Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees
Category: Non-Profit – Tags: Counselling, Immigrants, Refugees, Trauma, PTSD, Syria
“Children are resilient, but they have no one to tell their stories to. With no one to talk to, their memories are repressed and the foundation for PTSD is laid. Their only relief is playing ‘war’ and using violence” (Carter, 2016).
When I first met Adrienne Carter, this was one of the many poignant truths she told me. These are the kind of truths that are easier to ignore and brush off; the kind of truths that take a group of strong and endlessly caring women to endure and take on the full weight of. For Adrienne, the Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees (CCIR) is necessary to create a safe haven for immigrants and refugees that have suffered the multiple physical and emotional impacts of trauma.
For Carter and her colleague Linda McLagan, the genesis of CCIR is rooted in the need for counselling services in a time of global refugee crisis and anti-immigrant sentiment.
CCIR employs a host of diverse professionals, all with graduate degrees in psychology, social work, counselling and adult education/child studies who offer their services pro bono. From an outside perspective, CCIR is not only an organization responsible for supplying endless good work within the community, but it is an organization that is necessary as Victoria becomes a more globalized community. It is endlessly important to not only provide support services for individuals that have experienced a level of trauma and pain that is most likely unfathomable to many of us, but it is also necessary to start conversations regarding immigration within Victoria.
Counselling and communication services provided by the CCIR are necessary trojans that allow immigrants and refugees to take back control of their lives through therapy. Their traumas must be heard and validated to begin moving forward, and adapting to life on the island.
CCIR is built on a foundation of welcoming the “other” within the community, recognizing that people bring exquisite diversity and value with them. I think Mexican author Carlos Fuentes summarizes this best in saying: “recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me”.
Please check out CCIR’s website to learn more. Donations gratefully accepted!