From Isolation To Empowerment: group work with refugees and asylum seekers


How to get there

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Using a variety of teaching and learning methods, the training will explore the unique power of groups to help refugees and asylum seekers with acute isolation, grief and shame as well as their pressing practical issues.

The course will highlight the value of empowering peer support, bearing witness and mutual learning within groups. It will also offer a collaborative opportunity to meet other professionals and reflect on your experiences in the work setting.

Learning objectives

By the end of the training, the participants should be able to:

  • Name some key therapeutic factors in groups for refugees and asylum seekers
  • Describe some of the common impact of trauma and torture on refugees and asylum seekers
  • Name a range of common anxieties about being part of a group
  • Identify a range of ways groups can have a positive impact on the well-being of refugees and asylum seekers
  • Recognise what may trigger alarm, threat or arousal in a group member

Identify skills, approaches or actions that could be implemented to ensure the group is run safely

I feel empowered to continue with my work knowing I now have greater resources and knowledge.

Former participant

Who is it for?

This course will be of interest to those who work with refugees and asylum seekers in the community, voluntary sector and the NHS offering support, advice and/or therapeutic help to this client group.

I felt both stimulated by the breadth and depth of the wide range of issues covered, and securely contained by the wisdom and experience of the facilitators, enabling me to participate as fully as possible.

Former participant

The IGA is delighted to offer this one-day training in partnership with Freedom from Torture. Founded over 50 years ago, the IGA is the UK’s leading provider of group psychotherapy and Groupwork training. Group analysis offers a helpful multi-perspectival lens through which to improve our understanding and capacity to work with challenges that emerge in groups.

Freedom from Torture is the only national organisation in the UK that works exclusively with survivors of torture and organised violence. The vast majority of Freedom from Torture clients are refugees or asylum seekers, coping not only with the long-lasting physical and psychological effects of the torture they experienced but also with the trauma of loss and living in exile. Freedom from Torture has long seen group work as a vital aspect of rehabilitation for survivors of torture.

Email IGA administrator if you are interested in booking a place on this course

Ticket prices

Early bird discounted fee (Early bird deadline is 30 June 2019): £120

Full fee: £145

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About the trainers

SHARON HANNAH is a Group Analyst working in Private Practice offering individual and group psychotherapy. She supervises Group Analysts and people working psychodynamically with clients.  Recently retired from the NHS, Sharon ran groups for a wide range of people who suffered from trauma and abuse. She worked with people who had complex psychological needs for over 36 years. Previously she was the Courses Director for the Glasgow IGA training courses for over 10 years. Currently she is the Chair of the Group Analysis Scotland Development Group (GASDG) which is working to re-establish the Group Analytic training in Scotland.

KYOKO KOBATAKE has specialised in psychotherapeutic work with traumatised adolescents throughout her working life as a researcher, clinician, supervisor and trainer. Before joining Freedom from Torture where she works therapeutically with separated young people who are survivors of torture, Kyoko has worked with young survivors of rape and sexual abuse and adolescents who are affected by domestic violence, in third sector organisations and in the NHS. Kyoko also supervises professionals in various roles working with young survivors of torture, and has worked as a consultant to group work programmes aimed at unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people. As an academic Kyoko has a PhD in psychoanalytic theory with a particular interest in transgenerational trauma, and has taught and researched the subject at universities of Glasgow, Leeds and Tokyo. Kyoko is a qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist and art psychotherapist registered with HCPC, BACP and BAAT.

There was an enormous amount of material to be covered, all of which was pertinent. I was very impressed by such wide-ranging topics and the emotional intelligence with which they were addressed.

Former participant