Intervention Journal

March 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 1

SPECIAL SECTION

Psychosocial support for children in the Republic of South Sudan: an evaluation outcome
Authors:
Eiling, Ellen; Van Diggele-Holtland, Marianne; Van Yperen, Tom; Boer, Frits

FIELD REPORTS

REFLECTIONS, COMMENTS, LETTERS

REVIEWS

SUMMARIES

Summaries in Arabic
Authors:
Editors
Résumés en Français
Authors:
Editors
Summaries in Russian
Authors:
Editors
Summaries in Pashto
Authors:
Editors
Summaries in Sinhala
Authors:
Editors
Resumenes en Español
Authors:
Editors
Summaries in Tamil
Authors:
Editors

From the editors … a widening diversity and dynamism: A new look and (sub)title, a new Editor in chief and a new diversity of voices

This new year of Intervention brings with it many exciting changes and a diversity of new voices and expertise, write Marian Tankink and Peter Ventevogel, announcing a change in Editor in chief. After six years of successful leadership, hard work and dedication at the helm, Peter Ventevogel has taken on a more hands-on position with UNHCR, while remaining at the heart of the journal as a member of the Editorial Board. At the same time, Intervention is equally proud to welcome our new Editor in chief, MarianTankink, who brings a new vision to the journal as a medical anthropologist, specialising in interpersonal violence in post conflict areas and with refugees. This is, however, far from the only changes to be seen and read in this new, double thick, issue of Intervention.

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Authors:
Tankink, Marian & Ventevogel, Peter

SPECIAL SECTION

Narrowing the gap between psychosocial practice, peacebuilding and wider social change: an introduction to the Special Section in this issue

The terms ‘psychosocial interventions’ and ‘peacebuilding’ are often used as umbrella phrases. While each of these covers a widely diverging field, a primary goal of ‘psychosocial interventions’ is to improve wellbeing of individuals and families, while ‘peacebuilding’ tends to focus on communal and institutional processes. Psychosocial practitioners do not often see their work as directly related to social change, while those involved in peacebuilding initiatives can have a limiting focus on individual wellbeing. The authors argue that greater attention should be given to the synergies that could be created by linking psychosocial work with processes of social change and communal recovery, within the context of collective violence and humanitarian emergencies. The articles in this issue of ‘Intervention’ describe experiences within very different contexts (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burma (Myanmar), Guatemala, Lebanon, Northern Ireland, occupied East Jerusalem, South Sudan and Rwanda), but their common thread is that they begin to show how psychosocial work can influence a peacebuilding environment and foster wider social change.

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Authors:
Hamber, Brandon; Gallagher, Elizabeth; Ventevogel, Peter

Living death, recovering life: psychosocial resistance and the power of the dead in East Jerusalem

This article examines death and dying in occupied East Jerusalem. It explores practices and subjective experiences of death, and how narratives of the loss of Palestinian individuals, families, and communities ‘give life’ to the ones who died. The author(a Palestinian herself) is close to the community she studies, which gives her privileged access to personal stories and enables her to write from an insider's perspective. The study analyses the ways settler colonial power is predicated, not only through control and expropriation of the living, but also of the dead, including Palestinian burial sites. While engaging with, and learning from, voices of Palestinians that have lost loved ones, the author evokes the psycho-political power found (and emerging) from sites of death. She argues that, within the context of occupied East Jerusalem, a significant colonial domination over the dead is subverted by individuals and communities. The power of the oppressed creates new spaces for strength, hope, and building the future, while also offering the potential for inner peace and psychosocial wellbeing. The article concludes by centring on the healing and unifying practices internal to Palestinian communities in times of death and dying. These everyday psychosocial practices offer these communities the tools to create counter-reactions to loss.

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Authors:
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera

Creativity as an intervention strategy with Mayan women in Guatemala

This article explores the transformative potential of creativity, including the creative arts, embodied practices and Mayan storytelling and rituals. These were used as strategies in psychosocial and feminist rights based interventions and participatory research conducted by Guatemalan civil society actors with Mayan women in the aftermath of gross human rights violations committed during the 36 years of Guatemalan armed conflict. Drawing on a series of participatory creative workshops, facilitated by the authors, this article highlights rural Mayan women's understanding and assessments of their engagement with creative resources as a means to address the effects of the armed conflict. The article argues that performing these interventions offers possibilities for personal transformation, through both individual and small group experiences. Additionally, these interventions contain the potential to encourage communities towards social transformation.

