Responding to Trauma - Handbook based on experiences of Afghan refugee women living in Finland

As more traumatized refugees are coming to settle in Finland, it would be beneficial for social and health workers to understand basic trauma theories, symptoms and reactions and support methods. It is for this purpose that the following thesis booklet was written, regarding responding to trauma, based on experiences from Afghan women. While there are few books written on this topic, it is helpful to have a compact handbook, with precise information, for students and workers to refer to, regarding this subject. Research for this thesis booklet included both qualitative and quantitative methods, with more emphasis on qualitative. There was a considerable amount of research on trauma, Afghanistan, refugees, crisis counseling and mental health. Theories were explored regarding effects of trauma and studies were examined in correlation with post traumatic stress disorder clients. Six interviews were conducted with refugees from Afghanistan now living in Finland and five interviews with Finnish professionals working with traumatized refugees from different countries. From the research and interviews, it is the author’s conclusion that there is a real problem with the amount of trauma many refugees have experienced and the need for healing so that a full and satisfying life in Finland can be realized. Not all refugees will need professional therapy but it is helpful for social and health workers to understand the symptoms and be able to guide the refugee to appropriate channels of support. In conclusion, from the materials gained in this research, there are plans to form and teach a short seminar on trauma for students and professionals in Finland. Also, there is a possibility of setting up a partnership program for students and refugees, initially in Tampere, and then perhaps to other Universities in Finland.