Dr. Ros Thomas Book Publication

Ros Thomas Book

Dr. Ros Thomas, Head of the Psychology and Counseling Department at Webster University Geneva, has published her book, "Psychological Stress - Aid Workers in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies," with Lambert Academic Publishing. The book explores the impact on humanitarian workers of their proximity to violence, and questions whether the humanitarian system fuels and exploits the 'heroic' identities which they form.

A senior UN humanitarian reviewed the book by saying, "This book is a much-welcomed release of Dr. Thomas' fine doctoral thesis at Oxford University. It is a timely contribution to the growing debate about humanitarian action, especially in the lead up to the World Humanitarian Summit. Dr. Thomas' book is an exploration of how to understand and support humanitarian practitioners and the multiple stresses (high risk contexts, complex organizations, personal relationships, etc.) they must manage over the course of their careers in care for populations living in extremis. A must read for humanitarians but, perhaps more importantly, for humanitarian organizations who would do well to reflect on the findings of the analysis for the strengthening of human resource policies."

Dr. Thomas explained, "This book is relevant to students of psychology and counseling and those in the field of international relations because of its interdisciplinary nature. It introduces the subject matter from a variety of perspectives that challenge their existing notions about the role of those who work in close proximity to the violence of war and conflict. It explores the various critiques of humanitarianism, a broad review of inter-disciplinary literature on humanitarian practice and policy, the stress paradigms of mental health and data conveyed by humanitarian workers. Though these disciplines often function in isolation, when these independent fields converge, the findings from each can shed light on the other. Although there is an established field of psychological inquiry into mental health aspects of particular populations affected by war (most notably children and women), there is a corresponding dearth of inquiry regarding humanitarian workers engaged with such populations."