all the time. They are afraid that they will not get enough. The child brings his/her game into a group where other children pick it up and absorb the traumatic experience contained in this game. and dogs. They may possibly alter into traumatic activity for new victims. As the trauma might be experienced in the period when the child was not yet able to speak. Prohibiting the games could not help the situation. for instance. with obsession. Relatives buried them wherever they could. and 5. rats. as well during the distribution of newspapers and journals. They are repeated endlessly. which was not really a good solution. The games were a signal that the children had psychological problems and needed special psychological assistance. even if not necessary. Witnessing this episode by children provoked such games. 32 Chapter 2 .

In the process of development the child or adolescent experiences various so-called “normal fears. if overcome and “digested. Various types of fear Fear is a common feeling as it plays an important defence role.” For instance. In his picture of the world. Traumatic fears differ from the above-described ones. in the basements) whenever they saw strangers. Problems of attention. whose self-system is not yet established. 33 Chapter 2 . A four-year old boy would run away frightfully when he sees a stranger. as they are more intense. Each of these fears. and destructive.). Several types of vicious behaviour may emerge from it: 1. Children. destructive tendencies/revenge or 2.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Case story In Georgia.” serves as a basis for moving to a new stage of development. thinking). concentration capacity and. the image of a stranger and the concept of threat are tightly associated due to the trauma he experienced. Displaced children are characterised by fears that they have “inherited” from their parents. face the danger that their beliefs will be malformed under the traumatic influence. medication-dependence etc. passive life position/avoidance of reality (neurosis. consequently. The world is likely to be perceived as a source of hostile events with children as victims. it will turn against the person him/herself and the society. fear of independence (which reveals itself in adolescents) helps the IDP to join social networks. The child would spend a lot of energy resisting this tendency and mastering these painful emotions. Their hyper-activity and the repetitions of impulsive actions were also striking and it was rather difficult to introduce some kind of order in the groups. Deformation of the world picture Trauma distorts the picture the person has of the world. memory. It affects his/her cognitive activity (memory. in the corners. If it is not addressed. etc. He starts crying desperately every time he meets a person he does not know. more long term. Such a misconception deprives them of real choice. learning Unprocessed traumatic experience tends to actualise itself constantly: that is to reappear at each moment of daily life. pre-school displaced children in collective centres ran away to find shelter and hide (under the staircase.

One child’s story was interrupted by his brother: “It is not a dream. memory. Family counselling can also play an important role. Therefore. apart from group rehabilitation sessions. Anxiety about the future. the indicators that can predict the psychological state of a child are as follows: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Feelings of insecurity and helplessness. Various types of fear. However. Post-traumatic games. low self-esteem. and Psychosomatic disorders. aggressiveness. learning. we organised special sessions on “dreams” in a safe atmosphere. 34 Chapter 2 . Problems of attention. They provoke strong emotions. nightmares are recurrent and last longer. Dreams can show exactly what happened or show the trauma under a veil. Case story With IDP children. expectations of the worst. Alienation from the social environment. as family members who understand the essence of psychosomatic disorders will assist children to overcome them. The child might cry. feelings of guilt.” Psychosomatic Disorders Rehabilitation should focus on the trauma rather than on the symptoms of psychosomatic disorders. it happened in reality. for traumatised children. He is lying. Frequently. shout. jump.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Sleeping Difficulties Traumatic dreams are one of the signs of unprocessed traumatic experience. Repetitious actions. Sleeping difficulties. Children had the opportunity to talk about the dreams that bothered them. Unprocessed grief. Anger. or walk. Children with these disorders need individual psychotherapy. They differ by the degree of precise reflection of the traumatic event. Non-traumatised children may also have nightmares. Deformation of the world picture. The majority of children between 7 and 12 years told horrible dreams. fear of change. Shame. he/she is not able to recollect in the morning what he/she was dreaming at night.

the phenomenon of victimisation is very frequent. what “air” he/she is breathing in.and macro-environment where he/she has to coexist with other IDPs. Helpers should understand to what degree the ordinary lifestyle of displaced persons is ruined and what is his/her present social environment. The second category has found shelter at their relatives’ or friends’ places and they are disseminated in large cities or city-type villages. the one we assist is not an isolated beneficiary. Similar feelings are felt by the IDPs even if they voluntarily emigrated to this new environment.2 The Trauma of Adult IDPs Forced migration can be compared with a plant pulled out and transplanted elsewhere. During one 35 Chapter 2 . The second type of IDPs try to represent the trauma. In psychology. Hard social and material conditions force IDPs to take the position of a victim.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 2. what circumstances may help him/her to overcome a crisis. irresponsibility. He/she is part of a community and the social micro. One type is an IDP who experienced trauma. an IDP finds him/herself in another socio-cultural environment where the language. That is why it is absolutely necessary to know the IDP’s environment. 2. For example. but who is not “using” it for his/her own benefit. and passiveness. The plant may perish. In spite of the fact that both categories of displaced people passed through similar traumatised events and forced deportation. Forced migration ruins the life of the person. The majority of them are in so-called collective centres and live together. In some cases. their social psychological portrait is characterised by a number of peculiarities. traditions. Victimisation Another phenomenon that contributes to the formation of a traumatised society is the feeling of victimisation. There are two categories of internally displaced persons: 1. and pity them. It happens when there is a threat to the process of identification and belonging to one’s immediate social environment. From the very beginning we should distinguish between two types of victims. In other words. and life norms are “alien” to him/her. Victimisation is accompanied by such negative features as dependence. in communities. The second type is the IDP who “uses” his/her traumatic experience for some gain. and share a “common fate”. it is not necessary at all to experience trauma to play the role of a victim. And they consider the environment obliged to sympathise. values. In the IDP population. assist. or what are the obstacles.1. this phenomenon is known as the “fear of identity loss” and it is one of the characteristic features of crises. but might instead grow roots. He/she deeply suffers from the departure from his/her usual climate and cultural and social environment – and from everything that has “fed” his/her existence and active life.

e. but only in the frame of this role triangle. In this second case. even here we should distinguish sincere assistance from assistance that is carried out by a “rescuer” who is trying to extract a definite profit or benefit from it. secondary gain is sought. In this context. during one regular rehabilitation session we asked the group members to give examples of effective communication from their experiences. In this case an “enemy image” is formed. All three roles – “victim. but at that moment the confronting party is a new social environment.” and “persecutor” are tightly interwoven and if an IDP fits him/herself in one of them. Such a “rescuer” is interested not in actually helping. On the other hand. But it is only possible to help after you have helped yourself. The role of “rescuer” is played by state structures. but in being recognised as being a responsive and kindhearted beneficiary.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs group session the leading psychologist shared with the group her anxiety about the upcoming exam she had to pass. form the “enemy 36 Chapter 2 . What ingratitude!” It is not rare that such a “rescuer” is an “ex-victim” him/herself – when he/she is not able to assist him/herself. so that he/she can be proud of him/herself. even against the other's will. Isolation and the feeling of “non-resemblance” in IDPs also weakens the feeling of their belonging to the society. Both mechanisms strengthen the process of victimisation of the society. Such a “rescuer” might be turned into a “persecutor. fuel tendencies of revenge and contribute to the spirit of intolerance. Rescuer Victimisation is also supported by the society that takes on the role of a “rescuer. The majority of them brought up manipulation through their victimisation as examples of their success. i. and humanitarian organisations that were assisting the IDPs during the disaster. he/she starts assisting the others.” especially when he/she is attempting to assist the other regardless of any circumstances. In such a case they can also find themselves in the position of a “victim” – “I am doing kind deeds but he/she does not see it.e. the victim’s immediate environment. destructive behaviour stereotypes and passive life positions are formed. it might even be called the symbol of new identity and it becomes utilised. the victims themselves ascribe the role of “rescuer” to their social environment and seek help from it. In this first case. is one of the basic tasks of psychosocial rehabilitation.” As another example. both for the victim and the helper.” “rescuer. i. in spite of the fact that a new social environment (local population) is related to them both by language and basic spiritual values. spots of constant tension and conflicts between the IDPs and the local population are formed which. the local population. However. The exit of this vicious triangle. the position of a “victim” is presented as a symbol of a new value. on the one hand. victimisation is the symbol of opposition to new values that stem from the “alien” culture. Group members (IDPs) gave her some friendly advice: “Tell them that you are an IDP and they will give you a good mark.” Frequently. in turn. He/She prefers to “get a fish” for the other in order that the latter remains dependent on him/her for as long as possible. He/She is providing help even when nobody asks him/her to do so – he/she will never teach other IDPs “how to fish” and will never give them fishing rods. he/she can easily move to other positions.

which lay the foundation for the formation of tendencies for revenge. 37 Chapter 2 . prescribing to him/her inhuman qualities. which.” and intolerance within the displaced population. in a way. Many of them avoid useful activities. “victory over the enemy and return to the homeland. and unrealised aggression. i. “Enemy image” is a created perception and is an exaggerated and distorted image to which all evil is ascribed. Many of them are engaged in small businesses and in rehabilitation activities. the active role of head of the family is prescribed to the mother while the father and is represented as a passive man. We would like to clarify from the very beginning: “enemy image” is not a real adversary or enemy with a human face. the figures of mothers are strong and big. but in the eyes of the social environment as well. but should “serve higher ideals” – for example. The phenomenon of the “loser/defeated in war” decreases the status of men not only in their own eyes. and. to those who are to blame for their present worries. This phenomenon is particularly revealed among men. This mixing of stereotypical roles is consistent with reality – women are more active socially.” i. We will not discuss here indepth mechanisms that lie at the basis of the formation of this phenomenon.” This disposition forms in them a passive life position and restricts social activity. faceless. Within isolated and densely populated communities where group values prevail.” “victimisation. then when the “guilty” is far away. is a phenomenon characteristic of traumatic stress. They consider that they should not waste time on details. Enemy Image “Enemy image. ominous.” as well as victimisation. in theatre sketches staged by children. The “enemy image” is evil. the phenomenon is generalised and is transferred to the immediate social environment. The feeling of infringed dignity and the feeling of the inability to “reflect” the enemy’s actions and provide security for the family arouse painful feelings of helplessness. self-humiliation. The “feeling of victimisation” is always accompanied by both the search for a “rescuer” and the unmasking of an aggressive “persecutor.e.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs image” in IDP consciousness. For example.e. In children’s drawings. in turn.” If during the traumatic incident “enemy” features were ascribed only to real adversaries. we would like to emphasise that the process of “enemy image” formation is always preceded by feelings of isolation and non-resemblance to others and with the dehumanisation of the “enemy.” The “unjustly repressed” searches for the “guilty one in his/her misfortune” and involuntarily is creating the “enemy image. However. spending all his/her time in wasted talks and toasts. “Loser in War” The phenomenon of a “loser in war” contributes to the formation of “enemy image. lowers even further their already low social status. the formation and strengthening of “enemy image” is particularly easy. while those of fathers are small and in dark colours. determine the formation of the traumatised society. alien. and dangerous.

” Fears of solitude and identity loss are expressed more strongly among them.” that we get what we deserve: if you have lost your property. The point is that in society there exists the myth according to which a victim arouses. and they experience feelings of isolation from the society to a lesser degree. IDPs more acutely experience the problems of adaptation. However. living in centres also has its negative side. share life’s difficulties. sympathy. However. For instance. Being dispersed in cities. This category of IDPs faces a difficult choice: either they should reject their habits. traditions. they fear an identity loss to a lesser degree than those living in private accommodations. they live together. and try to preserve traditions and usual social norms.1. Some of these problems are manifested to a greater or lesser degree. language. They experience the so-called “stress of a big city. as if they are afraid to be “infected” with their misfortune.3 The Trauma of IDPs in Collective Centres IDPs residing in collective centres may not have their basic living needs fulfilled. adaptation is especially difficult for those IDPs that have moved from rural areas to urban ones. they have better possibilities for using the benefits of urban life.1. Displaced persons sharing a similar history and a common fate develop the feeling of non-similarity with others. There are examples when parents give their children instructions not to play with traumatised children or to share a school-desk with them. People involuntary run away from the victims. and social norms and assimilate into an “alien” culture with alien values or preserve their originality and find their own “niches” in order to gain new self-confirmation in the society. In this sense. They must adapt to the social requirements of the “alien” culture. Centres of refugees or IDP settlements are perceived by the rest of the society as reservations. you should not have been a scatter-brain. in fact the attitude towards the victim. But it is far more difficult for them to manage severe trauma and overcome psychological crisis as they lack the support of “brothers in misfortune. 2. As a consequence. which can be the basis for the further development of traumatic stress. On the other hand. as was mentioned above.” which further aggravates their psychological crisis. as they do not believe in the capacity of the outside world to understand their plight. they feel isolated and alienated from society. However.4 The Trauma of Privately Accommodated IDPs This category of displaced persons is characterised by the same psychosocial problems mentioned above. first of all.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 2. shoulder to shoulder. 38 Chapter 2 . Those IDPs living in private accommodations require strong support from the helper’s side as a basis for any community-oriented rehabilitation. IDPs who live in urban areas and are supported by relatives and friends are in better material conditions. is frequently diluted with covert aggression. which emphasises their isolation even more. One can call it pride. and culture. This attitude is based on the basic belief in the “just world.

as it is his/her past and part of his/her life. but they give a general impression of these essential phenomena. to throw them away.. the person tries to forget the trauma he/she has experienced. reality returns and the IDP becomes aware that he/she has not advanced at all in understanding the genuine essence of the events – the future has already come and time that should have been spent finding new ways of influencing the situation has been wasted. Sooner or later. Denial. which need to be considered in order to direct effectively our actions. the pain caused by reality. for a period of time. but they are not enough to cope or to eventually reduce the ability to actively cope. When someone else – a friend or relative – is experiencing crisis. to hide them somewhere far away – in the “attic” – and to lock them away there. 2. However. he/she tries to conceal the feelings and tries to behave as if nothing happened.” The person deepens in endless fantasies about what could have happened “if. the IDP easily puts him/herself in his/her shoes. It is certainly wrong to draw conclusions on the IDP’s weakness by his/her reaction to crisis. 2.” Such half-measures can reduce. obviously. A more frequent form of coping is to take the desirable for reality.” or “If it were. and tries to explain that such a reaction is quite natural. “If only this did not happen..Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs The above mentioned psychosocial specificity. Human beings are often very strict with themselves. 39 Chapter 2 .. in the majority of cases.. To be aware of the forms of reaction to trauma is very important both for the traumatised IDPs and helpers. Behind such behaviour is the fear that the surrounding IDPs will get tired and bored and change their opinions in a negative direction if he/she is not strong enough. He/she does not want. and 3. Each person has his/her own style to overcome difficulties and to fight psychological pain. That is why it is necessary from time to time for helpers to remind victims that emotional reactions during psychological crises are normal and obvious..2 Coping with Crisis There are numerous forms of coping with crisis. But when it comes to his/her own experiences. all these forms can be reduced to the following three: 1. Problem-focused. tend to use ineffective measures.. does not reflect all the nuances of the factors that are functioning in the displaced population. and is not able. human beings. Palliative (half-measures). to run away from the problems. Frequently. understands his/her state. Denial In trying to overcome severe psychological crises. One of them is the denial of problems.

