Refugee experiences are complex interactions of torture, trauma, exile, migration, settlement and normal life cycle issues. These experiences give rise to a deep sense of loss – loss of family, friends, one’s status, dignity, culture and one’s homeland. In this presentation Nooria will explore issues regarding culture, identity, loss and migration in the context of refugee trauma, through examining a case study of Sabour, a 60 year old Pashtun and former academic from Afghanistan, who arrived in Australia in 1999.
Due to his education and high social class in Afghanistan, Sabour and his family experienced extensive trauma, including the murder of his father and brother during the Russian invasion. Sabour was imprisoned and severely tortured. He also lost his 21 year old son during the civil war in Afghanistan. The main focus of Sabour’s presentation was an intense sense of loss and cultural bereavement. PTSD symptoms were present, but not of primary importance to him. Supportive psychotherapy was offered to Sabour, resulting in a rebuilding of his identity as an Afghan and a Muslim.