Professionals in the field of (de-)radicalisation often work with clients who may suffer from psychological stress or disorders due to their biography. In order to deal with this professionally in counselling, the organisations Violence Prevention Network gGmbH and IFAK e. V. have designed a further training course. It provides counsellors with knowledge and skills that they can use in their work with mentally disturbed clients.
Evoluo, funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), supports the networking of counsellors in the field of Islamist extremism with health and medical professions and thus further develops the cooperation between the professions. This explains the name of the project: Evoluo is Esperanto and means “further development”.
Social and psychological dynamics interact in radicalisation processes. Interactions between the psychological inner world and the social outer world influence the individual’s devotion to and distancing from extremist scenes and ideologies. Although there is no general causal connection between radicalisation and psychological stress or disorders, they can nevertheless act as risk factors.
Counselling centres in the field of Islamist extremism counter individual radicalisation processes with a broad spectrum of knowledge and methods. At the same time, the majority of counsellors would like to have more knowledge about psychological phenomena and more confidence in dealing with them. This is also the result of a needs analysis conducted by the 2022 project team. A total of nine counsellors were interviewed individually and in a focus group. The participants wanted to know above all how they recognise mental stress and disorders, how they act professionally and with whom they can work together from the health and healing professions.
Based on this starting point, the Evoluo project pursues four goals:
- Raise awareness of psychological stress and disorders in the context of (de)radicalisation
- To impart knowledge about psychological aspects of radicalisation and disassociation processes relevant to counselling
- To create confidence in dealing with psychologically conspicuous clients
- Networking of counsellors in the field of (de-)radicalisation with support systems of the health and healing professions
At the centre of the project is a training course geared to the needs of the counsellors. It comprises five modules and takes place over two days in Bochum or Berlin. In addition, the participants receive online case-related counselling and coaching in collegial case consultations between the training modules. Here, relevant questions or their own anonymous cases are discussed with psychologically trained staff from counselling practice. Furthermore, there is the possibility (also beyond the training period) to receive further support from the staff of the project “Evoluo” in cooperation with the nationwide project “NEXUS Beratungsnetzwerk Bund” of the Charité.