In February, 2015, James (Jay) Livingston, Ph.D., Senior Psychologist at Center for Survivors of Torture (CST) in San Jose, CA initiated Project Ukraine as a response urgent appeals from Ukrainian psychologists for no fee education and training (by Skype) regarding the nature, effect s, assessment, and effective treatment of returning soldier survivors of torture. Ukrainian psychologists and medical providers are, themselves, working in contexts of considerable instability and risk, constrained by curfew, etc.
On April 25, Dr. Ruebsamen joined the project, and spoke, by interpreter, with 136 female Ukrainian leaders regarding the reported fact that some of the worst effects of the Ukrainian warfare known to be occurring in women, children, and the elderly; eliciting their questions regarding how best to provide support to their women in homes where soldiers are returning home in great suffering from their experiences; including having been tortured. An immediate idea was to generate a toolkit of helpful tips on how to approach communicating with their soldier spouses & partners in an effective manner, encourage them to obtain psychosocial support, cooperate with a medical and/or physical evaluation; help with substance use and abuse, develop networks of dependable support among friends, reliable safety plans for wives and children. Coming to realize the limited extent of the resources available to them was also a concern. These women spoke largely Ukrainian and Russian, a few spoke Czech and Polish; several, English.
Dr. Livingston noted that survivors of torture treated in the US have generally been torture-free for at least several years given the length of time required to relocate to the US and present for treatment at a specialized torture treatment center. In stark contrast, Ukrainian soldier victims of torture present for treatment immediately -- such as those part of a prisoner exchange within the past several days.
A founding psychologist of the Center for Survivors of Torture (CST), San Jose, CA, Dr. Livingston is also a co-founding psychologist of Abbey Psych Services, where he provides assessment, supervision, consultation, and treatment. He is a strong supporter and founding member of ALWAYS BE LISTENING GLOBAL INITIATIVE & NONPROFIT. Dr. Livingston has taught, trained, and supervised doctoral students for twenty-five years; provided assessment and treatment of torture survivors as well as presented his clinical research at regional and national trainings for psychologists on related subjects such as vicarious traumatization, conducting precise, ethical asylum evaluations, etc., since CST's inception fourteen years ago.