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Authors:
Lykes, M. Brinton; Crosby, Alison

Ships passing in the night: psychosocial programming and macro peacebuilding strategies with young men in Northern Ireland

The study presented here explores how the impact of the conflict, as it applies to interventions with young men, is conceptualised within the context of Northern Ireland after the signing of the peace agreement (1998). It focuses on four groups undertaking psychosocial work, that is, two generic support groups and two groups with an explicit focus on those who had experienced violence during the conflict. A total of 20 young men (18–24 years old) and 19 staff were individually interviewed, using a semi-structured interview. The study found that many challenges facing young people concern the interrelationship between the past and a poor socioeconomic context in the present. The struggle to address the legacy of the conflict in the present is, certainly in the literature and according to the participants of this study, linked to a lack of knowledge about the past. When it came to promoting such change and building peace, participants tended to ascribe to a personal transformation model as the route to engagement with peacebuilding work. This article argues that the personal transformative model is emblematic of the wider peacebuilding debate in Northern Ireland, where psychosocial and peace orientated programming has been separated from wider peacebuilding strategies, such as job creation. This highlights an analytical deficit in the psychosocial programming, peacebuilding and economic development fields.

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Authors:
Hamber, Brandon; Gallagher, Elizabeth

Psychosocial support for children in the Republic of South Sudan: an evaluation outcome

This paper describes an exploratory outcome evaluation of War Child Holland's psychosocial support intervention I DEAL, a life skills intervention aimed at improving the ability of children and young people affected by armed conflict in the Republic of South Sudan to ‘deal’ with their daily lives. The specific objectives were to assess whether I DEAL is consistent with local perceptions of wellbeing, and to explore the outcomes, as well as the factors that influence outcomes of this intervention. The research was conducted using mixed methods, with a focus on qualitative and participatory methods: group exercises, individual goal setting (N = 110) and interviews (N = 62). To triangulate findings from children, interviews were held with teachers (N = 7), facilitators (N = 5), and parents (N = 11). It was found that the content of the intervention was consistent with children's perceptions of wellbeing. Specific outcomes that were reported by children and confirmed by facilitators, teachers and parents included decreased fighting and improved relationships with peers and parents. Findings suggest that I DEAL positively affect children's social coping skills and has the potential to improve children's emotional coping skills and classroom performance.

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Authors:
Eiling, Ellen; Van Diggele-Holtland, Marianne; Van Yperen, Tom; Boer, Frits

Psychosocial peacebuilding in Bosnia and Herzegovina: approaches to relational and social change

 

Ethnic and religious divisions were primary, significant factors in the cause and escalation of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These issues remained highly volatile in the immediate post war process and continue to impact current social, economic and political systems and structures. Psychosocial peacebuilding theory and practices are important means to facilitate social and relational change, and help people move toward reconciliation and social action. The authors present cases that examine these issues, within the Bosnian context, addressing the importance of psychosocial trauma recovery, problem solving and confidence building workshops, as well as provision of safe spaces where war and social narratives can be shared, and healing and attitudinal shifts begin to take place. In this article, psychosocial, trauma informed, peacebuilding processes are shown to provide insight into the importance of integrating emotional, psychological and identity factors (inherent within complex and ongoing conflicts) with economic development and actions for political change. Both are necessary for individual and collective healing and creating new relational, social narratives and structures.

 

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Authors:
Hart, Barry; Colo, Edita

FIELD REPORTS

Art therapy for mental health workers in areas affected by violence: a rarely explored resource

Experiences with survivors of extreme violence demonstrate that treatments that focus exclusively on verbal expression are often insufficient. Furthermore, evidence has shown that art therapy, as an initially non-verbal therapy, has an important role to play in the treatment of people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. However, most of the evidence gathered to date is through work with refugees in the West. Therefore, this field report adds to the body of evidence through describing the application of art therapy, in daily practice, in areas affected by violence. The author, an art therapist from the Netherlands, has done trainings in art therapy, with trainees of over 35 nationalities and in 15 different post conflict areas. Participants were primarily unfamiliar with art therapy and are mental health workers. The author reports that use of art therapy techniques often resulted in surprising and stimulating effects on the level of commitment, and the development of insight, of the trainees.

