Help is available to migrants and refugees from people who speak their language and understand their culture
Help is available to migrants and refugees from people who speak their language and understand their culture

Do you wish you had someone to talk to in your own language about depression or psychological problems? IPSO, an organization based in Germany, offers counseling for refugees by refugees. The support is offered online as well as face-to-face, so you can get support wherever you are.

Many of those who have escaped from conflict zones or are fleeing persecution suffer psychological problems. Not all need professional therapy from a psychiatrist or psychologist, but that doesn't mean they should have to suffer in silence.

This is the idea behind a service offering counseling to refugees from others who have been through similar experiences. Since the start of 2017, about 2,700 people have been helped through the program.

I feel like, through talking to the counselor, I have finally found my voice. And I am no longer afraid to use it.
_ 32-year-old IPSO client from Syria.

"Simply being able to talk is often helpful. It enables people to regain some self-confidence and get control of their lives," says Inge Missmahl, the founder of the International Psychosocial Organisation, IPSO, which runs the service.

IPSO currently offers counseling in over 15 languages for people from a range of cultural backgrounds including: Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Eritrea, Somalia, Guinea, Spain and Russia, as well as many more.

IPSO, with its main offices in Berlin, has been providing support to refugees and people from migrant backgrounds since 2015.

Face-to-face and online support

Migrants and refugees can get confidential face-to-face counseling in centers in Berlin, Hamburg, Thüringen and Konstanz, as well as in some reception centers through an outreach program.

IPSO also offers counseling online, so you can access the service from anywhere by registering at

Training as a counselor

For refugees and migrants in Germany who want to help others, IPSO also offers a counselor-training course. The course runs over 12 months and teaches both practical and theoretical aspects of psychosocial counseling. Currently over 90 counselors from 24 countries are enrolled in the course.

The training course is free of charge. It is AZAV-certified and you can apply with an education voucher (Bildungsgutschein) from the Jobcenter or employment agency. The reference number is 922/161/2016. You can find more information about how to become a psychosocial counselor here (Flyer in German and English)

You can contact IPSO Germany on Tel. +49 (0) 7531 2820231 or Email:


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