UDG news by July 2022

Today marks more than 150 days that the members of Ukrainian Developing Group and all Ukrainian people live within the war and try to keep a semblance of “war-life balance”. It becomes harder every day, because more and more friends and relatives are being drafted to the army, and almost every family in Ukraine is waiting for someone to return. The psychologists have to find the strength to remain stable for their patients, while this waiting and sometimes the absence of contact with their loved ones is tearing them apart from inside.

The psychologists hold an important frontline in Ukraine, because a lot of Russian attacks specifically target the mental health of our people. Mass torture, rape, numerous missile strikes on schools and malls far from the frontlines – these attacks fulfill their intent – to sow anxiety and a sense of helplessness. But in these dark times resilience and vitality come to the rescue.

We understand that the war will not end soon, and even after that we will have a long work on the consequences of the war. That is the reason why we work on building a systemic foundation alongside the projects of emergency help and support.

We are immensely grateful to all societies who help us directly or through IAAP.

IAAP has begun providing financial support to us since the first days of the war, and continues to do it today. Thanks to these finances, we now have the ability to support our most urgent expenses. During the first month of the war, we have been able to provide individual support to the UDG members for their transportation, medical and accommodation needs. Eleven colleagues have received this kind of support. Numerous foreign colleagues had offered us free tutoring and supervision, and the financial support from IAAP enabled us to maintain communication, pay for the translation and technical support of these activities, including the translation of the most relevant clinical materials. We are grateful that this help was coming to us in a timely fashion and in sufficient amounts. We were able to host support events for a broader audience. Some seminars have been visited by more than 500 people. Also, a part of these money was forwarded to the crisis initiatives.

The crisis initiatives that emerged in the early days of the war continue to function. Our members receive professional support in the groups with Batya Brosh Palmoni (Israel), Elena Shpigner (Israel), Victoria Reicher (Israel), Algis Petronis (Lithuania).

The crisis counselling project, which is funded by the FAJP, is still underway. During this project we have provided 502 crisis consultations within 184 cases and counting. We are especially grateful to Jan Wiener for her comprehensive support.

Together with FAJP and Professional Association of Child Analytical Psychology (PACHAP) we began the work on another project. The book “A Guided Activity Workbook for Children, Families and Teachers to Promote Healthy Expression, Relief and Coping “MY BOOK ABOUT THE WAR AND TERROR IN UKRAINE” https://online.flippingbook.com/view/95679994/3/ written by Gilbert Kliman M.D., Chairman of The Harlem Family Institute and The Children’s Psychological Health Center, and other group of authors, has been translated and 1000 copies have been printed. This book is a workbook on going through war experience, it will be distributed in shelters and rehabilitation centres to assist psychotherapists in group and individual work.

We continue to learn how to deal with the trauma of sexual violence with a team of Israeli colleagues with Galit Ben-Amitay, Karni Ishai, Elana Lakh and Rivka Lahav. They have held seminars on basic protocol, work with embodiment and art therapy, and also a seminar on the work with families.

Together with Allan Guggenbühl, a group of colleagues is learning the mythodrama method for working with children who have experienced internal displacement from the occupied regions. We also had a seminar with Nino Siradze, who worked in Georgia with children using this method. Some colleagues have already started working with groups of children using this method, some will start working soon. This project will be part of the program in Bucha rehabilitation centre. Also, Allan has kindly offered his help in translation and publishing his book about mythodrama in Ukrainian.

Another project being worked on is the Serial drawing method, adapted by Oksana Zaleska for work with children affected by war. Serial drawing has been successfully used in the east of Ukraine in frontline areas since 2016.

Now she has started an education program on this method for psychologists. In cooperation with the team of the psychological support centre of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, she taught more than 100 specialists in Ukraine and abroad. Psychologists have been working with children online and offline, with supervision support.

This method of psychological support for children was developed for improving the process of adaptation to a new place of residence, overcoming stress outcomes, and preventing manifestations of post-traumatic syndrome.

Eva Pattis Zoja and International Association for Expressive Sandwork continued their support. Since 2016 Expressive Sandwork has been used to support children in a war conflict. Initially, they have provided finances to buy equipment for sand therapy in Donbas region, but all of that had been destroyed by Russian army strikes. Now the specialists in Bucha, Zhytomyr, and Dnipro with new financing by the Association are organizing new places for providing the method.

We have decided not to cancel a yearly UDG conference, but instead to hold it online, this way we could get the participants from many parts of the world to join us. Initially the topic of our conference was dedicated to the release of the Ukrainian translation of the book by John Hill «At Home in the World: Sounds and Symmetries of Belonging». But with the beginning of full-scale Russian war in Ukraine this topic has attained new meanings. The atmosphere of the conference was warm and sincere. The presenters and participants have become teachers and support group for one another. The conference chat room still remains active, and our foreign colleagues still send the messages of support when bad news arrive.

The situation of mass trauma requires new knowledge and skills from us. Together with Monica Luci and Stefano Carta, we plan to start training on dealing with trauma in the Jungian approach. A group of about 40 colleagues will be trained during the year.

Self-help is no less important than training, so we have organized a group to work with voice and traditional folk singing for the members of UDG. During classes of breathing and vocalization, our colleagues can reduce stress and learn more about Ukrainian culture by learning folk songs.

With help from the Catherine Cox and organizer committee of Ann Ulanov Jungian event, we held lecture by George Hogenson about his theory of Symbolic density. It was a very refreshing experience, and for a moment we have forgotten about war and grief, and had a chance to think about something interesting and inspiring.

Ukrainian Developing Group was created for education in the first place, so we do not forget about this priority activity. During these hard times we have carried out two training modules and supervisions for a new router group. We thank the hosts – Lisbet Myers, Batya Brosh Palmoni and Yehuda Abramovich for offering to work for free. It was a great support for the routers, most of whom were forced to leave their homes.

As for the previous router group, its seven members have successfully passed the exams. We congratulate Vlad Kunets, Angela Martynenko, Oksana Pirhal, Viktoria Roslik, Natalia Zhdanova, Ludmila Tonkih and Olena Brante for becoming provisional members of IAAP.

Thank you for staying with us an all your support!

Warm wishes,
Valentina Samus,
President of UDG

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