The newsletter of the
International Trauma Training Institute (ITTI)
Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC, Editor
Jeanne Thomas, MBA, Associate Editor
Summer 2022, Vol. 5, No. 2
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We hope you are staying safe and cool this summer. Here at ITTI, we have been busy connecting to NGOs as they strive to help trauma victims throughout the world. One of them, New Horizons, is providing mental health services in Ukraine; ITTI is please to provide free training and consultation in those efforts. Here are more details:

New Horizons is a non-profit organization in Ukraine, where we work to provide trauma education and resources for the 40+ million Ukrainians facing the trauma of war. We also rebuild homes and schools, provide temporary shelter, and send vital humanitarian aid to hot zones of Ukraine where civilians are living without food, hygiene products, and medical care. We live and work amidst the devastation of war, daily interacting with people whose lives have been thrown into complete uncertainty. Our goal is to renew hope and restore lives. If you would like to learn more or donate to serve Ukrainian people, you can visit us at the New Horizons Ukraine website. See expanded article below.

We are proud to announce that ITTI has become a member of the International Association for Counselling. IAC is an international non-governmental association with United Nations consultative status working to advance the development of counseling worldwide in order to improve people's lives and well being.

We are pleased to introduce Sue Intemann, LCMHC, a renowned therapist and educator. See her article below. Sue will be presenting several webinars in the Fall as part of ITTI's Afternoon with Sue series. Watch for announcements.

Stay safe and well,

Mike Dubi, Ed.D., LMHC,
President, ITTI
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New Horizons Provides Trauma Resources, Humanitarian Aid, and Rebuilding in War-torn Ukraine
Nicole Baldonado
"This is where I was sitting when the roof of my house was blown off by Russian artillery," said 65-year-old Nadia. Immediately, my youngest son rushed to dig me out of the rubble. Searching desperately through the charred remains, he called out, "Mom, mom..." When he found me, he took me by the arms and dragged me to the basement. "That's how he saved my life," recalls this brave woman.

Nadia is one of millions of Ukrainians who face severe physical and psychological trauma from war. The New Horizons team is currently rebuilding the roof of Nadia’s home, while other staff sit in her kitchen, helping can fruits and listening to Nadia’s story. Every day, our team interacts with people who have lost loved ones or their homes, have been forced to flee their city or country, have experienced physical or sexual assault, and are dealing with ongoing triggers from explosions, air raids, sirens, and missile attacks witnessed from their apartment windows. Even those who have not personally experienced attacks are continually traumatized by news, social media, and reports from loved ones in “hot zones.”

The New Horizons team lives and works in the throes of war in Ukraine. One of our primary goals is to provide trauma resources and care. We are training all our staff, from website developers to rebuilding managers, so they have basic skills in psychological first aid. We’re also educating our trauma resource team with specialized trauma-informed training. Every person working in our efforts interacts with or reports on people impacted by traumatic events. We are dedicated to empowering those individuals we interact with and fervent to protect the psychological health of our own team.
Since the full-scale Russian invasion in February, 2022, New Horizons has also provided shelter and hot meals to 1,120 Ukrainians who were forced to flee their homes. We now send food, medical supplies and hygiene products to six regions of Ukraine on the front lines. We feed 100 to 150 people in these areas every day.[1]
As of July, Ukraine is in month six of Russia’s full-scale invasion, although we have been at war with Russia since 2014. Beginning eight years ago, Ukrainians have been fleeing war zones to find safety further west. Over 6 million people have now fled to Europe[2], and more than 7 million are internally displaced[3].
A scientific study published in 2017[4] to determine the mental health impacts on internally displaced Ukrainians found that PTSD, depression and anxiety were common among participants. These mental health disorders impacted participants’ ability to function in daily life and had a negative impact on their families and communities, as well. The study also found a “fixed high prevalence of PTSD, anxiety and depression comorbidities,” and it revealed that almost 3/4 of those who needed psychiatric treatment did not receive it. Reasons individuals reported for not seeking psychological care included: “lack of awareness of the need for treatment, self-medication, high prices for treatment and medicines, low quality of treatment.” This report identified a need for “expanded, comprehensive and trauma-sensitive mental health care of IDPs in Ukraine.”
“About 15 million Ukrainians will need psychological support in the future,” according to Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko.[5] The WHO estimates that every fifth person in a war-torn area is affected with a mental disorder.[6]
In response to these needs, First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska has instituted The National Program of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support. They are partnering with multiple Ukrainian entities to assess mental health needs and current responses, provide training, and develop a treatment delivery system.
New Horizons is partnering with the International Trauma Training Institute (ITTI) to provide high quality education on trauma care. We are also developing a database of existing resources for Ukrainians seeking psychological help, setting up referral protocols, and partnering with specialists on trauma care to train mental health professionals in Ukraine. Through a partnership with World Without Orphans, we are implementing a program called Hope Groups, psychosocial support groups that have tremendous impact on participants. Some of the feedback we have received is below:
             “Personally, I received spiritual healing and support while working in our group, thanks to you, the girls and the program. Restoring a social circle. Understanding where I "am" (at what stage) and how I can help my children. And thanks to this, I myself began to serve others (children in the camp and those women with whom I managed to communicate during this time).”
“The materials and meetings helped me deal with loneliness. They gave me the opportunity to talk and listen to how others coped with stress. I discovered friends. The materials were interesting for reflection and deep thought.”
“For me, everything that happened in groups, in communication in the evenings over a cup of brewed tea, in personal conversations - this is what gave me the strength to remember all the good things that happened and find the strength to move on.”
Another area of mental health that New Horizons is working to address is awareness and public education. Ukraine’s Ministry of Health reports “a high level of negative perception of mental illness,[7]” and our team encounters this bias every day. We are engaging social media, blog posts and personal encounters to raise awareness about the importance of mental health care and to change the cultural bias against it.
If you would like to learn more about the comprehensive work of New Horizons Ukraine, or you want to know how you can help, please visit our website at
Many thanks to the International Trauma Training Institute for their collaboration to provide high quality, trauma-informed care to the people of Ukraine.
[1] NewHorizons | Renewing hope and restoring lives. (n.d.). New Horizons.
[2] UNHCR, Government. (2022, July 26). Ukraine refugee situation. Operational Data Portal. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from
[3] UNHCR. (2022, July 5). Ukraine emergency. UNHCR USA. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from
[4] International Alert/Global Initiative on Psychiatry/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. (2017, May). ПРИХОВАНІ наслідки конфлікту. International Alert. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from
[5] Ministry of Health of Ukraine. (2022, June 7). Вплив війни на психічне здоров’я — Колосальний — Віктор Ляшко. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from’ja---kolosalnij---viktor-ljashko
[6] Ministry of Health of Ukraine. (2022b, July 13). Чому важливо дбати про психічне здоров’я. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from
[7] Ministry of Health of Ukraine. (2022b, July 13). Чому важливо дбати про психічне здоров’я. Retrieved July 27, 2022, from

