Volunteer field notes

Volunteer Go Help Now Angela

Volunteer Field Notes with Angela

It’s Complicated is more than a place for people needing professional mental and emotional health support – it’s a place for practitioners to find community and support for the work they do.

In 2017, two therapists with very different philosophies came together to start what has become It’s Complicated, a multinational, multi-language platform for people to find the right kind of therapist for their needs. By opening the door for clients to make a good match, they set people up for success in their goals for therapy and offers in person or virtual formats.

When the war broke out in Ukraine, It’s Complicated organized a space for therapist to offer up some hours for free therapy to Ukrainian citizens. Via their website, they offer a space for those needing to connect with a therapist, through their Therapists for Ukraine Program.

We connected with Angela, a therapist in the UK, who has been working within the It’s Complicated platform for several years and is now offering hours of service free of charge to Ukrainians in need. Angela is a psychologist with a Master’s in Foundations of Clinical Psychology and over twelve years of experience in therapy. She found It’s Complicated in Berlin and found a wonderful supportive community for therapists. She now sees patients from all over the world. Her skillset and experience make her a perfect match for Ukrainians who have needed support during these times. Angela shares, “I’ve always had a very big interest in trauma – and trying to help understand the neurology around psychological trauma and how best to support the healing process as much as possible.”

Since March, she has seen about six clients and offers her services to help them cope with what has been happening in their lives. She prefers using video call platforms for her therapy sessions and services in English and Greek, if that is acceptable to her clients, stating it’s important to see faces and expressions and body language to better understand their needs. While she offers her services only in English, on the website, those seeking therapy are able to choose from a variety of therapists by reviewing profiles, services provided, and languages offered.

When asked what the goal of therapy is for those seeking her help Angela says, “the goal for most of them, so far at least, has been having a sounding board and trying to make sense of what is happening – within their body and their reactions. [What is happening in] their body is because of these extreme situation - we call sometimes survivor guilt’.” Validating survivors’ feelings is important. But, Angela adds, that numbness of emotions can also be normal.  Sometimes, she says people come to her and ask, “Why am I not feeling anything? What is wrong with me?” Angela states for many, this is quite normal and she can spend some time talking about the nervous system and what research shows about trauma while validating their lack of emotion, as well.

Angela is not new to volunteering and working with displaced persons after traumatic events. In fact, she has volunteered with Doctors Without Borders and in clinics in large cities, helping un-homed and displaced persons and with Syrian refugees. These experiences are all part of the big picture. With her vast experience, Angela feels she is always learning and forever progressing, “With every client there is something that we are learning as well, so it’s an ongoing process.”

It's Complicated, is an organization that cares about the therapist community as well – uniting a group of ex-pats, counselors, and psychotherapists into a support system, providing seminars and connectivity to those who care for others. Follow along with their work and if interested in offering your skills to serve Ukraine, reach out here.

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