How to Respond to Refugee Trauma –
An Interview with Marion Knell (2022)

Thomas Bucher, General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance, met Marion Knell for an interview to equip churches and individuals in their relief efforts in the Ukraine crisis. Many refugees have been traumatized either in their home country or on the road, which is why, as a helper, it is good to have an awareness of the following topics.

00:00 Start
00:11 Introduction
03:06 What is Psychological First Aid (PFA)?
06:20 How do I know my limits?
07:48 Basics for engaging with a traumatized person
13:55 Why might refugees be unwilling to talk to me?
18:51 How can I help refugees to tell their story in a safe way?
23:37 Dos and Don’ts when providing Psychological First Aid (PFA)
29:21 What are the main emotions refugees arrive with?
31:26 What’s the nature of their losses?
34:48 What can I do to help refugees to cope with loss?
36:03 What is the difference between a loss by death and a loss by disappearance?
40:20 What implications could the disappearance of a person have?
41:34 How can I deal with cultural differences?
44:02 What principles apply to staff who work with refugees on the border?

Refugees in Europe Trauma –
An Interview with Marion Knell (2016)

This interview was conducted in the context of the 2016 refugee crisis, which is why the responses often take into account the cultural background of Muslims. However, much of the content is also highly relevant in the current crisis.

00:00 Start
00:20 How do we recognize trauma among refugees?
01:46 What do untrained member of churches in Europe need to know about trauma in these cases?
03:17 How could these traumatic experiences affect the refugees after finding a new place to start their lives?
05:07 Are there cultural differences we should understand when serving as a volunteer among refugees?
06:37 How can we support people who have been working and serving others (refugees, migrants, …) for a long time?
08:14 Can you suggest some resources to identify trauma?

Establishing Safety – Trauma training for churches & individuals working with refugees from Ukraine

Beyond Disaster – A Survivor’s Guide for Spiritual First Aid, incl. Small Group Guide
By SIM International (many languages, incl. EN, RU)

EFN Trauma Matrix

How to look after yourself
following a trauma (English)

How to look after yourself
following a trauma (Ukrainian)

Supporting staff after a
critical incidence (English)

Supporting staff after a
critical incidence (Ukrainian)

Stress and Refugees

Stress symptoms

Resources for
refugee workers

Psychological First Aid
By the WHO
(i.a. EN, UK, ET)


Critical Incidence Debriefing –
Introductory Paper
By Marion Knell

Tips & Tricks for Sleeplessness –
A Video Playlist by Love Europe
(EN, GE)

Top Tips for Trauma-Informed Care

For Children and their Caretakers

There is Hope for Me – An Interactive Trauma Recovery Workbook for Children, incl. Facilitators Guide
By Children at Risk (many languages, incl. UK, RU)

War-Time Parenting Tips
By World Without Orphans (EN)


War-Time Parenting Tips
By World Without Orphans (UK)


Latest Articles on the Urkaine Crisis

Biography of Marion Knell

Having been part of the leadership teams  of Member Care at European and Global level for a number of years, Marion instituted an MA in the subject at Redcliffe College. She now consults with Refugee Highway Partnership on Care for Refugees and Refugee workers and leads trauma response for the EEA. Marion has developed courses for churches on working with Traumatized refugees and Sustaining Refugee Workers. She is an international speaker on Staff Care and works with an international relocation company as an intercultural trainer both pre- and post-assignment. She has written two books, “Families on the Move” and “Burn-up or Splashdown – the survival guide to re-entry”.