In a definite period of psychological crisis. Many in deep crisis search for ways of growing and try to enrich their experiences with new skills and knowledge. such as avoidance. Alcohol in large quantities is accompanied by a loss of control. All these substances strongly affect the biochemistry of emotions and create problems. for example. or to smoke. Many in crisis tend to use alcohol. These means are rather diverse as the range of difficulties requiring resolution is very wide. the frequent use of caffeine increases anxiety.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Palliative Avoidance is an involuntary reaction to the trauma and it is accompanied by emotional non-involvement. Effective ways of coping with crisis are based on active. a passion for these substances can form dependency and abuse. it is the biggest obstacle for resolving problems. it causes new problems because the avoidance of feelings and permanent control can block an important and valuable source of information and can hinder coping. as he/she does not try to change the situation. When a person does not believe in his/her own effectiveness. medications. For example. play a positive role and help the person to feel as if in safety. halfmeasures. problem-focused efforts. is inadmissible. which negatively affects the severe psychological state. help sleeping disorders for a while – but their long-term use. But if it becomes the only strategy for overcoming crisis. Even more dangerous. It is important for a person to set the frame within which it is possible to change events. and drugs. There are no guarantees here: the only thing that can be said is that a human being never achieves anything if he/she does not take definitive steps in setting the frame. Problem-Focused Another ineffective means of coping with crisis is the use of alcohol. strong-affecting medication. drink coffee in enormous amounts. instead of applying effective means of coping. Medication can play a positive role for only a short period of time – it can. 40 Chapter 2 .

as well as contributing to their personal development and growth by mobilising their inner coping resources and those of their environment (parents. entire community). the absence of a parental role model. conflict management. family. to sob out their grief. creativity. The following negative factors should also be taken into account when planning the assistance: • • • • • chronic emotional blockage. and the formation of skills required for consistent action. conflict in the family or immediate surroundings. develop skills.1 Levels of intervention Intervention should target all levels of the child’s functioning: Behaviour and skills Activities at this level aim at eliminating of non-constructive behavioural stereotypes (e. and self-expression. 3.Chapter 3 PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION OF IDP CHILDREN: INTERVENTION METHODOLOGY The psychosocial rehabilitation of IDP children aims at overcoming their traumatic experiences. to free themselves from aggression through its 41 . Emotions The most important tasks in this area are to help children to act out their traumatic experiences. However. the enrichment of behaviour through cooperative patterns. kindergarten. It is also important to foster the development of skills for effective communication. and the absence of opportunities to practice his/her skills. and objectives.g. beliefs. and enemy image. and can contribute to freeing his/her personality from aggressive impulses. a non-supportive environment. clarify vitally important values. victim-aggressor). The latter objective can be achieved through the involvement of children in structured team activities. victimisation. a comprehensive approach focusing on resources within and around the child can help him/her to digest traumatic experiences. school/teachers.

to use actively his/her memory.) for the psychosocial rehabilitation of children. etc. friendship. the child should be able to concentrate. Each exercise will be connected to the framework described above. It is very important for children to be aware and to accept their personalities. The development of the cognitive functions blocked by traumatic experiences: after appropriate action. forgiveness. The latter is especially important as it gives children the ability to view situations from different angles.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs expression. games.1 Play Play represents one of the major components of psychosocial rehabilitation for children.2. understand. the work should be carried out in two directions: 1. but also of love. As a basic form of human behaviour. The child should also be aware of his/her freedom of choice and have a responsible view of his/her life within the community. and self-esteem. especially through games since they structure children’s activity and develop 42 Chapter 3 . Attitudes and the belief system It is very important for children to be aware of universal human values such as those enshrined in international human rights instruments. 3. “Self” and personal identity The helper should create a safe atmosphere in order to foster children’s expression. and to overcome inner constraints to better recognise. and to understand that they are unique individuals with free will and potential. 2.2 Basic Intervention Techniques This section contains several basic tools (drawing. and to have a caring attitude towards their own family and social environment. self-awareness. and express emotions. and tolerance. 3. Cognitive functions At this level. The correction of the perception of the world and of the self: the child should be able to view the environment as containing the potential for personal growth. rather than as something hostile. creative thinking. and to think creatively. playing is able to create a positive impact.

43 Chapter 3 . Games foster responsibility. When introducing themselves to each other. a participant draws on the blackboard or a piece of paper with closed eyes. like Nati. Anit (Tina). Example: Each participant writes his/her name on four pieces of paper in 4 different ways. This fosters a team feeling and mutual help. Another example: Each participant of the group has a piece of information he/she has to share with others in order to get the “full picture” of an event. most importantly. The group tells him/her what and how to draw the picture (be it a landscape or a geometrical figure). The games can be one-sided or two-sided or played in a large group. Guiding The group helps one of the participants to solve a difficult task. leadership. he/she basically acts as an observer. etc. This exercise is good for team building purposes. and.). and mutual trust. The goal is to find the 4 pieces containing the parts of one's own name. the facilitator puts his/her hand into a bag with different items and describes the thing that he/she chose. Even though he/she can get involved in the game whenever he/she finds it necessary. articles. For instance. pictures. Below is a quick typology of games: Information gap “A” possesses some information unknown to “B. Apart from verbal explanation. in small groups (3-4 children). All participants have something to exchange with others (ideas. promote spontaneous happiness. Itan. Participants have to identify his/her choice. Another example: “A man with a parachute walks in a field and dies…” Participants ask questions to guess what has happened. The leader answers the questions only by saying “Yes” or “No. They aim at encouraging the spontaneous interaction of participants through structured activities.” “B” has to guess what this information is. Participants possess a certain part of information and must compare it with the partner's information to solve a common problem. participants have to exchange their pieces of paper. Exchange The game is based on the barter principle. Then each participant takes 4 pieces out of the bag. The aim is to satisfy both sides. Games can be played in pairs. Tani. and in large groups. These pieces of paper are put in a common bag and mixed together. For instance. the helper should also demonstrate to children part of the game.” Such a game helps to stimulate non-standard thinking.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs their self-management skills and their understanding of their own limitations. drawings.

one child is appointed as stage director for a play that can be inspired from his/her dreams. According to widely accepted psychological theories. or self-assertive. Complex themes can also be staged. Energisers Energisers are used to create a relaxed and trust-based atmosphere at the beginning of a session. or self-assertive. It actually offers a wider range of behavioural opportunities and enables them to reach an optimal pattern of reactions within their community. Shy or aggressive children can actually try the opposite behaviour: aggressive or shy. Each staged situation is later subject to discussions: “how did he/she perform? What did we learn from it? etc.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Puzzles Participants exchange and compare different segments to make a full picture. The essence of psychodrama is the staging of an improvised scene that gives participants an opportunity to play new. aggression. and what postures they should take. and an optimistic ending. The games of this type are crosswords. etc. It is also a good way to explore the participants’ dreams. Sessions lasting more than two hours should be interrupted 2 or 3 44 Chapter 3 . select roles. fears. Role playing (simulation) In these games participants identify scenarios. Roles should be selected in correspondence with participants’ age and needs and the staged scenes should not amplify their weaknesses (laziness. For instance.” but the “self” emerges from the roles. roles do not develop from a person’s “self. and imagination. and thoughts in a psychologically safe environment. wishes. alternative roles in a staged situation. without taking any risk. a positive dynamic throughout it. Self-expression helps them to release themselves from strict self-control or tension. explains to them what they have to perform and how. It is useful to develop the ability to concentrate and think creatively. indecisive. etc. charades. and play them. children can practice different types of reactions – aggressive. the Robinson Crusoe game: you are a member of a crew whose ship has sunk and you find yourself on a desert island where you must build a new state. to introduce positive changes to their emotional state. The range of possible games is very wide and the facilitator can also use improvisation for rehabilitative purposes.” In some games. indecisive. and makes them more flexible and sociable. At the end of each exercise it is necessary to discuss the characteristics of each reaction (typical facial expressions. For instance.). voice. tells them what they should say. ineffective behavioural model into a more functional one. or real life situations. He/She assigns roles to other children. postures). and to freely express emotions. a written scenario. Children can also be asked to react to situations in different ways: aggressive. and to help them to change a rigid.

They can introduce diversity into the session’s activity and support team building. who stands on his/her feet answers the participants’ question ("Which direction is the wind blowing?") in this way: “It is blowing in the direction of children who are dressed in red (/ who are laughing. One of the participants tries to break into the circle using any available means (jump over the circle. thoughts. Example: “Which direction is the wind blowing?” Participants sit in a circle.. Each participant has to choose his/her own path and follow the selected thread up to the end. it should be noted that if used more than needed. The game is used with pre-school aged children.. Example: “Paths. Drawing satisfies the child's need for the creative expression of his/her emotions. etc). imagination. dreams. When he/she succeeds. The facilitator takes a free seat. holding hands. 45 Chapter 3 .” The purpose of the game is to develop co-ordination. etc. and the game continues with the participant that let in him/her trying to break into the circle.2. for instance. Many different games can be used as energisers. skills. and abilities (attention. Numerous books have provide catalogues of energisers and this one will not attempt to duplicate these publications. break through it using force.2 Drawing Drawing is both an easily accessible and useful method. and trauma. Example: “Breaking through the circle. which makes it difficult to bring participants back to the planned activity. cannot concentrate for a long time and may get easily tired when fully participating in a session. 3. One is not allowed to go back to one's own seat. he/she joins the group.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs times to mobilise participants and bring in a new flow of energy. However. The children with the relevant characteristics jump on their feet and exchange their seats. / have dark hair. / are tired. so that the children can practice more subtle body movements. etc. at a symbolic level. It is desirable to place “paths” in a small space. speech. The child. Energisers can also be used for team building purposes. It helps children who have problems to understand their own thoughts and emotions at several levels: • Children can show their emotions in a non-verbal way. Skill and Ability Development Games can also be aimed at the development of different faculties.). who has been left without a seat becomes facilitator and continues the game.).” Participants stand in circle. conflicts. memory. energisers might undermine the working atmosphere. Energisers should not require intense intellectual activity and should be entertaining and dynamic. Children. Using 10 metres of thread of different colours the facilitator makes paths that interlace with each other. Energisers increase children's working potential and enable them to relax. The facilitator. fears.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • • • •

They can release the inner tension linked to their emotions (to “ventilate” emotions); The drawing can raise his/her self-esteem as a result of the creation and other children’s approval; It allows the helper to get a good understanding of the functioning of the children’s group (tensions, competition, solidarity, roles, etc.); It strengthens the children’s team. No importance should be paid to the artistic qualities of the drawing. What is encouraged here is spontaneous creativity, i.e. the process more than the result. Children have to learn not to laugh at each other in the case of unsuccessful performance. They have to learn to see unique qualities in any drawing, no matter how simple it is; It allows the helper to understand the child's vision of his/her environment, the child’s inner world, attitudes, ideas, desires, and problems. The child is asked to speak on behalf of one or several items of the drawing (“If the thunder you draw could speak, what would it say?”). Spontaneous responses to this question can convey blocked emotions, later clarified by the helper. It allows for the correction of the children’s attitudes towards the world. It is important not to leave the expressed trauma unanswered and to propose another direction for the attitude of the child, either through another drawing or through explanation.

Before starting the activity, the facilitator supplies children with all the necessary material, such as paper, pencils, chalk, etc. Children can draw on a blackboard, fabric, etc. A drawing can be free or related to some theme. It can be individual, created in pairs, or by groups of children. The facilitator arranges a space and later tries to be as inconspicuous as possible. However, he/she observes the process and is ready to render any necessary assistance. A drawing session can be accompanied by suitable music. In general, drawing sessions in groups can either encourage children’s interaction through the exchange of drawings (“Visiting cards,” “Who I am,” “What I like/don't like about myself,” “How people see me/what I really am,” “my own emotions,” “my own dreams,” “my feelings expressed by symbols,” etc.) or their cooperation on a joint drawing. Several types of interaction between children can be fostered: • • • Assistance/Solidarity: Drawing in pairs with the duty of assisting each other with complementary roles (one with a blue pen, the other with the red). Negotiations: Interfering with each other when there is only one pencil available, for instance. Contribution to a common project: “Drawing in a circle” – each child makes a drawing on his/her own piece of paper. On a signal from the facilitator (bell ring, a clap), he/she passes it on to his/her neighbour. Each child needs to contribute to the drawing before it comes back to the one who initiated it. "Group drawing” – children draw on a large piece of paper in turns or together. One child starts the activity, which is followed by another

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Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs child, etc, until the whole group participates in the creation of a common picture or all children have to co-ordinate to draw a joint picture. Team building can easily be reinforced when children are geared towards a common goal (to create an emblem for their club, etc.). “Live exhibitions” and interviews are often followed by drawing sessions with the artists. Videotaping of these events and their subsequent viewing can be very stimulating for children. Drawing can also be linked to other methods like wish-making, poetry, or any piece of literature. Drawing helps children to express their “self” and to pay attention to their emotions. It stimulates creativity and promotes personal growth.

