David C. Schiesher, M.S.W.

Promenade de l’Europe 47  ·  1203 Geneva, Switzerland   ·  Tel: +41(0)79 811 36 42  ·  schiesher@bluewin.ch



Psychotherapist – Private Practice ●  Geneva, Switzerland. Manage my holistic private therapy practice for persons needing assistance with a variety of issues from clinical mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety to relocation adjustments and marriage counselling. Special interest in international humanitarian and health workers returning from conflict or post-conflict zones. Extensive experience with children in families, schools and residential treatment centers.




Verification Team Leader ● 2005 to 2006 UNHCR – ICMC, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Managed a team of 31 national staff and one international Program Assistant in UNHCR’s Project PROFILE verification exercise of 29,000 Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps in southern Bangladesh.


Child Protection Adviser · 2005 Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Jakarta and Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Performed child protection assessments for the needs of IDP children who lost families and homes in the earthquake and tsunami. Worked closely with UNICEF and NGO’s in Child Protection, Tracing, Psychosocial and Trafficking working groups. Solicited proposals from agencies doing child protection work and made recommendations to AusAID for improving the situation of children in tsunami-affected areas.


Course Director and Training Curriculum Writer · 2003-2004 SOLVE Program, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Geneva, Switzerland. The SOLVE program encourages countries and their enterprises to integrate policies addressing emerging psychosocial issues (stress, smoking, alcohol and drugs, HIV/AIDS and violence) into their existing workplace policies.  Completed seven days of training to qualify as Course Director. Wrote training curriculum dealing with stress and young workers.


International Foster Care Consultant · 2001-2002 Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Baltimore, Maryland, via contract with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Evaluated care arrangements for unaccompanied and separated refugee children by carrying out two-week site visits in Tanzanian refugee camps and in urban centres of South Africa. Prepared site visit reports, which were included in the final report. 


Resettlement Specialist and Consultant · 1999-2000 UNHCR Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. Completed Best Interest Determinations (BID’s) for Sudanese unaccompanied minors (commonly known as the “Lost Boys”) and made durable solutions recommendations to UNHCR. Revised and developed interview forms, mental health screens and final recommendation forms. Completed the first 99 Sudanese BID’s at Kakuma in six weeks in late 1999, and returned the following Summer for eight weeks. Designed and directed a workshop for refugee health care workers dealing with burnout.       


Social Service Director · 1999 International Catholic Migration Commission, Tirana, Albania. During the Kosovar refugee crisis, I recruited, hired, trained and supervised 20 Albanian Social Workers who provided social services to Kosovar Albanian refugees in host families, collective centres and tent camps throughout Albania. Visited refugee living situations on a daily basis to provide on-site supervision to national staff.




School Social Worker · 2000-2003 Valley View Middle School, Edina, Minnesota, USA  

Provided individual therapy to students. Wrote social, emotional, behavioural objectives as part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for Special Education students. Performed Functional Behavioural Assessments (FBA’s) of students requesting Special Education services. Facilitated group therapy with students dealing with grief, divorce, social skills deficits and deaf/hard of hearing challenges. Consulted and supported parents, teachers and staff in dealing with students’ social, emotional and behavioural issues. Referred students, parents and teachers to community mental health resources. Planned and presented classroom lessons on diversity, bullying and youth who are differently-abled.  Served as the trainer for the Peer Mediation Program. Performed crisis interventions with suicidal students. Collaborated as a member of the Student Assistance Team and the Child Study Team.   


Program Director · 1996-1999 Lutheran Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA 

Directed activities for five Transitional Programs for youth that included Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, Karibu House and Kapani House adolescent group homes, School-based Victim Services and Relative Foster Care Licensing. Wrote the grant proposals for three of the above. Achieved 80% success rate for grant proposals. Recruited, supervised and evaluated three Program Managers and two Social Workers. Field Instructor for two MSW student interns. Negotiated contracts, created budgets and contained costs for programs totalling over one million dollars. Licensed three corporate foster care facilities. 


Program Supervisor · 1991-1996 Lutheran Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Recruited, licensed, trained and monitored culturally sensitive family foster homes for refugee children. Recruited, supervised and evaluated four MSW staff. Field Instructor for two MSW student interns. Agency Diversity Trainer. Provided direct casework and counselling services to refugee youth. Coordinated staff training and in-service programs.  Facilitated foster parent support group meetings. Provided foster care for Chinese minors seeking asylum in the U.S.


