Leyla Welkin Publications

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Helping the Helpers Training 2016 Report


A short-term pilot program launched in September 2016 in Cusercoli, Italy trained 12 volunteers serving people forced to migrate to Europe from the Middle East and Africa. Using the ProQOL survey measure, we found that their level of benefit from the training was potentially significant. The training supported higher levels of compassion satisfaction, and decreased compassion fatigue and burnout, based on pre and three month follow up questionnaire surveys. Following the generally favorable result of this training and feedback from this and other trainings, an expanded yearlong program including on-going internet based small group supervision is planned to launch in September 2018.




This book is a compact self help guide for women who have been sexually abused and for their relatives, friends and the people who provide services to them. In clear, accessible language the book describes the physiological, psychological and social effects of interpersonal trauma, offers practical exercises and activities that survivors can use to help calm and soothe themselves, and provides information and advice for people who want to be helpful to survivors.

True Friend is appropriate for a wide audience and is especially designed for places where people may not have ready access to an established infrastructure of social and mental health services. It takes a positive, reassuring approach to trauma recovery, is based on cognitive behavioral and mindfulness treatment methods, and is particularly focused on the healing possibilities of healthy relationships. Published first in Turkish and distributed around Turkey in three separate editions, this book has been successfully used by all kinds of service professionals from police and lawyers to psychologists and counselors, as well as survivors themselves. This is a community oriented self help guide to a common, world wide social problem. Designed for international English speaking audiences and for translation and adaptation into other languages.

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Turkish edition of True Friend

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WHy WOrk AcroSS Cultures

This chapter, in a text for professionals working internationally, discusses valuable learning and perspective to be gained from cross-cultural work.


Group psychotherapy in women with a history of sexual abuse: what did they find helpful?

Aslıhan Sayın, Selcuk Candansayar and Leyla Welkin

Aims and objectives. To define the effects of group psychotherapy in women with a history of sexual abuse, to find possible predictors for dropout and treatment outcome rates and to find which therapeutic factors of group psychotherapy are perceived by group members to be most helpful.


Systematizing cultural awareness: Toward a model for modification of trauma therapy and an application in Turkey

A cross-cultural team including a U.S.-trained clinical cross-cultural psychologist and two Turkish psychiatrists conducted research on a set of five trauma treatment psychotherapy groups for adult women survivors of sexual abuse in Ankara, Turkey. Based upon observational comparisons between trauma treatment groups in U.S. and Turkish settings, the team developed an approach to assist in adaptation of treatment methods from one cultural setting to another. This is a preliminary effort to develop a conceptual tool to focus the attention of therapists on salient dimensions of culture that may influence the psychotherapy process. This article describes six possible dimensions: (a) relational/individual self; (b) situationalism/universalism; (c) high/low power differential; (cc) high/low gender differential; (d) internal/external control; (e) emotional expressivity/containment; and (f) short-term/long-term time orientation. Comparative cultural examples from trauma psychotherapy group field notes illustrate the use of the tool.


Who Holds the Key to Your Box? Trust, Safe Space, and Culture

The issue of trust—loss of safety, violation of trust, and restoration of interpersonal trust—is at the heart of the experience of trauma and trauma treatment. Culture affects the conditions that contribute to a sense of safety and trust as well as the meaning of trust itself. Space—physical space, emotional space, and even spiritual space—is a factor in the creation of a sense of trust and safety. Based on an exploration of the therapeutic metaphor of a covered box, this article discusses factors related to trust and space and culture observed in the context of trauma therapy groups conducted in Ankara, Turkey, between March 2009 and May 2011. Five trauma therapy groups were conducted by a multidisciplinary, multicultural team of mental health professionals inquiring into the effects of culture on therapeutic processes in trauma. The article focuses on both practical, physical space and imagined space in relation to the therapeutic goal of reestablishing a sense of basic interpersonal trust after trauma.