3.2.3 Creative Imagination
Creative imagination is an important element of personality development. Children with well-developed imaginations are more successful in coping with trauma and in restructuring trauma in a creative way. They are also better adjusted to their environment. Imagination can be the subject of training and can be developed. Exercises in active imagination also enable the helper to study the child's world and to detect threatening and painful areas. Above all it helps the child to release him/herself from the grasp of traumatic experiences through the increase of selfesteem and transformation of given situations. Exercises of imagination need to be linked with other exercises (drawing, role play, meditation, etc.). It is preferable to practice the exercises with closed eyes, even though some children often object to it at the start. They can be allowed to do it with open eyes. After some time and practice, the group gradually gets used to the situation and selects the most suitable mode. Helpers should also take into account that every person has his/her own natural rhythm. Therefore, the pace of the facilitator can be optimal for some children and too fast or too slow for others. For this reason, children should be encouraged to follow their own working pace. Exercises should be followed by discussions through which children can express their feelings and thoughts, share their impressions with the facilitator and other participants, and describe their difficulties during the exercises. A thorough discussion (reflection) diminishes the risk of leaving children with their painful and frightening images, which could spontaneously arise in the course of exercises. When planning a session, the facilitator should take the above into consideration and allocate enough time for debriefing/reflection. Visualisation should start with relatively simple, easy exercises, so that children do not lose interest in the tasks. Exercises can also have an impact on the development of the senses.

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Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Visual images Children are asked to close their eyes and imagine the following: • • • • a hand is slowly writing their names on a piece of paper; a hand is slowly writing a one digit number, followed by a two digit number, three digit number, etc., until the last distinguishable number. Keep the figure before your inner vision for 1 or 2 minutes; a hand is slowly drawing a golden triangle, a blue circle, a rainbow; a hand is slowly drawing a white rose, which gradually turns red.

The list of objects described can become more complex and include landscapes, people, and even abstract concepts and events involving the children (“I am standing in a field,” “I am standing on the top of a mountain,” etc.). Situations that are potentially traumatic for children should be avoided. Tactile images Children are asked to imagine that they pat a cat or a dog, that they feel their skin, or that they touch newly baked bread, a stream of water, a tree, or some sand. To simplify the exercise, images may first be combined with visual ones, but later the helper should help children to concentrate on tactile ones only. Olfactory images Children are asked to imagine they smell freshly baked bread, wheat-flour, grass, fire, smoke, and perfume. Gustatory images Children are asked to imagine the taste, temperature and consistency of a banana, walnuts, hot chocolate, or a cake. Auditory images Children are asked to close their eyes and to listen to a voice, to his/her name being said, to the rain, to a creaking door, or to a bell fading away. Images of body sensations Children are asked to imagine that they are walking then running along the beach, they feel the movement of their muscles, they are climbing a tree, chopping wood. When performing these exercises, children should avoid excessive tension. If there

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the facilitator should be aware of the strong impact that they may have on children. which can be internalised during the process of personality development and develops the children’s ability to conceptualise an empathetic understanding. Children lie on the carpet. love. and some strong ethical principles. the facilitator should stand by the child and support him/her in overcoming the painful memories of his/her trauma that he/she might express through the discussion. sayings) can be successfully used in psychosocial rehabilitation for illustrative purposes.2. and to develop forgiveness and tolerance.4 Metaphors Metaphors (fables. Negative values of old tales (about women’s roles. 49 Chapter 3 . Below is a Chinese tale the helper can use in the sessions. a caring attitude towards others. Metaphors help children to realise basic values (friendship. The function of the metaphors is to trigger the child's mental activity. The “Mandala” can serve as an example of a non-structured exercise that fosters free imagination.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs is something they cannot manage to do. They offer models. parables. When telling metaphorical stories. Later. so that their heads are at the centre of a circle and their legs on the outer line of the circle (or vice versa). and faithfulness). 3. for instance) and global themes should be repeatedly discussed from different perspectives in group sessions. they should not be too persistent. Children can let themselves imagine what they wish and then discuss it in a group discussion. and should shift to the next exercise or give up their efforts for a while. to generalise personal experiences. The facilitator instructs them to close their eyes and to breathe slowly. Exercises in active imagination enable us to improve children's emotional state “here and now” and has many positive effects that extend beyond the session.

who had a collection of horses.” quietly answered the peasant. The neighbours told the peasant: “What a misfortune! You have nothing now. the peasant’s only son fell off the horse and broke his leg. misfortune or what. The peasant sold part of the horses and gained quite a lot of money. The ruler was quite amazed and decided to visit the peasant himself. The peasant refused to sell his horse. The ruler of the country. When seeing the horse. Mothers of the young people said to the peasant: “Lucky you! Your son is a cripple. by showing how difficult it is for people faced with crisis to perceive the consequences and meaning of this event. by discussing the difference in reality perception (reality viewed by the peasant and neighbours). “This horse is my friend. at least.” “Who knows. Other peasants said to him: “What a fool you are! How could you give up half of the kingdom? It will serve you right if you die in misery and poverty. How can I sell it?” – he said. The neighbours approached the peasant again and said .” was the peasant's answer. After some time the horse returned and brought a horse-herd with it. but he is. but that there are “ups and downs.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs “Who Knows” Once upon a time there was a peasant who had a pure bred horse. but the peasant did not accept the deal. Then the ruler approached the peasant with his people. Soon a war started and all the young men from the village were taken to the army.” was the peasant's answer… The facilitator may then direct group discussion in different ways: • • • • • by emphasising the phenomenon of friendship (between the peasant and his horse). One stormy night the horse broke away from the stable and disappeared.” “Who knows. “How clever you were not to get desperate when you lost the horse! It brought you luck” – said the neighbours. no kingdom. no horse.“What a misfortune! Your son became a cripple because of this horse!” “Who knows what it is. but the peasant was firm in his decision.” “good and bad”. but the peasant's son stayed at home. “Who knows. Once.” was the answer. alive. by stressing the phenomenon of two sides of the coin (each event has its positive and negative aspects).” was the answer. he offered the peasant half of his kingdom in exchange.” “Who knows. by showing children that we do not live in a black and white world. learned about the peasant's horse and sent someone to buy it. loaded with silver and gold. 50 Chapter 3 .

Their reduction is a necessary step for involving the other side in peace building. or exhibitions. 3. people of any age can participate. Community work with parents. fostering official negotiations). Their involvement in folk diplomacy meetings helps them to feel part of the process taking place and reinforces their sense of self-esteem and responsibility. and over-generalisations that become weaker after establishing direct human relationships.2. programmes combining these two aspects are the most effective. folk diplomacy meetings are also very important for the purpose of psychosocial rehabilitation. and even ask the participants to write a continuation of the story. Children should be adequately prepared with training on efficient communication and on subjects listed under 3. Group work with parents & family consulting.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs It is also possible to analyse the image of the wise man and his characteristics. The first problem is the selection of participants among the children and adolescents. we should focus on participants with positive leading characteristics in order for the benefits of the meeting to spread beyond its limits. teachers. However. 3. In folk diplomacy meetings. They include: • • • • Group work with children and adolescents.3. the stereotypes of the opposing side. These meetings also help to eliminate the enemy image. The most important point is to enable children to see their traumatic past through “other people's eyes” and to view it from a different perspective. the focus is on working with the younger generation only. it is important to sustain the links established between the participants and to conclude the meeting a plan for more exchanges. but in this case. Every conversation with displaced populations reveals their desire to return to the homeland. 51 Chapter 3 . They should also be of the same age.3 Fields of Psychosocial Rehabilitation for School Age Children and Adolescents There are several forms of children’s and adolescents' psychosocial rehabilitation. Casework.5 Folk Diplomacy Apart from serving immediate objectives (building “peace bridges. After the meetings. excursions.” establishing relations with the opposing party.1. Meetings can take the form of joint workshops in conflict management or entertaining activities. the themes of life and death. and for ensuring future peaceful coexistence. such as concerts. Since we deal with restricted resources. which is a precondition for the formation of a new attitude towards the past and the development of a more pro-active position.

The following five programmes have been elaborated for group sessions: 1. their complexity differs according to their ages. 52 Chapter 3 . 5. others should listen to him. 4. Participants who are afraid to express themselves and do not normally take part in group activities will feel more at ease. and that the group will always give him/her the time and space to be included in discussions if he/she wishes. The first three programmes should be implemented in succession. participants should be introduced to each other in a safe atmosphere. Communication skills. during which participants introduce themselves to others in an amusing way.3. For this purpose. it is desirable to include special exercises. 2. Overcoming the enemy image. the facilitator should ask participants to decide on ground rules for the sessions. he/she has the right to abstain from participation. However. The joint elaboration of ground rules enables children to consider themselves cocreators of the group processes and responsible for the group activity within a tolerant atmosphere. for two and a half or three hours. based upon mutual trust. 3. at the exclusion of any judgmental attitudes. They can include. with 15 to 25 children/adolescents and at least two facilitators (see facilitator’s role in previous chapter). and • Arrangement of meetings of conflicting parties. The programmes for ecological education and creative thinking are implemented along with the communication skills and conflict management programmes. 3. Creativity and non-standard thinking. for instance: • • • When one person talks. is not an object of special attention. The facilitator should make “the outsider” feel that he/she is not criticised for passivity.1 Group work with Children and Adolescents In areas with many IDPs. as it touches deeper layers of their personality. To create a safe atmosphere. The sessions of the five programmes are almost identical in the case of 7-12 year old children and adolescents. and Environment.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • Teacher training. sessions are held once per week. Respect for the opinions of others. Conflict management. The programme for overcoming enemy image can be a very emotional experience for participants. At the beginning of the work. The above programmes comply with a global strategy to overcome victimisation and increase tolerance. and If a group member does not want to participate.

main part. the ability of having a sense of responsibility. hand movements.” through games and energisers. Our experience shows that apart from traumatic stress. to respect their own experiences. and insufficient emotional development also may have a profound impact on their communication skills. The conclusion stage includes feedback from the participants on possible improvements for the sessions. rage. as well as the experiences of other people. revealing one's own self). Communicating in an harmonious way 53 Chapter 3 . etc. the facilitator provides the participants with brief theoretical information (for 10-15 minutes) connected with the major theme (persuasive communication. teachers. some children will remain in a shy. small group work. A discrepancy between their feelings and their body language (facial expression. However.1. conflict escalation stages.” This model implies supplying children with the necessary resources and skills for the periphery.). IDP children also experience psychological problems. Through an interactive process (brainstorming. including difficulties in relationships with peers. non-verbal language. to listen in an empathetic way. as it will become part of a broader context. the facilitator should try to effectively put in energisers. It is also intended to promote emotional development (expression of emotions. During the sessions. 3. Following the interactive process. Training for children and adolescents should be structured.1 Training on Communication Skills The process of psychosocial rehabilitation often follows a scheme “from periphery to the centre. so that they fully participate in the next phase and become more involved in the group dynamics. etc.” with the traumatic experience as the “centre” and the knowledge. the feedback identifies energisers that stimulated participation in the next session. Involvement of children in the introduction is aimed at “warming them up.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Each session includes three stages: introduction. the main part is composed of elements from one or more of the five programmes listed above. and conclusion. to control emotions. anxiety. and the ability to be socially active.). while allowing flexibility to focus on problems as they arise in the children’s expressions. etc. parents. and neighbours. even though it implies the reinforcement of the inner link between the “self” and explicit behaviour. and to accept others’ subjective realities. They may also be lacking in positive role models. in order to support a creative adjustment and a better ability to cope with their traumatic experience. expressionless position. children learn to use harmonious and persuasive communication. and the skills acquired through the development process as the “periphery. Interpersonal communication represents the main area of training in communication skills.) may occur for which they have insufficient control. Additionally. If the audience becomes too passive during the session. IDP children often lack the skills needed to express their emotions in the appropriate manner. the experience. Excessive control.3.

” etc. For this purpose the facilitator may use the following exercises: “Box of emotions” Objective: Increasing experiences. In this case.) on small pieces of paper and puts them into a bag. Harmony is a precondition for positive and effective interrelationships. through actions. and posture involuntarily express their inner state. like “Before going to sleep. Children also learn that non-verbal manifestation is one of the most important components of the communication process. Each child should then express the feeling indicated on the piece of paper he/she picked up in a non-verbal way. Children learn that their facial expression.. 54 Chapter 3 . while others have to guess which one he/she os conveying. but does not reveal them at the verbal level. a person may not realise that his/her gestures express aggression or rage. the facilitator can stage the following scene: the children are instructed to say “I want to help you. which should be expressed and identified by children. If the child does not manage to convey his/her feelings. children’s awareness of inner feelings and Children sit in a circle or semicircle. their emotions and conflicts. Similarly. but with conscious body language. It forms the basis for clear and reliable communication that does not resort to defence mechanisms. The exercise is followed by discussion.” The guest knows quite well him/her own feelings and experience. during which the children identify and review different non-verbal signals of the human body.” “Waiting for punishment. A guest who felt quite bored during his/her visit tells the hostess: “I had such a nice evening. gestures.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Harmony implies consistency between the inner experience and its expression. To provide children with a picture of harmonious communication. which then goes from child to child for distribution. he/she is assisted by the facilitator or by a volunteer member of the group. etc. “Pantomime of mental states” is a more complex version of the previous exercise. Realising the possible effect of their physical self helps them to better understand themselves and their emotions and more easily express.” or “I love you” with gloomy faces and clenched fists to show the lack of congruence between the verbal message and the body language. the facilitator writes on paper possible situations and dynamic states. The facilitator then distinguishes between conscious and unconscious incongruent body language by giving some examples. The facilitator writes down the feelings recalled by children (rage.