Social Worker · 1987-1991 Lutheran Social Service, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program. Provided direct casework and counselling for refugee youth from Vietnam, Cambodia, Iran, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Recruited, licensed, trained and monitored family foster homes for refugee children.  Planned and implemented independent living skills summer camps. Developed and facilitated Amerasian support group. Planned and implemented culturally appropriate celebrations and educational experiences for foster families and children.




 2007             Protection Assessment of Iraqis in Jordan, ICMC, Amman, Jordan

 2007             Revised the Action for the Rights of Children (ARC) training module on Resettlement of Children, UNHCR, Geneva

 1998-1999     Foster care consultant for Islamic social service agency, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 1997-1998     Consultant for Sudanese community association, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 1985-1986     Social Worker (MSW), Diocese of Metuchen Refugee Services, Perth Amboy, New Jersey

 1982-1983     Personal Care Staff, Aveyron Group Home (DD adults), Hutchinson, Minnesota

 1980-1981     HS Technician, Willmar State Hospital, Adolescent Treatment Unit, Willmar, Minnesota

 1979-1980     Youth Counselor Intern, Berrien Center Juvenile Center, Berrien Center, Michigan

 1979              Live-in Health Aide, Temporary Nursing Services, West Palm Beach, Florida

 1977-1980     Conference Coordinator and Student Trainer, International Student Leadership Institute, Notre Dame, Indiana




2006            Listed in Register of Complementary Practice as Psychotherapist, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland

2003            Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), Minnesota, USA

1989            Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW), Minnesota, USA

  1984-1985    Master of Social Work (MSW), Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

  1976-1980    Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana, USA  




(A sampling of course titles taken since 1989 totaling over 200 hours)


National Conference on Unaccompanied Refugee Minors; Intensive In-Home Therapy; Addictive Organizations; Adolescent Development; Advanced Clinical Hypnosis Training; Proactive Management; Family Group Conferencing-Restorative Justice; Mental Health Needs of Children in Foster Care; Legislative Advocacy; Accounting and Finance; Budget Preparation and Monitoring; Performance Reviews; Negotiating Your Way to Success; Conflict Resolution; Advanced Crime Victim Advocacy; A Framework for Understanding Poverty; Violence in the Workplace; Emotional Intelligence; Social Skills Training with Autistic Children; Dealing with Anxiety Disorders; Stop Bullying, Harassment and Violence; Crisis Prevention Intervention; The Victim-Bully Relationship; Thought Field Therapy; Foreign Kids in a Foreign School; A Global Perspective in Embracing Diversity


November 2004 UNHCR-ICMC Resettlement Deployment Training, Stockholm, Sweden.

I attended this three day training and also presented the section of the training titled “Former Deployees Roundtable”. I prepared and presented a Power Point presentation of my deployment to Kakuma Refugee Camp.




1993    Ethical Dilemmas in Refugee Foster Care, presented at ELCA Annual Conference

1994    Diverse Asian Cultures, workshop presented at Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans

1995    Bridging Two Worlds: Refugee Foster Care, presented at the Annual MSSA Conference

1995    Facilitated 3 Diversity Training programs for Lutheran Social Service

1996    Facilitated 1 Diversity Training program for Lutheran Social Service

1999    Social Work Staff Training on Family-Based Social Services in Tirana, Albania

1999    Nurturing Yourself to Prevent Burnout for Refugee Therapists in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

2000    Resettling Sudanese Youth, presented for LIRS Conference, Baltimore, Maryland

2000    International Social Work, presented at NASW Annual Conference, St. Paul, Minnesota

2001    Life in Kakuma Refugee Camp, presented at LIRS Conference, Baltimore, Maryland

2004    Life as an ICMC Deployee, presented at UNHCR-ICMC Deployee Training, Stockholm, Sweden

2005    Working with Children in Host Families, NGO Staff, Banda Aceh, Indonesia

2006    Two-day staff training on refugee verification processes and procedures, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh

2007    Caseworker training on self-care and interview techniques, Amman, Jordan




References Available Upon Request