“We Cannot Change Our Memories, but We Teach Children to Live With Them”: Psychologist of the Blogger Camp Shared Her Story With the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation
Olha Frolova is a psychologist who was one of the first in Ukraine to help people overcome war trauma. She works with children, in particular, for whom the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation organizes sessions of the Blogger Camp in Zakarpattia for their recovery, recreation, and psychological assistance to them. Each of these children experienced the horrors of the war and loss. Olha told the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation about their experiences, their growing up, and the practical work of psychologists.
Olha is a candidate of psychological sciences, associate professor, and teacher of the Department of Psychology at Berdiansk State Pedagogical University. In 2014, about 200,000 people from the regions temporarily occupied by Russia came to Berdiansk. At that time, practices, tools, and clear algorithms on how to work with the topic of war did not exist, and it was the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation that developed the necessary recommendations.
“Back then, the Foundation organized an awesome training for psychologists on healing techniques for war trauma, and I completed that training. We work under the same program at the Blogger Camp. Each child here has his or her own story and its consequences. This is about how they left the occupied territory, about shelling attacks, loss of family and friends, destroyed houses and schools. We cannot change what happened to them, but we can teach them to live with it so that their feelings are under control and hurt less,” says Olha.
In 2014, when she did not yet have her own experience of the war, empathy, and compassion helped Olha understand what the victims felt. Now, when she herself has experienced a lot, Olha admits that she feels some stories as particularly close. Namely, the children’s stories.
“The children have grown up much over this time. We now work with memories, friends, and emotional reactions... We stabilize them, give them some footholds, exercises, or techniques how they can help themselves and others. Here, the 10 days of the session bring them closer to each other, they make friends, value this time, and are afraid to lose a single moment. This is a comprehensive rehabilitation,” says Olha.
On the portal of the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, Olha talks about the support to participants of the Blogger Camp, about the experiences and vulnerability of children who faced some terrible events at their young age
In the framework of the project Rinat Akhmetov for Children. Peaceful Rest for Children of Ukraine almost 5,000 children from all over the country have received opportunity for health recovery and professional psychological help.
Every war story matters. To keep the memory for a better future, share your story on the portal of the Museum of Civilian Voices https://civilvoicesmuseum.org/ or via the toll-free hotline 0 (800) 509 001.