FENIKS philosophy

A flourishing and critical civil society requires people who can defend their rights and support those in need. To stand up for yourself and others in times of crisis, one needs a resilient nervous system and the ability to master challenges. We provide knowledge, practical training, and individual support on developing these resources and helping without harm.

Imke Hansen, trauma therapist, human rights activist and Ph.D.


We are an international team of trauma-informed therapists and trainers experienced in supporting civil society activists, rescuers, volunteers, and human rights defenders during difficult times. Most of our therapists are themselves affected by the war in Ukraine or by Belarusian repression. We mainly work with groups and individuals who seek to contribute to civil society development and community resilience in the context of the socio-political crisis in Belarus or the war in Ukraine.

FENIKS approach

We specialize in body-oriented methods that effectively address the trauma and stress reactions of war and violence. Our approach aims to restore the nervous system´s elasticity and capability to manage stress, self-regulate, handle challenging situations, and recover after trauma.

Our primary method, Somatic Experiencing, facilitates restoring boundaries, dignity, and strength by working with the body and the nervous system instead of talking about the traumatizing event.

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FENIKS support

We offer free individual and collective trauma therapy online and onsite, as well as crisis support and supervision for local activists, helpers and volunteers, NGOs, children, and caregivers. Moreover, we facilitate community resilience by strengthening peer support and trauma competence.

Training in trauma work for psychologists and volunteers, Lviv.

FENIKS education

Many areas of society require stress management, trauma prevention, and trauma-informed communication skills. We teach activists, volunteers, psychologists, and helpers how to support others without unintentionally harming them (or themselves). We prepare first responders and rescuers to survive and manage challenging situations and provide international peacebuilding staff with practical and applicable knowledge on stress and trauma.

Journalists and documenters of war crimes and human rights violations can learn trauma-informed interviewing with us. Children, teens, and caregivers can develop stress resilience and trauma-sensitive communication with us. We share our knowledge and practical skills with anyone who contributes to peer support and community resilience.

FENIKS Belarus

Since August 2020, FENIKS has helped civil society activists affected by political repression. We support those forced to emigrate, build a new life, and network in exile. We facilitate adaptation and overcoming past trauma among civil society activists released from jail and their families and peers.

FENIKS Ukraine

The Russian war on Ukraine has caused immense physical and psychological damage. Death and injury, shelling and shooting of civilians, torture, and rape leave wounds in the affected people, communities, and societies. Loss, displacement, and family separation add to the current hardship.

We support those active in evacuation from combat-affected areas, humanitarian aid, war crime documentation, psycho-social and medical aid, and other aspects of the crisis response. We also care for traumatized children, caregivers, psychologists, and all those who contribute to a vivid civil society.

Training in trauma work for psychologists and volunteers, Chernihiv.

In 2022, we have

    • … provided 2500 individual trauma-informed consultations for more than 500 civil society activists.
    • … trained 400 people how to better deal with stress and trauma and support others with it, in more than 100 online and offline training modules.
    • … organised 13 psycho-social support groups where about 80 civil society activists received professional and peer support during 65 meetings.
    • … held 5 outdoor anti-stress retreats of one week or more for 57 civil society activists.
    • … published a revised version of our comic “I can! How to cope with stress, overcome challenges and handle conflict” in English, Russian, and Ukrainian.
    • … written 90 posts and posted 520 stories on on FENIK’s Instagram account.
    • … worked with a team of 80 people who participate in various forms in the organization and provision of psycho-social support: trauma therapists, dispatchers, volunteers, advisors, and colleagues who send clients to us.
    • … worked online and offline from Brest, Lviv, Kraków, Berlin, Tbilisi, Kyiv, Minsk, Gdańsk, The Hague, Dnipro, Ljubljana, Bakhmut, Chernihiv, Warsaw, Hamburg, Palanga, Salzburg and other European cities.