For Whom this Series of Courses is Meant This series of courses is meant for anyone working with traumatized people in whatever context.
There is no requirement for previous education in these areas. What is required is a love of working with people.
Our experience is that professionals, as well as people with less experience, greatly benefit from these courses, especially if there is a possibility for working through them in the context of a group.
Our aim in this series is to build capacity at the grassroots level. Thus, we are directing the material at people working in that context.
This isn’t to say that we will not get into theoretical material at times, as we feel that a theoretical background helps in assisting beneficiaries.
We specifically are directing this series at people working with vulnerable groups such as asylum seekers and refugees, civilian war victims and ex-combatants, victims of torture, minority groups and people who are discriminated against, prisoners and their families, LGBTI people, and so on. In certain parts of these courses, we will discuss specific approaches to some of these groups.
Another aspect is culture. In this version of the course, we are approaching all cultures and none. That means that we are providing outlines that will need to be adapted to specific cultures and to specific groups. We encourage you to do that for the people with whom you are working. We ask you to send your adaptations to us so that we can learn about your culture and your specific group. This is important for us.
Terminology and Language There are many ways of saying the same thing.
In various locations, in various cultures and sub-cultures, in various languages, and in various legal contexts, words may have different meanings and may be more or less acceptable.
We thus urge you to be extremely careful in interpreting and translating the concepts that are given in these courses into your own situation. As examples, the words “therapist”, “counselor”, and even “advisor” may have legal or other connotations. The same may be true of the word “client”.
Throughout these courses we will use a number of terms. We will not speak of “patients” but always of “clients” or use another neutral term, such as “traumatized person” or some such.
While, for the most part, we will use the term “caregiver”, we may use the words “therapist”, “counselor”, and “advisor” at times. Again, please be careful in translating these into your context. Some additional terms that we have found useful in various contexts are “barefoot therapist”, “helper therapist”, “assistant therapist”, “facilitator”, and “accompanier”. Again, we urge you to find terms that are appropriate to your language, culture, and situation.
Timing and Working Through this Course With regard to this first course in the Caregiver-Client Relationship and Self-Care, we estimate that it will take you about 25 hours to read through the texts and listen to the audios or watch the videos and to carry out the activities that we recommend.
We urge you to have a regular routine and to do a little every day or every few days. It’s easy to get lost by not setting up that kind of routine. Still, take the time to work through the material. Do it at your own rate.
We strongly recommend that you read through the texts and listen to the initial audio or video. Generally, these will be very similar to the texts, although there may be some differences at times.
Naturally, we ask you to think about what you’re learning critically. If you have questions and/or don’t agree with what we’re saying, that’s great. Please communicate that to us. We’re very interested in your views. We’ll try to answer your questions and comments directly to you and in the commentary on the course website.
One point here on ethics and confidentiality is that we ask you never to use the names of real people or describe situations in which people can actually be identified, especially when you’re online. This can damage people badly.
Further, we encourage you to form a small group of people with whom you can work through these courses. That can be onsite or online.
In these courses, there is a fair amount of material that may bring up emotions in you. Go with those emotions. Don’t repress them. Take the time to deal with them. In the section of this course on self-care, we’ll describe in more detail how to deal with them. Take this slowly.
Certification At the time of writing, there is no certification of these courses outside of the CWWPP. If you contact us, we will try to figure out a method of certification of your completion of each course appropriate to your situation. We make no promises, though.
Contact with the CWWPP We welcome contact with you. Please write to us with your comments and questions. We are quite busy and so cannot promise how quickly we will answer.
Taking Inventory Before going further, we urge you to take inventory and to answer a few questions for yourself. If you are in a group, each member of the group should answer these questions. It also would be interesting for us to see your answers, but this is not required.
Who are you?
What is your age?
What is your gender identification?
What kind of background do you come from?
What is your current work?
Do you work with traumatized people? If so, with which groups?
What are your goals in taking these courses?
For yourself, but do not reveal this publicly now, have you been traumatized? If so, what were/are your experiences. NOTE: If you do not feel comfortable with this question and/or do not have good support, DO NOT answer this question now.