Essex psychoanalyst helping Ukrainians with trauma of war

  • Date

    Fri 24 Feb 23

Renos Papadopoulos

Distressed Ukrainians struggling with the day-to-day impact of the war are being given vital access to psychological support and guidance thanks to an expert from Essex.

Professor Renos Papadopoulos, of the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, is training specialists in his field by sharing approaches with them so they can help grieving and suffering Ukrainians.

Professor Papadopoulos, Founder and Director of the Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees, sprung into action when Russia launched it's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 by providing support to thousands of education professionals, including teachers.

He provided guidance on how to deal with their own reactions and fears, while also providing support to their pupils and families who were severely distressed by the war.

Professor Papadopoulos has continued to provide support to education professionals through online sessions during the past 12 months.

He is also training up experts in his field to maximise the amount of support on offer as the war in Ukraine moves into a second year.

He said: “I have been responding to several other Ukrainian professional organisations of psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, creative arts therapists; offering them specific thematic training sessions as well as open sessions, responding to their immediate concerns of how to work effectively with adversity survivors when they, themselves were also experiencing high levels of distress.

“My activities have also been including responding to individuals, groups and organisations in the UK who are offering hospitality to Ukrainians, assisting them not only with how to help those under their care but also with identifying early indicators of the emergence of dangerous dynamics and potentially destructive elements in their relationships.”

Professor Papadopoulos’s book Involuntary Dislocation, which was originally published in 2021, has been translated into Ukrainian and is now being widely used as a tool to provide guidance and advice to many helpers across the care professions in the war-torn country.

He is also acting as the chief psychosocial consultant to the International Orthodox Christian Charities' (IOCC), a global charity working on the development of psychosocial projects in Romania, Poland and Ukraine which are addressing the painful consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Professor Papadopoulos’s work with the IOCC has seen him design and deliver a training programme for 24 priests connected to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.

These priests are now in training to train others and deliver programmes to support psychosocial services in Ukraine.

With no end in sight of the war, Professor Papadopoulos continues to provide other assistance in Ukraine, including offering ‘staff support’ and ‘caring for carers’ training to all other IOCC offices in Ukraine that are engaged in other activities such as distribution of food and home appliances.