Research: Evaluating Torture Survivor Care
CVT conducts rigorous evaluation and monitoring to ensure the work we do is effective. Measuring the progress of survivors is embedded into the therapeutic process of every CVT healing initiative. We have research tools available to assist with assessments and developing culturally relevant indicators.
We also work with other torture survivor rehabilitation centers to help them develop their own tools for measuring the impact of rehabilitation services on the well-being of torture survivors.
Research and Healing
The wounds of torture run deep into a victim’s psyche, body and spirit. Even the most resilient survivor can find the healing journey slow. When clinical assessments are embedded into the therapeutic process, the therapist and the survivor are able to assess progress holistically. Rather than focusing on one symptom or set of issues, therapy can address the survivor’s physical and mental health, their social well-being and their ability to function on a daily basis.
Over the years, we have developed clinical assessment tools to gather information that allows us to evaluate the progress of individual survivors (“tools” meaning the ways we collect information from torture survivors).
Because we work with survivors from every region of the world, our researchers are skilled at adapting the assessment tools so the questions asked make sense in the language and culture of each client. Frequently that means adapting or developing assessments locally. We are partners with local community members and survivors, bringing our clinical and research skills together with them in a way that is open and collaborative. Several research tools developed by CVT researchers are available for download here.
Over time, we will use the information gathered to understand how effective current treatment methods are, and understand better the impact of torture on individuals, families and communities.
In 2013, about 82 percent of torture survivors who received care at our St. Paul Healing Center experienced improvements in their symptoms and about 89 percent reported improvement in functional areas. Survivors at our international direct care programs also reported significant decreases in mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression, decreases in somatic (physical) symptoms, along with increases in measure of functionality and social connections.