Volunteer psychologists – behind the program

Long planning, looking into the needs, application process and preparation training – all these steps had to be fulfilled before the new program has recently started. Arriving to the practical phase from the preparatory work, 24 psychologists started to work at the institutions of the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta in the central Hungarian region from January.

In the first part of the sequence introducing the volunteer psychologist program we have asked Simon Molnár, the main organizer about the beginning, the main concept and the future plans. You can read the Hungarian version of the interview here.

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“For the people it’s a great help if they can get food and roof over their head, but further than that we can also help them in giving them all the skills, that they can work on their own well-being with. In this case, they can learn how to lead their life” – Simon shared about the basic ideas behind the psychologist program. “In the Central Hungarian Region of the Charity Service of the Order of Malta there are several institutions where we help people with difficulties. With this program we can build out a new method, that we can support employees in the institutions and people in need can get effective help at the same time.”

In a way there was a great need for the new service both from the side of the institutions and the part of the psychologists students, who are permanently looking for places to practice. These two sides were able to be connected with the help of the program.

pszichológus plakát1Even though there wasn’t any big promotion campaign taking place, right after sharing the poster with the application details on private Facebook pages, there was a big number of psychologists applying. This was followed by another boost, when the offer went out to the official communication channels of the charity service. All together there were around 50 applicants, and from them (based on a motivation letter and a personal meeting) 24 psychologists were selected to work in the institutions.

Before starting the real work, the selected volunteers were given a preparatory training where they could meet the institution leaders, got to know about the basic information of the program and also, the community of the young psychologists has started to form.

The practical part started in the beginning of January. Based on the deal, psychologists have to help minimum 4 hours in the institutions. Their tasks are diverse based on the field they are working at. Some of them were sent to temporary shelters for children and families, others to playgrounds of the charity service. Certain pychologists will work with homeless, elderly or addicts.

Parallel to the work in the institutions, they also attend supervisions, where they can talk about the cases they are working with. The three seperate working groups have supervisions every two weeks.

“Since the beginning of the planning part in September, and during the half-a-year-long procedure we have only recieved positive feedback” – told Simon. “That support works in all the different directions and gives motivation to the participants and us, organizers as well.”