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Benji Jame joined Solentra in August 2022. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in gender and diversity.

After his internship at Sint-Kamillus in Bierbeek, Benji took on projects for unaccompanied minors at SOS Children’s Villages. There, he gained a lot of relevant experience for his work at Solentra.

What is unique about working at Solentra?

We work with people who find it difficult to access the mainstream care offer because of several barriers, such as language or culture. They also often have severe psychological vulnerabilities, which not every social worker is trained for. I feel we can make a difference for them.

A big part of the job is empathising with someone. You have to be able to see the world through the eyes of the person sitting in front of you.

What skills does someone need for your job?

You need to be knowledgeable of psychology and the required theoretical frameworks, of course. Knowledge of the target group is also important.

At the same time, being able to let go of those frameworks is crucial, as a big part of the job is empathising with someone. You have to be able to see the world through the eyes of the person sitting in front of you and translate their experience to your own frameworks.

What is the most difficult thing about your job?

We work on war and migration trauma, so sometimes you hear terrible stories. People often think that is the hardest part of the job, but for me it is even harder to accept that I can’t always change those people’s lives entirely.

Our clients sometimes live in hopeless situations and you have to be able to deal with that hopelessness as a social worker. Not everything is within your control. I try to remind myself that listening and offering support is also worth a lot.

What training did you receive from Solentra?

During the first six months, I worked intensively with the team in Brussels. There is a lot of knowledge and experience there that I was able to benefit from. I was completely immersed in the unique work that happens there.

I was also given the chance to discuss cases during intervisions and was encouraged to read relevant literature and follow Solentra’s e-learnings. This helped me settle in quickly.

What did you learn from your experience at Solentra?

What stands out to me, is the importance of the community around a person. Classic psychology often focuses entirely on the individual and leaves out the context a bit too much, especially when it comes to adults. At Solentra, I realised how important it is to draw that context into the therapy room, because a part of the solution often lies within the community.

Why would you recommend working for Solentra to others?

It is a very challenging and enriching job. Because you interact with so many different people and frames, you learn to think more broadly and realise that your point of view is only one of thousands.

It is a very specific job, working with a specific target group. You have to be highly motivated, but if you are, you get the feeling that you are really making a difference. I think that’s the most important thing.

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