Democratic Republic of the Congo

An attitude of helplessness: basic counselling in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo

Abstract: The Democratic Republic of Congo has suffered armed conflict for over 20 years, with the eastern provinces being particularly impacted by destruction and structural violence. The consequences of this ongoing violence are visible on the streets and in the homes of the people, as well as specifically affecting the minds of the country's youth. This personal reflection highlights the work of a psychologist at a vocational training centre in Bukavu.

Comparing a trauma focused and non trauma focused intervention with war affected Congolese youth: a preliminary randomised trial

While there is broad consensus about the need for interventions to help psychologically distressed, war affected youth, there is also limited research and even less agreement on which interventions work best. Therefore, this paper presents a randomised trial of trauma focused, and non trauma focused, interventions with war affected Congolese youth.

Steps Towards Empowerment for Community Healing

After surviving a recent massacre in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a group of 22 staff members of a community health nursing programme requested the assistance of the author. During a three-day meeting, the traumatic experiences of the

Violence with a purpose: exploring the functions and meaning of violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

In situations of protracted armed conflict such as in sub-Saharan Africa, there exists a strong tendency to describe rebel violence as a senseless war of ‘all-against-all’. This ‘Hobbesian’ violence (a theory that people have the fundamental right to pursue selfish aims but will relinquish those rights in the interest of the common good) is often illustrated by the sight of drugged and gun-toting youths engaged in the harassment of innocent civilians.


The story of a Congolese refugee worker in Tanzania

The author, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was trained to teach children with special needs. In this personal reflection, she describes how due to the violence in her home country, she became a refugee in Tanzania, twice. She describes the suffering she has faced, including the death of her own children, and her experiences of sexual violence. In the refugee camp of Nyarugusu in Tanzania, she became involved in psychosocial work and learnt the power of working within the community.

Sensitization around psychological trauma: the results of a campaign in a district of the Democratic Republic of Congo

In the north eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an area affected by war and armed conflicts, a sensitization campaign about (coping with) traumatic stress has been carried out. This campaign has positively influenced the awareness of key community members to traumatic stress. In this paper, the campaign and its results are presented.


Psychological support during an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In this paper, the author reflects on her personal experiences as an expatriate psychologist, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, during an outbreak of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in 2007. As there is still no cure for this highly contagious, fatal disease, segregation from those infected appears to be the only preventative solution. This has quite different impacts and consequences for local people than for expatriate staff.

Emergency psychiatric care in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

People with psychiatric disorders in humanitarian emergencies are primarily neglected and lack appropriate treatment. This results in unnecessary suffering, stigmatisation, loss of dignity and increased mortality. This paper describes the experience of Médecins Sans Frontières in providing emergency psychiatric treatment as a component of a busy medical programme in Mweso, a conflict affected region of North Kivu, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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.