Work in the Ukraine
Through the IFS Foundations program, Tom has been supporting Ukrainian therapists since the 2022 Russian invasion. He and IFS therapist volunteers offered weekly online support groups for five months to more than 40 therapists. It was so successful, they hope to bring a full Level 1 training program to Ukraine in 2025.
In September, Tom visit Lviv, Ukraine. It was joy to meet those in person he had worked with for so long only online. Anastasiia Shyroka, Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology and Psychotherapy of Ukrainian Catholic University, made the following report about Tom's workshops. We are forever grateful to her and her colleagues for making it possible:
"The life of Ukrainians during the war is difficult, disturbing and unpredictable. On the one hand, we unite and help each other, on the other hand, we live in uncertainty, which affects the physical, mental and spiritual health of everyone. We work and are ready to share our own experience with the world, and at the same time, we are ready to accept support and advice from professional communities.
Specialists in the field of mental health note that there is a growing need for well-trained psychologists and psychotherapists who come to help Ukrainians traumatized by the war. But in order to help others, a psychologist or psychotherapist must also receive support and care.
Tom Holmes came to Ukraine to help, advise and share scientifically based developments of the Internal Family Systems model, to offer a "Healing the Healer Workshop" and to talk about his own more than 50-years of practice as a psychotherapist. One of Tom Holmes' specialties is that he integrates psychotherapy and spirituality in his therapeutic work.
Tom Holmes' visit was possible thanks to the support and work of the IFS Foundation, colleagues from Germany, the international charitable foundation "Small Victories", as well as teachers and students of the Department of Psychology and Psychotherapy of UCU. Therefore, we are infinitely grateful to all these people who joined their efforts to nurture our professional environment."
The UCU community was pleased to welcome Tom at his open lecture called, "Spirituality and the Therapeutic Process." University students, teachers, and employees who wished to participate joined live or online.
September 16-17, 2023, Tom held a workshop called, "Healing for Those Who Heal," where he presented the IFS model. He shared creative approaches understanding our "inner world" and accessing healing resources. The two days offered guided imagery, pictures, movements, voice and therapeutic cards. Participants formed a better awareness of the sources of personal and professional burnout. They also gained additional psychological tools for self-help and helping others.
Tom also spoke about the initiative of the IFS Institute, to form long-term support groups for psychologists from Ukraine, with the assistance of the Ukrainian Psychological Association. IFS therapists from all over the world had the opportunity to join this project to support their Ukrainian colleagues working in mental health at this difficult time.
"The workshop was very experiential rather than just theoretical knowledge, there was a lot of compassion and self-compassion, kindness, warmth and acceptance. I also liked how organically the theme of spirituality was interwoven, leaving only positive impressions. Often, in such cases, certain religious dogmas are imposed on the participants, which discourages them from practicing the method. In the same case, spirituality and cordiality were preserved, but there was no imposition, which made me very happy. The workshop was an opportunity not only to learn more about yourself, but also to get to know yourself and all your parts better. All exercises were soft and at the same time deep. I look forward to the opportunity to study the method further!”