September 14, 2021 – on September 09-11, 2021 “HOPE worldwide Ukraine” Charity Foundation has organized a concluding conference for the “Helping Hand for Ukraine: Psycho-Social Support Program” Project participants from Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The theme of the conference was “Coping with War Trauma. Mental Health and Rehabilitation Services” and it has been held in a picturesque place, Yablunytsia village in the Carpathian Mountains.
The event launched in a cozy and friendly atmosphere. Iryna Sukhova who spoke about the “Children and War”, its innovations, and experience in Ukraine and worldwide opened the conference program. Then, Oksana Nakonechna, Head of the Board of EMDR Ukraine Association, talked about traumatic events, types of trauma and how and when EMDR therapy can help and foster healing and restoration. Tetiana Oboyanska, trainer and regional coordinator of the “Helping Hand for Ukraine” project in Luhansk region, talked about art-technologies and Expressive Sand Work therapy in coping with psychological trauma. Valentyna Kozhushko, psychologist at NaUKMA Centre for Psychological Health, shared her experience and talked about the activities of the Psychological Rehabilitation Centre in Pokrovsk.
The conference continued in the format of five master-classes, and the participants could freely choose the two of them to attend. At Oksana Nakonechna’s master-class “Hugs of a Butterfly Technique in Individual and Group Work”, the group learned to cope with fears. They practice on their own traumatic experience and used the technique to reduce its intensity. Valentyna Kozhushko’s master-class “Art-Therapy of Psychological Trauma Using Triptych” turned out to be very deep and restorative for many of the participants who could transform difficult situations and experiences into healing metaphors.
Viktoria Antonova held a master-class “Using LEGO-Technologies for a Lasting Stress Relief and Emotional Restoration”, where the participants worked on individual and group projects. Tetiana Oboyanska’s master-class “Using Metaphoric Associative Cards for Personality Restoration and Strong Stress Relief” gave a lot of practical tools and techniques for coping with stress, positive thinking, emotional and psychological restoration. Olena Bozhor held a master-class “Inner Hero. Transformational Technique and Fairytale-Therapy”, where the group learned self-understanding and self-acceptance.

The last day of the conference started with Natalya Podolyak, trainer of the “Helping Hand for Ukraine” project, who talked about “Motivation of Psychologists Working with Trauma”, motivational factors and inspiration, fears and concerns, as well as the steps every psychologist can make in order to excel in their profession.
Later on, the participants, guided by Iryna Hniezdilova, facilitator and psychologist, explored different generations, talked about distinctive features and differences between them. The report on “Peculiarities of Communication with Millennials” provoked many insights and gave the participants an opportunity to remember themselves in childhood, recognize teenagers and students they work with receive useful recommendations about interaction and cooperation with them.
During the official closing ceremony, everyone received a certificate of participation and trainer certificate, which allows conducting “Children and War” therapy sessions. The participants received a set of books related to the topic of trauma. We hope the books will be useful for their work and professional growth.
The event has been held within the frames of the “Helping Hand for Ukraine: Psycho-Social Support Program” Project, financed from the funds of the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania.

The “Helping Hand for Ukraine: Psycho-Social Support Program” Project is aimed at contributing to the improvement of the mental health and rehabilitation services for children with war trauma in Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine by introducing a psychosocial support training program to school psychologists, social workers, and pedagogical students. We aspire to strengthen the competencies of mental health care and rehabilitation specialists and increase the access to psychological rehabilitation services development activities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions
The Project continues previous initiatives of the “HOPE worldwide Ukraine” Charity Foundation, which included trainings and supervision for volunteers, social workers, psychologists working with IDPs from Crimea, Donetsk, Luhansk regions; therapy sessions for traumatized children. In 2016-2018 we trained specialists in Ukraine’s 24 regions; in 2019-2020 – we focused our efforts on those who continue to live and work in “red” zone of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Among the other donors of the “Helping Hand for Ukraine” project in 20216-2020 are affiliate organizations in other countries – “HOPE worldwide Canada”, “HOPE worldwide” (USA), “HOPE worldwide Switzerland” charitable organisations, Ukrainian Credit Union (UCU, Canada). The Ukrainian Institute of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (Lviv, Ukraine) is our long-term partner of the project.

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