PARSA Psychological First Aid Training for victims of trauma

About PARSA Psychological First Aid Training In Afghanistan

Introduction to Psychological First Aid Training for Field workers in Afghanistan- Train the Trainers


psychosocial1In a country such as Afghanistan where clinical psychological services are in the beginning stages of being developed, and trained mental health professionals are very scarce, psychological services developed to support victims of traumatic events using an intervention model that trains community leaders and members on how to counsel and support each other. Using very basic counseling principles, often working with illiterate people, this very basic psychological first aid approach can reach more people, effectively, than an approach that relies on trained mental health professionals.

Psychological trauma can be defined as exposure incidents of overwhelming stress where stress comes from the death of others, the threat of death to a person, or injury to oneself or others by violence, natural disasters or accidents and this exposure exceeds the victims ability to cope or their ability to overcome emotional reactions to the event. This includes people who lost family members or friends in the event but were not present themselves.

In situations where families are fleeing conflict areas, and have experienced traumatic events often community members find themselves “counseling” each other as people try to cope with overwhelming psychological responses to the situation. Psychological first aid assists members of the family and communities as they try to cope with chaotic and disturbing challenges.

Psychological first aid adapts basic psychological principles to prepare community workers or professionals with no background in mental health services to provide simple but effective support for people suffering from symptoms of trauma, anxiety and depression, or people who are having difficulty coping with challenging circumstances.

In this training we identify cultural strengths that Afghan families, and communities have that if encouraged can provide natural healing for victims of trauma, and we help our trainees learn to identify and promote healthy networks of psychosocial support within the communities.

This training is designed to give field workers a basic understanding of:
• The effects of traumatic events on victims,
• Simple assessment tools to assess the victims to determine how well the victim is functioning and when a victim should be referred to professional services
• How to find appropriate resources for referral and how to manage referrals
• Basic techniques for conducting one-on-one sessions that will provide relief for some symptoms of trauma,
• How to set up and facilitate support groups to encourage a healthy response to traumatic events within families and communities.

Training for trainers of Psychological First Aid field workers

In this five-day training, trainers will learn how to deliver psychological first aid services within the context of their fieldwork, and how to train fieldworkers in psychological first aid services.

Trainers will learn:
1. How to deliver a three-day training to prepare field workers to deliver services including:
• A simple assessment mechanism that will allow field workers determine whether victims need to be referred to professional services because they are exhibiting severe symptoms of trauma
• How to locate, interface and follow up with referral resources
• How to conduct “one-to-one” counseling sessions with victims using two simple therapeutic techniques.
• How to facilitate a support group session to address family violence, gender based violence to support healthy coping mechanisms and refer GBV cases where appropriate to GBV experts

2. How to evaluate the effectiveness of psychological first aid interventions.



Psychological First Aid Training for Field Workers

What is psychological first aid?
• Training in basic psychological assessment skills
• Referring clients who are experiencing severe symptoms of trauma to appropriate agencies or health facilities
• Psychological first aid one-to-one counseling skills using “active listening”
• Introduction to using “acceptance and commitment” therapy with people who have experienced trauma.
• Learning how to facilitate support group sessions using the positive focus of “acceptance and commitment” therapy
• Learning to support and encourage cultural and social traditions to facilitate individual, family and community healing
• Learning how to document “case management” work
• Applying psychological first aid in your field assignments