Supervisory group sessions of the "Helping Those Who Help" program

Now, more than ever, we need the support of specialists who assist victims of the consequences of war — experts who themselves are navigating the current challenging events. It's crucial to keep in mind that while extending help to others, it's equally important not to overlook self-care, ensuring the ability to persist in our vital work. The «Helping those who help» programis not just a name; it serves as a platform for exchanging experiences among like-minded individuals. The initiatives of the «Helping those who help» program are designed to enhance the resilience and capabilities of professionals in the helping professions.
A total of 629 participants, encompassing professionals from psychological, psychosocial, and legal fields, registered for the program. This highlights the importance of establishing and sustaining projects dedicated to supporting experts in the helping professions.
Given the high demand, we conducted eight online supervisory group sessions with our trainers in November and December this year. These sessions were dedicated to examining cases from the legal and psychological practices of the participants. Through collaborative efforts between the group and the trainers, participants had the opportunity to explore and address specific cases where they encountered challenges from a fresh perspective. The primary emphasis was on the psychological aspects of the cases, recognizing that, in today's circumstances, tending to the psychological and mental well-being of society stands as a crucial factor in our state's recovery. We're gratified that this perspective resonates with numerous professionals in the helping professions.
«I appreciated the approach to working with clients, where everyone had the freedom to express their opinions, and the presence of support and guidance from the supervisor. Leaving the session, I not only gained answers to my specific questions (as I presented a case for discussion), but also gained insights into navigating client work when faced with potential 'dead ends.' I now have a better understanding of how to proceed in my work with different types of trauma, discovered additional resources to enhance my practice, and recognized the importance of conducting psychoeducational work. This was my valuable experience in supervision,» shared Maryna Syvets, a teacher and psychologist.
«I found the case discussions particularly interesting, along with the exchange of experiences and working methods. Hearing diverse approaches to problem-solving is always interesting and beneficial. For future events, I'm hopeful for more practical examples and the chance to delve into specific situations encountered in our work. Exploring new approaches and trends in our field is also of great interest, providing opportunities for collective study and discussion,» shared Vladlena Pertyk, a psychologist and participant in the «Helping those who help» Program, underscoring the importance of supervision.
«I am profoundly grateful for the meaningful cases and the collective experience shared by my colleagues. The meeting exceeded my expectations, leaving me with positive emotions and a wealth of knowledge gained from the valuable insights of my peers,» concluded Victoria Bulantseva, a psychologist and participant in the supervision of the «Helping those who help» Program.
As a reminder, beginning in June 2023, we successfully conducted eight two-day online and offline training sessions for specialists in legal, psychological, and psychosocial fields. These sessions were designed to encompass not only theoretical components but also practical aspects. Throughout both the theoretical and practical segments, participants had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with and enhance their knowledge on the following topics:
  • “What Is ‘Normal’ In Extreme And Rapidly-Changing Conditions” online training: participants worked with trainers on personal resources for overcoming crisis and traumatic situations, as well as cross-sectoral interaction of specialists in providing psychological and psychosocial assistance. More details about the event:  
  • «PTSD and Life in Prolonged Stress» offline training: psychologists and psychologists listened to trainers' lectures on helping families of military and veterans, the «Safe Place» technique, PTSD treatment protocol and differential diagnosis of stress disorders. More details about the event:  
  • “The norm of life in prolonged stress” online training: the trainers discussed the risks of helping professions and the additional burden when encountering an injury. More details about the event:  
  • «Adaptation to new conditions. Accelerated recovery and accelerated changes» online training: psychologists talked about neurobiology and trauma treatment and studied the See Far CBT technique. More details about the event:  
  • «Building dialogue with clients» online training: lawyers worked on the interview scheme and the PEACE model and its effective application, as well as professional risks that lawyers may be exposed to. A lecture was held on psychological states depending on the period of receiving a traumatic experience and secondary traumatization of a lawyer. More details about the event:  
  • «Victim-oriented approach: psychological aspects of the work of lawyers» online training: lawyers worked on the rights and needs of victims. The retraumatization of the client and the trauma of witnesses of crimes were discussed. More details about the event:  
  • «Resilience and recovery. Or, how to continue living with ‘all of this’» online training: participants discussed the development of mental health services in communities and created their own map of mental health in communities in Ukraine. They also worked on personal and group resources for overcoming prolonged crisis states and situations. More details about the event:  
  • «Resources for Coping and Resilience» online training: lawyers talked about informed consent as an element of resilience, and participants also shared their own experiences by developing a map of providing legal and psychological assistance in the regions of our country. more details about the event: 
Trainers of the “Helping those who help” program:
Iryna Ratzke-Rybak, psychoanalyst, group analysis trainer, family therapist, supervisor.
Iryna is the Head of the Department of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy for Couples and Families, a supervisor and training analyst at the Association of Psychologists and Psychotherapists of Ukraine (APPU), a delegate of the European Federation of Psychoanalysts and Psychotherapists (EFPP), a full member of the Group Analytic Society International (GASI). She has more than 20 years of experience as a therapist and training analyst in individual and group therapy. An important aspect of her work is the training of specialists and supervision of other supervisors. She has international training in trauma work (Israel).
