War trauma leads to a range of psychological consequences that are destabilizing and disabling to individuals and their families. In times of war existing resources become enormously strained to cope with all the needs of war survivors.
For many years I worked with refugees from Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon as an art therapist employed by the The National Church of Sweden. My way of assisting survivors of war is based on the severity of trauma and its effects on their level of functioning. My treatment techniques depend on the environment survivors are in and whether they feel they have found a safe place.
The survivor’s ability to manage their thoughts and emotions is an important and relevant way of reducing suffering from war trauma. I assist this process by supporting resilience through dialogue and active listening. Together we will discuss strategies for coping by practicing therapeutic breathing techniques, centering exercises, creative therapeutic practices, discussing ethical, cultural, philosophical and spiritual practices and identifying personal strengths.
Over the years I have found that reaching solutions are generally more empowering and long-lasting when war survivors have taken an active part in finding solutions themselves. Encouraging the use of survivors' own resources and experiences, and using their own unique problem-solving skills may be the best path for survivors to feel enabled. positive and strengthened.