Trauma, Peacebuilding and Development: An Africa Region Perspective

2008Michael G. Wessells

Armed conflict and its aftermath impose an enormous burden of psychological and social suffering on affected populations. During the 1990s and early in the 21st century, this suffering was conceptualized in terms of a trauma paradigm, which held that life threatening experiences cause individual traumatic reactions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and also collective maladies such as collective trauma. In many regions, practitioners who adhere to a trauma paradigm assume that unhealed traumas may contribute to ongoing cycles of violence and thwart peacebuilding efforts, and they seek to alleviate trauma through individualized approaches such as trauma counseling .

Key wordsarmed conflict / forced migration / peacebuilding / post-traumatic stress disorder / reconciliation / trauma