On SAGE Insight: Learning from refugees and volunteers in the Calais camp

Article title: Challenges and impossibilities of ‘standing alongside’ in an intolerable context: Learning from refugees and volunteers in the Calais camp

From Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

This paper from the special issue: Asylum seeking young people, child and family refugees and the consequences of war (Volume 23, Issue 2, April 2018 Guest Editor: Paul Tibbles) describes the experience of setting up a psychosocial and therapeutic support project in the French Calais refugee camp, by a group of family therapists and clinical psychologists from the United Kingdom.  The project involved working alongside other agencies in the camp to provide psychosocial and resilience-based therapeutic support to unaccompanied young people, women, children and their families and also to many volunteers in the camp. The process of setting up the work is described, as well as the challenges and dilemmas of offering an intervention in extremely unsafe and insanitary conditions, where for most the experience of trauma was ongoing.

Abstract

This article describes the experience of setting up a psychosocial and therapeutic support project in the French Calais refugee camp, by a group of family therapists and clinical psychologists from the United Kingdom. This came about in response to reports of a humanitarian crisis unfolding on our doorstep, with the British government’s lack of support for the growing numbers of refugees gathering along the UK border with France. The project involved working alongside other agencies in the camp to provide psychosocial and resilience-based therapeutic support to unaccompanied young people, women, children and their families and also to many volunteers in the camp. The process of setting up the work is described, as well as the challenges and dilemmas of offering an intervention in extremely unsafe and insanitary conditions, where for most the experience of trauma was ongoing. The project was informed by systemic–narrative practice and community/liberation psychology, which incorporate the political and social context. A narrative framework offered a way of drawing on people’s strengths and resources, rooted in their cultural and social histories and helping them connect with preferred identities, which we found to be essential in the context of ongoing crisis.

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Article details
Challenges and impossibilities of ‘standing alongside’ in an intolerable context: Learning from refugees and volunteers in the Calais camp
Charlotte Burck, Gillian Hughes
First Published March 22, 2018
DOI: 10.1177/1359104517742187
Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

 

 

 

     
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