Building Resilience in Ukraine

Victoria is a psychologist committed to helping Ukrainian families cope with the war. She supported a 6-year-old boy whose trauma affected both his eating and school attendance.
Photo of Victoria

My name is Victoria. Before the war, I worked as a psychologist in a pre-school.Initially I began working with a 6 year old child who was experiencing great trauma as a result of the war. She was refusing to go to school and refusing to eat.

During this time, I began working with the Resilient Families Project and so as a result of this started working with the whole family – the parents and their other children. The stress of the war had taken a huge toll on all of them, in many different ways.
The Resilient Families Project had a profound effect on them as a family. It enabled them to ‘speak out’ and not keep secret what they had been carrying for almost a year.

The session where we talked about mental health was very intense and the family discussed emotions and feelings. It was as if they got acquainted with these feelings for the first time. We talked about how all emotions are necessary and important to us and there are no bad or good ones.

Many exercises from the project became a ‘tradition’ within the family to relieve tension such as an exercise called ‘paper snowballs’ or ‘hut’ where a child can be alone. They learnt about positive communication and gradually old toxic phrases they used are being replaced by new constructive ones.

One of the great things about Resilient Families Project is that it gives resources to the parents who are struggling and close to burn out. The materials and support is vital for families and enables the parents to trust me and open up without fear of judgement. I would love to see more families have this opportunity.

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