Over two years Ukraine’s Psychological Crisis Service conducted thousands of trainings and made hundreds of trips to ATO zone – psychologist


Kyiv, April 5, 2016. Ukraine’s Psychological Crisis Service that emerged back in Maidan times conducted thousands of hours of training at training centers as well as made hundreds of trips to the ATO zone over the past two years, said Yelyzaveta Nepyiko, psychologist of Ukraine’s Psychological Service speaking at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center (UCMC) in the framework of UCMC’s project “Spokesperson of peaceful life”. “The mission of the Psychological Crisis Service is to overcome traumatic consequences that were first obtained at Maidan and then in course of the Antiterrorist operation,” she noted. The Service follows several work directions including work with wounded, internally displaced and children. As to the psychological work with the military it includes preparatory training, psychological assistance to military in combat zone, work with the military on rotation as well as preparation to de-mobilization, explained Nepyiko.

According to the psychologist on the first stage servicemen are trained on training grounds based on specialized psychological program designed for mobilized soldiers, officers and deputy commanders – chiefs of staff. “We are also holding training sessions that focus on provision of psychological assistance […] and include self-regulation skills. We are training our guys how to cope with stressful situations, warning them on possible outcomes and how to work with such reactions,” noted Nepyiko.

The Psychological Crisis Service closely cooperates with the General Staff in the combat zone. When the activities started they were ad-hoc, says Nepyiko, this work is now systematic. Cooperation with the brigades of the Ukrainian Armed Forces has been established. At this work stage the tasks are different. “While on the training ground the primary task is to psychologically educate, inform about potential outcomes and teach them some skills so that they are able to overcome them; people in the combat zone are already facing these problems and know how difficult it may be to cope with them,” says Nepyiko. Moreover the Service works with servicemen individually. “If we talk about trauma therapy at the moment when a person gets in difficult circumstances, it is not psychotherapy but the so-called crisis intervention. When a person is in a traumatic state, when he/she has just lived through a loss, it is not psychotherapy but the so-called support and care,” the psychologist explained. According to the expert, diagnosing is in demand, there are cases of a burnout, of problems linked to psychiatry or for example the ones resulting from concussions.

During rotations and when preparation to de-mobilization the Psychological Crisis Service works using specially designed programs. “It is to bigger extent psychotherapeutic work, we are training people to use their inner resources, to recall their peaceful life, what activities they may engage in and who they may turn to,” explained Nepyiko.

According to the professional of the Psychological Crisis Service of Ukraine the organization is sporting the approach according to which “it is better to conduct prevention and early diagnosis” than be accumulating problems that are hard to resolve at later stages.