A Team of NPH Psychologists Meets in Guatemala

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Psychologists from NPH’s residential alternative care homes hold a meeting in Guatemala to share practices to improve the care of children and youth in vulnerable situations.

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16 Dec 2022

Members of the Psychology Program at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos’ homes across Latin America came to Guatemala to hold their ninth meeting. As part of the meeting’s topic of ”Integration of Trauma and Family,” they discussed ”Mi Mochila” (My Backpack), a Dutch methodology of foster care techniques.

The long distances between NPH’s homes do not prevent the Psychology Program members from sharing techniques and processes that help improve reintegration care and family strengthening while also enhancing the personalized attention offered to the population of protection homes, transition houses, and community centers.

“Most of the children and youth beneficiaries have suffered a family separation due to some situation that has violated their rights. NPH not only provides a roof over their heads and healthy food, but we also provide a complete service that includes psychological care”, says Nelly Fernandez, director of the Psychology Program at NPH International.

The “Mi Mochila” allows the child to integrate their trauma into his or her life experience. This dynamic helps the child to process and cope with these situations, permitting significant growth in terms of resilience. By being emotionally strengthened and healthy, the child can make better decisions, take advantage of the opportunities that the home provides, and create new links with society. However, this is a constant effort. It begins with various sessions with small groups of children just three weeks after the child has entered the home”, Fernandez explained.

Other topics that were addressed during the meeting included healthy masculinity, intervention techniques to deal with the psychological effects of sexual abuse, the containment of emotional, physical, and verbal aggression, and the children’s life project. All this was due to the participation of Felip Ferré, Director of the Voramar Residential Center in Tarragona, Spain, with over 14 years of experience in this field.

“A few years ago, we received a visit from the NPH Honduras team at Voramar. When they described their jobs, I was pleasantly surprised by their work and the experiences they shared with us. The work is very similar to the intervention we do in our own child protection system. I admire the courage with which these psychologists face the difficulties at work they are exposed to daily. Undoubtedly, they are brave people who are one of the fundamental pillars that makes it possible to care for the minors and respect their human rights”, adds Felip.

A total of 30 psychologists from the residential and community programs participated in this ninth meeting, which lasted four days. “Sharing different intervention techniques with teams from other countries is extremely enriching. Knowing how to establish ties, even with the educators who oversee the children’s daily education, is key to achieving the NPH’s main objective, which is to turn children and youth into agents of change in society,” says Karen Rodriguez, coordinator of psychology at NPH Mexico.

Karla Murillo, a general psychologist at NPH Honduras, adds ”I feel happy that my workplace is, in fact, the perfect space to serve others. This encounter has strengthened my interest in giving the best of myself to each of the children of the NPH family”.

NPH is a place where each of the beneficiaries can grow and become the best version of themselves. The support provided by each of the psychologists greatly contributes to their development and interactions in the community. “Having a team that has been built over the last twelve years, one with the desire to work and give everything for children and vulnerable youth, is something that inspires me every day to continue finding alternatives that can raise the quality of the department’s services,” concluded Nelly Fernández.

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