Therapeutic activism: Supporting emotional resilience of volunteers working in a refugee camp

Hughes, Gillian, Burck, Charlotte and Roncin, Laureline (2020) Therapeutic activism: Supporting emotional resilience of volunteers working in a refugee camp. Psychotherapy and Politics International . ISSN 1556-9195

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We describe the development of an approach offering emotional support to volunteers who responded to the humanitarian crisis that has left thousands of refugees living in precarious and dangerous conditions across Europe. The Refugee Resilience Collective was set up by a group of therapists drawing on social justice approaches, working on the French–English border. It was recognised that the emotional needs of volunteers were being neglected, putting many at risk of secondary traumatisation and “burnout.” We elaborate ways we set about fostering an environment of self‐care which, we argue, is crucial to sustaining volunteers. We have offered regular consultations to individuals and teams to nurture resilience and the potential for life‐changing growth, to help them manage the challenges of the work and to build their collective resistance to the abusive state system that refugees face. “Doing hope” for others and collective action are crucial components of our approach.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: First published: 23 January 2020
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotional Resilience, Humanitarian Aid, Refugees, Social Justice, Volunteers
Subjects: Human Psychological Processes > Strange Environment/Situation
Human Psychological Processes > Stress
Psychological Therapies, Psychiatry, Counselling > Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Race and Culture > Social/Cultural Influences on Psychology (e.g. disasters, war)
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services

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