After practising the exercise. roles are exchanged. After a few moments. quiet?”).Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs “Only eyes” Objective: Experimenting with non-verbal communication. not to express his/her emotions. and to think about something unrelated to the subject. If played in pairs. which reflects the other participant’s facial expression and movements. happy. 55 Chapter 3 . angry. During the discussion they tell each other what was easy or difficult to do. The group splits into pairs. what they learned from it. or with the participation of the whole group. one of the participants is asked to look indifferent. they can share verbally their impressions (“Was your partner. “A smile” Objective: Using non-verbal communication to generate positive feelings in the partner. sad. etc. what they liked about the game. what was pleasant/unpleasant. the partners exchange their roles. participants are asked to analyse the game. and share their impressions regarding their roles (which role was more difficult and for what reason. The exercise can be conducted in pairs.). “A mirror” Objective: Training in distancing one's own self and in looking at oneself in the mirror. Once he/she smiles. One of the partners becomes an animated mirror. what they saw in the mirror. Then the children may choose a new partner and repeat the exercise. Children are split into pairs and asked to establish non-verbal eye contact with their partners. etc. The other participant is asked to make the partner “smile” without using words or touching the partner. After several minutes.

56 Chapter 3 . The same applies for the other sentences written on the backboard. clearly. etc.I would prefer to” “I cannot . Children then share their impressions. etc. starting with “I must” that he/she says to his/her partner (without getting answers). face moves. They break into two groups. During the closing discussion it is emphasised that the first phrases deny the child any responsibility for actions. The following words are written on the blackboard: • • • • “I have to . The revised sentences are also told to the partner.).).I do not want” “I need .I want” “I am afraid that . The same text may also be said with different speeds (quickly.” without changes to the rest of the sentence. gesture.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Staging Children stage a play of their own invention and allocate their roles. emotions. coldly. warmly. slowly) and intensity (loudly.” The group splits into pairs. They learn how to deduce meanings from individual details of the play (intonation. The replacement of words brings the feeling of freedom and competence. and thoughts. Children are finally encouraged to search for examples.I would like to. Each participant writes down 3 sentences. “I must” is replaced with “I prefer. in which the alteration of the structure of speech and the replacement of words entails positive results. “Power of language” Objective: Awareness of the structure of one's speech through its alteration and the increase of the sense of responsibility towards one’s speech. One group has to guess the content of the scene staged by the other group. Then.

the difference has to be stressed between the sentence “Helen. “Helen. 57 Chapter 3 .” which implies an insult. Participants sit in a circle.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs “My credo” Objective: Training in the components of active listening. Participants that experience difficulties in summarising the statements in an empathetic manner are helped by volunteer members of the group. Actully. “my. The child that catches the ball will summarise what the previous child said in an empathetic way and then gives his/her life credo. she was only trying to express fear and tension. direct definitions.3. Training children in properly communicating their feelings helps them to convey their message in an understandable manner. with the sentence. Material: A small ball or some small item. you spilled soup and did not clean the table. you are an untidy and a lazy person. The facilitator tells them to express their credo and to throw the ball to another child. Conveying clear messages about one's inner state implies having a responsible attitude towards one's expressed emotions.1. One girl’s “indifferent” expressions were interpreted by her peers as arrogance. have problems expressing their feelings in a coherent way. and metaphors all help them to distinguish ideas from facts and emotions. Management and communication of emotions Children have to learn to be aware of their own feelings. and to be responsible for their expressions. For instance. releases the tension.” pronouns. as said above. and forms a ground for more effective communication. Non-judgmental communication makes their partners less defensive. Using “I”. IDP children. (see also the exercises related to “I message" under 3. The ball goes around the circle and comes back to the facilitator. to know how to manage them.2). Exercises involving comparisons of day-to-day speeches can be used for training purposes.” which describes the action.

). In the course of the training they employ already acquired skills. Training in persuasive communication Children are trained in flexible. stage different situations. The participants follow the dialogue and then discuss which attitude is more effective in individual situations. too aggressive and too shy) are also reviewed in this context. and convincing communication. In the course of the dialogue the two other participants have to guess what role he/she chose. congruent. A dialogue is staged. Socially competent and incompetent types (for instance.” Their opposites are: • • • The harmonious The flexible The well-balanced. etc. sincere. for instance between a mother and a child. These types are: • • • • The obsequious pacemaker The accuser The calculating “computer" The isolated “insane. Each of the three members of the triad selects for him/herself the type he/she wants to portray. Children play roles. auditory. and later discuss which components were omitted and 58 Chapter 3 . Children are also asked to review the different modalities through which messages are transmitted (visual. Children are given the descriptions of behaviour types that they are asked to portray in an inflated way.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Recognising types of communicators Triad Objective: Identification of behavioural types through their portrayal in order to reveal their qualities. The family Adolescents are asked to review the roles “Adult-Parent-Child” and their interaction. where the child asks mother to buy him/her a bicycle.

in which children express justifications for their choices. 1. Mister Moneymaker.” For this purpose the facilitator can use a number of exercises with discussions. Success is guaranteed!” 1. with 5 experts in each. Children in the group or sub-groups compare their cards and try to identify the basis of grouping (which values prevailed in the selection of certain experts). Professor Clever. consideration of life goals and priorities. several participants can take a role of the most desirable expert-magician and involve themselves in an “enjoyable” discussion regarding their usefulness for mankind. Expert in adventures: your life will never be dull. Robinson Crusoe. At the end of a group discussion. He will teach you how to become optimistic.” etc. 59 Chapter 3 . 3. Doctor Clairvoyant. Doctor Designer. 4. 5. 2.” to “Make the stingy neighbour lend you money. Mister Rose Glasses. 3.” or “Presentation and advertising of a selected idea or product. 2. Magicians Objective: In addition to the above. a) the five most desirable magicians b) five less interesting magicians c) the five least desirable magicians. He is an expert in plastic surgery and fancy clothes. A card sample: “A group of 15 experts-magicians offers you its services. 6. He will help you to have the appearance of which you dream. and justification of one's statements. 4. He will teach you how to make money. He will help you to become very intelligent. Adolescents are also trained in saying “No.” or “Justifying a decision.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs which were effective for the achievement of the set objectives. Participants receive a card with a list of magicians and split the list into 3 groups. Themes can range from “Persuade your boss to give you a two week leave. To help you to learn everything about the future and teach you how to become clairvoyant yourself. Children explain to others why a magician was included in the selected category. exchanges of ideas.

He will teach you to accept your age. or writer. Doctor Wisdom. He will develop your artistic abilities and will help you to become a good artist. he/she avoids categorical statements and evaluations. They will make your family life very happy and interesting. The Elephant in the Dark The circus arrived in a village where people had never seen an elephant before. When 60 Chapter 3 . 10. When back in the village they did could not agree on the description. and fables. was to touch the elephant to learn something about it. Miss Idea. With his help you will find true love. Mister Prominent. they sent several people to the cage with the elephant to come back with a description of it for the to other villagers. children write down which other word they first associate with the one they heard. Saint Valentine. She will make you popular. Family Idyll. He/She does not use rigid statements or black and white typologies. It was dark in the cage and the only thing the people could do. sculptor. They had contradictory impressions that reflected their various experiences. 9. 8. Doctor Creative. parables.” said the person who touched his/her leg. 13. etc. Being very curious. Mister Personality Growth. Miss Popularity. But they were uncompromising in their judgement and for this reason. He tells you about your real Self. Acceptance and realisation of subjective realities When someone tries to understand others’ opinions and takes them into consideration. For each of these words. The facilitator reads a list of words. She will help you to find the activity you want.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 7. This expert will help you to generate ideas in any situation. but each of them was right in his/her own way. “He looks like a fan. For illustrative purposes the facilitator can use pictures with double meanings. He will help you to become important in your job. 14. 12. that consisted of the sum (and even more than the sum) of subjective realities. 15.” said the man who touched the animal's ears. they did not succeed at picturing the elephant. “No. He is like a huge pillar. Lady Luck. 11.

Although children constantly hear from parents that “the conflict “ is the reason for their misfortune. 3. 3. in its articles 12 and 13.).3. This attitude prevents them from viewing conflict situations in terms of a potential resource for their development. Studying alternative ways of conflict resolution helps to develop creative. To train them on win-win conflict settlement strategies. “I message”). Children are also helped to develop communication skills. lack of privacy. enabling them to express their ideas to the conflicting party without insulting it and to accept different ideas and feelings from the opponent (active listening.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs summing up the exercise. The child’s inner resources. non-standard thinking for an effective resolution of disagreements. children were told that it 61 Chapter 3 . latent or expressed negative attitudes from and towards the representatives of the hosting population. they do not have a clear understanding of the concept. Not only have they often been displaced because of a war. In one of the role-plays. especially regarding the formation of the enemy image that can manifest itself in distrust towards everybody or might limit itself to “different” or “weak” people in the immediate surroundings. The primary objective of the training is to develop the child’s belief in his/her own abilities and to give him/her practical analytical tools with which to cope with conflicts. misunderstandings between adolescents. different opinion contributes to the creation of a conflict. etc. if properly utilised. Training objectives 1. and ominous. should suffice in dealing with the conflicts he/she encounters. The achievement of this objective is extremely important since internally displaced children tend to avoid conflict situations. not enough material resources. is the Convention on the Rights of the Child. To help children and adolescents formulate a concept of conflict from different angles and to identify a potential for development from it. To teach them about the conflict stages. concerning freedom of expression. Training on Conflict Management Conflict is unfortunately inherent to the displaced person’s life. 4.2. The opposition between internally displaced and local children can be partially explained this way. fatal.1. To make them aware of the existence of other subjective realities and to make them understand how the denial of the right to have your own. happen very often as a consequence of the trauma. but also due to the poor living conditions (overcrowding. but daily arguments within the community. They look at it as something irreversible. which is unique and personal. 2. A useful tool for the development of a tolerant attitude. conflicts between different generations (especially during the puberty period). the facilitator emphasise that any of our associations expresses a subjective reality.

During discussions on the Ozone layer. Psychosocial rehabilitation is based on group work and it is important to support the involvement of all children. 62 Chapter 3 . They solved the problem in a simple way: through the evacuation of the population (seemingly following their own experience). even those that are at first unwilling to participate. what voice. what was new for them. 5. etc. as they arise. the facilitator summarises the session and gets feedback (what children learned.” They talk about its aspects.). Even when their positions are incompatible (for instance. Conflict resolution is also part of the other activities of psychosocial rehabilitation. etc. as the helper will assist children in finding a mutually beneficial solution for each of their conflicts. Group members sit in a circle and recall in what circumstances they have heard the word “conflict. Each artist describes his/her picture. To encourage teamwork and mutual support through the development of cooperation skills. Afterwards. Other children listen to it and then question the artist’s motives. what form.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs was possible to avoid a catastrophe if they could negotiate the acquisition of a certain substance. The Essence of Conflict Objectives: Understanding the essence of conflict. At the end of the exercise. and widening one’s vision of the conflict’s positive and negative effects.) and jointly try to reach a definition. greater awareness of one's own attitudes towards conflict. they draw this concept and hold an exhibition of the drawings. local children suggested to strengthen the Green movement while IDP children proposed to work towards moving the entire Earth’s population to another planet. their interests can be quite compatible (one wants to draw. the other one wants the eraser attached to the end of the pencil in order to erase a bad drawing). two children want the same pencil). Materials: Paper and colour pencils. Systematic avoidance of threat can become dangerous and harmful when viewed as the only possible means of conflict resolution as it prevents the person to find other alternatives. possibly in a symbolic way (what colour. Exercises successfully completed also serve as proof of the usefulness of teamwork and mutual support.

They should not try to solve the problem. Children define conflict (conflicts) and the conflicting sides. The facilitator encourages the discussion about the positive and negative sides of conflict.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Associations with Conflicts Materials: Paper and colour pencils or blackboard and chalk Exercise 1: The facilitator asks the following questions: “What is associated for you with conflict?” He/she divides a sheet of paper into two parts and splits the listed associations into two parts: the associations positively related to conflict and those having a negative relationship. but rather show the conflict escalation. 63 Chapter 3 . Exercise 3: Group discussions on how to avoid aggravating factors from taking place. judgmental statements. The facilitator should emphasise the distortions typical of conflict situations. the facilitator can explain the conflict dynamics. Exercises on conflict escalation The objectives of the following exercises are to familiarise children with conflict escalation stages and with the aggravating factors of the conflicts. Exercise 2: Small groups of five children are requested to recall a conflict they experienced and the aggravating factors they can now identify within them. The group works on the identification of escalation stages and the factors that have caused the conflict. Based on their performance. talk about positive and negative aspects of the conflict. and the transformation of conflict in a positive direction. Conflict Escalation Stages Exercise 1: Small groups of five children each are requested to imagine a conflict situation for which they will have to identify the conflicting parties. Group participants can bring examples from their own experience. and then role play the situation.” “You never…. the issues at stake.) Exercise 4: The facilitator selects a story showing the intensification of conflict. The story is discussed in the group.” (labelling. etc. like “You always…. Exercise 2: The facilitator presents a story depicting a conflict situation and points to the resources contained in conflict.

consensus. where they did not communicate with each other. Each group member shares with the others his/her impressions and together with the facilitator and the group.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Conflict settlement strategies Objective: To be aware of the importance of communication in transforming a competitive relationship into a co-operative one. like compromise. Partners are forbidden to talk to each other. 64 Chapter 3 . After carrying out the assignment. etc. children display their pictures and compare them with those created in the previous exercise. Each pair is asked to share a pencil to make one drawing on one sheet of paper. but with discussions between each other. Materials: Paper and pencil The facilitator splits the group into pairs. The facilitator conducts the discussion process by emphasising the fact that communication helps to reach a successful solution of the task. the exercise is discussed in the group. he/she tries to identify the conflict resolution strategy applied in his/her case. This exercise represents a logical continuation of the previous one in which children are also instructed to draw in pairs. The facilitator then organises a brainstorming session during which he/she underlines that such competitive relationships often result in two losers. After reviewing the pictures. This exercise is also suitable for the acquisition of different conflict resolution strategies.

