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|Hope in the Ruins - Page 8|
Postscript—June 2, 2010
I've just returned from a second trip to Haiti with a team of five. Sadly, there's no visible change in the living conditions of the people in Port-au-Prince: same debris, same endless tent camps. Heavy rain is the only thing that's been added to the misery mix.
Many of the trainees are the people we worked with in March, and it's reassuring to hear that they're doing better as they use the skills they learned from us for their own self-care and that of their loved ones. This time, we trained 94 people in Papaye and Port-au-Prince, even though we'd planned on training only 60. It seemed impossible to turn people away.
The trainees are eager and enthusiastic learners. A highlight of our time was to watch them independently conduct TRM-C's therapeutic games and individual stabilization sessions with the residents of an IDP camp. We couldn't stop grinning! It's an important reminder that nonclinicians—which 80 percent of our trainees are—need to learn the skills we have. They often function as first responders, and it's a mistake to think that trauma stabilization procedures can be administered only by clinicians and other highly trained professionals. Our TRM-C trainees are competent practitioners, and they've learned the skills quickly. Our materials and methods are tailored to nonclinicians and low-literacy populations.
We'll be back again in July and September to work with the same trainees. After September, we plan to do a one-year train-the-trainer program.
I know that everyone on the TRI team would say we've received as much, if not more, than we've given, and we look forward to our continued work in Haiti.
Laurie Leitch, Ph.D., who's been a clinical trainer, researcher, and psychotherapist for more than 25 years, is the cofounder and codirector of the Trauma Resource Institute (TRI), a nonprofit trauma-training center. It provides training in the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) for civilians, TRM for Warriors and Veterans (TRM-W, V), and TRM for Communities (TRM-C). TRI's website (www.traumaresourceinstitute.com) has information on how to support their work in Haiti and around the world. Tell us what you think about this article by e-mail at letters @psychnetworker.org, or log in and comment below.