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close this bookPersonal Safety in Cross-Cultural Transition (Peace Corps)
close this folderUnit three: Volunteer workshop on handling difficult situations and peer counseling
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RATIONALE: Volunteers face many situations that are often difficult to handle. They may want to learn more effective ways of dealing with these situations as well as validating some of their current methods.

As a result of some of their experiences, Volunteers may feel stress, frustration, and a need for emotional release and support. This support can be provided by staff, although it is more likely that they will seek it from other Volunteers. Providing Volunteers with increased skills in peer counseling will enhance their ability to provide such support.

This workshop is a one-day, intense introduction to safety precautions, assertiveness training, and peer counseling. In order to successfully conduct this workshop the trainers will need to be familiar with the materials, skilled in peer counseling and familiar with the host country.

TOTAL TIME: 1 1/2 days

GOALS: Part One -

To increase participants' awareness of personal safety in the U.S. and in the host country.

To examine personal safety strategies looking at cultural similarities and differences.

To develop more culturally effective ways to handle situations which are typically difficult for Volunteers.

Part Two -

To better understand some of the needs and reactions of people who have been victimized.

To develop or enhance current skills in peer counseling.

Part Three -

To develop materials/guidelines for information which should be made available to trainees during training.


1. Familiarize yourself with the materials to ensure easy discussion of topics.

2. Arrange any logistical situations to allow for a large room, chairs, flipcharts, refreshments, and lunch.

3. Brief country staff and other trainers on their roles and responsibilities during this workshop. They will need to provide country-specific information and interpret some non-verbal behaviors. Be sure you have host country representatives participating.

4. Prepare newsprint.


1. Handouts 1 through 9

2. Markers and Newsprint