Iryna provides group psychological and psychosocial support to women and children who are forced migrants from Ukraine in Germany at EBW (Evangelical Academy).
Natalia Pidkalyuk, psychiatrist, Trauma Focus trainer (Institute of Neuropsychotherapy, Austria), head of IPSI NGO.
Natalya participates in educational projects on group psychoanalysis (APPU), clinical hypnosis (APPU), reconsolidation of traumatic memories (randrproject), and crisis leadership programs (Center for Humanitarian leadership).
Natalya has 20 years of professional experience, 12 of which she worked in a psychiatric hospital in various departments (acute conditions, neuroses, gerontology, she headed the department of coercive medical measures with enhanced supervision). In 2017, a center for medical and psychological rehabilitation of stress disorders was created as part of the polyclinic together with the local authorities. Since December 2021, she has been conducting private practice and is the head of an NGO: IPSI.
Since the beginning of the full-scale war, IPSI has provided psychosocial support services to people affected by the war, with individual consultations and group classes. In total, supporting more than 10,000 people. This work is done both on the grounds of the Center and in the Khmelnytskyi region. It also conducts trainings for people in aid professions on the prevention of professional burnout, and organizes educational events for psychologists.
Lilia Oliynyk, lawyer, mediator, lawyer at the hotline for psychological and legal assistance by Human Rights Vector NGO.
Lilia is a participant in JurFem's support initiatives to help victims of sexual violence and all types of gender discrimination. She has experience in dealing with conflicts in places of assistance to internally displaced persons. She is the author of several scientific publications and manuals on the observance of children's rights and the practice of the European Court of Human Rights (Ukraine).
Mark Sherman, head of the department of medical psychology of the northern district, Israel.
See Far CBT trauma and crisis expert. Supervisor. Teacher at Jaffa Academic College in Tel Aviv. Works with civilians, military and police in an integrated approach. Work and supervision in Ukraine from 2011 to the present.
Ruslana Rudenko, psychoanalysis-oriented psychologist working with children, adolescents, adults and families.
Ruslana has additional specialization in trauma work and Jungian Sand Play therapy. Supervisor, teaching analyst at Odesa Psychoanalytic Society (OPS). Teacher at the Odesa Psychoanalytic Institute of Postgraduate Education.
Ruslana holds lectures for parents and OPS students on attachment theory, child psychology, play psychotherapy and child psychoanalysis, as well as non-analytic methods of trauma therapy. She participates in the organization of seminars and conferences of the OPS.
Social activities: organization of social projects for overcoming trauma and preventing psychological burnout for volunteers, servicemen, IDPs and social workers; psychological support for military personnel and their family members.
Dr. Joshua Kreimeyer, Ph.D., Certified Professional Counselor (LPC).
Joshua is a Board Certified Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), and a Supervisor approved by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Dr. Kreimeyer graduated from Minnesota State University with a bachelor's degree in recreation. From there he joined the US Army as a linguist-cryptologist. He and his family served in California, Texas and Germany. He took part in combat operations in Kosovo (1999) and Iraq (2003). After an injury that made reenlistment impossible, he transitioned to civilian life and took advantage of a vocational rehabilitation program to retrain as a clinical mental health counselor. He also received a Post Graduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy and now practices in the US as a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Supervisor. He has worked in community outpatient clinics, private practice, the drug and alcohol hospital program of the US Bureau of Prisons, and for several years as an adjustment counselor and family therapist for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Kreimeyer has taught family therapy since 2016, first as a faculty member at Regis University as coordinator of their Military Family Counseling Graduate Certificate Program, and most recently (January 2023) as an Associate Professor of Clinical mental health counseling at Colorado Christian University. Dr. Kreimeyer received his PhD in Counselor Training and Supervision from Regent University.
Dr. Kreimeier is committed to helping service members and their families navigate the transition from war and military to civilian life, as well as to mitigate the effects of trauma. While studying at Regent University, Dr. Kreimeyer participated in pioneering approaches to provide trauma-informed psychological counseling in Ukraine. He was part of the team that helped establish the International Institute of Postgraduate Education in Kyiv, Ukraine ( and its associated community service clinic ( Since 2019, Dr. Kreimeyer has also conducted numerous trainings for Ukrainian psychologists, as well as facilitated retreats for Ukrainian military families through the International Office of the International Organization for Migration.
A publication addressing the provision of legal, psychological, and psychosocial assistance to victims of the Russian Federation's war against Ukraine is currently in preparation. Program participants are actively contributing by preparing their practical cases for inclusion in the publication.
We are sincerely grateful to the trainers and participants for their excellent work! 
For reference: The project «Helping those who help» is implemented by the NGO Human Rights Vector with financial support from the European Union, within the framework of the Stiykist Program. The Stiykist Program is a 30-month project funded by the European Union and implemented by ERIM in partnership with the Black Sea Trust, the Eastern Europe Foundation, the Human Rights Houses Foundation and the Human Rights House in Tbilisi. The project is aimed at strengthening the resilience and effectiveness of war-affected CSOs and civil society workers affected by the war in Ukraine, including independent media and human rights defenders.

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