Support for caregivers
Psychologist Darina. Image: Iryna Roik

Thinking about it gives me goosebumps again

Interview with Ukrainian psychologist Darina

Ukrainian psychologist Darina works for an Early Intervention Centre in Odessa. She is in regular contact with parents of children with special educational needs. The outbreak of war caused great uncertainty. “At the beginning of the war, we didn't know what to do. We had to survive and also wanted to continue supporting the families.”

Parents came to Darina for psychosocial support. Due to the war, however, she was suddenly faced with acute and complex stress symptoms among the families. Darina: “I was afraid I couldn't help them or would only make it worse. The direct help from the specialists at ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre was a tremendous support to me.”

Self-care is crucial

Darina and her colleagues met once a week with ARQ's psychotrauma experts to share experiences. Darina: “It was a moment to pause and focus on ourselves. We were able to talk about what we were afraid of. Sometimes there were tears. After the meeting, we were able to put our own fears and worries aside and give our all to the families. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps again.”

Darina with some of her colleagues
Darina with some of her colleagues. Image: Iryna Roik

Talking about the war

Darina and her colleagues also learned about psychotrauma and techniques they can use to help the families, such as art therapy. Darina: “We now have many refugee families (ed.: internally displaced persons) that we help. Thanks to the training, we were better able to talk about the war.”

Continuing uncertainty

Stress levels among families are increasing. Many parents lost their jobs. Darina: “Parents feel uncertain and worry a lot. Art therapy teaches them that it is possible to briefly let go, and enjoy these special moments with the family. The families are very grateful for our support during these difficult times.”

The Early Intervention Centres in Ukraine work closely with Healthy Society, a Ukrainian aid organisation and partner organisation of ARQ National Psychotrauma Centre. Thanks to the support of the Dutch foundation Giro555.