This is a letter from a client of the Syrian E-therapy Project to her therapist Rouba Droish Alkaja, EMDR therapist.
The client is in her late twenties and from northern Syria. She suffered so much:
– She was arrested and held for about two years in Syrian Government prisons after the Syrian crisis.
– She was moved between more than one prison.
– She suffered both physical and psychological torture and sexual harassment.
– After her release from prison, she found that she had lost two of her brothers in the crisis. This made her go through great grief and trauma.
– Her uncle was also killed during the same period.
– She and her family fled to Turkey five years ago to escape from the Syrian regime.
She has since suffered from symptoms of post-traumatic stress (PTSD), such as avoidance, hyper-vigilance, nightmares, flash backs, sleep problems, lack of appetite, re-experience, lack of focus, in addition to anger and tension.
The client is working to secure her needs and those of her family. She was so happy to receive the online twelve EMDR sessions at the TAUK E-therapy Project because she was too frightened and embarrassed to consult psychological centres in-person and also because her work would not allow her to take the times off.
She received the E-therapy on Sunday (when she is off work), the only day that she can attend sessions, she has improved significantly after the EMDR therapy.
I hesitated a lot before writing this letter, but I feel that as my therapist, you have the right to know the details of all the changes that have happened to my life since my last EMDR session with you at the Taafi project. I felt for a long time that I will not be able to but thanks to God, I managed to do so.
I will summarize the changes that occurred in my life during and after the Taafi online EMDR treatment with the following points:
From mid-2020 we started planning an exciting research project which again has come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a pilot project, supported logistically by Mercy Without Limits based in Turkey, providing E-therapy to 50 Syrian female refugees.
The project team comprised 3 therapists who were trained by Trauma Aid UK in 2016 in Turkey and was managed by Batoul Akkad, pictured right, who is an EMDR Europe Accredited psychotherapist.
Our Middle-East Co-ordinator Dr Walid Abdul-Hamid oversaw the project and the research is being undertaken by UCL Research Fellow Dr Aseel Hamid.
The project was funded by Trauma Aid UK and started treating participants in January 2021. We hope that the pilot results will prove promising enough for us to seek further funding to continue this project.
Here are some of the comments from recipients so far:
“For the first time, I feel that I am on the right path to psychological peace. I feel that I am returning to myself and to my truth and not what others want or what the past experiences impose on me. For the first time in my life, I am free from the feelings of being the victim, from the helplessness and deep hostility towards the parties that caused my harm, I have already started to own and lead my life.”
“The best thing is that I became able to watch my story like a movie, a movie that I watch without fear!”
“It’s almost like magic, I go to sleep without fear, and the nightmares have completely disappeared.”
“I searched a lot for this kind of service, my salary was not enough to pay the costs of treatment and there are no free psychological services in my city, I felt as if you were a gift from heaven for me… The treatment I need is free and arrives to my home, being online made it easier for me to access. I cannot express my gratitude enough.”
We have benefitted enormously from the generous donations from Regional Groups who have organised on-line workshops. The Consultants’ Workshops in November 2020 and November 2021 also provided us with funding boosts. All the Trustees would like to thank the wider EMDR Community for their support which made the E-therapy project a reality.