Psychology refers to an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of behaviors and mental functions (Colman 2010). The immediate goal of understanding an individual or group’s psychology is to enable the counselor establish general principles to be applied while researching specific cases. When carrying out research, psychologists explore concepts such as cognition, perception, motivation, brain functioning, interpersonal relationships such as psychological resilience and family resilience. Psychological knowledge is important on matters of individual assessment and treatment of mental health problems. Research shows that many people develop mental problems due to life challenges they have ever experienced.
This report encompasses a group of children from a foreign country (Nigeria) living in my area of jurisdiction as refugees with foster families. They are aged between 9-13 years. From their previous refugee camp, they led a life of challenges and violence despite their young age. Some of the challenges they have undergone include poor living conditions, faced with rampant diseases, food scarcity, sleeping in rudimentary shelters. They were also exposed to brutal violence where they saw their family members being murdered, experienced sexual assaults and saw their houses being burnt where some were injured in the attacks of their villages. This paper explores psychological effects as a result of violence and the prevention measures used to foster resilience.
Psychological effects of violence
The diverse sequelae related to violence have been well documented. According to Hann (1993), exposure to violence, either directly experienced or witnessed leads to children’s self-reports of distress. Research shows that when a child is exposed to violence, the following symptoms are observed; loneliness, loss of desire for amusement, sadness, inattention, daydreaming, nightmares, disrupted sleep, intrusive, disturbing and imagery, easy perturbation, fear of death, and separation anxiety. In most cases, boys are known to cope with psychological effects caused by violence exposure compared to girls of the same age. Children try to cope with loss and fears associated with violence by pretending not to care about anything, restricting their activities, anxious attachment to their mothers, imitative aggressive play and counter-phobic displays of bravado (Osofsky 1993). Research shows that, effects of violence may also spill into relationships with friends and peers inform of aggressive behavior and emotional withdrawal, of which they may both result to an ultimate rejection by the peers (Turner & Beidel 1995).
An intervention refers to a deliberate process by which a strategy of implementing change into a person’s thoughts, behaviors and feelings is introduced (Cook 2009). The overall intervention’s objective is to confront a person in a friendly way allowing them to understand their destructive behavior or actions and how it may affect themselves, friends and family. The immediate aim/goal of the intervention program is to make the person suffering listen and accept to be helped. On the other hand, programs consist of a number of coordinated interventions that are made available for a given period (Swanson 2011).
Education and support programs
The above mentioned children from Nigeria have faced many challenges affecting their normal way of living. This intervention program is meant to foster resilience or help the Nigerian children recover from their past experiences. As a mental health worker, I have to implement a strategy that enhances favorable and friendly environment for the survival of these children. Provision of material assistance such as clothes, books, food, proper housing and other basic needs becomes the first priority. Either at individual, family or community level, they need education together with guidance and counseling with the aim of trying to make them forget their past experiences. Having witnessed their parents being killed, their houses being burnt and others getting injured, this may affect their cognitive development and later bring complications to their future lives. Another prevention strategy is ensuring that they interact with others through games, education and other social activities. Such interventions make them feel acceptable within the community and prevent psychological effects related to loneliness.
Cultural universality versus cultural specificity
Cultural universality refers to a multiple of cultural aspects acceptable on a global scale (Leininger 2010). On the other hand, cultural specificity refers to a thing, event, or idea that is unique to a particular culture (Hirschfeld 2008). The Nigerian children are living in a foreign nation where there are different traditions and cultures. In order to maintain ethical standards towards dealing with the refugees, their culture must be respected while those events which are accepted globally they are encouraged to participate with others.
When designing the intervention program, it is important to understand the cultural traditions of Nigerians as it facilitates better and efficient interaction through the available social activities. This will ensure that their cultures are respected which facilitates the development of self-esteem among the children.
The culture of Nigeria is characterized by their multiple ethnic groups. However, they have unique ways of practicing their cultural traditions. These practices such as festivals, weddings and names and naming ceremonies are very crucial when designing the intervention program to help the Nigerian children. The invention should be designed in a way that incorporates these traditions for effective implementation.
Ethical consideration refers to the acceptable ethical principles applied when tackling a particular issue. The intervention program should be designed in a friendly way that is not harmful to the victims of violence. Secondly, the subject has to accept failure to which the program should not be implemented as it is unethical to tackle a particular issue without the consent of the affected.
Colman, A. M. (2010). What is psychology? (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Cook, R. (2009). Intervention. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Hirschfeld, L. A., & Gelman, S. A. (2008). Mapping the mind: domain specificity in cognition and culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Leininger, M. M., & McFarland, M. R. (2010). Culture care diversity and universality: a worldwide nursing theory (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Swanson, B. B. (2011). What is a quality preschool program?. Washington, D.C.?: ERIC.