Reflection and exchange with PSF at Spiria
At the end of November, 21 individuals from a variety of backgrounds (psychoeducators, students in psychoeducation, a police officer, a political science student, an engineer, an art therapist and a teacher) came together at Spiria’s Montreal office to discuss a variety of issues relating to the approach used by Psychoéducation Sans Frontières (PSF).
PSF is a non-profit organization that promotes psychoeducation abroad through international cooperation; it has done so for the past seven years. It has five overarching goals:
- Contribute to the international growth of psychoeducation;
- Use psychoeducation to support psychosocial workers in various communities across the world;
- Assist in training psychoeducation students;
- Assist in the personal and professional development of psychoeducators in Quebec;
- Create a space to reflect on the professional identities of the various actors involved in the psychoeducation community, including stakeholders involved in partnerships.
Each year, approximately 30 students in psychoeducation at the undergraduate and masters level work on international cooperation projects led by PSF. These students (from the UQTR, the UQO, The University of Sherbrooke, Laval University and the University of Montreal) leave for six weeks to meet stakeholders working with people who may be having difficulty in adapting and coping. At the moment, PSF projects are underway in Haiti, in Senegal and in Manawan (Quebec).
PSF has come up with an innovative approach to international cooperation that is based on principles of psychoeducation and empowerment. To meet the needs of all the different people working within and closely involved with PSF, it is important to evaluate this approach and to look at it from a distance when looking at its possible effects. This is why all those interested in PSF as well as those with an interest in interventions with the different ethno-cultural communities, were invited to brainstorm and provide their input on PSF’s approach on November 25, 2017.
Launch of PSF’s promotional video
With much pride, we took the opportunity of the gathering to officially launch PSF’s promotional video, produced and directed by Jean-Pierre Houde, who has worked for Spiria since 2013. The video documents the experiences of the participants in 2015-16, across three training periods, as well as the team that went to Haiti.
Wrapping up and next steps…
At the end of the day, the following comments and wishlist were submitted by several participants:
In the future, PSF…
- “Should be a recognized as an official internship.”
- “I hope PSF will continue to grow, looking within itself with an eye to constant improvement through exchanges. Long live PSF!”
- “I hope that PSF will be present in a variety of countries/communities and do ‘really nice things’ ;) We love you PSF!”
- “Should reach all communities.”
- “Should have projects in India, Morocco, Madagascar, Japan and Tunisia!”
- “Should create a solid foundation upon which to develop other partnerships and increase awareness of the organization.”
- “Should stay true to its roots—and stay the same despite the changes!”
- “Won’t be needed, because all people will know how to tap into their own abilities to help themselves. Realistically speaking, PSF will have to find new places to work, because local change agents will have taken their place in communities where their projects exist now.”
- “Will continue to partner with the communities that remain in need, may have ceased to operate in other communities where they have been able to develop their own capabilities, and will continue projects in new communities to contribute to a more equitable and peaceful world. Will continue to reflect on its principles and its actions!!!”
- “Will continue to contribute to training psychoeducators in a concrete and effective manner (and maybe train psychoeducators in Haiti).”
By Vicky Lafantaisie, PSF Coordination Team member.