Supporting Gestalt Colleagues in Belarus
Since the elections three months ago in Belarus, which were widely seen as stolen by the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko, the opposition has been staging huge rallies every weekend. There are around 2000 gestalt therapists in Belarus and three institutes. They report the huge rise in trauma symptoms and need for psychological support. Since September Kamila Bialy and Bernadette Latuch have been attending fortnightly support groups with colleagues from Belarus. Kamila writes….
“We meet on Sunday when they come back from the regular protests that started three months ago in Minsk and now take place every week. Not all of them present take part , but great many support it. People are scared , these days even more because it is more and more dangerous back in the streets. The police are using lethal weapons, and last Sunday was described by one of the participants as ”safari” half laughing half crying. The opposition leaders were strategically advised to go abroad so civilians feel left to themselves.
In the support group people usually start by describing how they were feeling while marching or while sitting home and worrying about those who were marching. There is this strange yet natural mixture of mobilization and helplessness as they speak, anger and fear, and last but not least shame and loss.
They appreciate our (Bernie and myself) presence as it is difficult for them to support each other. Every day they do their best to provide a container for their clients, and it is almost impossible to hold anything more than that.
I am feeling humbled by all that is going on at these meetings, and at the same time try to reorient my attention to sensations, exploring what I feel of this field and how to share it in the service of my colleagues from Belarus. It is difficult to breathe, there is a sense of sickness and, to my surprise, sharing this is appreciated. People feel listened and cared for, many of us feel tearful.”