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The Fennell Four Phase Model: A Programme for Addressing Culture Shock, Trauma, and Counter-Transference in Volunteerism

by Patricia Fennell, Sara Rieder Bennett, Ann Fantauzzi and Kelly Bertrand

Abstract

Life-changing experiences, cultural stress, and unexpected encounters may result in trauma for many who travel outside their homeland to volunteer in the Global South. Upon arrival, culture shock may cause disequilibrium for those in the field not prepared to witness what they encounter. Events during volunteering trigger counter-transferential reactions. When returning to one’s home country, reverse culture shock may also occur after many weeks of stressful work and difficult living conditions. Individuals may develop symptoms of chronic depression, grief, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and disappointment and conflict with their home culture and family. Reverse culture shock may occur when the home country cannot be tolerated and the ‘other’ culture is longed for desperately. The empirically validated, multi-phased Fennell Four Phase Treatment (FFPT™) model recognizes the influences of cultural and psychosocial factors in assessing and treating those with culture shock or trauma. This multi-phased system provides a narrative framework to respond to traumatic visual and experiential events, and for effectively utilizing the inevitable counter-transferential response. It is through the phases of FFPT™ that the volunteer can move through crisis into stabilization, through resolution and into integration, having successfully addressed their trauma. An assessment, preparation, and debriefing programme based on the FFPT™ is being piloted with The Giving Circle (TGC) for the Medical workers, educators, and general NGO volunteers working in Uganda. In conjunction, images of a photojournalist NGO worker with TGC are combined with the phase narrative intervention of the FFPT™. The programme and intervention will be described and results reported. The FFPT™ phase approach is grounded in clinical practice to help participants help themselves and fellow workers integrate their life changing experiences and create positive change.

Key Words: Fennell Four Phase Model (FFPT™), Fennell Four Phase Treatment (FFPT), trauma, culture shock, volunteerism, counter-transference.

Chapter from:
Beyond Present Patient Realities: Collaboration, Care and Identity
Edited by Peter Bray and Ana Maria Borlescu

Inter-Disciplinary Press (1 Sept. 2015)
ISBN-13: 978-1848884083
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