The New Experience for Survivors of Trauma (NEST) is an informal association, which connects its members not just through intriguing psychological theory or coinciding clinical practice. Moreover, it is also an environment where we meet and see, where in directness and cordiality we support and challenge each other; a space where everybody walks his/her own way being in touch with the others as much as he/she wants to or needs to.
The members of NEST are psychologists, psychotherapists, addiction therapists, psychiatrists, family doctors, midwives, clergy, social workers, and others.
Some people currently involved in NEST once were engaged in IIPLCARR (International Institute of Pregnancy Loss and Child Abuse Research and Recovery) an organization which was set up by a Canadian psychiatrist Philip G. Ney, during the nineties of the previous century. In 1991, he came to Poland invited by Andrzej Winkler, and took part in the Family Congress in Warsaw. Since then, for ten consecutive years, P. G. Ney with A. Winkler accompanied by many others, were training therapists in the IIPLCARR therapeutic method called Hope Alive. Also, they organized conferences related to psychotherapy of trauma.
Unfortunately, with time passing, Ney started to block theoretical discussions and to reject clinical inspirations if they were not in accordance with his own ideas. Treating Hope Alive as his own private property, more and more he used this program as a platform of religious indoctrination and less and less as a therapeutic approach. And so, at the beginning of the 21st century Ney, expecting subjection to his religious and missionary convictions, produced a written Statement of Faith, requiring all the members of IIPLCARR to sign it without discussion.
At that point when IIPLCARR under the leadership of Ney was becoming more and more ideology driven organization, some of its members who understood the value of work within strict professional framework decided to secede. In April of 2002 during the IIPLCARR conference in Lvov, a group of its European members started to create an organization not only independent of Canadian IIPLCARR, but most importantly focusing solely on practicing and teaching psychotherapy for people suffering aftermath of various traumas. Their goal was also to enable creative discussions during scientific conferences, hoping that it will result both in innovative theoretical thinking as well as enriched therapeutic practice.
In summer of 2002 the first meeting of an initiative group took place in Northern Ireland. The participants were: Seamus O’Connell, Gerry O’Connell and Marea Loughrey from Northern Ireland; Diane Savoy from Switzerland; Agnes and Zoltan Konya from Romania; and Magdalena and Andrzej Winkler from Poland. An organization under the name of NEST (The New Experience for Survivors of Trauma) was registered then. During the second meeting of this group, which took place in autumn of 2002 in Les Sciernes, Switzerland, a draft of NEST manual, prepared by Zoltan Konya, was revised and accepted. During the same meeting the statute of NEST was also agreed upon. Additionally, Zoltan Konya took responsibility of editing yearly NEST Newsletter.
The mentioned above initiative group constituted the first board of NEST with Seamus O’Connell as its first chairman. In 2004 he was substituted at that post by Andrzej Winkler. Since then the NEST focuses on organizing trainings and international conferences. Initially, most of the conferences participants were people who had been trained in the NEST therapy. With time, more and more non-NEST professionals attended. Nowadays, NEST therapists, though still practicing the key elements of the NEST method, consciously use many other therapeutic inspirations according to their own preferences as well as the characteristics of the patients. In that sense, NEST program is becoming more and more integrative.
The first publication of the effectiveness of NEST therapy was published in 2002 by International Journal of Group Psychotherapy (Witold Simon and Piotr Śliwka: “Effectiveness of group psychotherapy for adult outpatients traumatized by abuse, neglect and/or pregnancy loss: a multiple site pre–post–followup, naturalistic study”).
In 2013 Andrzej Winkler with the members of the board stepped down and Witold Simon took the responsibility of leading NEST with a new board.
Yearly international NEST conferences have been organized since 2003. Until now they took place in Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. In addition to the above countries the trainings were also organized in Belarus, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Russia, and Switzerland.
In 2003 Radosław Winkler created the NEST website (www.nest-terapia.eu) and administered it till 2010. In the years 2011-2019 it was run by Józef Leśniak, and since 2020 it has been managed by Katarzyna Żurawska (Dumańska).
Over the years NEST remains therapeutic organization available for professionals of various walks of life (including diverse cultures and different educational backgrounds) who are interested in multi contextual aspects of psychotherapy with people suffering aftermaths of all sorts of trauma.