Talking Through or Working Practically? - What do Traumatized Refugees Need?
Abstract: The large number of refugees fleeing their native countries from war and related terror is a world-wide concern. Many of these refugees have experienced traumatic events, in some cases leading to the diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder. As a result of observations of contact with and treatment of traumatized refugees by both medical staff and volunteers during a field placement in a Liberian refugee settlement in Gomoa Buduburam, Ghana, a number of questions with regard to the treatment of traumatized refugees and the importance and influence of factors other than therapy on the healing of trauma and a general feeling of wellbeing were raised. In an attempt to get clarity about these questions, an extensive exploration of previous research and theoretical models was executed. The results of this literature search were combined with information gathered through interviews with professionals working in different settings in the field of traumatized refugees in Sweden, in order to gain deeper insight into the two main perspectives on what traumatized refugees need, namely 1) talking through as a form of trauma therapy; or 2) working practically, which entails for the refugees to live a normal life. A third, ecological, perspective on traumatized refugees was added in order to be able to combine the two previously mentioned approaches. The result is an interpretation of the content and the strengths of the different views.
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