Can TRT lead to excessive sleep

Strengthening strength - coping with trauma

Low-threshold help for traumatized children and adolescents in the school setting. The project is aimed at children and young people in the school setting who, for example, are psychologically stressed after the experiences of war and flight. Current studies show that post-traumatic stress is 10 times more common in refugees than in the average population. Post-trauma disorders represent a massive obstacle to education and integration, especially in everyday school life.

The reason for the project idea in 2016 was the observation of the lack of health promotion for post-traumatic people with a refugee or migration background. With the "Teaching Recovery Techniques - Program" an internationally established, low-threshold training program for strengthening competencies in mental health was identified. TRT (Teaching Recovery Technices) is a successful concept that has been tried and tested internationally in several countries for teaching coping mechanisms to people who have experienced trauma. We work with trained trainers who come from the community themselves, i.e. not necessarily with professional actors from the psychosocial field (however, pedagogical or psychological experience is an advantage when choosing multipliers). The project initiators completed the relevant training in London and translated the concept with "Strengthening strengths - coping with trauma" into German.
The six training units of the program “Strengthening Strengths - Coping with Trauma” are divided into psychoeducation, methods for coping with stress, exercises on problems with sleep, nightmares and excessive worries, strategies for dealing with fear, exercises for controlling intrusive thoughts and memories and developing Strategies for the future.

The aim of the project was thus to impart social-emotional skills to post-traumatic children, adolescents and young adults as well as trauma-pedagogical know-how to parents, teachers, actors in support systems of the school in order to improve the mental health of the target groups to promote.

The following were implemented:
o TRT groups by trained trainers under the supervision of specialists
o Individual parenting sessions
o Workshops for pedagogues, German trainers or supervisors
o Implementation of "health circles" on the consequences of trauma for young adults
o Training of native speaking TRT trainers
o Advanced training for already active TRT trainers
o Evaluation in cooperation with the international TRT network

Results and conclusion:
Results / reflection (has the planned concept proven itself?):
During the project period, 140 students (18 groups in 9 schools) took part in 8 two-hour sessions each. At the same time, there were 1-2 information meetings (18 appointments) for a total of 59 parents at each school, as well as 2 workshops for 37 educators (292 people in total). The results of the evaluation show a significant improvement in post-traumatic stress after participation. The increase in self-efficacy, especially emotion regulation, concentration and learning ability could be proven. The use of trained, native speaker trainers can be seen as a key success factor.

More parental work, a more precise selection of participants and a longer-term effort to train the pedagogues were recommended (37 trained). The follow-up care of individual students through the school's support system basically worked. The desired development of skills in the setting was only partially possible in the short project duration.

In 2019 the project was awarded the Sozialmarie for its "innovative approach with a clear impact" and presented at the European Forum Alpbach as "Innovative Mental Health Intervention".

project number


Project category

Practice-oriented project

Organization name

AFYA - Association for Intercultural Health Promotion
Preysinggasse 7-9 / 4, 1150 Vienna


Sabine Kampmüller
0670 6059971

[email protected]

Project start