Needed - Not Just Needy, PSOT Publication in African Journal of Traumatic Stress
Needed - Not Just Need: Empowerment As A Therapeutic Tool in Treatment of Survivors of Torture and Refugee Trauma
Our Clinical Director Dr. Hawthorne Smith and Staff Psychologist Dr. Adeyinka Akinsulure-Smith have authored an article published in the June 2011 issue of the African Journal of Traumatic Stress.
Many Africans and others from all over the world, go to America, fleeing torture and other forms of organized violence from their home countries. Not only do many of these displaced people face culture shock, but the process of exile and application for asylum seeking often proves a big challenge and traumatic experience in itself. Yet many continue to suffer and also have to deal with the repercussions of their experiences. This paper presents the therapists’ views and experiences in treating exiled asylum seekers in New York City, many of whom are from Africa.
The paper reviews the ‘Introduction/Initiation’ phase to therapy to engagement of the client, the challenges faced by both the therapist and the client, the theoretical and philosophical rationale for the therapy, the techniques used, the process of therapy itself including group process, and finally the outcome of therapy. Actual case scenarios are presented with deep understanding of the dynamics involved and the humility and patience of the experienced therapist(s). The paper concludes by emphasizing the power of “empowerment of clients” to facilitate and enhance the (African) torture survivor to take charge and utilize his/her inherent strengths to engage in treatment for a better future of hope.
Link to the article: http://www.petercaldermanfoundation.org/AfricanJnl/AJTS_V1N3.pdf