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Training of 6 young women in psychology

Marie de Hennezel is a clinical psychologist and a writer.

She participated in the creation of the first palliative care unit to accompany dying individuals in Europe. This action represented a great challenge: proving that one can die in humane, dignified, painless conditions, and surrounded by loved ones.
Marie de Hennezel wrote a number of books to show her experience and contribute to the evolving attitudes towards death. She is responsible for a number of missions in ministerial cabinets for death and has helped the passing of legislature concerning the rights of the ill.


Marie de Hennezel recently came back from Iraq where she accompanied a group of psychologists from EliseCare for a week. The 6 young women that were part of a unit supporting women and teenagers having been victims of traumas such as rape, torture, sexual slavery, or forced prostitution. These young and motivated psychologists, intelligent and sensible, have helped them communicate and come face to face with their trauma. Despite this terrible context, this humanitarian unity has showed Hennezel a new facet of life.

After the evaluation of the needs of the survivors and the support the young psychologists required, Hennezel used her professional background to transmit key lessons from her work:

1- The importance of the presence of oneself as we are faced with our own helplessness towards the “evils of the world” and
2- the trust towards the inner strengths of the patients.

Marie de Hennezel was able to incite trust in the group. Each survivor was able to introduce themselves and speak about the intolerable violence they suffered. This gave Hennezel the opportunity to provide comfort when suitable attitudes such as empathy were exhibited while bringing attention to the ineffectiveness of burying emotions under the pretext of not disturbing a psychological wound. She also spoke about the importance of open communication.

This sharing of experiences enabled the creation of strong bonds and emotions within the group which permitted the deepening of techniques such as haptonomy or EMDR.

EliseCare would like to thank Marie de Hennezel for her tremendous help, Marie-Claude for the translation and the ELLE foundation for their crucial support.