The brigade model of providing comprehensive psychological assistance in the conditions of a 2022-full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine



Olena Kossak

Business- and psychological consulting center “La Telelpathe’“


Prof. Bohdan Tkach

G.S. Kostyk Institute of Psychology, NAPS of Ukraine; Deva Clinique


Prof. Vitalii Lunov

Bogomolets national medical university; G.S. Kostyk Institute of Psychology, NAPS of Ukraine; Deva Clinique


The article highlights the main stages of implementation of comprehensive psychological assistance to the population of Ukraine during the war.

The invasion of Ukraine took place in 2014. The defense of Ukraine was carried out by volunteer battalions, and later the Armed Forces of Ukraine joined it. For most of the population of Ukraine, the war was taking place somewhere far away in Donbas, and they somehow got used to it. In the field of psychology, the country did not prepare for the escalation of the conflict but was more engaged in the rehabilitation of ATO soldiers. On February 24, 2022, a full-scale invasion of the Russian army into Ukraine took place. It turned out that there is no state psychological service in Ukraine, departmental psychological services did not communicate with each other.

In the first days, the first wave of an acute stress reaction was observed among the population, which not infrequently ended in suicides, especially among the military, and simply gained a catastrophic scale. A few days later, a very massive second wave of acute stress disorders began.

The mass movement of people from the war zone to the western part of the country was constant, but the intensity increased according to the logistical capabilities of the railways and road carriers.

Key words: rehabilitation brigade model, volunteer battalions, Russian war in Ukraine, psychological service in Ukraine, Tkach’s neuropersonality approach.


It so happened that the authors of this article were in different parts of the country at the time of the invasion of the Russian Federation, so the coverage from different angles of the psychological aspect of war stress will be comprehensive. Bohdan Tkach was in the North of the country and was blockaded by the Russian army. Vitalii Lunov was in the center of the country, at the time of the attempt to surround Kyiv with Russian troops, he moved to the South, and when there was a real threat of the landing of marines in Odesa, he moved to the West of the country. That is, he was in the flow of refugees. Olena Kossak was constantly in the West of the country and was a host population for refugees.

In the occupied territories, real terror was taking place on the part of the Russian army. The blockade of the roads did not allow the civilian population to leave the theater of military operations. The occupiers engaged in murders, rapes, kidnappings, thefts, eating animals (horses, cows, goats, and dogs) and destroying everything. The lowest level of crimes by the Russian army was where there was resistance from the local fishing and hunting societies because the country’s power structures left the local population to themselves. The Russian army was very insidious, disguised as the local population, threw mined things (children’s toys, wallets, small objects) into populated areas, mined everything (residential buildings, roads and even branches along the road). The capture of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the looting of its equipment shocked everyone. Only the high level of organization of the local population and all possible help of the Armed Forces made it possible to restrain the invasion of the invaders on Kyiv.

In the center of the country, the situation was even more dynamic. The enemy gave an announcement about the evacuation point, thus using the captured local population in buses as a human shield to cover their shock troops that were going to the capital. He placed his military equipment in the yards of residential quarters and houses. Abuse of people and animals had a special psychopathological character. So that the readers do not suffer from psychological trauma, we do not describe the nature of these crimes. The information about the destruction of Ukraine’s pride, the world’s largest transport plane “Mriya”, was depressing.

In the South of the country, the situation was tense due to constant missile attacks and the presence of Russian amphibious ships near Odessa. The quick, unhindered takeover of the Kherson region by the Russian army caused a strong panic among the population and caused a feeling of insecurity. And the shelling from tanks and the seizure of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe, caused even greater fear of a nuclear catastrophe, since the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe are still felt.

Only the successes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in destroying the biomass and equipment of the Russian army inspired hope for victory. There was a mass enrollment of people in military uniforms for the army.

In the west of the country, all refugees were accepted, and this part of the country turned into a logistics hub. Refugees flowed from one side, and humanitarian aid convoys and weapons echelons from the Allies flowed to the other.

Urgent psychological help was needed everywhere and, surprisingly, it was most needed in the non-occupied territories, since the most stress-vulnerable people gathered there, and mostly stress-resistant people remained in the war zone.

It should be noted that the predictions of “experts” from other countries about the deployment of psychological traumatization absolutely did not come true, and their studies (protocols) turned out to be ineffective. We will analyze why this happened in this article, as well as why the Tkach-Lunov brigade model was highly effective in implementation by Olena Kossak at the Business- and psychological consulting center “La Telelpathe’ “.

First, Ukraine is not an aggressor, but a defender of its sovereignty and right to exist. All psychologists know well that PTSD among rescuers is a case study. Therefore, the marketing move to scare the PTSD epidemic and sell work methods had only a short-term effect, and then only on those who are not experts in the subject.

Secondly, in Ukraine, in 2015, the approbation of targeted neuropsychocorrection based on B. Tkach’s neuropersonality in the treatment of stress disorders in ATO soldiers was carried out. It turned out to be highly effective, and for this the author was awarded a diploma from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. However, the commercialization and lobbying of the rehabilitation and resocialization of ATO soldiers required long-term programs, not highly effective express programs. During the invasion of the Russian Federation, the controlling component of the state was absent, which made it possible to implement and scale domestic developments, rather than acting according to protocols “from above”.

