The severe mental health consequences of people living in Iraq after the occupation of the Islamic State (ISIS) are the basis for the foundation of the IPP and the implementation of the Master Program of Psychotherapy and Psychotraumatology (MASPP). The IPP is located in Duhok, in a region with around 1.5 Mio inhabitants that currently (November 2017) houses around 550 000 IDPs from Iraq and around 75 000 refugees mostly from Syria that are living in 24 refugee camps around the city of Duhok. Psychological disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) and Depression Disorders are currently widespread under IDP and refuges especially under women and children that suffered from severe physical and sexual violence under the capture of ISIS. The general situation for a big part of the population in northern Iraq is still characterized by violence (ISIS, political conflicts), political and social instability, poverty and uncertainty about the future, which are risk factors for the development and maintenance of psychological disorders. Besides the support of international NGOS, there are currently only around four local psychiatrists and one local psychiatry clinic (AZADI hospital) that provide mental health services for these patients in Duhok region. The IPP and the MASPP therefore aim to teach and train Iraqi psychologists in psychotherapy and psychotraumatology to support the local mental health services with clear long-term goals. The IPP and the MASPP program is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
MASPP Regulations / Study plan
The Master provides a broad understanding of theories and practices of cognitive behavioural psychotherapy (CBT) and psychotraumatology necessary for safe and effective clinical and scientific work. To enter the Master studies students require a bachelor degree in Psychology, Medicine, Sociology or Nursing. The official vocational regulations of the MASPP program are based on the vocational regulations of specializations in Psychological Psychotherapy in Germany (PsychTh-APrV). The MASPP comprises of theoretical trainings, individual and group supervision sessions, intervision, personal experience and practical work (individual treatments, clinical internships). The following figure illustrates an exemplary study plan of the first student cohort (2017-2019).
The MASPP program provides theoretical trainings in the following subjects: Clinical psychology and Psychopathology, Psychiatry, Psychopharmacology, theoretical basis of Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT), Case conceptualization, Disorder specific diagnostics and treatments of most relevant ICD-10 F diagnosis, Approaches and techniques of Cognitive-Behavior Psychotherapy (CBT), Psychology of Culture and Identity, Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods.
There is further a main focus on trainings in Psychological Trauma and Post-Trauma Therapy:
Cognitive therapy for psychological trauma, Stabilization Techniques, Narrative-Exposure-Therapy (NET), Imagery Rescripting, Cultural-sensitive Narration Therapy, Disaster Mental Heath and Community Crisis Interventions.
The IPP provides individual supervision sessions for all students (online, personal on-site, on the job). Part of the required supervision sessions is organized in group-supervision sessions (disorder-specific supervision sessions).
The IPP and the University of Tuebingen provide personal experience in CBT for all students. Students develop personal resources, self efficacy and their own psychotherapeutic identity which is relevant for their own work as a psychological psychotherapist. They further face own important life topics and experiences and personally simulate CBT techniques.
Lecturers and supervisors
Lecturers and supervisors are all experienced clinicians and/or researchers from Germany, other European countries or Iraq with specific knowledge of transcultural psychotherapy/psychiatry. Professors/directors of universities or clinics in Germany give lectures in their clinical/research field. Experienced clinicians and directors of clinical institution/outpatient clinics provide supervision and personal experience.
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