“It is not just that PTR provides a wide array of invaluable support to our clients…What we do is, actually, much more profound and basic at the same time. PTR is helping our clients regain hope in humankind, as it creates a compassionate human relationship.”
– Ronna Haglili, GHHR Graduate 2017
THE OPPORTUNITY: Knowledge, Commitment and Solutions
Fortunately, the “global mental health gap” and the impacts of trauma have been gaining increasing attention over the past few decades. In 1980, the United States mental health field finally recognized PTSD as a mental health concern warranting healing and support for recovery. In September of 2015, the United Nations included for the first time in its global development goals a component on mental health and well-being.
Moreover, trauma-informed, culturally aware, and contextually adaptable approaches for healing trauma are producing evidence that recovery is possible. When trauma treatment is provided, unnecessary suffering can be averted, and more severe emotional and social problems can be prevented. Survivors can begin to live healthy and productive lives, ultimately benefitting their families, communities and surrounding societies.
OUR STRATEGY: Mental Health Care, Clinical Training and Policy Advocacy
Partnerships for Trauma Recovery joins the global movement to reduce the mental health gap by addressing the psychosocial impacts of trauma caused by war, torture, forced displacement, human trafficking, and persecution due to identity and beliefs. Our model is built on three complementary components:
- Mental Health Care for international survivors of human rights abuses
- Clinical Training for
globally-minded clinicians, and
- Policy Advocacy for efforts aimed at reducing trauma.
The Healing Process
The process of recovering from the deep emotional wounds caused by human rights abuses is challenging, but possible. Our experience has shown that the emotional and psychosocial impacts of trauma can be addressed by:
Rebuilding the ability to trust and an internal sense of safety through secure relationships
International survivors of human rights abuses have experienced the very worst of our human capacity for cruelty. A basic human need for relatedness and a sense of connection to trustworthy others is universal across cultures. Relationally-based interventions which emphasize the sensitive repairing of interpersonal trust and rebuilding of an internal sense of safety, constitute the foundation of our therapeutic approach to supporting survivors’ healing and recovery process.
Bearing witness to a client’s experience and to their emotional truth
The nature and impact of the traumas and losses human rights survivors have faced can be unbearable. Bearing witness to what they have endured, and to how it has made them feel, is another central component of our approach to healing.
Fostering greater capacity for emotional regulation
Threats to physical safety and psychological integrity affect survivors’ ability to regulate intense emotional responses to daily life, and survivors can become easily overwhelmed by reminders of the trauma they faced. Helping survivors better understand, identify and protect themselves from trauma triggers is another important aspect of our therapeutic work.
Constructing a new narrative
The overwhelming nature of the trauma and loss survivors have faced can lead to a sense of internal fragmentation and disorganization, disrupting the cohesive construction of memories, and the integration of a sense of self. An important aspect of our therapeutic work thus involves helping survivors reconstruct a story which makes sense of their past and enables them to develop a renewed sense of who they are.