Üben macht den Meister

German Language studies take up the majority of my time and headspace. I must obtain a German Medical License in order to practice medicine and fulfil goals for Relentless’ work. Command of German will make me much more effective in my work and provide sustainability for a visa. One cannot apply for a medical license here unless one demonstrates a high level of fluency in German. Therefore, my number one focus is learning German! Fortunately it is a bit easier than Chinese and Thai!

Teaching and Training

In August I led a weekend training workshop with a group that does outreach to sex workers in a nearby city. I’m not able to provide more information due to the sensitive nature of the work but it was a rich time of professional and personal development.

Unless the workshop time is extremely tight I always address self-care, boundaries, and other personal growth topics with the groups I’m training. In this work, one cannot be as effective as possible without spending intentional time doing nourishing self-care activities and developing self-awareness. These days there is a great interest – even a hunger – for good guidance on self-care. There seems to be a lot of talk about it but a lot of what’s being said isn’t necessarily effective. I take my participants deeper with reflection exercises, and challenging questions for their “homework”. 

The glorious Heath along the Heidschnuckenweg where I took a 2-day running retreat.

Another training I’ve just started is a psychoeducation course for the beneficiaries of a local aftercare assistance program. It’s a low-key format in which we discuss trauma and the body with models and diagrams. We talk about how our bodies and brains are designed, how trauma impacts us and why. Participants are keen to learn and they ask good questions! Understanding these principles helps survivors begin to take back control of their lives and take healing (baby) steps and are no longer at the mercy of the trauma and triggers.

Using a model of the brain to talk about the brain-body connection and trauma. 

In August, it was a privilege to present a talk to the University of Maryland Family Medicine Residency program about human trafficking, with a particular emphasis on my perspective in caring for survivors. The technology allowed everyone to see each AND allow me to control the slides. Quite something!

In the meantime I’m continuing to work on a handbook on trauma designed for volunteers and staff who have little or no training about mental health issues. I’m also working on a research project among health professionals in Germany.

Networking, Networking, Networking

Although I already know quite a lot of organizations in Germany, I need to spend some time getting to know their work and their needs. I am taking advantage of every seminar/lecture/event to meet with as many organizations as I can in as many places as I can. Most of these meetings are evolving into future training opportunities. Examples of places and people include Hamburg, Nürnberg, Frankfurt and of course Berlin. I have met with an advisor to the Bundestag and attended a Germany-wide seminar for street outreach workers and aftercare providers. I continue to meet a wide variety of researchers and care providers. Work throughout Europe continues with my involvement in the European Freedom Network.

All this is important foundational work for the future. I am excited about the strategic work for Relentless here, but it is vital to learn and listen first in order to be most effective. As more opportunities come up you will know about them here!

Please remember to check out the webinar about the intersection of health and human trafficking! Please leave a note or comment – positive or negative – I’d love to know how it helped you.

Kulture Tipps: There are some other very interesting cultural things I’m learning in Germany – here are some quirky German Tipps for Gesundheit. 

Thank you very much to all of you for your faithful support, your generous giving, and your attention to justice!