). and experience of conflict settlement according to the win-win model. Upon the completion of the exercise. pulp. Since the participants are not allowed to read each other's roles. Material: A role description for each participant based on the fact that each person needs a different part of the orange (seeds. Children quarrel because of oranges. who wants to make biscuits. and compromise. juice. etc. differentiation between position and interest. the other one for making biscuits. and thus try to differentiate between interest and position. This enables them to understand that the child who needs the oranges for his/her health has to get only their flesh and the other person. For example. distinction between position and interest. competition. 65 Chapter 3 .Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Exercise “Oranges” Objective: Development of active listening skills. participants exchange views on how they manage to go beyond the conflict using different strategies: • • • • avoidance. actually needs their skin as clearly stated in their roles. The facilitator asks participants to recall similar situations where a win-win model was applied. peel. they can only rely on active listening. one needs them for the health benefits.

All participants leave the room except one who is told a story by the facilitator. swallows part of the island (crossed out each time on the drawing). the children come back into the room. re-telling the story to the one entering the room after them. 66 Chapter 3 .Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs “Island” Objective: The development of effective solutions to conflicts in the case of limited resources. When hearing a clap. Then one by one. The facilitator emphasises in the debriefing that children who stood on one foot and held each other were more likely to win than those who are competitive and pushed others into the water. Group members act like frogs and the facilitator as a crocodile. They should not stop jumping around the island. The facilitator draws an island on the floor on which less than the number of participants can stand. The game is played in several rounds until only three winners are left. Exercises in the development of active listening skills “Rumours” Objectives: Awareness of the effects of one-sided communication on the distortion of information and preparing the ground for the acquisition of active listening skills. The facilitator then asks the group what could have been done to avoid the distortion of information. He/She also explains that this one-sided communication has a disastrous effect on the accuracy of the information: one should allow the listener to be an active participant. The facilitator then reads the original version of the story. which. The last to enter tells the story in front of the whole group. at every clap. they have to manage to get back to the island.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Retelling Stories Objective: Acquiring restatement skills and the ability to carry out nonevaluative judgements. The facilitator tries to make the group feel the destructive nature of the messages like “You + blame. The group is split into pairs. “I message” Objective: Development of effective communication skills. Recognition means one accepts the fact that the other person has his/her subjective world and that he has the right to experience the feelings and emotions absolutely different from his/her own. Basic tasks related to the elimination of enemy image are as follows: 67 Chapter 3 . The children in pairs have to tell each other. the listener recognises the subjective reality of the person to whom he/she listens. The ability to differentiate between recognition and agreement is important. but also towards anything perceived as different. The facilitator then helps the group to formulate “I messages. acquisition of “I message” related skills. and he draws the group's attention to the so-called “I-concept. the facilitator asks the children to identify the qualities of good listeners. Agreement means you consider the other person's subjective world as fair. correct. any story (real or invented) for 4-5 minutes. in turns. and appropriate. During the debriefing.1.3. in the context of a day to day conflict.” 3. Children are requested to find ways in which the person who feels victimised can explain to his/her friend his/her feelings without causing conflict escalation.3 Working on Overcoming the Enemy Image The biggest problem of internally displaced children is that someone has chased them out of their homes. It is emphasised that in the case of active listening.”: I + my feeling + behaviour causes this feeling. The enemy image that came out of this frequently manifests itself in an intolerant attitude towards conflict. The children instructed that they will restate their partner’s story using their own words to ensure correct comprehension.

Consciously or unconsciously. they hinder the process of overcoming their traumatic experiences. For this reason. At the same time. but overgeneralisation hinders the adequate perception of the reality. Acceptance of traumatic experience To sob out one's grief. Over-generalisation is one characteristic of traumatic experiences. orienting him/her towards personality development. by doing so. Since it is difficult for children to verbalise their experiences. the person has to face his/her pain and accept it as part of his/her life experience. people are reluctant to engage themselves in a mourning process. Sessions of story telling are very effective in helping the displaced person in releasing his/her painful emotions and integrating fragmented memories related to trauma.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Integration of the fragmented sections of traumatic memories As mentioned above.). etc. the helper should clearly identify and tackle non-constructive generalisations. When working with children. especially for those traumas that took place in early childhood. the trauma that has not been completed has a strong impact on the IDP’s life and manifests itself in fragmented memories and destructive symptoms. Generalising may have an adaptive function and may be important for survival. Tactful questions should be asked. By providing opposite examples.” children should be encouraged to see a positive meaning in differences and to perceive “the other one” not systematically as an opponent but as one enriching life 68 Chapter 3 . trauma has a negative impact on the perception of the world by the IDP and on his/her belief system. because of generalisations. when working with children's groups it is advisable to use methods involving other kinds of expressions (drawing. an important stage in overcoming traumatic experience is sobbing out one's grief to finish with previous pain. To perceive negative events from the perspective of personality development is key to the mechanism of acceptance. Overcoming the “victim-aggressor” model through an I-You relationship Since the formation of the enemy image is based on a negative attitude to “the other one. Memories revive previous pain through a difficult process. which are at the heart of the victimisation and the enemy image processes. it is very important to develop the ability of perceiving non-verbal expression and of using metaphors and symbols to emphasise the positive impact of their trauma on the development of their personality. Enlargement of the perception of the world and correction of destructive beliefs As already mentioned. they avoid going back to their wounds and.

ensure a trust-based. empathise with each other. safe. Discussions on this theme. 69 Chapter 3 . he/she encourages self-expression on the one hand. The facilitator’s behaviour. the facilitator has to “return” to the storyteller the same content.e. encouraging group cooperation and parity. it is desirable for the facilitator to direct discussion at recalling the positive points in the interaction with the opposing side. and on the other hand helps to integrate the fragmented knowledge of traumatic experience. Storytelling Objectives: Integration of traumatic experiences and freeing oneself from related emotions. This will enable them to embrace a different reaction towards different thoughts. The facilitator suggests a discussion on the topic of “How I arrived here” (i. feelings. Participants and the facilitator sit in a circle. involuntary displacement). The facilitator has to assist the process in a tactful and subtle way. upon the completion of storytelling by a participant. In the course of storytelling they express negative emotions and free themselves from such emotions. as a direct means of releasing his/her negative emotions and of avoiding these emotions taking control of his/her life or absorbing all of his/her energy without leaving any inner resources for constructive actions. To promote such integration. should be organised with the children. after releasing painful emotions. etc. will have a strong impact on the process.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs experiences. with practical examples. and opinions. and actively listen to each member. By doing this. who should be supported in drawing their own conclusions from it. Forgiveness Children should understand that forgiveness is linked with freedom. Participants tell the others about their experience. empathetic atmosphere. In this relation. Intolerant attitudes towards “the other one” often form the basis of the “victim-aggressor” type of behaviour that is so apparent in the role play of IDP children. The stories might reveal the victimisation feeling and enemy image. which helps to correct the over-generalisations forming the basis of enemy image. Their personal responsibility on this issue (forgive / not to forgive) should be stressed.

Drawing “Forgiveness” Objective: Awareness and activation of one’s potential for forgiveness. The facilitator suggests the theme “What I am afraid of” for drawing a picture. The facilitator first assists the group in releasing painful emotions and later in recalling the positive experiences related to the interaction with the opposing party (before the conflict). correction of over-generalisations underlying enemy image. he would not have become the Pharaoh’s minister. 70 Chapter 3 . The facilitator asks the group to draw a picture of the Abkhaz or the Ossetian (or the one perceived as “THE enemy”).Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Drawing on the theme “What I am afraid of” Objective: Releasing painful trauma-related emotions. or when someone else forgave him/her). and to analyse how forgiving changed the situation and what effect it had on the other one. The exercise should be organised in such a way that group support will appear as a positive element in tackling trauma. Picture of “the Abkhaz” or "the Ossetian" Objectives: Awareness and expression of war-related experiences. Trauma-related themes appear in the course of the discussion as the participants’ experiences associated with the opposing party are actualised. At the end of the session the group analyses the drawings that are triggered by traumatic recollections. The facilitator should create an atmosphere that helps the expression of emotions and the sharing of traumatic experiences with group members. Participants are asked to draw a picture of “forgiveness” and to recall their own experiences related to forgiveness (when he/she was able to forgive. Group discussion “Joseph and his brothers” (from the Bible) The following points should be emphasised during discussion: Joseph forgave brothers for having betrayed him and if they had not.

). During the discussion. 71 Chapter 3 . Participants are then asked to do the same to reflect their situation in ten years’ time. Your task is to familiarise them with some events and characteristics of life on Earth through drawings. Each participant is given ten colours of paper and told to write on nine of them the life factors that he/she considers important (position. Instruction: You are invited to a conference with participants from other planets. My Favourite Hero Objectives: Realisation of one's desires and ambitions. Children are asked to draw a picture of their favourite hero/heroine from a fairy tale. the facilitator underlines that the qualities of the hero/heroine are actually those that the child wants to have. During the discussions. During the debriefing. They know very little about the Earth. The final instruction is to replace the papers to show what will happen if the participant does not work towards achieving his/her goal. etc. they speak about what they like/dislike about the hero/heroine and how they would continue the plot of the tale. feelings.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Drawing on the theme “10 years later” Objectives: Awareness of the future and development of personal responsibility for the future. He/She should then write “I” on the 10th paper and place the nine papers around it. achievements. “Social Radius” Objectives: Awareness of one's own model of the world and future perspective. in a manner that reflects his/her relationship to the life factors he/she chose. the participants and the facilitator make comments on the drawings and talk about their perceptions of the world. people in your environment.

The prevailing type of activity with children aged between seven and twelve is craftsmanship. The ensuing discussion touches up the usefulness and uselessness of differences in order for participants to realise that the wealth of diversity is conditioned by the existence of differences. Adolescents’ activities include making garlands and more discussions. Discussion: “Friendship between different people” Objective: Developing tolerance to differences. to foster non-standard alternatives. Creative work – manufacturing of souvenirs and toys from cheap materials like stones. paper. Children decide when the tale is completed. making a dog by folding paper several times and then painting it) as well as jigsaw puzzles. The helper can see with which role the child identifies him/herself. The second time. exercises.The result is a more constructive adjustment to traumatic experiences. participants express how they felt in each role. Stimulation of non-standard thinking using puzzles. 72 Chapter 3 . what the exchange of roles resulted in.. etc. and what experiences they gained. The sessions for the pre-school age include very easy tasks (for instance. etc. to overcome rigid thinking. etc.” The facilitator suggests that the group compose a joint fairy tale. The work is carried out in the following directions: 1. what is his/her favourite communication style.4 Creative Thinking This method aims to develop creative potential. The play is staged once.. and 3. A metaphor offered by the facilitator stresses friendships between different people. Each participant has to add his/her own sentence to the previous participant’s. roles are exchanged. problems.3.1. During the debriefing. 3. 2. Children then choose their roles.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Composition and staging of a joint fairy tale Objective: Overcoming the stereotypes of “victim-aggressor. and to increase self-trust in one's own capacities. Doll-making and the creation of a puppet show. and what are his/her problems. The structure of the sessions differs according to the age of the participants.

negative. After writing down their ideas. etc. etc.. why don't we do . The session ends with group discussion. not so much at the development of practical working skills. Stage two: Each sub-group presents a list of ideas in the plenary session..). cheap way of obtaining gold). +/.Rating The facilitator reads a list of events to the group (e. Each participant has to think of the positive. reliability. and interesting aspects of each event. as at the rehabilitation of the child. Stage one: The group is split into sub-groups of 4-7 children each.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Lessons in creative work are aimed. The items produced by children serve diagnostic and correctional purposes (for instance. 73 Chapter 3 . practicality.g. Each sub-group is given the same task (for instance. Stage three: Out of the full list."). The groups generate as many ideas as possible to solve the problem. Stage four: Group analysis and discussion during which the facilitator highlights the stages in the generation of ideas: ideas that are more creative generally emerge in response to the unfeasibility of more “rational” ones ("Then. to think of possible ways to arrange cheap holidays). through group discussion. Brainstorming Objectives: Generation of ideas and group decision-making.). the group selects 5 ideas according to preestablished criteria (originality. puppets will be used for a puppet play. without any critical comment. children can be asked to speak on behalf of the mask they just made. participants work in pairs to discuss and compare their ideas. scientists have discovered a new.

