Agents of Hope

Hope and humanity as a response to conflict: Listening to, working with and applying psychology to the experiences of war-affected children with Dr John McMullen

August 19, 2020 Tim Cox Season 1 Episode 9
Agents of Hope
Hope and humanity as a response to conflict: Listening to, working with and applying psychology to the experiences of war-affected children with Dr John McMullen
Show Notes Chapter Markers

In this episode, I speak to Dr John McMullen,  Educational Psychologist and Senior Lecturer at Stranmillis College and Queens University Belfast.  In this episode, we speak about John's work and study with War-Affected Children in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

John discusses how he became involved in work in Africa, the values that have underpinned this work and what he has learnt from engaging in it for 15 years. We explore the importance of being hopeful in times of darkness. We examine the ethicality of work in Africa and the ways in which psychological and cultural approaches can interact. John talks about the importance of listening, learning and working in partnership with African communities to co-produce relational, hopeful and sustainable change in these areas. We conclude by discussing the current media narratives around refugees in the UK and how EPs can approach this issue.

McMullen, J., Jones, S., Campbell, R., McLaughlin, J., McDade, B., O’Lynn, P. and Glen, C. (2020) ‘Sitting on a wobbly chair’: Mental Health and Wellbeing among Newcomer Pupils in Northern Irish Schools. Pastoral Care in Education. 

McMullen, J.D. & Eaton, P. (2020). The Impact of a School-based Life Skills Intervention in Ugandan Secondary Schools: Perspectives of Teachers and Students. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.  

McMullen, J.D. & McMullen, N. (2018). Evaluation of a teacher-led, life-skills intervention for secondary school students in Uganda. Social Science and Medicine. 217: 10-17.  

O’Callaghan, P., McMullen, J., Shannon, C., Rafferty, H., & Black A. (2015). Comparing a trauma focused and non trauma focused intervention with war affected Congolese youth: a preliminary randomised trial. Intervention. 13(1): 28-44.  

O’Callaghan, P., Branham, L., Shannon, C., Betancourt, T., Dempster, M. & McMullen, J. (2014). A Family-Focused, Psychosocial Intervention with Young People at Risk of Attack & Abduction in North-Eastern DR Congo: A Randomised Controlled Trial. Child Abuse and Neglect. 38 (7): 1197-1207

McMullen, J., O’Callaghan, P., Shannon, C., Black, A., & Eakin, J. (2013). Group trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy with former child soldiers and other war-affected boys in the DR Congo: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(11): 1231-41.  

O’Callaghan, P., McMullen, J., Shannon, C., Rafferty, H., & Black, A. (2013). A randomized controlled trial of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for sexually exploited, war-affected, Congolese Girls. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(4): 359-369.  

McMullen, J., O’Callaghan, P., Richards, J., Eakin, J. & Rafferty, H. (2012). Screening for Traumatic Exposure and Psychological Distress among War-Affected Adolescents in Post-Conflict northern Uganda. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 

Patel, N., and Tribe, R., & Yule, B. (2018) Guidelines for Psychologists working with Refugees and Asylum-seekers in the UK: A Summary. The British Psychological Society. 

Fazel, M. (2015). A moment of change: Facilitating refugee children’s mental health in UK schools. International Journal of Educational Development, 41, 255–261. 

Ehntholt, K. and Yule, W. (2006) Practitioner review: Assessment and treatment of refugee children and adolescents who have experienced war-related trauma, Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 47, 12, 1197-1210 

Wessells, M. (2009). Do No Harm: Toward Contextually Appropriate Psychosocial Support in International Emergencies. American Psychologist

Wessells, M. (2006). Child soldiers: From violence to protection. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.  

Support the show
An introduction to John McMullen
John's work in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo with War-Affected Children
How can psychologists help in ways that are culturally relevant and sensitive?
What were the outcomes of this work?
What are the implications of this work for people interested in Educational Psychology and work abroad?
How can we respond to the media narrative about people from war affected countries and refugees in the UK?
Concluding Remarks