Professionals of the Centre at the 24th Annual Conference of Croatian Psychologists in Opatija

The 24th Annual Conference of Croatian Psychologists, with the central theme – Psychology in the prevention of impairments and in health protection. According to the words of Josip Lopižić, the President of Croatian Society of Psychology, the theme of the prevention of impairments and health protection is important in clinical and health psychology, but also in other areas of psychological research and practice.

The Conference was attended by our colleagues of related professions – physicians, nurses, social workers, educational rehabilitators. Their participation adds to the multidisciplinary and intersectorial trend in the work of psychologists in the modern society.

The Child and Youth Protection Centre of the City of Zagreb was represented by clinical psychologists Sc.D. Bruna Profaca, Sena Puhovski and Ivana Ćosić Pregrad, psychologists Ella Selak Bagarić and Mia Roje and intern psychologists Dominik Šmida and Petra Šimčić. All professionals of the Centre participated actively, presenting scientific studies, the work of the Centre and sharing their knowledge and experience through organised discussions and workshops.

Sc.D. Bruna Profaca was invited to the round table under the title “Supporting the Mourning Process: Mourners Needs We Do (not) Know How to Meet.” The moderator of the round table was Prof. Sc.D Lidija Arambašić. Work with the mourning clients in the light of their developmental age and specificity of populations in the clinical practice was discussed. Sc.D. Bruna Profaca shared experience and challenges of working with mourning children who had experienced a traumatic loss, with whom we work in the Centre.

Sc.D. Bruna Profaca and Sena Puhovski, psychologists, participated in the round table “Psychology: On the Margins and/or Society’s Avant-garde”, where the position of the psychologist and psychology in today’s society were discussed. Our psychologists talked about the characteristics of children, youth and families in the 21st Century and about the role of psychologists working with changing families and their professional perspectives. Moderators of this round table were Zora Subotić and Ana Munivrana, psychologists.

Clinical psychologists Sena Puhovski and Ivana Ćosić Pregrad delivered a workshop under the title “The Other Side of the Coin (secondary resilience)” for clinical psychologists and helping professionals who work with traumatised adults and children and those in other sorts of crises. The aim was to reconsider and build awareness of the importance of the new concept of secondary resilience. That is, except the usual strain and secondary traumatisation which may occur in professionals working with trauma, these professionals can develop secondary resilience which contributes to reduced strain and work burn-out.

Ella Selak Bagarić, psychologist, presented the experience of Centre’s professionals in the process of setting up, planning and designing the day hospital programme, as a new service of the Centre. She also presented our methods of work during the first months of the programme implementation, including our permanent attempts to provide services adjusted to children’s needs by including the clients in the work planning, thus following good practices in the world and modern approach to working with psychotraumatised children. The presentation “Day Hospital of the Child and Youth Protection Centre of the City of Zagreb – Our First Three Months” (Selak Bagarić, Štimac, Buljan-Flander and Jurčić) included the specificities of the work in our day hospital, the only one in Croatia functioning within a polyclinic.

Mia Roje, psychologist, presented research “The Role of the Psychologist in the Care of Children with Skin Diseases” (Buljan-Flander, Roje and Rezo). During the past year, the authors conducted interviews with children suffering from skin diseases, their quality of life and the need to improve it. The analysis of interviews showed that, in various aspects of their lives this population of children has a strong need for mental health professional support which is not systematically provided, nor is it available. The aim of this presentation was to draw the attention of the professional community to obtained results and suggest guidelines for psychological care of children with chronic skin diseases.

Dominik Šmida, intern psychologist, presented the program conducted in collaboration with the Brave Phone in the Children’s Home A.G.Matoš. In his presentation “Prevention of abuse and empowering of children with behaviour disorders through martial arts” he explained the theoretical basis for such a programme, how it was conducted and the results of internal evaluations. The conclusion is that by the integration of movement, the philosophy of martial arts, expressive techniques and a structured method of work, positive changes have been achieved in the experiencing and behaviour of children with behaviour disorders.

Petra Šimčić, intern psychologist presented research “Self-Concept and Concept of Partner Relationships in Pregnant Women” (Šimčić and Maričić), including how pregnant women see themselves in the context of pregnancy, which fears and worries haunt them and how they experience their partner’s support, their relationship and sexual life.

Next Conference of Croatian Psychologists will be held in Zadar in 2017. We are happy that the theme of that Conference will be human rights and children’s rights.

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