Renaming a weakness to discover a new. positive meaning in it. 74 Chapter 3 . Discoveries Objective: Realisation of one's own resources. Stage one: Each participant identifies five resources that help him to live and five weaknesses that hinder his/her development. which will transform it into a resource (e. “cowardly” can be renamed “cautious”). and writes them down on a piece of paper. 2. without identifying the authors. which can be done in two ways: 1.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Results Objective: Reflection upon the cause and effect relationship. Stage two: The facilitator reads the papers in a plenary session. Finding a context in which a weakness can become a comparative benefit (for instance controlled anger may become an asset in a situation where a person has grounds to be angry.). etc.g. Stage three: Ideas related to each situation are discussed in a plenary session. The facilitator should emphasise that a single action can have longterm repercussions and should support an increased sense of responsibility on the part of the participants for their own acts. Stage three: Group discussion in which the facilitator emphasises that the elements perceived as weaknesses can actually serve the person if apropriately controlled and renamed. Stage two: Sub-groups exchange their cards and start the discussion again. as in the case of human rights violations. The aim is to transform negative qualities into resources. Stage one: The group is split into sub-groups of 3-6 people that are given cards on which situations are described (for instance the pollution of the oceans) and are asked to think of the short term and the long term impacts of the situation.

such as the following: she noticed that the man put two black stones into the purse. The only way to do so is to go outside the frame. At the end of the session. people would think that she threw the white one into the sea. non-standard approach increases the number of possibilities and ultimately facilitates the solution. The facilitator encourages a nonstandard approach to the problem. So. like “The sun is shining. Out of two hidden black and white stones in his purse. when seeing the black stone in the purse. participants sum up the lessons learned. Group members can put forward any ideas. without showing it to anyone. The facilitator reads sentences.” etc.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Masks Objective: This exercise helps to differentiate between positive and negative thinking. threw it into the sea. She took out one of them and. The group may come up with a solution. Even though there are many answers to the problem the principle is always the same – a standard approach to a problem limits possibilities. Group members sit in a circle. 75 Chapter 3 . she had to pick out the white one to save herself. “The Wise Maiden” The facilitator tells the group a story in which a young woman had to make the right choice to avoid marriage with a wicked rich man. Group members have to react to these sentences by making either negative statements (accompanied by putting on the mask expressing joy) or positive statements (accompanied by putting on the mask expressing sorrow). The facilitator asks the group what the woman did to save herself. Joining dots In this exercise participants have to join dots in a frame with a single uncrossed line.” “Tomorrow is the first day of winter. The exercise is followed by a group discussion about the positive and negative effects of these two patterns of thinking. whereas a creative.

and the development of the feeling of belonging and of a caring attitude towards the environment. the facilitation of children's adjustment to their physical and social environment. etc.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 3. Due to this. etc. Activities mainly aim at: 1. the development of tolerance and a caring attitude. etc. getting drinking water. given the vivid character of a child's imagination and his/her blurred distinction between the real and imagined world. ultimately. for instance. traumatic repetitive actions. planting trees.).1.1. overcoming the traumatic experience. aggression.6 Peculiarities of Group Work with Pre-School Age Children When planning work with this age group. 2. The acquisition of useful skills (e. rehabilitating activities should be carried out through games. such as cleaning the adjacent woods and fields. Indirect trauma can be stronger than direct trauma. 3. reinforcing their sense of national identity. They absorb it from their environment through parents’ discussions. • Trauma-related psychological problems are clearly manifested at the behavioural level (hyperactivity. 4. the following should be taken into consideration: • Children. 3. the provision of medical first aid using phyto-therapeutic means. born after displacement are not directly affected by the trauma. Activities can involve.3. The familiarisation of children with their new dwelling place. atmosphere in their families and in the community of displaced people. Familiarising children and adolescents with culture and history. which will increase their level of tolerance. which also leads to self-reliance.). and. 76 Chapter 3 . etc.g. • Games are the leading form of behaviour at this age. and providing access to universal human values through human rights instruments.3. Bringing children closer to nature in order to realise its wealth. overcoming the estrangement of the children from their physical and social environment. and to develop a caring attitude towards it.5 Training on the Environment The main objectives of the training on the environment are the development of ecological awareness. but they “inherit” it in an indirect way. excursions to familiarise children with historical monuments or the implementation of ecological actions.

creative thinking. and creative skills. Joint pictures This exercise is intended for older children. etc. Story Session Telling stories is one of the most important rehabilitation activities suitable for children of this age. motor. The facilitator emphasises that pictures become more interesting and diverse when every child contributes to their creation. The exercise includes some components of situation management. the children display their drawings. and the development of a tolerant attitude. which also contain constructive metaphors. Each child continues the drawing (line. Upon the completion of the exercise. the satisfaction of the need for safety. the reinforcement of self-respect. Objectives: Development of the imagination. The children sit in a circle. The children are then told to ask questions (what they liked about the story and why. 77 Chapter 3 . which they remember best. The objectives should be as follows: the correction of behavioural. since it meets their natural interest in stories. For this reason. figure. teamwork.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • The functional tendency towards the repetition of acquired knowledge allows the child to internalise it and transform it into experience. it is advisable that the games allow for the repetition of lessons learned. the facilitator can ask the children to draw the hero or the event from the story.). Such a game will make the session more vivid and dynamic. and emotional problems. cognitive. Special importance should be attached to the development of children's cognitive. whether they liked its end. The facilitator tells the group a story. and the ability to differentiate between left and right. Children can be also asked to draw the characters in the picture.) received from his/her right hand neighbour and passes it to the next neighbour to continue. After the discussion. The main task in the rehabilitation of pre-school age children is to foster their healthy development in order to eliminate the impact of the trauma experienced by the older generation. selected at his/her own discretion. but it can also be used with preschool age children in a simplified form. etc.

If they catch one. co-ordination of movement. Animal Steps Objective: Learning about the animal world. crawling like an ant. Fishing Objectives: Revealing children's attitudes and needs. draws different figures on the black board. self-control. development of body language.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Figures Objectives: Development of spatial perception and motor skills. etc. development of imagination and motor skills. Depending on the figure being created. it can be accompanied with singing and applauding. 78 Chapter 3 . experience of teamwork. The children are then asked to demonstrate the animal's steps (jumping like a rabbit. recognition of geometrical figures.). and acquisition of skills for creative work. The facilitator and the participants forms a circle by joining hands. The facilitator helps the children to understand their wishes and involves other children in trying to make the wish come true. the fish will grant three wishes. and suggests that the children “create” them. Children imitate the sounds loudly and then quietly. The facilitator asks the children which geometrical figures they know. some of the children act as “the sides” and the others as “the angles”. The facilitator shows the children how to make paper fish and to fish them out of an imaginary river. The facilitator asks them what they look like and what sounds they make. and the release of emotional tension. To make the activity more enjoyable. The children name the animals they know.

Objectives: Emotional release and reinforcement of team spirit. The sounds can be accompanied with different movements. A child is then asked to give the circle its original form. release of tension.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs A Knot This exercise is used as an energiser. Resonating This exercise is used as an energiser when the group becomes restless. The group corrects any mistakes made by the participants. the others applaud. If he/she succeeds. and team-building. The children then have to recognise the colours of their clothes. The facilitator “tangles” the circle while the children still hold each other’s hands. following the facilitator's instruction. 79 Chapter 3 . increasing group cohesion. The facilitator names the colours of items in the room. Objectives: Warming up. acquisition of some components of problem solving. Colours Objectives: Differentiation of colours and development of observation skills. Children have to emit a long sound and. The children hold hands to form a circle. change its intensity.

Experience shows that having a family focus and supporting the children’s support network greatly benefits their rehabilitation. they discuss these movements. Some participants might like to explain their reasons for choosing their movements. communication skills for an effective parent-child dialogue.2 Community Work This form of the psychosocial rehabilitation of children and adolescents includes mainly work with parents and teachers.1 Working with Parents The objective is to make parents more aware of the issues involved in child development and child psychology. and realisation of your body movements through mirror reflection. how to overcome a child's stubbornness. development of sensitivity to the signs of non-verbal communication. The helper should aim at improving parent-child relationships and increasing the reliability of the child's closest resources. 3. The involvement of parents is key in the process of child rehabilitation. how to improve mutual understanding in communication with other children. Each participant first demonstrates the movements he/she does not like and then the movements he/she likes while the group “mirrors” his/her movements. etc. It comprises the preparation and the dissemination of leaflets and newspapers. and assistance in overcoming personal traumatic experiences. The training for parents includes the following components: • • • • • • • awareness of the psychological problems of the children. discussion of their relationship to the children.3. highlighting issues such as: • • • • how to help a child in a crisis situation. release of emotional tension.2.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Acquisition of Components of Non-Verbal Communication Objectives: Expression of emotions. 3. 80 Chapter 3 . providing group support. regulation of family relations. Afterwards.3. and what problems arise in adolescence.

Working with parents is an experiential process. During discussions. shyness. Family consulting enables the helper to follow the child's psychological development in the context of his/her family. and anxiety. etc. A single effective question from the helper is sometimes more helpful than a long explanation. Experiences of positive solutions can be replicated in other families. but should assist parents in reaching an independent understanding of different aspects of their relationship with their children and in becoming more efficient in such a relationship. closenessdistance. For this purpose. fear. This technique helps them to realise that the reason for any problem behaviour (aggressiveness.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Awareness of children’s psychological problems To better understand the child's inner world and his/her traumatic experience. role-playing. A diagnosis should be made on the style of the family relations. the ground rules for coexistence.). rather than an educational one.) lies in traumatic experience.) and to abstain from categorising their children. She did not answer. compassion. the helper should not make any judgmental assertions. The training uses models of rea-life problematic parent-child relationships. It often becomes necessary to work with the parents’ emotional problems in addition to the problems of their children. and empathy expressed by group members helps them to positively transform their traumatic experience. and the “I message. The trust-based atmosphere in a group enables its members to talk freely about their traumatic experience. we use exercises in which adults recall traumatic experiences of their childhood as well as the behaviour accompanying such experiences.” The helper asked whether she apologised to her son. as parents learn the why and how of their children's problems. In the development of effective communication it is important for parents not to attach labels (e. lazy. Mutual support. and the search for alternatives to make relationships more effective.g. during which parents are free to bring up examples from their own experience. The development of meditation skills also helps group members to reduce tension in their families. the conflict-related themes (dominance-subordination. etc.” Analytical tools should gradually replace easy categorisation and punishment. frustration. hooligan. responsibility-irresponsibility. unsatisfied needs. the family's history and its value system. The question helped her to realise the necessity for parity in her relationship with her son: she enforced a rule that she did not respect herself. latent and manifested conflicts. etc. the group works on active listening. group discussion on similar situations. restating. A young mother was complaining about the stubbornness of her four year-old son and the difficulties she had because of it: “Once I rebuked him for something he did not do and all day long he reminded me of it. 81 Chapter 3 . so that the double standard had a confusing effect on the child.

. and what they can be responsible for in the building up of the future of the family. The helper can facilitate family communication by assisting the members in expressing their feelings. Such an approach will enable the helper to get feedback regarding the efficiency of the work conducted with children. the facilitator stimulates positive memories associated with communicating with “the other side” of the conflict. its immediate and long-term goals. the reason for family conflicts is a distorted communication system. offer co-operation in providing assistance to children.” etc. which has a direct impact on the children. family therapy must be undertaken by helpers specially trained for this purpose. One of the helper's tasks is to foster the children's co-operation with their parents and to observe the dynamics of children's inner development. achieving agreement. The family is split into opposing groups. For instance. In such cases. Consulting parents in the case of the death of a family member Parents should get advice regarding issues like what and how to tell children that someone from their close circle has died: 82 Chapter 3 . Overcoming victimisation and enemy image Family members should share the same visions and interpretations of past events. explain to them the objectives of the rehabilitation activities. and their analysis. listening to each other. Restoring proper communication Very often. Others must refrain from entering this sphere of activity without due qualification. In this connection. as well as the same expectations for the future. the rules of coexistence restrict the development of the family members. based on major unresolved problems. The facilitator helps the family to realise what depends (and what does not depend) on the family. The helper should: • • • • establish contact with parents. He/She also focuses on the future of the family.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs If an insincere atmosphere and latent conflicts prevail in the family. and find out whether the parents have any problems in relation to their children or any specific requirements. Such a belief restricts his/her perceptions to such an extent that he/ she overlooks the elements that do not confirm his/her own expectations. Such work creates a healthy atmosphere in the family. one family member assumes that another member feels “this and that. and believes his/her subjective perception to be the true situation. and making joint decisions with all interests taken into consideration.” thinks “this and that. The helper's work aims at the elimination of over-generalisations underlying enemy images and victimisation.

This work should be carried out in several directions: • development of teachers' awareness of trauma. Great importance is also attached to professional exchanges between teachers. • parents should be sincere when answering their questions (otherwise. the children might have painful images. • children should be given the opportunity to sob out their grief and parents should not forbid them to cry. 83 Chapter 3 . group discussions of problems. However. Parents should be convinced of this necessity through the constant work of the helper. • acquisition of the necessary skills to improve students’ cognitive and emotional competence. • parents should make them feel that they are not alone.2. • acquisition of the skills necessary for regulating children’s relationships to reduce tension and conflicts. In order for teachers to have a better awareness of the special psychological and other needs of traumatised children. • development of skills for an effective teacher-pupil dialogue. • awareness of the peculiarities of the relationship between teachers and parents. the helper will use almost all of the above-mentioned methods that are employed with parents. but with certain modifications and additions. the helper should be careful about not taking on the parents’ role through the manifestation of excessive love or through “top down” advice that would discredit the parents in front of their children. empathetic understanding of the children’s traumatic situation should be supplemented with theoretical knowledge on the psycho-emotional state of children in crisis situations (see chapters 1 and 2). They should explain that it is a natural human reaction and that even grown up people cry when they feel unhappy. and the release of emotions. not only because of their rights but also because of their capacity for personal development.2 Working with Teachers Teachers are in the child's direct environment and it is important to work with them as they can greatly influence the child's development. 3. Teachers should also be able to identify those cases for which they are not competent and that should be referred to a specialist. • children should attend ceremonies like funerals and other grieving rituals. due to their rich imaginations). that their pain is understood and that they are in safety.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs • children should be told about the event in a safe atmosphere. When working with teachers. Consulting families with disabled children Disabled children should be encouraged to take part in the psychosocial rehabilitation process.3.