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Authors:
Meijer-Degen, Fiety

Do humanitarian crises offer opportunities for change? A critical review of the mental health and psychosocial support post emergency in the Republic of the Congo

Violent explosions rocked the city of Brazzaville (the capital of the Republic of the Congo) on 4 March 2012, officially causing more than 280 deaths and leaving approximately 15,000 people displaced. Two months after this event, despite a large number of people suffering from considerable psychological distress, few people had called for, or had received, appropriate mental health care or any external psychosocial support. A field evaluation, following this emergency, led to a critical review of the limited capacity of the mental health care system in Brazzaville to respond to the population's needs. This evaluation also allowed a review of the current state of affairs in regard to mental health and psychosocial support by health care actors in Brazzaville. The crisis has, in this way, facilitated an increasing awareness and triggered a process of deeper examination of how to improve mental health care in the Republic of the Congo.

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Authors:
Moayedoddin, Babak; Makaya, Christelle Nangho; Canuto, Alessandra

Integrating psychosocial support into nutrition programmes in West Africa during the Sahel food crisis

For optimal physical and cognitive development to occur, a child requires adequate nutrition, but this should occur in addition to physical and emotional stimulation from a caregiver. Programmes, in which interventions for nutrition, maternal mental health and psychosocial stimulation are integrated, provide much wider benefits to a child's psychical and cognitive development than stand alone nutritional responses. With this in mind, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) prioritised the integration of psychosocial stimulation, within their nutrition response, during the West Africa Sahel food crisis. Brief trainings were organised within five West African countries in order to strengthen the capacity of UNICEF and partner organisations to initiate psychosocial activities within their nutritional programmes.

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Authors:
McGrath, Megan; Schafer, Alison

REFLECTIONS, COMMENTS, LETTERS

Dealing with taboos: a story from the field on youth led theatre and dialogue in Lebanon

The author, a 19 year old student from Lebanon, reflects on his experience working with War Child's methodology Performing for Peace. Through theatre, he and his colleagues build on previous initiatives and dialogues conducted since 2009 about the history of conflict and war in the country, and the sharing of individual memories. Lebanon has been through periods of intense conflict among the many different political and religious factions that divide the country. The idea is that this will lead to a better understanding of the past, a better understanding of ‘the other’.

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Authors:
Dokmak, Ali

The psychological impact of working in post conflict environments: a personal account of intersectional traumatisation

This personal reflection describes the psychological impact of living and working in post conflict environments for psychosocial workers and researchers, such as the author. In her experience, working and living in post genocide Rwanda, primary, secondary and vicarious traumatisation processes were closely interrelated. She stresses the importance of understanding the connections that exist among and across different forms of traumatisation. The concept of intersectional traumatisation explains how multiple forms of traumas intersect through the act of listening, imagining, empathising and experiencing.

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Authors:
Doná, Giorgia

A personal reflection rebuilding the Burmese community one client at a time

In this personal reflection the author, a Burmese refugee in Thailand, describes how his training in psychosocial counselling has helped him to overcome a state of demoralisation and given him new confidence in the future, for himself and for his people.

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Authors:
Win, Kyaw Soe

REVIEWS

Ride, Anouk & Bretherton, Diane eds. Community resilience in Natural disasters

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Authors:
de Milliano, Cecile W.J.

Leveton, Eva ed. Healing Collective Trauma: Using Sociodrama and Drama Therapy

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Authors:
Sliep, Yvonne

SUMMARIES

Summaries in Arabic

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Authors:
Editors

Résumés en Français

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Russian

PDF
Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Pashto

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Sinhala

PDF
Authors:
Editors

Resumenes en Español

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Authors:
Editors

Summaries in Tamil

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Authors:
Editors