Expert of the Week   for  23 - 29 Mar 2015

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إyousif Alzubair

Vice President

World Disability Union (WDU) Expertise:  The psychological effects of conflicts atrocities and disaster reduction of psychological impact of traumas.

In the field of disability, I worked on the drafting of the UN CRPD (Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Until the UN General Assembly endorsed the convention. I attended most of the follow up sessions to work for its implementation at the UN. Active in the People With Disabilities (PWDs) issues to include their rights on equal treatment during disasters. I Work for the provision of psychotherapy, counselling and psychological services for victims of civil war conflicts and disasters traumas. Protection of women and children in different situations is one of the concerns of my activities. Written materials on traumas and war disasters.

Psychological Intervention as First Aid service to mitigate the impact of disasters: Towards better individual resilience of vulnerable victims in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

Read more on the context

QQuestion by Mr Dave Paul Zervaas

Dear Dr Alzubair, Is there any specific therapeutic intervention strategy that you favor in light of the fact you can only train a limited amount of people who may not be experts in the field ? How would you describe such approach ? Thanks !

Mr Dave Paul Zervaas Programme Officer | UNISDR

APosted on 29 Mar 2015

Traumatic experiences are known to be connected with the different types of natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and volcanoes,as well as human-made disasters e.g. wars, crimes and different types of violence. Traumatization refers to extreme and painful experiences which are so difficult to cope with and probably lead to psychological dysfunctioning both in the short and the long run. 

Many researches agree that early intervention and education work to reduce problematic responses to trauma,and it has been seen that the individual rehabitation was most effective when there was a shorter time between the injury and the rehab services. The early intervention is the key to successful treatment and to prevent severe long-term disability and the development of chronic psychological symptoms that might lead to impair one's social life and other types of dysfunction.
In most of the Least Developed Countries, professorially trained psychotherapists are not readily available.When we refer here to a psychotherapist we mean a person who is trained professionally in the role of therapist, i.e. one who guides, accompanies and help a trauma victim to recover through the journey they both do it together.Such a person must be gifted with empathy and must like people and love the different dimensions of the job. Other skills can be taught regardless of education background.
The therapeutic intervention strategy is built around the objective to provide Psychological First Aid education and training to individuals who can assist victims in emergencies along  with other medical staff. A well- trained expert will provide the ongoing training,supervision and consultation. The mild cases can be dealt with directly by those trained individuals and the more severe incidents can be referred to the nearest psychological or psychiatric institution. The training is a very short one. Within two months the trainees will learn the basics for psychotherapy that include:

1. Diagnostic appraisal:which  refers to the process of gathering information to gain insight into the problem.

* Listen carefully to the complaints.

-Identify the nature of the problem.

- Know more in order to reach understanding of the circumstances and processes that brought the problem in the first place.

- Summarize the complaint in terms recognizable for both.

* Amplify your observations.

* Interpretation of what was heard or observed.

2. Selection of a therapeutic approach:

* The diagnostic appraisal results in provisional statements on the problem and its starting points.

* Formulate of hypothesis. 

* Check the most credible to offer the clearest prospective for therapy.

-The psychiatric classification approach.

-The developmental psychology approach.

-The psychodynamic approach.

-The family therapy approach.

-The learning theory approach.

-The cognitive approach.

           3.    Treatment Goals and therapeutic relationship: 

               -      Choosing the therapeutic technique.

               -       Use of appropriate therapeutic scales.

               -       Supportive techniques.

The graduates of such trainings can be available in all disaster vulnerable areas to provide the Psychological First Aid services  where the full psychiatric or psychological services are not available.