Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ukrainians Will Need a Generation to Overcome Trauma from Russian War, Émigré Psychotherapist Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 18 – Madlen Rozenblum, an émigré psychotherapist who has been helping Ukrainians with Skype consultations and training sessions, says that Ukrainians are going to need a generation or even more to overcome the traumas inflicted on them by Russian aggression there.

            While different Ukrainians have experienced the trauma of war differently, she told Novy Region 2’s Kseniya Kirillova, “in point of fact, now all of the Ukraine is traumatized equally” because everyone has encountered the death of family members or friends “one way or another” (nr2.com.ua/blogs/Ksenija_Kirillova/Ukrainskaya-naciya-bezuslovno-vystoit-psihoterapevt-104071.html).

            “The trauma in Ukraine is so massive and prolonged that this theme will be important for 30 years after the end of this hell which for the time being is continuing,” Rozenblum says.  And that is going to require enormous effort and resources if Ukraine is going to recover from what Moscow has done to it and its people.

            Ukraine needs psychologists and volunteers, she says; but at present, it especially needs to be conscious of the fact that Ukrainians are suffering from traumas. And to that end, Rozenblum adds, it is especially important that Ukrainians learn to recognize the danger signs so that they can get help for themselves or others.

            The New York psychotherapist says she conducts Skype sessions with volunteers in nine Ukrainian cities. From 100 to 200 people take part in each of these. They talk about the lack of money, time and personnel; but they are increasingly working together rather than competing with one another. And that multiplies their impact.

            All groups in the population need help because all include traumatized people, Rozenblum says. But among the groups requiring particular effort are children who do now understand what is happening, soldiers returning from the front who find it difficult to adapt, and the families of those who have lost someone in the fighting.

            Moreover, there are the traumas resulting from conflicts between those who support Ukraine and those who support Russia. And all these things need to be addressed even though they seem to many to be secondary issues given that Ukraine is currently at war. Fighting these traumas is part of that fight, she says.

            Rozenblum says she is encouraged by two things: On the one hand, the number of volunteers in Ukraine who want to help is simply “fantastic.”  “With each day, the lists of resources [of this kind] are becoming larger and more dynamic.” And thus, “it is always a source of joy to see how they arise and spread throughout the country by means of social networks.”

            And on the other, she notes, Ukraine is receiving help from around the world. Rozenblum says that the contribution of Israeli therapists has been especially important given their experiences with the trauma of a war that seems to go on forever. Their materials need to be used as widely as possible in Ukraine.

            But despite the traumas Ukrainians are suffering from at the present time, Rozenblum says, she is very confident that the Ukrainian nation “as such will survive, and the more resources we have, the fewer will be the losses,” physical or psychological, despite the horrors of the current war.

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