Self Help Group in Transit Asylum Camp

by Rolf Vaardal & Sofia Colorado Valencia
Centre for Migration Health, Municipality of Bergen, Bergen, Norway / Norwegian People’s Aid

Focus summary

Initially describing condtions and the group of asylum seekers that lived in Landås Transitory Asylum Camp in Bergen, Norway, from Dec 2015 to Nov 2016, we went on to outline the concept of TRT (Teaching Recovery Techniques) and its principles.

Then, after describing how this was adapted to the reality at Landås, we went on to train practically on a selection of the concrete self help techniques we used. This was done with immediate feedback from the audience, being supplied with their comments and reflexions.

Key Insights

  • Groups are a very effective means of working with persons having experienced potential traumatic events.
  • Being able to share, realise that reactions are normal and getting tools to handle everyday life, is a way of strengthening the individuals.
  • These topics are in general still tabooed, so creating a safe and positive atmosphere for those processes to start or continue the healing process, is of great importance.

Key take-outs from the ISHHR 2017 Conference (industry feedback, networking, peer presentations)

Different concepts of group work were shared, personal experiences shared, reflexions shared, all contributing to enhancing one’s own knowledge.

Future goals — what’s next?

Day to day work with refugees and asylum seekers, where is is more evident than ever, that support and humanistic approaches is of great value for everyone. It is also a way of making it easier to adapt to the new host country’s reality, and definitely cost effective.

How can local / national / international media better assist in bringing the vital issues discussed at ISHHR 2017 to light, and further encourage real, positive change and understanding?

Greater focus on who is the refugee, why is she/he where they are, and how can adequate, useful and relevant help or support be given. Not only focusing on the local challenges in the host country, but maybe more on the fact that we are all human beings, sharing the same world.