” etc. special emphasis is placed on the teacher’s perception of a student as a full-fledged person that should not be labelled (as “irresponsible. achieves his/her objectives without doing harm to others Satisfied Socially and emotionally expressive Makes decisions and always takes the group’s interests into consideration I think. vulnerable. resentful. speaks loudly. persistent The teachers should also advocate to close down the “IDPs only” schools and to integrate the children within local classes. lack of eye contact Adequate level Adequate control Defends his/her own rights and respects other people’s rights Is able to empathise.) or categorised (as “a difficult child. resentful. feels unhappy Passive. Along with children’s academic achievements. speaks in low voice.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs When developing communication skills.). threatening posture. tense muscles. A teacher should be open and sincere in his/her relationships with children and his/her possible previous role of quasi-judge should be replaced with the one of a spontaneous facilitator. within an atmosphere of trust and safety. criticises others’ decisions I. what do you think?… We can Posture reflects safety and self-reliance. I assume. the teacher should take care of the improvement of children’s emotional and social competence. 84 Chapter 3 . even at the expense of other people’s interests. constrained Prefers that others make decisions Verbal manifestation Sorry. tense body. poorly developed empathy Frustrated. At the same time he/she should confine him/herself to his/her relevant functions and clearly differentiate between the parents’ and his/her responsibilities. let it be like this since others think so (difficulty saying “no”) Non-verbal manifestation Avoids conflicts. how can you think like this?… It is ridiculous Dominant style. explosive Dominating. is not able to establish emotional relations Frustrated. tense posture. relaxed muscles Low level Insufficient control Cares for his/her own rights and does not respect other people’s rights Achieves his/her objectives. defensive Aggressive. referred to in the table below.” etc. mine. Levels of a child’s social competence High level Excessive control Lack of ability to defend his/her own rights Rarely achieves his/her objective.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 3.3. 3. non-judgmental way that will help the child to feel safe in his/her relationships. and • promoting letter exchanges between children. • dissemination of newspapers containing children's works like poems. • staging of puppet plays created by the children.3 Casework This kind of work implies the provision of professional psychotherapeutic assistance to children suffering from traumatic and psychosomatic disorders by psychologists and psychiatrists. the helper will treat the child in a benevolent. It should be taken into consideration within the policy of education.. stories. However. Sometimes only one meeting is enough for a child to take a crucial step and engage him/herself in group activities. there is often tension. quizzes. personal contact with a child who has specific problems interacting with others is often needed. In this case.2. 85 Chapter 3 . such as: • concerts. Joint education and being in the same group are very important for overcoming isolation and estrangement. This fosters mutual acceptance and helps a person to perceive him/herself as a fully functioning member of society.3. Helpers should refrain from entering this sphere beyond their particular competence without adequate support. pictures.3 Working with the Host Population The helper should organise several activities for both local and IDP children in order to foster their integration. In schools where local and displaced children are in the same group. as suggested in the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. exhibitions. etc.

The groups also gain psycho-corrective meaning from the problem-focused atmosphere. on the 86 . and supporting the rehabilitation of his/her social functions. time limits. which bring order into the chaotic world of traumatised persons. Participants learn to discuss their problems. reality should be at the root of the helper's actions. a deeper focus on problems discussed and. As stated earlier. Psychosocial assistance is generally equated with psychiatric treatment and such help is considered a luxury when basic commodities are often lacking. The helper should also remember that because of their temporary vulnerability. They become more confident. A homogeneous group guarantees. Such groups are aimed at giving the helper a chance to identify the material problems with which the displaced are confronted. and to plan for the future. and the meeting’s structure. The activities should still serve the objectives of processing traumatic experience. It gives them hope that the problems to which there seem to be no solution can at least be addressed.1 Focus Groups Focus groups are an ideal starting point for working with adults as it fosters an “Iyou” relationship and focuses on their practical problems.Chapter 4 PSYCHOSOCIAL REHABILITATION OF ADULTS: INTERVENTION METHODOLOGY Traumatised adults are often reluctant to receive psychological assistance because their society is not accustomed to it. As a consequence. coherent. Intervention Methods 4. Six to eight participants are chosen based on some common criteria. as well as their psychological problems and their resources. the helper is advised to introduce psychosocial activities through training on useful skills. However. videocamera). and a board for writing conclusions during discussions. A comfortable environment (space and chairs for the participants) is necessary. the persons he/she wants to assist are first concentrated on the material benefit they can gain from the situations in which they find themselves. on the one hand. to generate ideas to resolve them. and acquire skills of joint decision-making. relieving the person from the consequences of the trauma. as well as recording equipment (dictaphone. they also lack normal human contacts and sincere friendly support.

” Gradually. more concrete methods. After the meeting. etc. The method also carries a psychocorrectional element – overcoming an emotional crisis and its consequences by the reinforcement of joint stress control mechanisms.” i. The main aim of such groups is the development of problem-solving skills. Excellent listening skills and the ability to clearly express his/her thoughts and to create a trusting and relaxed atmosphere are key qualities the moderator must possess. collected material should be processed (using audio or video records.” Topics of discussion can vary from problems in daily life to successful life achievements. The meeting begins with the introduction of the ground rules. if needed. including the sequence of the questions should be prepared beforehand. However. It is also advisable to invite an independent expert to discuss the collected material.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs other hand. questions become more structured and intensify the focus of the discussion on concrete problems. In the process of the discussion. He/She should support spontaneity. The moderator should have a good understanding of the group’s dynamics. and actions decided upon during the meeting should be implemented. but keep the meeting within the time limits by not allowing deviations from the subject. and exercises. records on the board. but also on the way participants tackle the problem (how they come to a consensus. psycho-technical games. The analysis of results by the moderator and his/her assistants is of special importance. This allows all participants to feel free in sharing their ideas and helps “to break the ice. A minimum accessory kit (paper and pencil) should always be available for the helper. 4. The method is aimed at developing skills for coping with various problems and making decisions in difficult situations. Groups can be of either three to four participants or eight to 12.e.). the number of participants can be increased. The facilitator 87 Chapter 5 . The group is led by a facilitator and a co-facilitator. Only the positive will to participate is needed on the part of each participant.) and analysed. It is better to start group discussions with open questions. Information is gathered not only on the subject under discussion. He/She also requests the clarification of answers to define inexact or vague statements. how the group interacts. the moderator can use pauses as a technique to provoke additional points of view. etc. creates conditions for openness and gives participants the possibility of feeling that they are among “their people.2 Problem-Solving Groups This group strategy differs slightly from the focused discussion as it is more spontaneous and uses a greater number of “tools. Another very important goal is the development of teamwork. as similar group sessions can be conducted spontaneously after a problem arises. The scenario for the meeting. The group can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous.

4. This can be reached through careful joint agreements on procedural rules that will allow participants to relax. On the other hand. Non-standard thinking should be encouraged and attempts to evaluate. the helper can simply adapt them to actual problems by slightly altering them. special attention should be paid to the creation of a safe and confidential atmosphere in the group so that each member has the possibility to freely express any ideas without the threat of being laughed at. Firstly. or condemn the ideas or the author should not be permitted.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs should structure the space for the session. Such explanations raise mutual trust and confidence and also foster the process of generating ideas. Before starting the evaluation of results. he/she should first and foremost help the participant to relieve emotional crises. participants jointly analyse the work and discuss the achievements.4 Simulation of Problem-Solving Situations This method requires creativity and improvisation skills from the helper. The participation of all group members in the making of the ground rules will guarantee their respect. “Ice-breaking” energisers are used before starting to work. While he/she facilitates the solving of practical problems. 4. At the end of the session. The facilitator’s skill to record quickly is of vital importance here. it is necessary to explain to the group that the ideas chosen as the best ones are products of the whole group that integrate those from which they were inspired. and exercises could be used for this procedure. Humans are fast-learners and it is necessary to use this ability completely. Then the whole group formulates ground rules for the discussions. drawings. introduce the idea. Confidence and feelings of safety liberate thoughts and imaginations that have been numbed by emotional trauma. which inhibit the human psyche under stressful situations. but also has to be able to use his/her creativity for designing and simulating during the whole process.3 Brainstorming Brainstorming can also be used for rehabilitation purposes. The helper not only has to have a rich store of psychological tools and be able to adjust them to concrete problems. brainstorming should occur at a very quick pace. and explain the purposes and the aims of the session. The helper should always remember that a psycho rehabilitation activity is aimed at the transformation and the processing of the traumatic experience. criticise. A quick pace also avoids the potential barriers of self-criticism and self-awareness. Two main techniques are used: brainstorming and simulation of the situations. In possessing a store of these instruments. 88 Chapter 5 . All kinds of psycho-technical games.

Group training is conducted in the form of interactive education. to learn how to care for an ill person. chairs for the participants. paper. They also requested to be taught effective communication and business skills. After the first training session. and conflict management and negotiation techniques. and dignity of the traumatised individuals. Case study During problem solving discussions.5 Self-Help and Mutual Aid Groups These groups focus on the acquisition of psychological skills and/or first aid skills. The organisation of self-help groups in collective/communal centres provides an excellent opportunity to solve day-to-day problems and to mobilise the community through mutual aid and support.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 4. 89 Chapter 5 . They present the results for discussion at the next group meeting. It is worth mentioning that in these self-help groups. and visual aids for the demonstration of medical manipulations. Self-help groups also have far-reaching effects as they help to build up solidarity in the community and strengthen feelings of selfconfidence and independence. pencils. The trainer asks participants to identify which skills actually guaranteed their success in the situation they described and on which skills the training should focus. it is necessary to have space. and to get acquainted with medical and hygienic massage. participants are given tasks to test the newly acquired skills in real situations. the most active person who can create an “atmosphere” for community mobilisation and development can be identified. facilitates the session in a participatory manner: the training modules will be based on the previous experiences of the participants in the field discussed. The trainer. These persons often become volunteer helpers and are of great support in future rehabilitation activities. a professional in the requested field. This method saves on the resources of professional helpers and has a sustainable effect in strengthening the independence. For the group meetings. IDPs expressed their willingness to acquire self-help skills. It also prevents them from spreading the consequences of their own trauma among community members as they develop a more responsible attitude towards their community. confidence. Groups are formed on a voluntary basis with up to 20 participants in each. The groups are organised in the collective centres in order to train IDPs for basic psychosocial assistance and/or medical first aid or on other subjects they request.

which can help to clarify events. insomnia. intrusive memories. The picture of traumatic incidents is always scattered and the sequence of events is often wrong. The average number of participants in these groups varies from 8 to 15 persons. More precisely. participants spontaneously start speaking of their traumatic experiences. In most cases. nightmares. but sometimes the trainer can suggest a simple game of “Stressful Words” in order to engage the process. through energisers. Management training and business games are also very necessary.7 Psycho-Correctional Groups These therapeutic groups aim at processing and correcting the traumatic experiences of the most psychologically vulnerable persons. but also should allow other participants to ask questions. Correcting psychosomatic disorders. The retelling of traumatic experiences is spontaneous and should not be pushed: a person should be ready to share his/her feelings and sufferings with the group on the basis of mutual confidence and acceptance.” a participant is usually willing to speak about his/her traumatic experiences.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs 4. However. The participants then choose the most stressful words from the list and start an open discussion on the reasons why these words are stressful.). Participants help the teller to restore a more accurate sequence of traumatic episodes. 4. After this “warming up. This method may have an important impact just after the trauma takes place. More ambitious projects should be conditional upon the existence of sustainable conditions identified for the IDPs. The essence of the game is that each participant should say the word that reminds him/her of unpleasant memories. giving the sensation of cognitive organisation. and Skills development in order to overcome a psychological crisis. 90 Chapter 5 . in the group in order to guarantee a positive and open attitude of the participants towards each other and towards the new experience. They build a common picture of the event. etc. Initial sessions aim at building trust and confidence. Skills training will strengthen self-confidence and the hope of trainees. The group is led by a facilitator and a co-facilitator. they should be based on a close community-based evaluation of both the capacities of the future trainees and the job market potentials. The trainer not only has to encourage the initiative of the narrator. depression. these groups aim at: • • • • Enhancing mechanisms for coping with stress. which helps in the conversion of the trauma. The training should only aim at adapting the existing skills of the trainees to the job market opportunities.6 Targeting Skills Training: Job Creation Unemployment is one of the main problems of post-conflict situations. Reducing stress disorders (fear.

. and bans. They want to share their own painful memories when they see understanding and empathy. In the last phase. reaction. vocabulary. what is most important is that people begin to realise that their suffering is an absolutely natural reaction to abnormal circumstances. This is a very important phase and the helper should have not only a good memory but also an ability to match the facts. However.” (“Our grandpa used to. and interests are changed). the trainer should use them for the mobilisation of group support. parental instructions. A comforting touch and words to the neighbour is absolutely acceptable here. vocabulary. other participants may feel similar sensations. During the narration. 4. interests. through “family legends. the trainer retells the story to the narrator adding nothing and omitting nothing. The psycho-corrective groups help people with emotional and psychosomatic problems to take a new look at their own sufferings. especially when the trauma is still fresh. All of the above is basic procedure for the transformation of traumatic experiences. As stated above. this is the method that works most efficiently in the initial stages. As they acknowledge this fact. but also of the entire community. the trainer asks questions in order for the narrator to speak on his/her feelings during the traumatic incident. It enables them to experience the power of mutual support. as are tears. If strong emotional reactions are revealed. Trauma leaves a deep trace on the family and its members. and skilfully retell the events. This experience is processed through play and songs. form up a scenario.”). the group can be offered some relaxation or meditation exercises for the release of emotions. they begin to get rid of the problems. 91 Chapter 5 . the need for psycho-correctional rehabilitation decreases and the displaced prefer skill training rather than therapy.8 Family Counselling The life experiences gained through generations within families are at the root of the psychological climate of the family. belongings (inheritance). aggression. Sometimes such provoking questions can cause an extensive emotional reaction of the narrator. For instance. traditions. and transformation of the traumatic experience. questions like “What did you feel when this happened?” or “Why did you behave so?” promote emotional reactions.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs In the following stage. This is why new helpers should be supported by professionals who can give them the proper back-up.. and despair. At the end of the procedure. It can be elaborated upon as the helper gains more experience and knowledge. Now the purpose of the last phase becomes clear: it promotes cognitive organisation. wishes. influencing and reshaping its experience (habits.” full of impatience. family habits. recollections of ancestors. collections. With the acquisition of coping skills and the formation of self-help and mutual aid groups. parental blessings. Traditional “family legends” become covered by “traumatic histories. social rating.

