Conducting psychological support groups online during the war in Ukraine
Dear colleagues, we would like to share with you a link to an article about online psychological support during the war in Ukraine, with thanks to the Journal editors.
They have arranged with Taylor & Francis for the article to be free to access for the next few months so that it can reach as many people as possible. Read here…
Since the full-scale Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, Ukrainians have experienced grief and uncertainty about the future. Many people feel psychologically exhausted and seek psychological help. However Ukrainian psychologists are also experiencing the trauma of the war. May they work with clients? The article reviews and reflects on my experience of conducting online person-centered support groups in wartime. Thirty-nine groups have now been held, starting two weeks after the full-scale invasion. In this article, I discuss the structure and course of these groups, and describe several difficult cases in detail. Based on my experience, I conclude that the most effective support is provided by the sincere interpersonal relationships between group members, which facilitators maintain. Shared traumatic reality of living in war conditions gives facilitators a deeper understanding of what participants feel. This is accepted by participants and increases the therapeutic effect of the group. I argue that, in war conditions, Carl Rogers' classical encounter group structure can benefit from more support.It is also helpful to offer psychological techniques, such as breathing, bodily practices, and focusing, as practical ways of coping with stressful events.