FENIKS is an international team of trauma-informed therapists with profound experience in supporting civil society activists and human rights defenders during a crisis. The initiative specializes in somatic-oriented methods to address the acute trauma and stress reactions related to war and violence.

FENIKS’ trauma response provides individual and collective trauma therapy, trauma-informed training, child and teenage support, and regenerative retreats. We work with civil society activists in the context of the socio-political crisis in Belarus and the war in Ukraine. Our program is a collective effort of Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights and Vostok SOS.

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

FENIKS Belarus

Since August 2020, FENIKS has helped civil society activists who became victims of repression. We support people who had to emigrate to avoid further repression and jail, who cannot go home, cannot see their family whenever they like, and who must build up a new life in exile. We support civil society activists released from jail to facilitate their social adaptation and overcoming of past trauma.

We also support volunteers and volunteer teams who help those affected by the socio-political crisis in Belarus at home and abroad.

Training in trauma work for psychologists and volunteers, Lviv

FENIKS Ukraine

The Russian invasion has caused immense human and psychological damage. Death and physical injury, the shelling and shooting of civilians, torture, and rape leave wounds in the affected people, communities, and society. Evacuation, displacement, and family separation add to the hardship people in Ukraine are currently experiencing.

Numerous volunteers are involved in the Ukrainian crisis response: they evacuate people from combat-affected areas, distribute humanitarian aid, document human rights violations, support internally displaced persons, and more. Our task is to strengthen these activists so they can help without harming themselves or others.

Our approach

We work with a somatic approach that aims to restore the capability and elasticity of the nervous system to handle stress and recover after trauma. Our primary method, Somatic Experiencing, does not require talking about the traumatic event. Instead, we follow the traces of the violation of someone’s boundaries and dignity to facilitate integration and healing.

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.


    Training in trauma work for psychologists and volunteers, Chernihiv