New Opportunity…. Therapist at Sheffield Refugee Council
A blast from the past
A few months ago, I visited my local walk-in clinic and was seen by a nurse who was born and bred in Kosovo. It was a delight to chat to her about her home country, the places I had visited and the growth of Kosovo over the last decade. I came home and said to my husband that there were parts of me that missed living and working with different cultures, and working as a humanitarian worker. The values and passion to working as an aid worker hadn’t died, they are just buried inside me.
The following week, an advert for a sessional therapist at the Refugee Council came through into my email inbox. I instantly felt excited and thought to myself that this could maybe be my opportunity to work once again with refugees.
Opportunity knocking on my door
I wanted to apply for the job at the Refugee Council but it created a dilemma if I should apply or not? My own private counselling practice is going well. It has taken four long, difficult years to rebuild my counselling practice after a few years break. Working for an employer was not what I was seeking. I enjoy working on my own. However, I know my experience of working with interpreters and my previous experience of refugee work would be of value to the Refugee Council.
After a conversation with the therapist in post already, I know I wanted the opportunity and challenge of working with Refugees. I reflected and concluded that working on the Syrian Resettlement Programme would make a real difference, as well as have a positive impact.
I applied and I was offered the post. I took it. At the beginning of December, I started working one day a week with the Refugee Council as their Psychological Therapist.
My team at the Refugee Council
I am lucky as the colleague I am working alongside Jude Boyles, who has 14 years’ experience of working with torture survivors and interpreters. She has guided me through a smooth induction, and I have lots to learn from her. The other bonus is I am working amongst a team of people who are working on the Syrian Resettlement Programme and The Gateway Protection Programme (the UK’s contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) global resettlement Programme.)
The team at the Refugee Council are friendly, welcoming and passionate about their work they carry out. One of the colleagues who works on the team studied the same Masters as me and carried out his first assignment overseas with SAFAD (Silsoe Aid for Appropriate Development)! It really is a small world.
Working with interpreters
Working with interpreters at the Refugee Council brings a different challenge. I will working in a three-way relationship. This will be new to me. I know from my work overseas that the important part of working with an interpreter is to trust them. They are there to meet both my needs and the client’s needs. I have been given Working with Interpreters in Psychological Therapy and this has helped relieve some of the anxiety that I face.
I have felt that it would be beneficial to have some background knowledge of the political situation in Syria and have equipped myself with information about Syria and the life that Syrian refugees have experienced. I have felt it would also be beneficial to understand the asylum process and know the system that the refugees have had to face. I therefore hope to accompany some refugees on their journey when they first arrive in the UK.
My new post as therapist at the Refugee Council will provide challenges. I know that I will need to be flexible. However, it is an exciting opportunity and one that I am really looking forward too. I will occasionally let you know how I progress.