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Monika’s interest in psychological resilience, both on an individual and community level, in the context of disaster planning and response, has been the major instigator for enrolling into the Masters program at the SRC. As a newcomer to the field of social-ecological resilience and sustainable development, Monika is keen to explore ways to integrate her psychological training and practice into this area.
Monika comes to the SRC as a qualified psychologist from Melbourne, Australia, with accredited specialisation in both community and counselling psychology, and with special interest and experience in cross cultural counselling, feminist psychology and psychotraumatology.
For over 20 years, Monika has provided specialist services across a wide spectrum of trauma related areas in international, national, regional and local settings. Her first position was within a Melbourne-based NGO providing psychological and advocacy services to refugees and asylum seekers who were survivors of war-related torture and trauma.
Her second position was with the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. In this position, Monika provided psychological support to victims and witnesses before, during and after testimony. Additionally, as part of the professional team, she provided support to witness assistant staff and contributed to the formation of policies and procedures war crimes. These policies remain in place today, and have since been adopted by other international war crime tribunals around the world.
Upon returning to Melbourne, Australia in 2005, Monika’s focus in the trauma field turned to providing both individual and community interventions for psychological recovery from sudden loss and natural disaster, specifically in relation to the 2009 Victorian bushfires. This entailed individual psychological consultation and community education, as well as training in skills for psychological recovery. During this time, Monika held a tenured academic post at Victoria University as co-ordinator of post graduate counselling programs. She was also an active professional trainer and supervisor within the field of trauma, community and counselling psychology.
In 2010 Monika moved to Stockholm Sweden. She attained accreditation to work as a licenced psychologist in Sweden, and gained a position in the psychology department at Karolinska Hospital.
After working at Karolinska Hospital, she worked with a regional specialist centre for crisis and disaster psychology (Regional kunskapscentrum for Kris- & Katastrofpsykologi SLL) within the regional health department of Stockholm. This agency, provides training and conducts research in the field of psychotraumatology. It also has an operational role in the event of an emergency in Stockholm, and is responsible for coordinating the health department’s psychological and social support response.
It is from this organisation that Monika has taken leave of absence to pursue her studies at the SRC.