Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychology?
A: The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychology (TFG) is a psychosocial support and community mental health tool for those affected by stress and trauma. The Guide has two main objectives: (1) to clarify why and how adverse experiences can affect the brain, body, and behavior, and (2) to provide specific information and exercises to confront the effects of stress and trauma and build resilience
TFG combines different methods of content delivery, including storytelling, scientific information (psychoeducation), and practical skills for emotion regulation. The content of the Guide is intended for a wide audience, including professional aid workers, community workers or volunteers, and individuals interested in learning about the effects of stress and trauma on the brain, body, and social behavior. The content is safe and relevant for those 18 years of age and above and can be delivered by trained community facilitators who need not be mental health professionals or can be learned self-paced individually.
Q: Who wrote The Field Guide?
TFG was written by a select group of neuroscientists, mental health practitioners, trauma recovery experts, and Syrian refugees in Jordan. The authors come from diverse backgrounds and expertise, but all have worked for the majority of their careers with conflict-affected and forcibly displaced persons.
Six authors wrote the scientific chapters of TFG, and all scientific information was reviewed by world-renowned researchers and experts. Fifteen trauma recovery practitioners wrote the emotion regulation exercises found in TFG, and all exercises were reviewed and edited in order to be accessible and usable by individuals with no formal training in trauma recovery.
Q: Is The Field Guide a form of therapy or mental health care?
A: The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychology is a psychoeducation and psychosocial support program for communities affected by stress and trauma. As per the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, it is a Level-3–focused, but non-specialized, support program. The Field Guide does not include the diagnosis or explicit treatment of mental disorders; however, the Guide’s material may be useful in reducing the distress associated with various emotional and stress-related problems.
The Field Guide is not a professional mental health intervention. Therefore, neither the Guide nor this manual should be used to treat mental illness. We do not exclude participants who experience impairments in functioning or high levels of distress; however it must be made clear that the Guide does not provide the type of care most often needed by those with mental illness.
Q: Where has TFG been used and has it been effective? How do you know?
A: The Field Guide was first used in Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan. TFG was first implemented as in-person sessions led by community facilitators. Since its beginnings, TFG community sessions have been effectively implemented in other parts of Jordan as well as in Syria and El Salvador using local facilitators. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the development and launch of digital TFG programs, including a free online course in Arabic for learners across the Middle East, in partnership with Edraak. 23,000 learners have engaged with the online course to date. And now, this platform allows users around the world to utilize TFG with digital facilitators.
As expected, structured use of TFG led to improvements in mental health stigma, emotion regulation, and trauma related symptoms, including Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). These positive effects held for the three months assessed after completion of activities. Effects were stronger among those who used TFG in facilitated community sessions, though improvements were also seen in those who read and used TFG on their own, with no facilitator. The results from the trial can be found here.
Beyond Conflict works with local partners to adapt TFG content to be best-suited to the needs of each community, and thus, there are multiple versions of the Guide.
Q: How does this platform work? How do I use it to access TFG content?
A: This platform was designed by Beyond Conflict, Questscope, and Zipline to deliver The Field Guide digitally in a way that resembles in-person community groups.
All registered users on the platform will have access to introductory videos, select self-care exercises, and additional learning resources. Certain features and content are reserved for users who are part of Field Groups.
Field Groups bring together 15 users of similar background (usually from the same community) to go through TFG materials in a structured manner with the support and accompaniment of two Digital Facilitators. Digital Facilitators curate each group’s content, share additional resources, and engage users through activity walls and Q&A.
Digital Facilitators are supervised by Community Managers, who oversee multiple Field Groups within a geographic area. Users can message their Digital Facilitators or Community Manager with content or technical questions, or with requests for additional mental health resources.
Q: How do I become part of a Field Group?
A: Beyond Conflict partners with community organizations, humanitarian agencies, and other entities to create Field Groups for specific constituencies (e.g. staff, service recipients, volunteers of partners). Users invited to join a Field Group will receive a specific alphanumeric code that can be used to access their assigned Field Group. If you are interested in creating a Field Group for your community, please Contact Us.
Q: I’m having trouble with my profile / accessing content for my Field Group. Who do I contact?
A: If possible, please contact your Community Manager through the InMail function on the platform. If you continue to experience difficulties please contact us through the Contact Us page.
Q: Who has access to data that I provide to this site?
Q: How do I learn more about TFG?
A: Please see What is TFG? for more information.
Q: Who do I contact in case I am feeling distressed or in need or mental health services?
USA – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
USA – Mental Health America directory for “warmlines” (when you are not in an acute crisis, but would like to talk to someone and access more resources): https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines/
USA- SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline: 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727). Get general information on mental health and locate treatment services in your area. Speak to a live person, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
Find a therapist near you using Psychology Today’s finder: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
Q: What other resources exist to learn more about MHPSS and trauma?
A: There are many learning resources available to assist in learning more about the effects of trauma, recovery strategies, and the design of trauma-informed programs for those affected by trauma. Here below are just a few:
- Inter-Agency Standing Committee. (2007). IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings www.who.int/mental_health/emergencies/guidelines_iasc_mental_health_psychosocial_june_2007.pdf
- Patel, V., & Hanlon, C. (2017). Where there is no psychiatrist. London, UK: Royal College of Psychiatrists. www.cambridge.org/core/books/where-there-is-no-psychiatrist/47578A845CAFC7E23A181749A4190B54#fndtn-contents
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach. https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/userfiles/files/SAMHSA_Trauma.pdf
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2016). Key Ingredients for Successful Trauma-Informed Care Implementation. www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/childrens_mental_health/atc-whitepaper-040616.pdf
- World Health Organization. (2011). Psychological first aid: Guide for field workers. /www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241548205
- World Health Organization. (2019). The mhGAP community toolkit: Field test version. www.who.int/publications/i/item/the-mhgap-community-toolkit-field-test-version