Healing and Human Rights: A Blog by the Center for Victims of Torture

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Veronica Lavet

In our international projects, our healing work for torture and war trauma survivors is conducted through group counseling. Groups typically meet for 10 weeks. This is the eighth in a series of posts by Veronica Laveta as she follows the counseling group cycle in Jordan. Veronica Laveta is CVT’s clinical advisor for the Jordan project.

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Veronica Lavet

In our international projects, our healing work for torture and war trauma survivors is conducted through group counseling. Groups typically meet for 10 weeks. This is the eighth in a series of posts by Veronica Laveta as she follows the counseling group cycle in Jordan. Veronica Laveta is CVT’s clinical advisor for the Jordan project.

Read other entries in the series.

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Veronica Lavet

In our international projects, our healing work for torture and war trauma survivors is conducted through group counseling. Groups typically meet for 10 weeks. This is the sixth in a series of posts by Veronica Laveta as she follows the counseling group cycle in Jordan. Veronica Laveta is CVT’s clinical advisor for the Jordan project.

Read other entries in the series.

Veronica Lavet

After building a sense of safety and confidence in the survivors during the first three counseling sessions, we slowly enter the trauma processing phase of the group cycle. In session four, we have them first imagine themselves as birds flying over rivers that represent their lives. They draw their rivers of life, starting with birth, placing symbols and labels for traumatic events and for times when life was calm or happy.

Veronica Lavet

With trauma, we often lose touch of our bodies. Our breathing and body movements contract, which reduces our ability to cope. With a focused attention breathing exercise, we are helping survivors learn how to calm their thoughts and emotions by paying attention to their breathing. The body map exercise deepens survivors’ awareness of where trauma “lives” in the body and how to use coping strategies and strengths to help counteract the physical and emotional pain.

With trauma, we often lose touch of our bodies. Our breathing and body movements contract, which reduces our ability to cope. With a focused attention breathing exercise, we are helping survivors learn how to calm their thoughts and emotions by paying attention to their breathing. The body map exercise deepens survivors’ awareness of where trauma “lives” in the body and how to use coping strategies and strengths to help counteract the physical and emotional pain. - See more at: http://www.cvt.org/blog/healing-and-human-rights/jordan-counseling-group... With trauma, we often lose touch of our bodies. Our breathing and body movements contract, which reduces our ability to cope. With a focused attention breathing exercise, we are helping survivors learn how to calm their thoughts and emotions by paying attention to their breathing. The body map exercise deepens survivors’ awareness of where trauma “lives” in the body and how to use coping strategies and strengths to help counteract the physical and emotional pain. - See more at: http://www.cvt.org/blog/healing-and-human-rights/jordan-counseling-group...
Veronica Lavet

In this session, as we continue to build safety and stability in the group, we aim to draw out survivors’ internal strengths and external resources to counteract the unhelpful tunnel thinking that keeps traumatized people in a state of despair. After reviewing the grounding exercise that helps survivors feel more stable in their bodies and returns them to the present moment, the facilitators use a table metaphor to demonstrate how the more “table legs” one can develop (internal and external resources), the easier it is to carry the burdens on the table.

Veronica Lavet

In our international projects, our healing work for torture and war trauma survivors is conducted through group counseling. Groups typically meet for ten weeks. This is the first in a series of posts following the counseling group cycle in Jordan.

Veronica Laveta is CVT’s clinical advisor for the Jordan project.

Read other entries in this series.

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“Your help to me is mandatory because if you do not help me I will die.” Those were the first words from Oba, a young Congolese man who joined one of our counseling groups.

Paul Orieny, Ph.D., LMFT is a clinical advisor with CVT.

 

Earlier in the summer, I visited our Nairobi project to check in on our clinical work.  One day, I joined a men’s counseling group for their second session. It’s a group of gentlemen – from teenagers to 70-year-olds and all ranges of profession. These men are Rwandese, Burundi and Congolese, and it’s amazing how they have come together.

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