For Who?

A humanitarian organization working
with refugees from Syria, Iraq and
Afganistan among others.

Introduction to you

Before this project was developed, I
happened to meet several staff members
of the agency. Their distress was visable.
I recommended that the agency consider
the type of support it could offer to its staff.

Their need and your eval

A staff member was considering quiting due
to burn out. Other staff was experiencing
similar distress.
Recognizing the needs of the staff, agency
managers and I talked about the what may be
impacting staff experience. Managers felt that
they would benefit from a better understanding
of the psychological distress that refugees face.
I recommended that it may be helpful to also
understand the impact that working with people
who have expereinced trauma can have on staff.

Work performed

The Danish Refugee Council and I also looked
at how to ensure ongoing support, after the
In partnership with the agency, learning
objectives were defined and an initial 6 hour
training on the impact of trauma on men,
women and then on humanitarian workers.
Skills introduced included: communication skills,
empathy, building boundaries, de-escalation and
identifying personal triggers.
Along with the training the following services
were provided for the next 3 months: Case
consultation, group sessions and individual
sessions followed by a follow up training.


The initial objectives of the project were met
and the need for ongoing support was identified.
This project was extended for 6 additional
months with an additional goal of building
internal capacity through the creation of a new
position who will continue to focus on the
self-care needs of the agency’s staff.


“When I first went to your training I didn’t think
that what you were teaching us would help.
But now I find I reflect on it multiple times a
day, and it really helps. For example I was able
to help an 8 year old girl to calm down when she
was panicing using the breathing techniques you
taught us."
-Training Participant

Work Examples

Training and ongoing Suppport

The DRC sought to assist the new staff in preparing for the job, a 6 hour training on: the impact of trauma on adult refugees, the impact of trauma on child refugees and the impact of refugee trauma on humanitarian workers was provided, along with following up support..

UNHCR Unaccompanied Children’s Program

UNHCR was in need of a set of evaluation tools to assist with a review of programs serving unaccompanied children. A literature review along with a set of evaluation tools to be used in interviews various stakeholders including the children themselves and their caregivers.

The Bhutanese Community of Cincinnati

The Bhutanese Community of Cincinnati wanted to develop a peer support model, to assist its community in maintaining their overall well-being. Staff and community members were provided training and ongoing support to enhance their understanding of mental health and the health care system in the U.S.