1st Edition

Psychological Support for Workers on the Move Improving Global Staff Care

Edited By Kate Thompson Copyright 2023
    254 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    254 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the psychological pressures faced by workers who migrate for short periods, exploring what it means to work in high-stress environments, often on time-limited contracts and with low levels of support; and how best to protect this kind of key worker.

    The text addresses three central questions. First, how we can think about the experiences of workers on the move? Second, what forms of support given by who, and when, provide the best staff care? Finally, how can appropriate and timely staff support by organisations influence the lives of workers on the move? The authors, all psychological therapists and many former international workers, offer recommendations for workers in humanitarian aid, the mission sector, international contracting and seafaring, among others, taking into account the changing world of work, and the impact on this of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Psychological Support for Workers on the Move provides essential guidance to organisations posting personnel internationally, to psychological and wellbeing therapists working with them, and to individual workers themselves


    Rachel Tribe


    Kate S. Thompson

    1. ‘Good fit’ & righting the relationship – an exploration of employee & organisational relationships in the international aid sector

    Felicity Runchman

    2. Building resilience among staff working internationally

    Debbie and David Hawker

    3. Searching for security: An attachment perspective on aid worker relationships

    Mark Snelling

    4. A sticking plaster on a gaping wound: "Moral injury", stress and burn out in humanitarian aid workers

    Kate S. Thompson

    5. Sharing family dilemmas for those working internationally

    Beth Hill and David Hawker

    6. Supporting grassroots aid workers and volunteers

    Leslie Brownbridge

    7. Supporting those with religious faith in the humanitarian sector: cultural and psychotherapeutic considerations

    Graham Fawcett

    8. Seafarers: ‘They that go down to the sea in ships to do business in great waters’

    Pennie Blackburn

    9. Supporting international contractors working in aid and development contexts

    Kate S. Thompson, Mark Snelling and Lynn Keane

    10. Psychosocial support work with aid and development staff following sexual trauma

    Lynn Keane

    11. Working with children and young people whose families are working away from their home country

    David Hawker and Beth Hill

    12. Who’s the client? Limitations and advantages of therapeutic work as a psychological contractor for aid organisations

    Ben Porter

    13. Meeting needs remotely – online support for international staff

    Felicity Runchman and Kate S. Thompson

    Concluding remarks

    Kate S. Thompson


    Kate S. Thompson, PhD, is a counselling psychologist with long experience supporting highly mobile clients including refugees in the UK, humanitarian staff and serving military personnel/veterans. Her key interests are in the impact of transition on identity, the social meaning of war and the use of community as a tool for healing.

    "A crucial topic, a crucial book. Understanding and caring for the neglected often misunderstood but growing number of those travelling to improve our world. And critically for the organisations to whom they belong. This book is profound, readable and practical. We come to grips with the real issues through explanation, story and example. We learn about essential ways to bring focus on many diverse groups of people. A book not just for the bookshelf, but to read, consult and have with you in the office, clinic or place of work." — Dr Ted Lankester, Travel Health Specialist, Co-Founder of InterHealth and Thrive-Worldwide

    "If you are a highly mobile, international worker, you will probably see your experiences and struggles reflected in this engaging, informative book. Whether you are an international aid worker, volunteer, contractor or seafarer, reading this book will help you realise you are not alone and that help is available. Written by mental health practitioners with a clear grasp of the common challenges faced by workers on the move - such as moral injury, the role of religious and spiritual faith, and relationships and family life - this book is full of insights, case studies and practical recommendations. An essential guide on mental health support for organisations, staff and service providers alike." — Gemma Houdney, Author of 'The Vulnerable Humanitarian: Ending Burnout Culture in the Aid Sector'