Psychosocial support involves enabling individuals to enhance their resilience through using personal coping strategies as well as re-connecting them with the community supports around them. Often this involves the provision of Psychological First Aid, which includes providing both practical and emotional assistance to people shortly after a critical incident.
Working in or returning from (or even going to) an overseas humanitarian project is often exciting and, invariably, a steep learning curve. Sometimes it can also feel exhausting, lonely, de-skilling, other-worldly, disillusioning, dissociating, flattening. It is always a unique experience that many – especially those who don’t work in the same professional field – don’t fully understand. Even loved ones can feel disconnected.
Able to meet in situ (including overseas) or by remote access (e.g. phone/ Skype), Sam works quickly to build trust and rapport before facilitating a safe discussion for clients to re-resource themselves to return to their work or home setting, as appropriate. He is well-practised in providing personally relevant and practical techniques, even where time is limited to one-off individual or group meetings. Strategies include the use of Acceptance and Commitment Training, Mindfulness, visualization and graded exposure techniques, as well as optimising the people and facilities available.
Sam has considerable experience of working with, and supporting professionals operating within, high emotional impact contexts such as law enforcement, secure and emergency settings and, particularly, humanitarian situations. He appreciates the emotional strength of individuals choosing to work in these environments, where personal and team resilience are severely tested, and rapid and deeply consequential decision-making impacts the safety of those around them.
Sam has worked in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Christchurch (post-earthquake), Haiti, Iraq, Myanmar, Nauru, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan where he has provided psychological, consultant, training and coaching support to professionals and leaders working in these contexts.
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