Mind-Spring Junior

een steun programma voor asielzoekers- en vluchteling-kinderen

The concept Mind-Spring

Mind-Spring consists of a training of trainers for asylum seekers and refugees who act as intermediaries to their language and culture enjoyed. They go after this training different forms of psycho-education, social support groups more individually or on guide counselen level ('the helping call").

The concept Mind-Spring has a few starting points in the approach to the whole issue of asylum seekers and works from a theoretical framework with five concepts:

  • Trauma
  • The day-to-day worries
  • Coping, dealing with the problems
  • "Counseling", helping people with psychosocial problems (non-therapeutic)
  • Empowerment and the new social identity

Not in all cultures is the concept of trauma. The concept of trauma is more important in the western literature with regard to counseling in war and in refugee situations. Shows that more "awareness", to understand the psychological processes around trauma support (Psycho-education).

Asylum seekers

For many asylum seekers is in the first instance the daily struggle to survive is much more important than the processing of a trauma of the past. Anyone in a refugee camp or in an asylum seekers center has looked around, know that the daily concerns a lot of time and energy costs. Many refugees there do not want to be reminded of their trauma. The processing comes later only when there is clarity about the future. That is why it is day-to-day worries and what you can do to alleviate that an important theme in the groups.

The concepts of trauma and everyday worries could suggest that residents of a center not more than a victim, if not caused by the war in the past, than perhaps by the current situation. 
Everyone is however obliged in any situation to try to find a way of dealing with this issue: the concept coping refers to the resolving power and calls on the strength of a person.

Counseling in this training we would like to define it as: "help people to help themselves". It is not the intention to create dependency, the intention is to make people aware of the nature of the problems and the choices and solutions that are available to them. It is well known that under asylum seekers and refugees many psychosocial problems occur. The experience is also that the regular aid offer is often not consistent with the help questions of asylum seekers. Counseling focuses more on the listening, legitimise and translate a help questions and help you refer.


The original target group of Mind-Spring consisted of asylum seekers centers in the Netherlands. It now appears that the group of refugees (status holders) also benefits from such an offer. 

With the acquisition of a residence permit are the social and psychological problems of a refugee has still not disappeared. Problems of depression, alcohol and drug abuse, education children, family reunification and social insulation are not left behind in the AZC. Experience has shown that when refugees receive a residence permit and hence a more secure basis to life, they then forward it to the processing of any trauma, loss or other great suffering. The majority of refugees are being given a temporary status and then follow the integration program. This uncertainty about the situation in the Netherlands as well as any return works in the already present cumulative problems. Also when refugees know that they will remain in the Netherlands should be a new period in their life. A period in which to build a new life in a new country. Finally find difficult or not refugees toward the regular assistance. Cultural and religious differences, language barriers, unfamiliarity and the lack of confidence play a big part in this. For the above problems is a specific and intensive approach is required. The already existing methodology of Mind-Spring for asylum seekers on AZC's has been modified and is further developed for refugees. Psycho-education in their own language and culture to refugees makes psychological and social problems more manageable, works to reduce a threshold to more professional assistance if necessary by reference and offers a new social structure.

Their own language and culture

The groups are given by people from their own culture and language background. This is an important added value for the content. Discussions and problems can in perspective and individuality be reviewed. Also culture specific solutions can be put forward. 

It is shown that the spread of this approach by someone in the same situation or has been sitting, adds value to what is being discussed.

In addition to these more theoretical starting points are there is still some starting points about what a trainer should be (in the training of trainers is here attention paid).

The parts of the training for trainers: 

  • Listening skills and questions
  • Individual and group processes
  • Reality and own power of trainees (empowerment) 
  • Trauma theory
  • The normal processing processes, stress, depression, mourning
  • Stress reduction and coping with stress 
  • Acculturation and the new identity
  • Monitoring own limits and standing as a trainer
  • Cooperation with a GGZ coach / Responder
  • Recognize when someone should be a reference
  • Knowledge of the social map of refer opportunities
  • The planning of a course psycho-education or support group 

This enumeration of the principles and skills of trainers is intended to reflect what you of a course psycho-education can expect and who can benefit from participating in a group.


Resume of Evaluation Mind-Spring parenting support in Danmark

By “ALS research” Copenhagen. 2013
(translaten from danish to English by Google translate)

Memo's background and purpose
Danish Refugee Council in the period October 2010 to December 2012 developed and tested Mind Spring - the method and with parents. Als Research was affiliated Mind Spring as evaluator for this project. On the occasion of the Danish Refugee Council has been tasked to implement a new development period for funds from Social-- and the Ministry of Integration 2012--2016, the Als Research has been asked to look at the previous Mind Spring participants' subsequent experience with the use of Mind Spring methodology .
This evaluation note describes Als Research's evaluation of Mind Spring gradient effect for the participants and a half years after the study program. It is based on interviews with former participants and coaches from Jammerbugt and Varde Municipality. Total has signed 10 informants. The informants participated in the parent group process in the spring of 2012 and has been interviewed in the fall 2013.

Clear minds of participants

Interview survey among former participants in forældregruppeforløbene show that everyone has a clear and very positive memory of their participation in Mind Spring in spring 2012. This is the hallmark of both the interviewed medtræneren and for participants and make the gældnde for informants from both studied kommmuner (Varde and Jammerbugt). It is bemærkelses-- significant that the former participants when they need to verbalize their experiences with Mind Spring general is very følelseslandede and anveder words and phrases that are rarely seen in this kind of bets. Several believe that Mind Spring has "change their lives", others that Mind Spring has "been the best I have met in Denmark". While all express that it has been a unique offer in relation to what they would otherwise have been offers in their integration process and that they would like to see the course offered several.

Importance of Mind Spring for parenting

At Mind Spring has been very important for their role as parents all agree. After their assessment, Mind Spring course so fundamentally changed their relationship with their children and more broadly their views of what children are and how they must be educated. Among the informants, there is agreement that this is particularly reflected in the following three areas: In the attitude to corporal punishment, in seems on how to talk to children about what, and in relation to how to deal with conflicts.

As regards the first, highlighting all that they have stopped beating their children, and have changed views on corporal punishment, previously considered to be a key element in bringing up children. All the former participants in the poll expressed that this change in practice has led to a better relationship with their children and less conflict and that Mind Spring has been a direct result of this change.

Likewise, there is consensus that Mind Spring has affected their views of how to communicate with children. As one participant put it, he has begun "to speak with her children, instead of shouting at them." Through that he found out that "children are wise" and that you can easily get something out to take talk to them. The statement is significant for all informants included in the study.

The participants' parenting practices and views on parenting has changed confirmed by the former medtrænere, by virtue of their role as employees in the respective municipalities still have contact with many of the participants from Mind Spring. It is their experience "that participants have gained a greater understanding of what it means to raise children in two cultures, and they've got a more Western understanding of parenthood and therefore also a different view of children as human beings" as one puts it.

A similar trend can be seen in relation to the conflict in the family, there is another thing pointed to by the participants for the designation of the effects of Mind Spring. All is agreed that there are fewer conflicts in their families, both between adults and between adults and children. To explain this, it is pointed out that the children enhance their share in decision-making processes.


I here send you the three evaluation reports that Als Research have done on MindSpring. They cover courses for parents, young participants and a small study of former participants (parents).

Jacob Als Thomsen.