Psychological Counsellor and Couples Therapist – Private Practice ● 2006 to Present
Manage my holistic private therapy practice for persons needing assistance with a variety of issues from clinical mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety to relocation adjustments and marriage counselling. Special interest in international humanitarian and health workers returning from conflict or post-conflict zones. Extensive experience with adolescents in families, schools and residential treatment facilities.
Consultant for UNHCR ● 2013 to 2014 and 2018. Supervise and facilitate a reflective practice group for CMOs (Career Management Officers) at UNHCR in Geneva and Budapest.
INTERNATIONAL WORK EXPERIENCE
Psychosocial Trainer ● 2008 International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), Amman, Jordan. Assessed stress levels of refugee caseworkers and provided stress relief. Provided training on the identification of symptoms of psychological disorders among Iraqi refugees in Jordan. Identified a local mental health practitioner to provide ongoing staff support.
Protection Consultant ● 2007 ICMC, Amman, Jordan. Identified protection needs of Iraqi refugees in Jordan during a four week mission. Recommended startegies to improve protection of most vulnerable refugees in a comprehensive report of the mission.
Interviewer ● 2007 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Interviewed 20 international experts about policy implementation and monitoring of refugee children’s activities for inclusion in the LIRS report to UNHCR entitled, No Small Matter: Ensuring protection and durable solutions for unaccompanied and separated refugee children.
Verification Team Leader ● 2005 to 2006 UNHCR – ICMC, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Managed a team of 31 national staff and one international Program Assistant in UNHCR’s Project PROFILE verification exercise of 29,000 Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.
Child Protection Adviser ● 2005 Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Jakarta and Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
Performed child protection assessments for the needs of IDP children who lost families and homes in the earthquake and tsunami. Worked closely with UNICEF and NGO’s in Child Protection, Tracing, Psychosocial and Trafficking working groups. Solicited proposals from agencies doing child protection work and made recommendations to AusAID for improving the situation of children in tsunami-affected areas.
Course Director and Training Curriculum Writer ● 2003-2004 SOLVE Program, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva, Switzerland.
The SOLVE program encourages countries and their enterprises to integrate policies addressing emerging psychosocial issues (stress, smoking, alcohol and drugs, HIV/AIDS and violence) into their existing workplace policies. Completed seven days of training to qualify as Course Director. Wrote training curriculum dealing with stress and young workers.
International Foster Care Consultant ● 2001-2002 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Baltimore, Maryland, via contract with UNHCR.
Evaluated care arrangements for unaccompanied and separated refugee children by carrying out two-week site visits in Tanzanian refugee camps and in urban centres of South Africa. Prepared site visit reports, which were included in the final report.
Resettlement Specialist and Consultant ● 1999-2000 UNHCR Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya.
Completed Best Interest Determinations (BID’s) for Sudanese unaccompanied minors (commonly known as the “Lost Boys”) and made durable solutions recommendations to UNHCR. Revised and developed interview forms, mental health screens and final recommendation forms. Completed the first 99 Sudanese BID’s at Kakuma in six weeks in late 1999, and returned the following Summer for eight weeks. Designed and directed a workshop for refugee health care workers dealing with burnout.
Social Service Director ● 1999 ICMC, Tirana, Albania.
During the Kosovar refugee crisis, I recruited, hired, trained and supervised 20 Albanian Social Workers who provided social services to Kosovar Albanian refugees in host families, collective centres and tent camps throughout Albania. Visited refugee living situations on a daily basis to provide on-site supervision to national staff.
UNITED STATES WORK EXPERIENCE
School Social Worker ● 2000-2003 Valley View Middle School, Edina, Minnesota, USA
Provided individual therapy to students. Wrote social, emotional, behavioural objectives as part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for Special Education students. Performed Functional Behavioural Assessments (FBA’s) of students requesting Special Education services. Facilitated group therapy with students dealing with grief, divorce, social skills deficits and deaf/hard of hearing challenges. Consulted and supported parents, teachers and staff in dealing with students’ social, emotional and behavioural issues. Referred students, parents and teachers to community mental health resources. Planned and presented classroom lessons on diversity, bullying and youth who are differently-abled. Served as the trainer for the Peer Mediation Program. Performed crisis interventions with suicidal students. Collaborated as a member of the Student Assistance Team and the Child Study Team.
