Across the globe, professionals and volunteers work to address the effects of political conflict, natural disasters, climate change, incarceration, migration, and human rights abuses. These human rights workers, activists, journalists, doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, social workers, psychologists, researchers, and volunteers often live in the same violent contexts as the populations they serve.
Despite their efforts to help others, professionals in zones of conflict, disaster, and distress often find themselves without support of their own. Sometimes, they are hesitant to seek local services for professional and/or personal reasons. At other times, adequate support is unavailable.
GPN is a network of professionals who support other professionals, groups, and organizations throughout the world. Our members are engaged in psychosocial work, activism, human rights, and other humanitarian work in areas of conflict, disaster, forced or economic migration, and social and political change. Drawing on an accompaniment framework, we jointly support, witness, and advocate while aspiring towards the development of open professional communities and mutual empowerment. More specifically, we take a mutual support approach in which we gather for monthly online meetings in which we share our work and experiences, accompany each other as we navigate the challenges of conducting psychosocial work, and hear from other experts in the field. In doing so, our vision is to stand in solidarity with other professionals who are grappling with the challenges of working in places beset by war, catastrophe, and human-rights violations.
We also work to:
- Increase international connections and mutual learning among healthcare providers, psychosocial workers, researchers, journalists, human rights activists, and other professionals.
- Learn from professionals living and working in zones of crisis and (when requested) to provide support through consultation and sharing of resources.
- Bring greater awareness to the psychosocial effects of human rights-related harms and abuses.
- Share informational resources aimed at supporting and reducing burnout among professionals working under challenging conditions.
- Create new dialogues and initiatives that collaboratively address biases, racism, discrimination, and other forms of structural oppression, and to work toward solidarity and improving our collective efforts.
- When requested and when possible, we will attempt to connect local, grassroots workers to psychosocial support and accompaniment around trauma and other mental health challenges.
- Some GPN members are clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, psychosocial workers, counselors, and/or other practitioners. Upon request, these members provide services based on their expertise and capacity.
- Help build capacity and sustainability within organizations, facilitate empowerment processes, conflict transformation, and training-the-trainer opportunities.
- Explore potential sources of future funding or other resource opportunities for GPN, individual members, and partner organizations.
- Promote accompaniment models in research and scholarship, particularly through participatory and stakeholder-driven approaches.
We conduct the above activities through multiple platforms and modalities: online, by telephone, and in person/locally.
As our work continues to evolve, we plan to revise these tasks and goals in collaboration with members and other partners, and we strive to create better theory and practices, ethics, and “lessons learned” from this work.
Some GPN activities are internet-based. We offer recommendations for those who want to enhance the privacy/security of their internet communications. We recognize that not all professionals living in conflict zones have stable access to the internet, and we advocate for local, on-the-ground solutions whenever possible.
Interested in joining or learning more about GPN? We welcome email inquiries from potential members and others who are interested in our work. We also hope to establish relationships with existing organizations in the field in order to build collaborative networks for learning and accompanying. If you work with an organization that conducts similar work, please feel free to contact us.
GPN is an initiative of Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR)*.
*PsySR assumes no risk or liability associated with GPN.