Tämä blogi on Psykologien Sosiaalinen Vastuu ry:n blogi, jossa kirjoitetaan vastuullisuudesta eri näkökulmista.
Vierasblogit ovat tervetulleita, ota yhteys hallitukseen.
keskiviikko 21. lokakuuta 2015
What to do with the need to help
Several thousand people are currently arriving as
refugees in Finland and these people are in distress. This prompted Finnish
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (FiPSR) to submit a proposal for the
provision of psychosocial support services to refugees to the City of Helsinki.
With so many distressed people coming here it feels
impossible to behave as if everything is as it was before, as if nothing has
changed. There is an urgency and a pressure to “do something”, to respond. At
the same time it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task, by
not knowing where to start and by efforts to join forces with existing
organisations getting stuck in the quagmire of the excessive demands and
overload they are facing.
Responses to previous crisis situations have taught
us that the urge to “do something” easily finds expression in ill-considered
actions that may serve the needs of “helpers” rather than those in distress.
Presumably being a refugee means that one’s boundaries have been violated,
often repeatedly. This calls for caution when reaching out to refugees.
Apart from prudent caution we may hold back because
we feel daunted by the real and perceived barriers to reaching out. There are
barriers within ourselves: introverts are probably disproportionally
represented in the psychology profession, making it difficult for many of us to
initiate contact. There are cultural differences, the lack of a shared spoken language,
the practical restrictions that come with overcrowded facilities and people
being in the centres temporarily, making it difficult to build trust. Many
refugees are men and the majority of psychologists in this country are women;
how do gender differences interlock with cultural factors and possibly
Having helped to write the PSR proposal I think about
ways to put the ideas that are on paper into practice. Focusing on the
above-mentioned differences I soon feel like I am walking blindfolded in a
swamp at night.
So to move away from the brink of paralysis and
encourage myself I think of moments in my life when it was possible to connect
with people even though the barriers initially felt insurmountable. In those
moments my deepest motivation was an interest in the other and in the emerging
process between us when fears, the pressure to reach some goal or achieve
something did not clutter up the connection. These are the moments when being
seen and heard displaces loneliness and isolation. And as I remember a space
opens up within me; ideas begin to evolve and excitement grows. And I know that
I have the skills, knowledge and experience to contribute meaningfully to the
society I live in even though I, too am a newcomer here - like the