Regular Features:
Edition 8: Summer 09

From the Editor's Desk

Imagine the amount of energy it takes to hold in - to keep away from conscious awareness - the pain and distress associated with past trauma. Or put another way: how much effort does it takes to continue avoiding potential threats at all costs, constantly mobilising energy to cope with daily tasks?

This is the experience of many refugee young people. Even though their living environment has changed (they are now in a new country, attending a safe school), many of the young people we see at STARTTS continue to organise their behaviour around the neurobiological adaptation of their former trauma. They scan the environment for any real or perceived threat, as anything new can be potentially threatening. For example: a new topic at school, a new teacher, new friends or transitioning to a new class. Hence, our emphasis on predictability and consistency; on the value of taking the time to flag, explain and patiently walk through even minor changes.

The pieces included in this edition, our last one for the year, contain many ideas to assist you toward this end. I hope you will find them informative and helpful.

Wishing you a safe and happy festive season,

Max Schneider signature
Next month
Deb's digest
Deb Gould

The context and trajectory of development
Development makes sense in a cultural context where children are provided opportunities to develop particular, necessary capabilities. War decreases those factors stimulating growth (for example, education) and increases factors that require fear-based adaptation (for example, stress and trauma). Development swerves off track. Learn more >>

> Deb Gould is a STARTTS Clinical Psychologist and clinical supervisor.
Strengthening Relationships and a Systemic Care Alliance in Supporting Children and Young People Post Trauma - Mia Markovic
Tania May What impact can torture and trauma have on the developing young person?
Young people coming to Australia, after living through trauma and torture, have to cope with the legacy of the past as well as having to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. Not only do they have their own difficulties, but their family of origin can be fractured and stressed. Their parents may not be able to support them emotionally. For young people, this is a time when independence and peer friendships are starting to be more important and there is less reliance on family, but young people still need a supportive family that sees them capable and confident.
Learn more >>
> Tania May is a doctor
who has worked with young people in the Canterbury-Bankstown area and in
inner-west Sydney for the
last ten years.
Case Study - Marc Chaussivert
Omera Memon Helping young refugees to explore and to process traumatic experiences is not an easy task. STARTTS Jungle Tracks program facilitates this process within a group setting in a way that is non-intrusive and effective. Omara Memon and Sanja Stefanovic, who are currently running a Jungle Tracks small group, share their experiences and learnings Learn more >>
> Omara Memon is a
STARTTS psychologist with
over two years experience working with individuals of refugee and refugee-like backgrounds.
Case Study - Marc Chaussivert
SSWAHS Youth Health Service Fairfield (FLYHT) opened a new youth health clinic for refugee and newly arrived young people on 5th November 2009. The service is run from Carramar and caters for young people aged 12 to 24 years. The clinic aims to provide an access point to health services for marginalised, at risk young people who are refugees and new arrivals to this country. Learn more >>
Case Study - Marc Chaussivert
Sejla Tukelija Angie, a 10 year old Liberian refugee, is having problems regulating her attention and focus at school , as well as her emotions (she often fluctuates from feeling very sad to feeling very angry). She was referred to STARTTS neurofeedback (NF) clinic. Learn more >>
> Sejla Tukelija is a neurofeedback counsellor
Max Schneider
> Max is a Child & Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS and the service's School Liaison Officer.

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In 2010, STARTTS will facilitate art and expressive therapy groups for Iraqi young people in the Fairfield and Liverpool local government areas. If you are interested in finding out more, email Lina Ishu

The next camp for young women (aged 14 to 18 years old) will take place at Broken Bay, NSW, from the 5 th to the 8 th of January 2010. Spaces are limited and the closing date for applications is December 11 th 2009. Express your interest by emailing Lina Ishu

Great Aussie Bush Camp
This youth camp for the Awiel community will run from 4th -6th December and feature workshops by STARTTS legal officer and other counsellors from STARTTS. For more information email Gode Migerano

Young Men’s Camp at Sydney Sports Academy, Narrabeen.
This fun camp will run from December 19th to 22nd of December. For more information email Gode Migerano

Hint of the month
Important goals for work with refugee families include establishing physical security; giving children the experience of being supported; validating rather than dismissing emotions; accepting renewed anxiety to fearful reminders of earlier trauma; facilitating open communication; and minimising unnecessary separations.
Source: Guide to Working with Young People Who Are Refugees, Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc.

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.

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