EVALUATING THE GROUP INTERVENTION “WRITING FOR RECOVERY”: A SHORT TERM INTERVENTION AIMED TO REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF PTSD, ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION IN TRAUMATIZED ADOLESCENTS
Children living in conditions of violent conflict are a vulnerable group at increased risk of long-term psychological distress. Dr. Laberg’s work focuses on children living in Gaza City, an area exposed to violent conflict between multiple state and non-state groups. The project was a research and service project providing evidence on the effectiveness of the “Writing for Recovery” therapeutic approach. Due to the conflict in Gaza, this project was delayed in starting until November 2010 and faced a number of challenges. Results found that although the levels of anxiety and PTSD remained stable from posttest to follow up, there was a significant reduction in depression scores.
Civilians in Ayacucho, Peru, were exposed to a multiple-year civil war between Peruvian authorities and the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas. Ms. Westgaard’s work addresses lingering distress, depression, and community disruption as a result of this violence. The project was a research and service program aimed at using expressive writing as a mechanism for helping high school students in Ayacucho overcome lingering distress. Ms. Westgaard currently works with the Peruvian American Medical Society.
DO NO HARM ISSUES IN PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT: EMPIRICAL RESEARCH IN SRI LANKA
“Do no harm” is the first duty of psychological aid workers and people working in response to psychological distress. International psychosocial work is committed to the principle of harm reduction, but in practice there has been little work examining the potential negative impact of large-scale psychosocial services in response to traumatic events. Dr. Wessel’s work focuses on empirical work illuminating how the principle of doing no harm was played out during the psychosocial response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami. The project aims were to impact future service delivery and identify ways that psychosocial response could better live up to the ideal of doing no harm.
Click here to download Do No Harm: Toward Contextually Appropriate Psychosocial Support in International Emergencies.
RECONCILIATION AND MENTAL HEALTH IN VICTIMS
The intention of truth and reconciliation commissions is to foster healing by encouraging open discussion and, when possible, reconciliation between formerly opposing forces. Dr. Knaevelsrud’s work focuses on the relationship between these variables and recovery from traumatic experiences. The project examined the relationship between willingness to forgive and reconcile and mental health in survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, as well as how this interacts with and is affected by Cambodia’s recently constituted reconciliation Tribunal. The study found that readiness to reconcile was linked to coping with rather than just experiencing the experiences. Victims who decided to take part in the Tribunal were found to be particularly impaired as they experienced more traumatic events, had higher levels of PTSD symptoms, and were less ready to reconcile compared to the victims who did not take part in the tribunal. Visit the Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims for more information.
Click here to download The Survivors’ Voices: Attitudes on the ECCC, the Former Khmer Rouge and Experiences with Civil Party Participation
Click here to download The Survivors’ Needs: Opinions on Reparations for Victims of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia
Stammel, N., Bockers, E., Neuner, F., Taing, S., & Knaevelsrud, C. Readiness to Reconcile and Mental Health among Survivors of the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia. Oral presentation, World Congress of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Boston, June 2010.
Stammel, N., Bockers, E., Taing, S. & Knaevelsrud, C. Mental Health and Readiness to Reconcile in the context of the Khmer Rouge trials. Oral presentation, Conference of the German Development Service (DED), Conference on Mental Health of Khmer Rouge Survivors and their Descendents“. Phnom Penh, Cambodia, December 2009.
Stammel, N., Bockers, E., Taing, S., Neuner, F. & Knaevelsrud, C. Readiness to reconcile and mental health in the context of the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia, Oral presentation, 11th European Conference on Traumatic Stress, Oslo, Norway, June 2009.
Stammel, N., Bockers, E., Taing, S., Neuner, F. & Knaevelsrud, C. Readiness to Reconcile and Mental Health in the context of the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia. Oral presentation, 25th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Studies of Traumatic Stress, Atlanta, USA, November 2009.
Stammel, N, Burchert, S., Taing, S., Bockers, E. & Knaevelsrud, C. The Survivors’ Voices: Attitudes on the ECCC, the former Khmer Rouge and Civil Party Participation, Oral presentation. TPO-BZFO Conference on Victims Participation and Psycho-Social Needs in the context of the ECCC. Phnom Penh, December 2010.