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Summer Camp
Regular Features:
Edition 2: Nov 08

Experiences of torture, trauma and forced migration can alter attachment patterns in young people. A common example to many of us working with refugee children and adolescents is the child who presents as clingy and overly-dependent. Or the opposite: an adolescent who behaves in a fiercely independent way.

This month, we are reminded that a fundamental need of all children is the need to attach – to be held both physically and in mind. Deb Gould gives us insights about this through her regular column; Anna Huber explores the theory and its application to work with young refugees; Deborah Nelson offers practical, school-based strategies; and Sanja Stefanovic shares a case study involving her work with an 11 year old Iraqi boy.

I trust you will enjoy this edition and look forward to your feedback.

Max Schneider signature hintsforhealing@startts.org.au
Next month

> Deb Gould is a STARTTS Clinical Psychologist and clinical supervisor.

“If I go out to play how will it be when I get back?”

This question guides developmental drives to separate from attachment figures and to play. Play includes games, conversations with peers, drama and so on. It facilitates the same skills that attachment does, particularly emotional regulation. Learn more >>


Refugee children and adolescents have experienced trauma which often has ongoing impacts on their functioning post-settlement. Part of this trauma may be related to disruptions in their attachments to parents or other adult caregivers, or an experience of no physically or psychologically available attachment figure to provide protection and emotional support when they feel threatened. Learn more >>

For refugee children, school is often a very special place and most children are highly motivated to learn and achieve in this context. However, it can also be a place that exacerbates a child’s confusion, bewilderment, and fear. Learn more >>

Jamal, an 11 year old Iraqi boy, was referred to STARTTS by his school counsellor. Jamal presented with disruptive behaviour and anxiety difficulties at school. The school reported he would often run away from school and go home to his mother – when he felt unsafe because of playground fights, or when he became anxious about his school performance. Learn more >>

STARTTS is organising two summer camps for young people from refugee backgrounds in early 2009. The young men’s camp is for young men aged 14 to 18 years and will be held at the Great Aussie Bush Camp, Tea Gardens, from the 12th to the 15th of January 2009. For more information and referral forms, please contact Mohamed Baaruud or Herbert Gatamah. Referral forms must be in by December 12th.

The young women’s camp is for young women aged 14 to 18 years and will be held at Broken Bay from the 12th to the 15th of January 2009. For more information and referral forms, please contact Lina Ishu. Referrals must be in by December 15th.

Max Schneider
> Max is a Child & Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS and the service's school liaison officer.



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For The Classroom

Load the classroom with symbols of comfort that are culturally relevant – for example, soft toys and dolls from different cultural backgrounds.

Disclaimer The information contained in Hints for Healing is provided as an information source only.  The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the position or views of STARTTS.  The material is provided on the basis that readers are responsible for making their own assessments of the issues discussed, and always work under clinical supervision.

© 2008 STARTTS  Contact: hintsforhealing@startts.org.au
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