Therapeutic Empowering Photography Journey to Greece
In April 2016, a group of 31 bereaved siblings from the young adult division, embarked on a four day empowering journey to Salonika in Greece. “Using photography as a tool for therapy each participant was able to take a new perspective on what they see, to zoom in or out on any details they choose -life’s details”, said Meirav Uziel, the trip coordinator.
This four-day empowering journey was specifically designed for young adults who have lost siblings or parents during the current wave of terror, or from wars or earlier terrorist attacks to create a brotherhood between the participants. The group consisted of “seniors” – those who experienced bereavement for some time, alongside “newcomers” who recently entered the world of bereavement. The combination helped newcomers see that life continues after the loss of a loved one, and it helps seniors recognize the progress they have made in their own bereavement process and to see if they are moving in the right direction.
Avia Turjeman, aged 26 years old is married and a father of one child. Avia’s brother Evyatar z’l was killed in combat during Operation Protective Edge. Upon returning from this therapeutic trip, Avia explained that it was only by attending this shared empowering journey that he could face talking about his fears, especially how to keep the memory of his brother alive.
The therapy takes place through the photography, the interactions between the participants, and the tours and attractions in a foreign city. During the trip, participants took part in daily sessions of therapeutic photography, and support circles. Avia said he felt an instant connection with the participants, especially during the support circles, because despite hardly knowing each other, “we just had to glance at the other and we immediately understand the depth of each other’s pain”.
As part of the therapeutic process, photos that were taken during the day were processed as a group in the evening. The sharing that takes place provides mutual understanding and helps build tools that will help the youths at home, with their families, and in remembering the loved ones they lost. Ziv Helman, Director of bereaved alumni, said one of the group participants wrote to thank him, upon returning back to Israel. In his letter, he said: “Since I have returned home I have not stopped crying. It is so difficult to return to normal and back to reality. How can I even try to explain to other people what I went through on this journey? It feels impossible to describe the special relationship that the group experienced. The atmosphere was so unique; it was liberating and at the same time it provided a contained space where we understood each other, something that is deeply lacking in everyday life. I just want to say Thank You to One Family for helping me on this journey, a journey which I needed so deeply, yet before I went I did not realize how much. It provided me the air to breathe. I miss everyone so much and hope we will stay in touch!
How we help
One Family understands the trauma of bereavement and injury from terror. Our family can provide the key elements that lead to successful rehabilitation. With this level of trauma, comes a feeling of isolation by singular experience. The perception of being alone affects every element of the recovery and rebuilding process. Our presence and resources ensure that victims and their families never need to feel alone.
One of the primary ways in which One Family assists victims of terror is through emotional support provided through healing retreats, support groups, and therapeutic workshops for bereaved parents, parents of injured children, bereaved or injured young adults, widows and widowers, orphans, bereaved siblings, and wounded or maimed victims of all ages.
Each healing retreat involves up to 200 people of similar experiences that later form into smaller, more localized support groups where victims continue to provide victim-to-victim support, learn from each other’s experiences, and give and receive comfort from each other. At One Family, we strive to overcome terror together.
Through intensive and long-term therapeutic workshops (one-time) and support groups (meet weekly or monthly), terror victims are empowered to deal with their psychological and physical injuries on a daily basis.
How you can help
For each victim of terror, the support offered by One Family is personalized to his or her needs. For some, One Family helps them locate work; for others, One Family offers a chance to participate in retreat where they can connect with other victims. Still others, after isolating themselves for many months or even years, may join One Family’s soccer team ,photography or cooking classes. Below are just a few of the programs sponsored by One Family UK
- Bereaved Parents – £500 enables a bereaved mother or father to participate in a three-day retreat, where they have the opportunity to meet with other bereaved parents, and join in professionally-run activities to help them cope with their loss.
- Therapeutic Youth-Camp Scholarship – £1,000 pays for a young victim of terror to take part in a therapeutic camp experience where they participate in expressive arts, sports, outdoor adventure and therapeutic group programming.
- Adopt a Family – £7,500 per year provides essential financial and emotional support for a family to help them move forward in their lives after an attack.
- Higher Education Fund – £10,000 will enable to university or college aged victim to complete a degree.
One Family holds periodic healing retreats for bereaved siblings, parents, widows and widowers, and wounded victims, allowing them to socialise with others in similar circumstances, make new friends, and escape the tension and sorrow that engulfs their lives. These retreats feature touring, therapeutic sessions, entertainment, and an opportunity to help the victims feel cared for both emotionally and spiritually. These retreats strengthen victims so that they can return to their homes and families with renewed energy to face their experiences, knowing that someone is there with them.
Please share if you’ve found this interesting
You may also like to read https://onefamilyuk.org/therapy-2/
The trip was also documented by Channel 10 Television and was broadcast as part of the Yom Hazikaron memorial shows.
To see the program (in Hebrew), please follow http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1188155&sid=126