Photo by Tony Cece

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Last week our trauma teams went into the homes of Smiles’ beneficiaries in order to hear their stories. Today our focus was on presenting trainings to local organizations. These presentations offer education to help create awareness and/or offer preventative measures to address specific needs within the community. Our teams went to a nursing home, Child Protection Services, and the University of Oradea. The Romanian professionals at each location are bright and knowledgeable about their fields. They possess a passion to care for people, which motivates them to work long hours with little compensation or recognition. The staff was eager to learn new ideas for working with their clients.

The team at the nursing home taught the staff about self-care. They explained that using positive statements makes a difference in our ability to follow through on commitments to ourselves. For example, team members shared that saying, “I will try to . . .” keeps people from achieving their goal whereas making a positive statement by saying, “I will . . .” opens up neurological pathways that allow us to achieve success. Although the staff was in disbelief that such a simple change would make a big difference, our trauma team used an activity to model the effectiveness of positive statements. The staff was surprised at the power of words but realized how this could improve their well-being.

The team at Child Protection Services noticed a lot of frustration and burn-out in the staff. Many of these psychologists and social workers have been in the field for over 10 years. Helping professions are relatively new so there’s few resources or trainings to equip and support workers in the field. Some staff called themselves “victims” whereas others identified themselves as “pioneers” for their profession. We spent time talking with the workers about the importance of self-care, specifically what strategies they currently use to refresh from their work. We also affirmed their work, that it has value and that they are making a difference.

Team members at the university worked with counseling professors and students, training them how to process trauma with children and adolescents. The team taught a specific technique using stones in therapy. Staff and students saw potential with this technique to generate deeper interactions with clients. They were eager to put this new skill into practice. Trauma team members felt rejuvenated by sharing their knowledge with their Romanian colleagues.

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