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Utilising group therapy approaches to assist recovery of torture and trauma survivors

Utilising group therapy approaches to assist recovery of torture and trauma survivors

Group psychotherapy counteracts the isolating effects of interpersonal trauma, and enables survivors to connect with sources of resilience within themselves and others. Throughout the years, this approach has mostly researched the populations of Vietnam veterans and female survivors of sexual abuse and it was well supported by positive controlled trials. However, the nature of evidence from research evaluating group techniques can still be considered as preliminary. Studies examining the outcomes of group therapy with torture survivors among asylum seekers and refugees are very scarce.

In this presentation different modalities of the specific trauma-focus group treatment model for asylum seekers and refugees will be presented and discussed. This model is based on a phase-oriented trauma treatment and it incorporates some important adaptations, given the unique needs of asylum seekers and refugees. It is designed to help asylum seekers and refugees work through their traumatic experiences and place them in a life-span developmental perspective.

Group psychotherapy is combined with non-verbal therapies (psychomotor therapy, art therapy and music therapy), and executed within a day treatment setting. Recent research suggests that this model is a promising approach for the treatment of PTSD among asylum seekers and refugees in industrialised settings, both in the short and long term. The results of several studies of this approach will be outlined.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Resilience, Torture and Trauma