Regular Features:
Edition 7: Spring 09



From the Editor's Desk

Last weekend, at a family birthday in Canberra, I met a young adult who came to Australia as a refugee child in the late 1980s. Having survived horrific experiences in the context of a civil war in Central America, this man – now in his late 20s – shared that he still has occasional nightmares about what he witnessed. He also finds it difficult to form relationships and struggles to adjust to life as an adult.

His story illustrates the far reaching impact of refugee trauma. It can affect all domains in a young person’s life: cognitions, feelings, the capacity to be socially engaged, the ability to learn, and future moral development. Against this background clinical presentations are often complex. In addition to symptoms suggestive of the conventional post-trauma disorders, many young people present with other challenges related to adjusting to life in Australia and coming to terms with an enormity of losses.

In the face of these difficulties it is important not to feel overwhelmed; to keep in mind that resilience and hope are also very much part of the picture. I trust that you will find the following pieces – some from colleagues within STARTTS, others by clinicians from other trauma services – interesting and helpful.

Until the next one,

Max Schneider signature hintsforhealing@startts.org.au
Next month
Deb's digest
Deb Gould Childhood Trauma: responses, impacts or symptoms: I hope you weren’t expecting a solid list of the symptoms of trauma responses in children. Such a list would not only be inaccurate, but more importantly miss out on the full context within which children have these responses. This context is what I would like to focus on in this edition.   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
Mia Markovic The impact of early and chronic or multiple traumas are known to span medical, psychological and interpersonal/ social domains. Exposure to multiple traumas is also associated with potential and significant problems in adulthood, including substance misuse and criminality.
Given the complex needs of children, young people and families post early and chronic trauma, agencies working in various trauma fields can help by focusing advocacy and interventions on three main areas.
Learn more >>
> Mia Markovic is the
Clinical Senior of the
PANOC Service; Integrated Violence, Prevention and Response Services, Sydney West Area Health.
Strengthening Relationships and a Systemic Care Alliance in Supporting Children and Young People Post Trauma - Mia Markovic
In her book Children and Trauma, author Cynthia Mohahon reminds us of the following important points about the impact of trauma on the family...
Learn more >>
Case Study - Marc Chaussivert
Marc Chaussivert Angie is 9 years old with big brown eyes and a shy demeanour. She was referred to STARTTS by her school due to aggressive behaviour and learning difficulties. She is also frequently distressed and appears sad - “she is morose and cries all day”. Teachers indicate that she has very poor relationships with peers partly as she is oversensitive to criticism. Learn more >>
> Sejla Tukelija is a neurofeedback counsellor
at STARTTS.
Case Study - Marc Chaussivert
STARTTS is co-hosting a soccer tournament at Auburn, Western Sydney on 7th – 8th October 2009 to empower African and Middle Eastern youth to overcome their traumatic refugee experiences. Learn more >>

CURRENT SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES continued...

Iraqi Youth Project
Some funding has become available to run group work with Iraqi young people from refugee backgrounds in the Fairfield/Liverpool area focusing on art and expressive therapies as a modality. Approximately 4 to 6 groups will be organised, with different Iraqi cultural and religious communities. Following the 8-week groups, a leadership program will also be organised. The project aims to improve self-esteem and well being, and to teach leadership skills. For more information contact Lina Ishu
.

Project Bantu (Capoeria)
Project Bantu has started this semester at Miller IEC, Fairfield IEC, Evans IEC, Chester Hill IEC and for the second year is running in Cabramatta IEC and as an after school program in Carramar. All the classes are composed of mixed gender and backgrounds young refugees between 12 and 18 years old from both IEC and High School. The referral to the program is usually done with teachers and school counsellors choosing children who have particular difficulties in settling into the school environment. The number of children currently participating in the program is 120 and a public event that will gather them together is being organised for the end of November to be run in Surry Hills. For more information, contact Chiara Ridolfi.

 

Max Schneider
> Max is a Child & Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS and the service's School Liaison Officer.

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CURRENT SCHOOL-RELATED ACTIVITIES

Drumbeat
There is a Drumbeat group being organised for the next school term in Catherine McCauley at Westmead. For further information email Mohammad Baaruud

Soccer Tournaments
A soccer tournament for refugee youth is being organised for October 7 and 8. For more information and contact details, refer to the story included in this edition.

Iraqi Youth Project
Some funding has become available to run group work with Iraqi young people from refugee backgrounds in the Fairfield/Liverpool area focusing on art and expressive therapies as a modality. For more information email Lina Ishu

Learn more >>

Project Bantu (Capoeria)
Project Bantu has started this semester at Miller IEC, Fairfield IEC, Evans IEC, Chester Hill IEC and for the second year is running in Cabramatta IEC and as an after school program in Carramar. For more information, email Chiara Ridolfi
.
Learn more >>

Hint of the month
Explore which coping strategies and sources of personal strength young refugees have used in the past in overcoming tremendous adversity, and identify those that are healthy and adaptive for the future.
Source: National Centre for Child Traumatic Stress – www.nctsnet.org

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.

© 2009 STARTTS  Contact: hintsforhealing@startts.org.au