04 junho 2019

Testimony on Emergency Pedagogy Training Course in Lisbon


When I woke up after my nightshift in the hospital, I saw an announcement for a trainingcourse on the topic “Emergency Pedagogy”. All and sudden, I was completely awake.

This was something I wanted to participate in for a long time. As I already knew the organisation “Friends of Waldorf Education”, I was even more interested. And so I applied. And luckily I got accepted to learn a lot about trauma, crisis situations and Traumatology as well as Emergency Pedagogy.

Every morning in Lisbon, as a beginning of the day, we stood together in the Morning Circle and played fingergames, sang, spoke a poem and started the day as one group. As I would learn later, this helps a lot to bring groups together, to identify as a group, everyone does the same, no matter where you come from, how smart you are or what language you speak. This might be very helpful in my work as a pediatric nurse in a mental healthcare hospital as well, because I often need to bring groups together, the youngsters and children have special life situations and often feel, they need to prove who they are. 

My favorite part of the training course were the speeches, held by Bernd Ruf, the founder of Emergency Pedagogy, who described the term Trauma as a wound of the soul. And also these wounds need first aid in a crisis situation. This is a “picture” that lasted in my mind for a long time. If the soul, that kind of connects the body, is hurt, how could children live a normal life when the balance between physical body and soul is disrupted? Back at work in the hospital, I looked even more differently at the children and youngsters. I know their past, but do I know where and how badly their souls got hurt?

What also surprised me is, that the “outcome” of the therapeutic intervention of trauma, is very different according to the childs protective- and risk factors. And this often has to do with social-economical factors and is about how the child was raised. How old is the child? What has he or she already experienced in life? How do the parents deal with the situation? So one could say, that the basis to overcome trauma is already different from child to child.

During my work as a pediatric nurse in the mental health care hospital, I work with many different disorders and clusters of symptomps; for me it was very interesting, that Bernd Ruf told us, that often after a trauma the biography of the affected child is kind of disrupted and the child might, as a result, behave auto-aggressive, suicidal or aggressive towards their environment. So I began to look at the behavior of my patients during a normal day on our ward – how were their reactions, how do they feel in the group, how were they able to endure their own disorders and the daily life with it.

As a result of our training course I learned that in our work, we need to include all senses to achieve balance physically, morally and with the soul. And I really think, that we experienced that in the training course as well by singing, painting, working with clay, by the physical exercises and listening to each other. If we train the outer balance, we are able to influence the inner balance. I want to create a safe place for my patients, a place where they can turn their life experience, that might content a traumatic event in the past, into a chance.

And by that chance, change their lives into something they feel safe within. Their own body and mind.

By Julia Neitzke

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