Thirdly, the high level of organization and business experience of the center was able to deploy it immediately and put it into practice with the scaling of those divisions that were needed by the situation. Private business is always orders of magnitude more efficient in terms of organization than corrupt, innovation-phobic state structures. The philosophy of “earning” and “mastering” money are completely different. In business, it is easy to get rid of inefficient and loss-making units, in state structures, on the contrary, there is an instinct for self-preservation and hypertrophy of the system. In business, professionals are appointed to positions, in state structures “their” people, regardless of whether their specialty corresponds to the position they hold.

These factors in the situation of anomie made it possible to test this model on a large scale.

Fourthly, volunteer activity is not regulated by the labor code, which made it possible to mobilize additional specialists at peak workloads and increase the working day. That is why the crisis counseling unit is still working 24/7.

The assistance is comprehensive, and its activity is based on the brigade model of providing psychological assistance according to Bohdan Tkach with additions by Vitalii Lunov based on a large-scale longitudinal study of the stress resistance of the population during the war in various territories. Therefore, it is now called “Complex psychological assistance to the population according to Tkach-Lunov approach”. The essence of which consists in screening diagnostics and distribution depending on the severity and nosology of the flow of clients. The second step is to provide counseling with mild cases and to make a multi-level diagnosis for clients with a severe course of the disorder. That is, there is a bifurcation immediately into persons who need professional psychological help and those who need counseling help. A team of specialists works with the first group. That is, each specialist works with a certain aspect of the client’s problem, and this team is headed by a neuropsychologist who performs primary, secondary, and tertiary symptomatology qualifications, which is decisive in building a strategy and tactics for providing comprehensive care. This moment is the most decisive, because a person comes to a psychologist with a “list of problems” that he tries to turn into “requests”. It is difficult for a psychologist without specialist knowledge of post-nonclassical neuropsychology to independently qualify symptoms on the primary – primary syndromological core; on secondary syndromes that arose because of mystical and gnostic disorders caused by primary syndromes; tertiary syndromes that are compensatory adaptation or maladaptation in the psyche. Figuratively, we can say that the “list of problems” is like plasticine figures of different colors molded into one conglomerate. A neuropsychologist can see it and break it down into figures. Accordingly, a strategy is drawn up with which symptoms to work with in the first place. If the disorder is “fresh” then with primary symptoms, if it is “old” then it starts with tertiary symptoms, followed by secondary and primary symptoms. After that, specialists are selected for the “personal team” to provide comprehensive assistance. A work plan was signed. Therefore, there were specialists in neuropsychology, psychotrauma, physical therapy (masseurs and specialists in cranio-sacral therapy), psychiatrists. There have been cases where people had broken limbs and due to their stress reaction did not feel pain and did not notice the fractures, so they had to be invited and referred to doctors because the bones had not joined properly.

The influx of people was so great that it was necessary to expand the subdivisions of the center and deploy additional representative offices. The following areas deserve attention:

  • “Psychologist for you”, which was implemented in the format of anonymous individual work with clients;
  • “Crisis psychology” the online and offline consultations involving specialists from other cities (Kyiv, Odesa);
  • “Family troubles” for couples separated by the war;
  • “Child psychologist” to solve a wide range of pediatric and pedagogical psychology.


It is worth emphasizing that in the format of telepsychological counseling, help is provided not only to persons in Galicia, but also to all Ukrainians, both in free and occupied lands and in other countries.

In addition to psychological and medical care, great attention was paid to the resocialization and adaptation of internal migrants, or rather guests from “Greater Ukraine” to the new economic realities and cultural features of the Galicia region. The first is teaching migrants the Ukrainian language. Language is of decisive importance for state formation! The second is employment and help to restart your lost or partially lost business. For this, advisory assistance and conducting trainings on strategic and tactical marketing were provided; HR; team building.

Intensive propaganda work was also carried out both in Ukraine and abroad. Maximum attention was drawn to the needs of the front and the problems of the civilian population. This work was carried out through the involvement of foreign celebrities, appearances on television, posts in social networks, familiarization of the world with the historical aspect of Russia’s anti-Ukrainian policy (Holodomor, repressions, wars).

There is usually an objective, unbiased approach to family counseling strategies that all psychologists follow. However, in our realities, we made a conscious departure from this principle. We prioritized the interests of men and women who protect our country. This forced step contributes to strengthening the moral and psychological state of our army.

We had an urgent need for specialists, so we had to organize express training courses.

Now this course is implemented in the form of independent video-audio training with further supervision.

We, the specialists of the center, have successfully passed part of the “Hero’s Journey” according to J. Campbell and are ready to share our successful experience, perseverance and inspire the whole world. Obsessed and dedicated service to the mental health of the population of Ukraine by the Business- and psychological consulting center “La Telelpathe’“ serves as a model and an example to follow.

We are ready to be consultants in the modernization of the psychological services of the countries of our allies.




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