SEI – Toufik

“Psychotherapy for refugees needs to be approached differently from mainstream psychotherapy. It is a very Western World concept. The idea that you go to someone and tell them what is difficult for you is something that can be alien. There are organisations that are advocating for asylum seekers and refugees but there were previously only two organisations offering emotional support: one dealing with serious war-related trauma and HSE Counselling in Primary Care services, both with a referral system. Although CIPC is a valuable service the waiting lists and the lack of multicultural expertise makes it difficult for asylum seekers to be supported. A refugee couldn’t just ring someone and say: I need help! As a psychotherapist, it became clear to me that there was an important gap in terms of specialised counselling services. One of my clients living in Direct Provision said to me: ‘If I was to tell you all the trauma I had in my life, ten sessions would not be enough.’ That client made me realise the need to support asylum seekers with strengthening and re-igniting something they already have: their ability to cope and their incredible resilience. Although the disclosure of traumatic events is welcome, we focus on facilitating self-regulation. When you respond to a traumatic situation, your whole nervous system gets activated in a freeze, flight or fight mode. Most of the time we manage. But sometimes it is too much, and the trauma prevents us from living in the present: this is PTSD. It’s very important to start learning tools that will help you ‘calm’ and slow down the nervous system. With the support of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Ideas Academy Programme, Lib was established to offer such a space where people feel safe to explore difficult thoughts and feelings and also tap into their resources or create new ones. Lib has a group-based programme called Amaris which is solely focused on coping skills and self-regulation exercises for adults and an art therapy-based programme for children called Roots.”

This post was highlighted by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland who are providing financial bursaries to people with ideas for solving social problems.

SEI is making €8,000 of funding available in amounts of up to €500 to people with very early-stage ideas for solving social problems to carry out some initial research and scoping. Everybody is welcome to apply, but SEI is particularly encouraging applications from people from under-represented communities. Find out more on the link!

Applications close 11th November.