On December 3, which was the second day of Historical Winter School “Holodomor: To Know in order to Live”, leading research fellow of Institute of Social and Political Psychology of National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Psychological Sciences Vitalii Klymchuk held a workshop “Psychological Effects of the Holodomor Traumas: To Survive or to Overcome?”.
The lecturer studies the psychological effects of the Holodomor for a long time. In 2016–2017, he headed the project “National Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Posttraumatical Growth: Echo of the Holodomor Trauma in the Mentality of Contemporary Ukrainians” (University of Alberta).
The workshop was attended by students of history, sociologists, professional psychologists, and also the high school students and teachers.
Vitalii Klymchuk offered psychodramatic and socio-dramatic modeling to the school participants. Based on their prior knowledge of the Holodomor, as well as their own family experiences related to the Holodomor, the workshop participants were able to understand previously unknown aspects of genocide.
On the basis of the family history of one of the participants, psychodramatic modeling was performed. It was the story of a six-year-old girl, Halia, from a large family, who was given by her parents to a neighbor’s family to be rescued from starvation. The students tried to recreate those events by acting; talked about trauma and shared emotional experiences related to the story. The participants of the workshop were able to reveal various aspects of the Holodomor based on a specific family history.
Summing up, Vitalii Klymchuk said, “If there was a silenced trauma, and the Ukrainians had a long-term trauma, then there are psycho-traumatic disorders that cannot be treated medically. Pills can only reduce anxiety, but they do not cure the problem. Only one thing can heal it… This is remembering, speaking and detailing of those traumatic events in a safe environment. This is a very difficult job. This method is related to narratification, treatment of traumas, and after it all the symptoms disappear. In Ukraine, only the first steps are being taken in this direction.”