About the Author
Nicole Baldonado,, is Director of Trauma Care and Education, New Horizons and Program Coordinator, Hope Groups for Displaced People and Ukrainians Impacted by War, World Without Orphans
Storytelling, the Art of Listening, and
the Mind Body Connect
Susan P. Intemann, LCMHC
I can remember my early days in therapy and can still almost hear the voice of my therapist saying, “I hear you, I see you.” I took a gentle breath. I knew she was truly present with me. This was nearly three decades ago and I still remember how it touched me. According to Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, “Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose; to help him or her to empty his or her heart.”
I would come to know many practitioners through my own healing journey with medical trauma as well observing and learning from my father’s own struggles with PTSD, having served in WWII and Korea. I would continue to meet practitioners, dedicated wonderful people, who possessed such strong beliefs in the mind/body connection, as well. Sharing stories with them that gave me great insight and allowed me to engage in a more visceral way with my own body.
Those words from my therapist have followed me throughout my career as a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor. In fact, early experience with the mind/body connection would become part of my very being, and certainly led me to pursue studies in Biofeedback. My knowledge and experience has become indispensable, and a gift to offer, during the healing journey that I would travel with so very many of the folks I have worked with in my private practice, over the past three decades. Be aware of how the story “lands” or unfolds in your body. It is so very important in the healing journey, for the therapist and the individual they are helping to be actively engaged in the art of listening through stillness and easy focus. Offer guidance in becoming aware of their body. The body has a great deal to say. Simply said, the conscious mind is like the keyboard and the unconscious mind is the hard drive.
I was recently listening to an older man as he told me the story of his childhood. His father was abusive, and as he put it, “Has every mental health diagnosis in the book.” The man could not let go of so many of the harsh things his father said to him. As he told me his story, it sounded like this… "Every morning my father would wake me up with something so negative to say, screaming yelling, you’re no good, even God Almighty doesn’t love you, why do you act so stupid, what’s wrong with you, you can’t do anything right, you’re going to be the death of me. The man’s hands were clenched, body rigid and I am quite sure not breathing. The harshness and pitch of his father’s voice was reflected in his own voice as he told this story. Can you as therapists feel that?
As I listened to his heart wrenching story, it took all my skills not to levitate off my chair (we’re only human, you know) I had a moment, just a brief moment in which I was not engaged in stillness and easy focus. I looked at him and said, “I hear you I see you” and added “that sucks.” Very gently I asked him if he could repeat this story, with an easy and gentle focus on the memory, and being more aware of his body and how it was reacting. To his amazement he said he felt more in control.
I always encourage folks to tell me their story. So many have not experience deep listening in their childhood or even in their adult life. I have learned so much from these stories. Everyone has a story to tell and they want to be heard. Listen to these stories. Hear them. There is wisdom in them and often times not recognized by the person you are engaged with.
As therapists, we have the ability to access simple, yet powerful tools. The folks we are engaged with (operative word), though their stories are painful, have strengths they are not aware of. Rather than trying to “fix” gently return to listening. Thoughtful attention. Hear what they have learned, overcome and even moved forward with. Make them aware of this. More often than not, I will say, “You know you made it this far and now I am going to journey with you and would like to give you even more insight and skills.”
Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, talks about generous listening. “In generous listening, you don’t even listen to understand why the person feels the way they do. It doesn’t matter why. What matters is what’s true for this person and you simply receive it and respect it. And in that safe interaction, something can happen which is larger than before. And that’s all you need…”
In the months to come I will be offering one-hour webinars through ITTI. I will be focusing on storytelling and what I have learned from the folks I have engaged with. Definitely discussing and sharing tools that invite the mind/body connect.
About the Author
Susan P. Intemann, LCMHC is a therapist working in North Carolina. Her specialties are Biofeedback and EMDR.
CTCSW is also approved by NASW
(#886782500-1939); SUD, MI, & NA are also approved by NAADAC (#193785 expires 5/1/2022)


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NASW #886782500-1939
NAADAC #193785 Exp. 5/1/22