New immigrants to Canada can carry trauma that impedes their future progress
Refugees come in various shades and are people that must leave their home and current location for reasons of safety and survival, often with no opportunity to return. They are people who are oppressed, displaced, persecuted or fleeing natural disasters, and often need to find a new home by immigrating to another country and culture. This is never an easy process, neither the events leading up to the decision to leave and the process of getting to a safer destination nor the transition period of acculturation and resettlement.
The United Nations defines refugees as “persons who are outside their country and cannot return owing to a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.”
Refugees can have many physical wounds or illnesses related to a period of time where they lacked of basic needs and as well may be emotionally traumatized. The grief at leaving their home, the loss of their native country and culture, estrangement from family and friends are forefront in their experience yet often their emotional needs are put aside for the immediate material priorities such as food, housing, work and integration into the new surroundings. After the initial basic needs are met, but if the emotional needs are not, there can be isolation, depression, anxiety, poverty, long-term inadequate housing or nutrition, anger and addictive behaviour. If there is a loss of values or faith there can be hopelessness and despair. The risk for PTSD and depression is high for refugees and if there is considerable stress and trauma then learning a new language, finding work and developing social connections can be challenging.
“It is unfortunate and ironic that most refugees flee in order to escape human rights violations and violence, yet their vulnerable situation as refugees exposes them to additional human rights violations and violence. Walking away from danger with one’s valuables makes a refugee vulnerable to robbery from armed marauders. Young boys are always susceptible to being kidnapped and forced to fight for a military group. Women of all ages are potential rape victims. Children are no longer assured of receiving an adequate education. NGOs have trouble ensuring the safety of those who live in refugee camps. Refugees also occasionally have problems receiving food and water because such resources are often in short supply and are major targets of armed groups.” www.beyondintractability.org
Refugees that have trauma require greater mental and physical care and yet they can face social-economic or cultural barriers to healthcare resources such as language, cultural perceptions of health and illness, and an unfamiliarity with the available healthcare system. As a minority in a new country they can also experience what is known as isolation stress. This includes:
- Feelings of loneliness and loss of social support network
- Experiences of harassment from peers, adults, or law enforcement
- Experiences with others who do not trust the refugee child and family
- Feelings of not fitting in with others
- Loss of social status
Integration with many forms of support
Most Western governments offer social services to help refugees pick up the pieces of their lives and start over again. In Canada there are language training programs, employment services, community organizations, and support services for childcare, transportation, translation and interpretation services, and short-term crisis counseling.
Homeopathy can be part of the complex recovery and settlement process experienced by refugees. At a basic level it can help the body to heal long standing physical issues and injuries. It can help to bring about long term emotional resolution of recent and long past events related to war, violence or persecution. The experiences related to these difficult situations are all traumatic, yet some people are able to cope with difficult experiences and move forward in healthy and productive ways. However, for others, a traumatic experience can have a profound and lasting effect on daily functioning. This is no mystery to a trained homeopath who understands the concept of individual susceptibility and perceptions of similar events.
We find that homeopathy can help with developing greater resiliency and to very quickly reduce anxiety, stress and fear that keep a person in a chronic state of stress. The inquiry process does not require reliving the past experiences and retelling the difficult stories, but instead explores how what happened has affected the person, their inner experience and how this presents as current symptoms. There is no need to re-traumatize a stressed person in this method. The support that homeopathy naturally provides means getting beyond the level of basic needs is easier and no longer as challenging. The person can begin to find their potential and meaning and better adapt to their life as it is now. In this way, they can also contribute more to their families and to the community.
To help with resettlement stress, change and adaptation, homeopathy can be a helpful treatment for refugees along with other social programs and health services.
How does holistic treatment support healthy living? Why try homeopathy? Having a life long study in the principles of nature and healthy living, Lauren Trimble is happy to share her knowledge and experience. The art of retuning the body’s natural healing capacity & developing consciousness in a compassionate and gentle way is the gift that homeopathy brings to her current holistic practice. If you enjoyed this article find out more at Birdsong.