We are all shaped by a personal history that determines our professional decisions. The many people I have met on my journey have helped me to realise just how deeply this history has shaped my life, and the further I travel the more I can see the strength of these connections. Here are some of the important highlights of my journey.
Education and specialisation
I am a Catholic theologian, a psychologist, and a systemic psychotherapist, licenced both for Germany and Austria.
As a psychotherapist I have specialised in trauma, focusing on inter-cultural, gender-sensitive, and systemic trauma therapy. Working with people who have experienced migration and flight, and people affected by cancer who are approaching the end of their lives, have been very precious and rewarding parts of my therapeutic work in my private practice in Salzburg.
I owe my professional specialisation and my political commitment to trauma work to the children from Srebrenica who I encountered in 1995 as an intern in the women's and children's centre run by AMICA e.V. (Freiburg) in Tuzla, Bosnia Herzegovina. Meeting them, and sharing their very personal journeys between vulnerability to trust, became a turning point in my life.
Since 1998 I have worked both in Austria and internationally as a free-lance consultant, a trainer, and a supervisor for psychosocial trauma work. I spent more than three years in Uganda as a development worker for the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Entwicklungshilfe (AGEH e.V.) in a national training centre run by the Catholic Church where, together with my Ugandan colleagues, I developed community-oriented psychosocial concepts of trauma work. My Ugandan colleagues introduced me to Paulo Freire's pedagogy of liberation, and showed me the tremendous power and value of participatory methods. Almost by accident I also discovered Ignacío Martín-Baró's writing on liberation psychology in this period, and I developed my dissertation from translating his ideas into our work there.
Since then I have accompanied projects and teams especially in the Great-Lakes region (Ruanda, Burundi, Uganda, DR Congo), in Western Africa (especially Liberia and Nigeria), and in the Balcans (Bosnia Hercegovina and Kosovo). I mainly work in German, English and French, but also know Serbo-Croat, and understand Spanish.
I specialise in trauma-related work in projects and teams, psychosocial training, and coaching and supervision for self- and organisational-care. More recently, my therapeutic work with families affected by inter-generational trauma and with children born of rape has developed into fields of work that are very important to me.
What gives me strength
The things that give me strength are my solid and nurturing family relationships; the beautiful nature that surrounds my home; my friends and compañeras en la lucha; my political commitment to feminism and liberation psychology, which has given me the opportunity to connect with so many like-minded people in different contexts around the world, and has enabled me to share a part of both their pain and their happiness; and my Christian spirituality, which continues to be a source of hope.