It is very important not to give advice. The person will be able to calm his/her wounded pride. His/her duty is to observe non-verbal communication and to relieve the work of the facilitator by supporting him/her with feedback. the helper establish a plan for further action and agree on 92 Chapter 5 . emotional satisfaction. aggression.” etc. While consulting a family in crisis. Family members should be encouraged to express their points of view. and the strengthening of its foundations. but the helper should not interfere even disputes between family members. Support refers to the level of affection. physical contacts.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs The structure of a family plays an important role in shaping its psychological climate. should be clarified separately. The session consists of three phases: the collection of information. A single facilitator can conduct such sessions. alienation from the society. In the correction phase it is possible to use stories and metaphors that reveal a possible solution for the problem. and care between the members of the family. a co-facilitator should help. approval. as well as his/her sense of usefulness. The main aim of family counselling is the recovery of a positive socio-psychological climate in the family and the creation of a positive attitude towards each other. together with family members. the preservation of its socio-cultural individuality. without the presence of the concerned family members. clarification. particularly questions concerning the indirect trauma of children in the family. Some questions. restore his/her self-dignity.). Usually. but if resources allow. “enemy image. As trust increases. and intolerance to the “other. from destructive tendencies and relationships. as family members will come to certain conclusions themselves on the basis of information provided by the helper. It allows the helper to gain a better understanding of the rules and styles of relationships that prevail in the family and allows him/her to “read” all the positive and negative aspects of the family’s functioning. Taking note of the negative factors is of key importance to preventing the family. as well as the community. the helper should pay special attention to the negative factors that influence the shaping of the family experience.” victimisation. the session starts with a conversation with one or several members of the family on vital daily problems. The first refers to how the family takes important decisions (who is the authority who takes more decisions? are these decisions based on a consensus? do children participate in these decisions as they should?). Family counselling is mostly conducted in the family residence. It will enable the person experiencing a crisis to strengthen his/her feeling of being a part of the community. and regain his/her lost identity. the session turns into an interview through which the helper gets important information on the social functioning and corrects negative factors that feed into the trauma (isolation. Usually the family is organised according to two core principles – power and support. and correction. Family consultation is a very powerful instrument for preventing an involuntary transgenerational transmission of traumatic experience and the creation of a traumatised community. At the end of the procedure. The ultimate aim of this correction is the creation of a healthy daily atmosphere in the community.

In fact. Important nuances that were overlooked can be clarified. Shapiro. a second meeting is really necessary. they tend to mistrust other people to the point where they reject any assistance. and even the psychosomatic. and delicate interference are able to heal them. the process of overcoming the crisis at the family level is delayed. trauma leaves such deep wounds in the human soul that only a high level of professionalism. The individual approach is also necessary when working with persons traumatised as a result of direct violence (sexual abuse. Family consultation is not an easy procedure. If conducted at a professional level. it remains an extremely important and efficient means of psychological interference. but if time and resources allow. There are several methods of individual interference issued from psychotherapeutic practices. Helpers should not enter such a field without proper qualifications or support from an experienced professional. other members of the family not participating in similar actions quickly remove it. 3 This theory was first established by Dr. even if offered by a professional.9 Individual Help Although this form of rehabilitation has a modest place in the variety of psychosocial support. and in reducing the psychological. consequences of trauma.). 4. The helper should be always on the alert to identify a possible victim of violence and. in reshaping a positive psychological climate in the families. The unpopularity of this form of psychological assistance is linked to its cost that cannot be met in a situation where large numbers of persons have been traumatised. So when working only with one family member. he/she should try to gain his/her trust and prepare the ground for further individual work. step by step.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs when next to meet next. Family members participating in other forms of rehabilitation certainly bring a positive element to the family that may be counterbalanced by the experiences of the other members. members of the family usually are more prepared and excited by the results already obtained. 93 Chapter 5 . excellent skills. A real partner's alliance of common efforts is created to overcome the consequences of the trauma. However. Certainly it can be limited to one session. Below we will discuss one of the most efficient methods of individual assistance that has undergone some significant changes during its practice in Georgia3. They demand special attention. Family consultations have the advantage of taking into account all members and all relationships in the family. one can achieve a significant effect in preventing the traumatisation of the younger generation. etc. At the following meeting. Sometimes relatives strongly recommend the helper focus on one person.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs This method comes from the assumption that the human brain has a natural mechanism of information processing, which allow humans to adapt to their environment. For example, when something unpleasant comes to our mind, we start to worry about it. We continually think and speak about it and we may even see it in our dreams. Some time later, anxiety decreases and our experience can be used as information directed to the future. We begin to better understand the situation and to gain the capacity to cope with similar situations more effectively. Psychological trauma experienced by a person reveals itself as breaking a balance of the nervous system – its ability of optimal functioning gets lost but the information on traumatising events is saved in the brain in a distorted condition. The hypothesis consists of the following: any actual irritator, such as eye movements, triggers the activation of the information processing system. During the series of “eyes movements” (see description of the procedure below), when a client is asked to recall a traumatic event, an association is established between the consciousness and the brain area in which the information on the trauma is kept. Eye movements (external stimuli) force the person to focus his/her attention simultaneously both on the actual irritant (fingers of the therapist) and on the past trauma (double focusing). The associative mechanisms in the brain are, thus, triggered and two kinds of information – traumatic and adaptive – are connected with each other. This connection is necessary for getting a positive solution. That is the initial point given by the author. As for us, we consider that the alternative activation of the left and right hemispheres of the brain occurs during the procedure of “movement of the eyes.” Traumatic “images” kept in the right part of the brain, are activated when the eyes are moved in a corresponding direction. Then, when the glance is transferred to the opposite direction, the left hemisphere joins the function, which is responsible for the processing of “graphic” information. Thus, occurs a measured processing of traumatic experience, which, because of its severity and unacceptability “in its time” was “displaced” from the conscious memory. There are some other explanations of the effect. Some authors consider that “quick eye movements” cause hypnotic trances, which, in turn, relieve a processing of the traumatic experience through the mobilisation of psychological resources of the person. Anyway, the strategy “works” and it is worth trying, though the author does not recommend conducting it without special preparation and a corresponding certificate from a specialist. This prohibition stems from the fact of overly tempestuous reactions during the procedure. However, such “tempestuous” emotional reactions could be observed in other cases of psychological interference as well. And, if the helper is “able” to cope with them, why should he refuse to practise this method, especially since the technical side of it is not difficult.

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Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Procedure The First Stage In the first stage, the clients are selected for a session and their emotional and physical conditions are evaluated and recollection is gathered. Usually the procedure is conducted with the client, whose emotional condition allows such interference. If the trauma is still fresh and emotional reactions and sufferings are intense, it is better to postpone the session and use other forms to reduce the stress level. The Second Stage At this stage the client is being prepared for the session – the contact (rapport) is established and a confident and safe environment is created. The essence of procedure is explained to the client and he/she is warned of possible emotional reactions both during the sessions and after them. Remember to remind a client that these reactions are absolutely natural and one should not be afraid or, moreover, ashamed of them. At this stage it is possible to conduct the “rehearsal of eye movements” with the client. It is done not for the transformation of trauma but only for the determination of the optimum velocity and number of movements. The Third Stage At this stage the therapist chooses the subject for influence. He/She identifies the traumatic episode with which to begin work. Usually, experienced specialists start transforming the most anxiety-arousing fragments. After processing the main traumatic moment, other episodes associated with it are transformed automatically without additional intervention and the effect is reached faster. The beginner helper who fears to witness the client’s tempestuous reactions can choose less emotional episodes with which to work. During the same stage, the client’s negative self-perception is identified. Negative self-perception is formed by the client’s negative statements about him/herself, which have been caused by trauma. This is important, as the client should be capable of distinguishing the low self-esteem in the past from self-perception in the present. For example, statements like: “I am weak... I am in danger... I don’t deserve respect” can refer to his/her past and have no relations to his/her present state. In fact, this is an irrational opinion because the traumatic event itself occurred long ago. The method in question works successfully with exactly these irrational self-perceptions. Along with the identification of the client’s negative self-perception, at this stage the positive self-perception should also be created. Positive self-perception represents the verbalisation of the client’s desired states. Usually it is a diametrically opposite statement to the negative-perception. Positive presentation should be expressed in a positive form. For example, expressions like “I will not be a loser” or “I will not be incompetent” express the positive self-evaluation to a lesser extent than expressions like “I can be winner” or “I am competent.” For the creation of a desired positive “image” the so-called NLP technology can be used. The essence of this technology is that the client is asked to recall the most 95
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Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs pleasant episodes from his/her past, the episodes when he/she reached certain personal successes, was satisfied with him/herself, and positively evaluated him/herself. Going back to this episode facilitates the process of preserving a positive self-perception by the client. The Fourth Stage – Desensitisation This is the basic part of the procedure and it is sometimes called accelerated processing. The client recalls the traumatic event and retains a picture of it in his/her imagination. He/she identifies the location of unpleasant sensations in the body – sensations that are caused by these recollections. Simultaneously, the client watches (without moving his/her head) the therapist’s fingers. The therapist keeps two fingers vertically, with the palm turned to the client approximately at the distance of 30-35cm from the client’s face. Then the therapist starts to move fingers horizontally from the right edge of the visual field of the client to the left edge (or vice versa). The velocity of moving the fingers has to correspond to the rate determined beforehand as the most comfortable for the client. Usually a series of eye movements does not exceed 24 two-way movements, where the shift from the right to the left and then back represents one movement. Some clients need 36 or even more to process the material. During one session several such courses can be conducted. During the series of eye movements the therapist does not interfere, but attentively observes the process. During the session some clients focus their attention on a changing of images, others – upon new insight or changing of perspective – on changes in body sensations. That is why the question should not sound like: “What do you see? What do you feel?” The client reports on these changes after the session. Immediately after the series of eye movements, the therapist says: “Have a rest, forget all this, take a deep breath.” Only after a certain pause may the client verbalise his/her experiences during the processing. The therapist needs this verbal account only for defining the level of processing and not for the analysis or interpretation. The therapist should not reveal such “skills.” Neither should he/she impose his/her own assumptions or ‘hallucinations’ to the client. It is much better to let the client express his/her own cognitive interpretations. If during the session new painful recollections emerge, the therapist can simply use them for the following series of eye movements. The therapist’s task is to identify the processing level and if the level is insufficient, the series are repeated until the processing is completed. This is the whole technology of this method. Certainly, it has many other nuances too, but we have no possibility to go into more details. We would like to share some considerations on this technology. Firstly, we completely agree with Dr. Shapiro that it is not necessary to analyse the client’s accounts of his/her experiences during the session. Moreover, when we deal with severe psychological trauma and when we know that usually “the trauma is not discussed,” it is impossible to “express” it verbally. That is why it is inadmissible “to force” the client to analyse his/her painful experiences – the client him/herself will perfectly cope with his/her own problems if we help him/her to get access to his/her own positive resources. Stemming from this, the therapist should focus his/her attention more on the process and its course, than on its contents. 96
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” repeat positive self-perception statements. It is possible to conduct an experiment during the session. If the eyes are directed upwards. and cope with it. If no “image” already exists. the kinaesthetic system. a bit above or below the client’s head.e. or kinaesthetic) the client searches for access to recollections. where “he/she can suddenly recall” (see.e. in case of trauma). i.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs Secondly. at the stage of desensitisation some spontaneous positive self-perceptions may appear. the audio system is used. Sometimes when the therapist changes the movement of fingers along the vertical axis. at the second stage.g. When changing the axis of eye movements the therapist transfers the client into another access channel. After defining all these nuances.: “I can already control myself” or “I could do this. Even more. If there are none. the therapist offers “simply to think about it. correspondingly. 97 Chapter 5 . positive perceptions which were worked out beforehand during the third stage can be used. The client is given instructions “to think about the traumatic event” and. for example 45 degrees upwards or downwards (depending on what channel is used) by moving the fingers. additional work on image is necessary.” The installation is aimed at the integration of positive self-perception with chosen traumatic experiences. the client’s positive self-perceptions that spontaneously emerge during the session can be used. audio. and if downwards. restore a holistic “picture” of the traumatic event. e. e. During the session it might appear that the access to some episodes of trauma is achieved through one channel and to others through another. Usually by this phase the client’s negative selfperception disappears.” It may happen that the positive image worked out beforehand and as desirable for the client at the third stage of procedure becomes insufficiently attractive. if eyes move in the horizontal direction. There is an explanation for this: people usually use one sensation system for recollection of the past and “stick” to it. the access to the past is achieved through the visual system. These series are repeated until the client’s positive perceptions in connection with trauma do not become valid.. It is possible to define it beforehand. the therapist should consider through which channel (mainly visual. retaining this “image. Let the client’s eyes move not strictly horizontally but. For this purpose. In this case.. The installation is used for the reinforcement of positive self-perception in connection with the past trauma (i. The Fifth Stage The installation starts when desensitisation is completed. This instruction is general as far as the initial image of the traumatic event could already be lost or converted into another that is more acceptable and with another perspective. That might cause further insight. the client is taken through the new series of eye movements. the client mimics or changes breathing to indicate the condition of insight in spite of the fact that the access channel was determined beforehand as the kinaesthetic sphere. Perhaps that is the reason that causes the fragmentation of traumatic memory. Consequently. hear or feel) hidden fragments of trauma.g. the anxiety level is already significantly reduced.

And secondly. revealing itself in the body sensations. tension simply disappears.Psychosocial Rehabilitation of IDPs The Sixth Stage Since positive self-perceptions are completely obtained. First. the client should leave the session feeling emotional comfort. This phase ends when the client finds no tension while imaginary scanning. He/She is asked to identify any remaining tension.” Or they might not appear at all. but still it is better to warn the client in any case. such as the sudden recollection of hidden episodes of a traumatic event. the client is informed that after the sessions some disturbing “images” may appear. He/She is asked to make a “momentary shot” of these “images” and to process them at the following session. Usually it does not go so far and the client him/herself copes with the remaining “images. 98 Chapter 5 . The Seventh Stage This is the last phase and it comprises two important moments. the client is asked to retain in the consciousness both a chosen traumatic event and positive self-perception and at the same time scan his/her body from top to bottom. Sometimes during the body scanning some remaining “images” of still unprocessed trauma can appear. These reactions are signs of the further automatic processing of trauma. In many cases after the sessions. Such sensations are selected for further sessions.