Program Director ● 1996-1999 Lutheran Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Directed activities for five Transitional Programs for youth that included Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, Karibu House and Kapani House adolescent group homes, School-based Victim Services and Relative Foster Care Licensing. Wrote the grant proposals for three of the above. Achieved 80% success rate for grant proposals. Recruited, supervised and evaluated three Program Managers and two Social Workers. Field Instructor for two MSW student interns. Negotiated contracts, created budgets and contained costs for programs totalling over one million dollars. Licensed three corporate foster care facilities.
Program Supervisor ● 1991-1996 Lutheran Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Recruited, licensed, trained and monitored culturally sensitive family foster homes for refugee children. Recruited, supervised and evaluated four MSW staff. Field Instructor for two MSW student interns. Agency Diversity Trainer. Provided direct casework and counselling services to refugee youth. Coordinated staff training and in-service programs. Facilitated foster parent support group meetings. Provided foster care for Chinese minors seeking asylum in the U.S.
Social Worker ● 1987-1991 Lutheran Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Provided direct casework and counselling for refugee youth from Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Recruited, licensed, trained and monitored family foster homes for refugee children. Planned and implemented independent living skills summer camps. Developed and facilitated Amerasian support group. Planned and implemented culturally appropriate celebrations and educational experiences for foster families and children.
SHORT TERM CONSULTANCIES
2007 Protection Assessment of Iraqis in Jordan, ICMC, Amman, Jordan
2007 Revised the Action for the Rights of Children (ARC) training module
1998-1999 Foster care consultant for Islamic Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1997-1998 Consultant for Sudanese community association, Minneapolis, Minnesota
1985-1986 Social Worker, Diocese of Metuchen Refugee Services, Perth Amboy, New Jersey
1982-1983 Personal Care Staff, Aveyron Group Home (DD adults), Hutchinson, Minnesota
1980-1981 HS Technician, Adolescent Treatment Unit, Willmar State Hospital, Minnesota
1979-1980 Youth Counselor, Berrien Center Juvenile Center, Berrien Center, Michigan
1979 Live-in Health Aide, Temporary Nursing Services, West Palm Beach, Florida
1977-1980 Student Trainer, International Leadership Institute, U. of Notre Dame, Indiana
1993 Ethical Dilemmas in Refugee Foster Care, presented at ELCA Annual Conference
1994 Diverse Asian Cultures, workshop presented at Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans
1995 Bridging Two Worlds: Refugee Foster Care, presented at the Annual MSSA Conference
1995 Facilitated 3 Diversity Training programs for Lutheran Social Service
1996 Facilitated 1 Diversity Training program for Lutheran Social Service
1999 Social Work Staff Training on Family-Based Social Services in Tirana, Albania
1999 Nurturing Yourself to Prevent Burnout for Therapists in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
2000 Resettling Sudanese Youth, presented for LIRS Conference, Baltimore, Maryland
2000 International Social Work, presented at NASW Annual Conference, St. Paul, Minnesota
2001 Life in Kakuma Refugee Camp, presented at LIRS Conference, Baltimore, Maryland
2004 Life as a Deployee, UNHCR-ICMC Deployee Training, Stockholm, Sweden
2005 Working with Children in Host Families, NGO Staff, Banda Aceh, Indonesia
2006 Two-day staff training on refugee verification processes, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
2007 Caseworker training on self-care and interview techniques, Amman, Jordan
2008 One-week staff training on recognition of psychological disorders, Amman, Jordan
2011 Stress Reduction Techniques workshop with Glocals, Geneva, Switzerland
2012 How to Prevent and Treat PTSD, Addax Petroleum, Geneva, Switzerland