Pilot programme: Trauma Informed Reflective Spaces

Programme created by Refugee Action and JTI

May 20, 2024
5 min read

Refugee Action and Justice Together Initiative are coming together to pilot trauma informed reflective spaces to support participants with their well being.

This programme has been informed by:

  • Our wellbeing discovery report workshops. People expressed an appetite for “peer learning spaces” (pages 32 & 33) to reflect, discuss challenges, and share (and hear) ideas.
  • A strategic recommendation from the Refugee Action report (pages 34 & 35): “Network & influence - Generate sector wide understanding and implementation of sustainable practices that improve wellbeing. This includes creating peer learning spaces.”
  • Recommendations from the Wellbeing Sector Working Group to trial peer support spaces and learning from other similar programmes. 
  • Recommendations from priority 4 of the People, Power and Priorities report published by Migration Exchange. 

What will the programme involve? 

  • A needs assessment to shape the format of the sessions 
  • Online reflective spaces from June to December 2024  
  • 121 drop-in support throughout the duration of the programme 

Who can attend?

The programme will have two cohorts with a maximum of 8 individuals in each. The cohorts will be for practitioners who fit the below criteria: 

  • Cohort 1: People with lived experience of forced migration
  • Cohort 2: People in line management/ team leader positions

How to sign up?

Spaces will be given on a first come first served basis. To sign up please fill in this form  by the 3rd June 17.00pm stating which cohort you would like to be a part of. Please note we will be taking one person per organisation.

Please note we would like to know that management/ leadership are invested in the process and keen to learn from the results. We understand that attendance can be a challenge but as the reflective spaces are dependent on creating trust and places are limited it is crucial that successful applicants attend the majority of sessions.

Timeline of the programme

  • 12th June - Needs assessment sessions 
  • 3rd July - Session 1
  • 4th September - Session 2
  • 2nd October - Session 3
  • 6th November - Session 4
  • 4th December - Session 5 

Further information

The reflective sessions are intended to be a space to discuss the personal and professional impact of working in the refugee and migrant sector. Sessions will allow participants to come together and engage in reflective conversations and self-exploration around their work. They are confidential and facilitated by a professional psychologist with experience in the refugee sector. The aim is to create a safe space where personal experiences, thoughts, feelings, and challenges can be shared in a supportive environment. 

A needs assessment will be conducted at the beginning of the project, which will allow participants to shape the format of the sessions. The reflective sessions can contain a focus on important themes identified in the initial needs assessment, such as:

  1. Trauma informed care: Trauma-informed practice increases awareness of the widespread consequences of trauma, and by being armed with knowledge, we learn how to respond sensitively to our own and others' experiences of trauma.
  2. Vicarious trauma: understanding the impact on frontline workers of supporting survivors of trauma. 
  3. Self-care strategies and how to implement wellbeing practices: how to support ourselves in a challenging work environment.

About the facilitator

The reflective sessions will be facilitated by Dr. Mirjam Klann Thullesen, a Chartered Psychologist and psychotherapist, specialising in psychological trauma and staff wellbeing. With over 20 years of experience, Mirjam has worked extensively with complex client groups who have experienced psychological trauma, both providing psychological therapy and rehabilitation, as well as casework, project coordination and as an expert witness in the refugee sector. She has worked with organisations such as Freedom from Torture, Refugee Council, Nia Project, and the Poppy Project. Mirjam now heads up a consultancy called the Centre for Trauma and Wellbeing, which aims to address the needs of staff working frontline with survivors of trauma, providing supervision, reflective sessions and delivering training to a wide range of audiences including Social Impact Agencies and those working in the creative and media sector.

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