Dear friends and colleagues.
According to Anthony J. Marsella “All cultures have different patterns, rituals, and treatment protocols for dealing with survivors of disaster, trauma, and extreme stress. Depending on the culture, these mechanisms may include what Western health and medical professionals— psychological experts would classify as, nontraditional or alternative modalities of treatment or assistance. ”The increased attention to cultural differences within trauma treatment is related to the need to provide culturally suitable assistance to an increasing population of immigrants and refugees forced by the global situation of wars and armed conflict, natural disaster or for other reasons to leave their place of origin and find refuge and protection elsewhere. This is also a highly relevant issue for helpers arriving at the different places where violence and/or disaster have happened, with the aim of collaborating with local
helpers to provide suitable help. Even when people have similar origins, and also have lived through the same events, it does not mean that they have gone through the same trauma. We know that trauma and culture shape our experiences, but this does not mean that everyone from the same culture or place of origin will have the same kinds of reactions to the same events. Therefore, being attentive to the complexities and to the differences related to needs and traditions is of issue here.
John P. Wilson argues that Culture enables people with the capacity to bond, to relate with each other, to form communities, as well as transferring ideas, values, and way of living through generations. Knowing this; it is necessary that the knowledge and skills the community needs to exist and survive are passed through generations. Within our own culture and the cultural language, we «learn» how to interpret different social settings. This includes also the reactions to traumatic events, the way we cope with these, the way we interpret the traumatic events. In situations of protracted conflict, the mental health effects of violence and social struggle are not primarily due to isolated traumatic events, but also to more extensive losses of meaning, order, relationships, community and the sense of a just social world. Providers of psychological services need a sociocultural framework to enable them to
reflect upon their own values, upon how to interact and upon cultural expectations for the help they are offering. The helpers need knowledge and skills for multicultural assessment and intervention. In order to stimulate this important discussion further we are listing some articles that will elaborate on the issue. (This is a reprint of a newsletter from 2012 but with updated articles)
Challenges in treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in refugees: towards integration of evidence-based treatments with contextual and culture-sensitive perspectives
2015, Boris Drožđek
The field of refugee mental health intervention and clinical practice with traumatized refugees may be enriched with the use of contextual and developmental models for assessment and conceptualization of posttrauma sequelae. Multimodal and trauma-focused interventions may be applied sequentially in a course of the treatment trajectory.
2016, Ulrich Schnyder
Although there is some evidence of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) construct’s cross cultural validity, trauma-related disorders may vary across cultures, and the same may be true for treatments that address such conditions. Experienced therapists tailor psychotherapy to each patient’s particular situation, to the nature of the patient’s psychopathology, to the stage of therapy, and so on. In addition, culture-sensitive psychotherapists try to understand how culture enhances the meaning of their patient’s life history, the cultural components of their illness and help-seeking behaviors, as well as their expectations with regard to treatment. We cannot take for granted that all treatment-seeking trauma survivors speak our language or share our cultural values. Therefore, we need to increase our cultural competencies.
Culture And Trauma Cultural factors in mental health, psychotherapy and help-seeking
2018, Carla Schubert
The purpose of this dissertation is to deepen the understanding of the crucial role of cultural factors in the symptom representation after complex trauma (study I), in the rehabilitation (study II), and in the help-seeking paths of refugees settled in Finland (study III). A distinct trauma connected to the lives of many involuntary immigrants is torture, a human rights violation which has a substantial effect on mental health and life far from home. While torture and refugee trauma does not halt at women, they represent a minority in rehabilitation facilities in Finland and elsewhere. Another aim of this dissertation therefore is to provide information on gender differences and increase the knowledge concerning the symptomatology.
Chapter 3 Understanding the Impact of Trauma
2014, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
This chapter discusses psychological symptoms not represented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013a), and responses associated with trauma that either fall below the threshold of mental disorders or reflect resilience. It also addresses common disorders associated with traumatic stress. This chapter explores the role of culture in defining mental illness, particularly PTSD, and ends by addressing co-occurring mental and substance-related disorders.The culture, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Rohingya refugees: a systematic review
2019, Tay AK
The knowledge about the culture, context, migration history, idioms of distress, help-seeking behaviour and traditional healing methods, obtained from diverse sources can be applied in the design and delivery of culturally appropriate interventions. Attention to past exposure to traumatic events and losses need to be paired with attention for ongoing stressors and issues related to worries about the future. It is important to design MHPSS interventions in ways that mobilise the individual and collective strengths of Rohingya refugees and build on their resilience.
Humanitarian Intervention and Cultural Translation: A Review of the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings
2008 , Abramowitz & Kleinman
This article place the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings’ within the historical context of trauma healing and humanitarian intervention. The guidelines’ recognition of su¡ering and social repair as a holistic experience is a signi¢cant boon to applied understandings of populations in crisis. This critique of the guidelines addresses some aspects of the practical application of mental health and psychosocial care. We highlight the framing of ‘ culture’ , and the institutional cultures and structural hierarchies of humanitarian intervention.
Understanding and coping with traumatic stress, Part Three: Cultural issues
2007, Headington Institute
Traumatic stress is not just a problem for western humanitarian workers who relocate (usually temporarily) to developing countries and disaster zones for the sake of their job. In fact, the majority of humanitarian workers worldwide are from non-western cultural backgrounds, working in their home country.
Ethnocultural Aspects of PTSD: An Overview of Concepts, Issues, and Treatments
The present article offers an overview discussion of ethno cultural aspects of PTSD, with special attention to major conceptual issues, clinical considerations, and therapy practices. The historical circumstances leading to the widespread acceptance of PTSD among conventional mental health professionals, and the subsequent criticisms that emerged from scholars, humanitarian workers, and ethno cultural minorities are presented as an important background to the current controversial status of the concept, especially with regard to arguments regarding the ethno cultural determinants of PTSD.
Trauma and disasters in social and cultural context
Kirmayer et al, 2010
Understanding stories of trauma requires an understanding of the collective dimensions of violence and social suffering. Trauma experience is embedded in and emerges from multiple contexts, including biological processes of learning and memory; embodied experiences of injury, pain and fear; narratives of personal biography; the knowledge and practices of cultural and social systems; and the power and positioning of political struggles enacted on individual, family, community and national levels.
Welcome to our tutorial videos based on the training manual Mental Health and Gender-Based Violence, Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict . If you are working with or assisting survivors of gender-based violence or involved in the training of helpers working directly with survivors, this is the right place for you.
These video tutorials seek to reach people around the world and have been developed to be used in situations where helpers have limited or no access to specialised health services, and where humanitarian workers must deal with severe human loss, sorrow and distress in the midst of insecurity, conflict and war.
Download the manual Mental health and gender-based violence: Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict for free.
The manual is also available in Arabic, Russian Spanish and Portuguese. This training material has been written for those who provide assistance and support to women who survive gender-based violence and sexual trauma during disasters, wars and conflicts. Furthermore, we hope it may be helpful as well to those who work with gender-based violence survivors in other settings. Please share the manual and spread it among your colleagues, organizations or in your community.
On our HHRI Facebook page, we are continuously posting new and relevant articles that we add to our web site, as well as events and videos.
The woman butterfly animation
Butterfly Woman, is a central part of our Gender-based violence (GBV) training manual. This animation tells the story of the Butterfly Women, a metaphorical narrative that is based on women’s encounter of gender-based violence in armed conflicts. This animation should be used as a complement to our GBV-training manual. The complete written Butterfly woman story can be found on our website.