AEI held this year 15 face to face sessions on dealing with trauma for two young women groups and one youth group at the Sumud Story House. Each session involved 10 – 15 persons and took two hours.
The sessions were given by the trainerSandrine Hilal, director of the “Psychology Today” Institute in Bethlehem. Most focused on overcoming psychological problems and facing challenges in daily life in Palestine under occupation:
- “Anger and self-control: How do you act when you feel angry?” The women and youth shared their methods of dealing with anger by talking, writing, drawing, or going for a walk. This encounter elaborated on the principle that “feelings of anger about painful situations are legitimate, but the reaction to such situations is one’s personal responsibility”.
- “Tolerance: unchain me from anger”: This session in the Cremisan Monastery garden highlighted the idea that “we are an outcome of what we think”. The participating women and youths provided life testimonies about the moments when tolerance as a value had a particular importance for them.
- The theme was further treated in the session “tolerance helps you get out of the prison you put yourself in.” AEI’s Read, Reflect, Communicate and Act (RRCA) method was used. The following quote was presented and discussed: “Forgive for your own sake, because tolerance helps you to get out of the prison you put yourself in”. Some shared their experiences and stories about tolerance, and expressed their feelings when they decided to forgive others. The meeting helped the women to keep their inner peace through reconciliation and tolerance with themselves and others.
- “The steadfastness of Palestinian women and their role in the local community.” Whether you feel psychologically well is related to the social perception of Palestinian women: “How do you see or describe the Palestinian woman?”
- “How can we bear and overcome difficulties”: the causes of fatigue and how to overcome it. This session was about life testimonies and reality-based stories with a set of solutions or approaches to deal with problems in life, including patience, endurance, steadfastness, dialogue, not avoiding problems, using mind and wisdom, praying, meditation, solitude, walking in nature, writing, art and sharing with friends.
- Psychological stress release activities: psychodrama, expressing feelings on paper, a stress release game, and singing.
- “How to cross inner walls”: training participants in practical ways of dealing with personal worries in life.
- “Leave your worry and start your life again”: symptoms of worrying and anxiety and ways of overcoming them, such as prayer, meditation, dealing with procrastination, keeping oneself busy.