website header

PHS and Chinese University Partnership

Psychotherapy Healing Space had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with Raquel Amador, Professor Surabhi Chopra, Dr Gigi Lo and Chloe F on their research project about immigration detention of refugees, migrant domestic workers and victims of trafficking in Hong Kong.  This was done in conjunction with Law faculty at the Chinese University of Hong Kong

While the psychological support was merely one piece in the larger project, it is perhaps one of the more important. Over the course of the 3 years, Raquel called on Dina Chamberlain Joubert to help guide them to work carefully and consciously with the mental health of all involved.

First steps

Ms Chamberlain worked hard, all the way from South African, pulling in her team which included myself (Heather Corringham). I was put as project lead and worked closely with the project’s Supervisor, Dina. We put together training materials, built relationships and created a beautifully collaborative atmosphere.

As the Team supervisor and I worked to create trauma training material, I set up and led the training and therapy for the Chinese U staff and the individuals being interviewed.

Upon request of Mr Craig Anderson who had recently joined the PHS umbrella, Dina and I discussed expanding the team to include Craig who was a new therapist, teacher and group leader.

Next steps

I, Heather Corringham, remained the lead therapist for the project. I lead individual counselling sessions, debriefing work and created the Trauma handbook for the workshops. This was created from scratch with the help of Athina Papadopoulou. I worked together seamlessly with Athina who took my draft of the workbook and created a stunning and professional final product. I cannot thank Athina enough for her amazingly creative work, her inspiration and being the editor of our dreams.

The wonderful training sessions were well received and I was approached by many interpreters from Cheer to thank me for both the training and warmth I  showed them. I put together an entire training program with the Trauma workbook at its core and presented this to those involved. 

I opened up my time and created special rates to allow for any Chinese U staff on the project to see me. I created an empathetic space that allowed asylum seekers and interviewees’ time and space to discuss their issues.

Further steps 

During this time Dr Lo noticed that this was perhaps not enough support and noted an area of concern from her time working with volunteering groups. Dr Lo came up with the idea of a debriefing group, which transformed into a support system for those who have to handle vicarious trauma.

CUHK called on me to collaborate further. They had an idea for a mini project aimed at bringing together an often-overlooked group of selfless supporters. The purpose of this initiative was to provide a platform for sharing experiences, fostering personal growth, and enhancing the skills of volunteers who tirelessly assist marginalized individuals lacking representation and support.

As the Psychosocial project lead, I helped to set up the group with Dr Lo (CUHK). We spent several hours putting together ideas for it and fine tuning as the sessions went on,Dr Lo did the lion’s share of the work and continued to work behind the scenes with Anna from CIC. Their desire for support and empathy for all those they worked with, was beautiful to note.

Final steps

Once we had set up the initial group parameters, Mr Anderson requested to take ownership of the group to show his abilities. As such he was given the responsibility of running the group, which included being responsible for creating the plans for the sessions and coming up with the material. While he was offered assistance, Mr Anderson wished to show his work ethic and wanted to try it on his own. With some pointers after discussions with Ms Sin, Mr Anderson adapted his work and continued creating strong group tasks. Less Debriefing and sharing but focused on learning and practicing the essential tools the volunteers needed. Setting them up for the future.

Mr Anderson took the group forward. The members put their trust in him and PHS, allowing Craig to explore new skills as he was training. Between Mr Anderson, Anna from CIC, and the group members, the group took on a life of its.

Congratulations on taking this group and creating a safe, inviting space!


Heather Corringham


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *