Effective Education for People Working with Vulnerable Persons – Course


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3C.Holistic Approaches


Each professional holds high importance for the person experiencing trauma, and treatment should be completed by teams of various professionals. The holistic approach of persons experiencing trauma refers to complex assessment and intervention on all areas of the person’s functioning: physical care, psychological care and social aspects of the person’s life. The focus is also on the embodied grief

and trauma, emotional distress, mental anguish and physical discomfort and the goal is to increase self-awareness, self-care, fortifying strengths and learning new and adaptive coping skills. Individual treatment, psychotherapy and psychological counselling go hand in hand with group work. Medication is many times needed in order to obtain relief from psycho-physiological responses specific to PTSD.

Support groups and life adjustment groups for victims, some of them led by other survivors, are helpful in fostering the victims’ inclusion into social life, besides offering relief and a normalising atmosphere where all the victims of trauma can feel they can talk about their experiences without being judged, while sharing the experience in a group with a warm and accepting atmosphere has a corrective effect on pathological reactions.

Effective techniques for working with trauma and grief

Once the characteristics of trauma and grief are well known and the risks that the traumatised person are identified, creative techniques can be used in order to help the person process the difficult experience. Be careful not to push the person into re-experiencing too difficult emotions too early in the process and try to identify signs of pathology before using techniques that elicit strong emotions.

Some useful techniques are listed below (after James & Gilliland, 2001, Neimeyer, 2012).

  • Retelling the narrative of trauma/ death
  • Mindfulness
  • Building significance and meaning
  • Listening
  • Body work
  • Flashbacks and meaning making
  • Dialogues
  • Assertiveness training
  • The use of metaphors and symbols (ex., images)
  • Life review
  • Using stories
  • The use of art
  • The use of photographs
  • The use of poetry and bibliotherapy
  • Strengthening the social support
  • -The development of kindness and generosity, prosocial behaviors.


This training manual is designed to be used by those who come into contact with vulnerable migrants. It aims to promote good practice in the identification and prevention of abuse and exploitation, including human trafficking, female genital mutilation and forced labour, whilst equipping those who use it with basic training skills. The exercises are developed from the lessons learnt and experience of ECPAT trainers. It is designed to be adapted and delivered easily without the need for extensive resources.




This manual is aimed at identifying people entering or living in a country where they were not born who are vulnerable to exploitation. It is important here to define which people we are targeting through this manual. These are short definitions which are explored further throughout the manual.


Asylum Seeker is someone who is fleeing persecution and has lodged an application for protection on the basis of the Refugee Convention or Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, ECHR. http://rightsinfo.org/the-rights-in-the-european-convention/


Human Trafficking is the movement or harbouring of a person, through the use of force or coercion for the purpose of exploitation, typically for work, sexual exploitation, criminal purposes or organ removal.


For the full definition, refer to: UN Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, 2006. https://ec.europa.eu/anti-trafficking/legislation-and-case-law-international-legislation-united-nations/united-nations-protocol-prevent_en


Internally displaced persons (IDPs) are people or groups of individuals who have been forced to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid the effects of, armed conflict, situations of generalised violence, violations of human rights or natural or man-made disasters, and who have not crossed an international border.


Refugee is a person who ‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.’ (Definition quoted from the 1951 Refugee Convention) http://www.unhcr.org/uk/1951-refugee-convention.html


Third Country National (TCN) refers to individuals who are in transit and/or applying for visas in countries that are not their country of origin (i.e. country of transit), in order to go to destination countries that is likewise not their country of origin.