Last month a group of very enthusiastic and dedicated general practitioners, practice supporters, paediatricians, psychosocial therapeutics and other primary health care professionals successfully completed the training course “Primary psychosocial care for refugees and newcomers”.
Participants were recruited via ELAA (organization supporting primary healthcare in Amsterdam), GZA (organization supporting health for asylum seekers) and social media.
The blended training course, consisting of a set of 4 e-learning modules and a closing workshop, offered an excellent combination of theory and practice. In a 6 weeks’ self-study e-learning period participants strengthened their theoretical knowledge and learned about different intercultural health and treatment methods.
The workshop was conducted by two experts from Arq Academy (national psycho trauma centre), in collaboration with Health[e]Foundation. Important themes were the recognition of the Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) among newcomers, the use of screeners, the Cultural Formulation Interview (CFI) (also known as DSM5) and what interventions can be used for referral or bridging mechanisms. With several interactive exercises the participants practiced the screener methods PROTECT and PCL5. In pairs the CFI was practiced, focusing on the evocation of the patient’s own narrative of illness, their family history and social network. Pharmacotherapy and how to make a crisis signalling plan were discussed as methods for bridging. With several case studies and a role play of “re-experiencing trauma” the participants were triggered with new insights on how to improve the treatment and understanding of refugees. During the discussions the challenges participants face in their daily practice were shared and local solutions and referral options were exchanged. The workshop ended by doing the grounding exercise “a safe place”, to feel how grounding exercises can be used during treatment. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who participated and to Stichting Dioraphte by supporting this project.