The aim of this series of courses is to give people some basic knowledge, skills, and attitudes so that they can assist other people within their own communities with psychological traumatization. The series also is directed at people assisting those people, that is, long-term and short-term volunteers, staff members of various non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, inter-governmental organizations, etc.
We’re not assuming that you’re a psychologist or a teacher or a social worker or that you’ve worked with people before. Our aim is to take you through enough material so that you can assist people so that they can live with their psychological traumatic reactions.
These courses are particularly directed at people living in areas that are undergoing or have undergone violent conflict as well as at people who are vulnerable in some way. In this sense we are thinking of asylum seekers and refugees and people on the move, people who are challenged emotionally, physically, and intellectually, members of minority groups, people in prisons, poor people, and people who are challenged in other ways.
Something that we want to make clear at the beginning is that psychological trauma is not a disease. We all have reactions to events that threaten us and/or people close to us. Those reactions can be psychological, such as depression or anger, they can be physical and can be a combination of those. Every person reacts in his or her own way. We’ll look at those reactions in detail in a course a little further into the series.
The series is divided into a number of courses. This first one is an introduction to working with people and to dealing with your own feelings, which naturally will arise when you work with other people who have traumatic reactions. It’s very important that you recognize the traumatic events that have occurred in your own life and how those relate to the traumas in people with whom you’re working. It’s also important that you keep balance in your life. Working with other people, of course, involves gaining their trust and a great deal of careful listening. We’ll get into that later in this course and others in the series.
The second course deals with how you communicate with other people individually and in groups. We’ll give you some background and some techniques. Because this series is meant for people in various cultures and because individuals are very different, these are meant as foundations on which you can build according to your own culture and in your own style.
The third course gives an introduction to psychology and counseling. We’ll take a look at the various directions in psychology, at various concepts of psychology, and at techniques that you can use. We’ll also look at how you work with specific groups of clients.
The next course deals with non-violent conflict transformation. We’ll look at mediation and other forms of conflict resolution, including restorative justice.
In the course after that, we’ll look at civil society in general. Civil society, that is, non-governmental and non-commercial organizations, have a very important role to play in society. They’ve always been important and now are increasingly so. Civil society organizations differ between regions. However, there are some principles that are very similar everywhere.
Finally, we’ll get into some basics of human rights. We’re not lawyers, but we think that there are some things that everyone needs to know.
There are a number of things that we need to say before we begin to look at the material of the first course. First, we urge you strongly not only to look at this course but to look at everything you can find on the Internet and elsewhere. The more diverse opinions you see, the better.
Another point is that our aim is to give you the basics. Please, if you don’t know something, ask someone else, even better, a few people, and look it up. The most important principle of working with people is to do no harm.
Also, legally, depending on where you are, you may or may not be allowed to do certain things. We’ll get into that a little later in several of the courses.
Also, from a legal standpoint, we take no responsibility for what you do or for what may or may not be legal or proper in what we say.
We hope that you gain something from these courses that will help you to assist people around you. We very much welcome your communicating with us. Please tell us what you think, what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, and what we could add to the courses. We look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to Contact Us