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“GCMHP Celebrates Awarding Staff Membership in International Mediterranean Psychodrama Association”


Gaza Community Mental Health Programme organized on Saturday, May 21, 2022 an event to mark the awarding of 15 psychodrama trainers memberships in the international Mediterranean Psychodrama Association.


This achievement has been the result of years of training and hard work in cooperation with a group of international psychodrama experts who provided long-term training and supervision on the actual application of psychodrama sessions conducted by their trainees.  


Psychodrama is considered a unique approach that is used by GCMHP to treaty mental health cases.


The ceremony was attended by a group of partner organizations, especially those who benefited from the psychodrama training provided by GCMHP over two decades. Trainees from the Ministry of Education, Aisha Association for the Protection of Women and Children, Culture and Free Thought Association, the Islamic Relief, the Medical Relief, Women’s Affairs Center and Al-Qattan Center for the Child attended the event to celebrate their staff members who were awarded the international psychodrama membership.  


In 2002 GCMHP initiated the Psychodrama project under the supervision of the Swiss International Medical Foundation. Dr Maya Hess, a psychiatrist and expert psychodramtist for adults, and  Dr Ursula Hauser, in addition to a group of colleagues and expert trainers in the field of psychodrama provided the training during the 22-stint.


At the beginning of the celebration, Dr Yasser Abu Jameh, Director General of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, gave a speech in which he presented his personal experience with psychodrama training and the beginning of its integration into GCMHP’s capacity building programs and the development of this stage until reaching the point of having qualified trainers officially immigrated in the  international Mediterranean Psychodrama Association.


Dr Ursula then took the floor to talk about her experience with GCMHP after she had met its founder, late Dr Iyad El-Sarraj, who "insisted on me at that time to provide psychodrama training for GCMHP’s specialists."


Dr Ursula recalled that first dialogue between her and her colleague, Dr Maya Hess, on the one hand, and Dr El-Sarraj on the other hand, when he was trying to persuade them to give psychodrama training. “He was so insistent to the point that he addressed me in the imperative form, and although we were two strong women, we love it the way it came from him because Dr Iyad was like an elder brother to us and because we knew he was passionate about teaching his people.”


On her part, Dr Maya Hess also gave a speech in which she spoke about her personal experiences with different groups of Palestinian specialists who she trained and supervised. She shared her memories of the first stages of the trainings which she said often began with applying the methodology to oneself before applying it to others. “I had a unique experience with the Palestinian professionals. In some cases the specialist himself was suffering from loss – loss of a son; loss of home; loss of loved ones, and then came to provide treatment to those with the same suffering. They were in a lot of pain when they heard the suffering of those whom they  treated because it touched their wounds. They were telling me: We can't listen, we can't. But kept giving them the support to keep going," she said.




Sharing their experiences as a psychodrama trainees, Amna Freij, children's psychodramatist at Medical Relief Society; and Muhammad Abu Mutair, counsellor at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, made a presentation about the main highlights during their long training journey.


Ms. Freij said that she learned a lot of techniques that helped her provide effective psychological support to the groups she deals with, and that she was very happy when she saw the impact and effectiveness of her work in alleviating the suffering of children and their families, adding that "all the time and effort that I spent in the long psychodrama trainings were absolutely fruitful."


Abu Mutair then shared the floor with Ms Freij, saying: "I saw one of the best examples of the impact of psychodrama at home. I remember one day my child had recurring nightmares and disturbing dreams. Parent would naturally laugh these dreams off and ask their children to get back to sleep. But this never helps. I, however, as a fatrher was able to deal with these nightmares that my child suffered from every night through Psychodrama techniques. The results were amazing,” he said explaining how he applied the technique with his son through acting out the dreams and role play. He also added, “Our persistence and perseverance in receiving the psychodrama trainings for a very long time is the biggest proof of their effectiveness and efficacy, otherwise we would not have had the patience to continue.”


The ceremony included a recreational part of folklore dance that delighted those celebrating this great achievement, which resulted in the qualification of specialists from Palestine in the field of psychodrama at the international level.


At the end of the event, the top management of the GCMHP represented by the board of directors, the general director and his deputy presented certificates and plaques of honor to the trainees who obtained membership in the Mediterranean International Psychodrama Association, as well as the two Swiss trainers, Dr Hauser and Dr Hess.