Syria: Emotional Support for Families

June 19, 2022

Workshops for children and adults are part of IOCC’s work in Syria, providing participants with tools for adapting and coping with the lasting effects of conflict and loss.

“I was so stressed,” said Ward (not her real name), “always feeling sad and hopeless… I was unable to focus or cope with life’s pressures.”

A 52-year-old Iraqi mother of five, Ward now lives near Damascus, Syria, after multiple displacements. She’s not alone in struggling with the effects of ongoing conflict. In Syria, IOCC works with Church partner the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East’s Department of Ecumenical Relations and Development to provide specialized support for families and children, especially survivors of conflict, as they cope with trauma and loss.

After learning about IOCC’s psychosocial support program, Ward participated in a four-day workshop on positive coping strategies and mechanisms for dealing with distress, plus self-assertion and positive structured ways to express her feelings. She found this so helpful that she also requested individual counseling through the program. Ward received diagnosis and treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy and support for continued healing.

Through this program, IOCC supports activities for both children and adults, with a focus on emotional and psychosocial support. Serving thousands of people across rural and urban areas, the program also helps participants learn problem-solving, communication, and team building skills, plus ways to respond and adapt in challenging social situations.

In a group session two months later, Ward confidently shared the changes she’d experienced because of the IOCC program. “I wanted everyone to see that I am better now,” she shared afterward. “I spoke about the challenges I experienced during the past and how I was able to recover and solve my problems, and express my feelings in a healthy manner and deal with my children’s behaviors as a caring mother. I sleep better, and I am able to face my problems and control myself.” Ward is no longer taking medication and shared that she was very happy to be back to her old self.