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“My mind is not like before”: Psychosocial rehabilitation of victims of torture in Athens

Gail Womersley, Laure Kloetzer, Rafael Van Den Bergh, Emilie Venables, Nathalie Severy, Nikos Gkionakis, Christina Popontopoulou, Manolis Kokkiniotis & Federica Zamatto

Abstract Abstract
Introduction: The dual trauma of being
a victim of torture as well as a refugee is
related to a myriad of losses, human rights
violations and other dimensions of suffering
linked to torture experienced pre-migration,
as well as different forms of violence
experienced during and after migration.
Method: To present three case studies to
explore culturally-informed perspectives on
trauma among victims of torture and track
trajectories of psychosocial rehabilitation
in relation to environmental factors. The
case studies are part of a larger qualitative
study of asylum seekers and refugees in
a center for victims of torture in Athens,
managed by Médecins Sans Frontières and
Babel in collaboration with Greek Council
for Refugees, which follows beneficiaries,
their care providers and community
representatives and leaders. Results: Key
themes emerging include the substantial
psychological impact of current material
realities of migrant victims of torture
as they adapt to their new environment
and engage in rehabilitation. Delayed
asylum trials, poor living conditions and
unemployment have a substantial impact
on posttraumatic symptoms that in turn
influence psychosocial rehabilitation.
Personal, social, and cultural resources
emerged as having a mediating effect.
Discussion: The results highlight
the significant impact of the political,
legal, and sociocultural environment on
psychosocial rehabilitation. Practical
implications for interventions are to ensure holistic, interdisciplinary, and culturally
sensitive care which includes a focus on
environmental factors affecting resilience;
and with a dynamic focus on the totality of
the individual over isolated pathologies.
   
Keywords Torture, rehabilitation,
environmental impact, trauma, posttraumatic
stress disorder
   
Citation Womersley, G., Kloetzer, L., Van den Bergh, R., Venables, E., Severy, N., Gkionakis, N., Popontopoulou, C., Kokkiniotis, M., & Zamatto, F. (2018). “My mind is not like before”: Psychosocial rehabilitation of victims of torture in Athens. Torture: Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, 28(2), 72-84.
   
Type Journal article (English)
Date of appearance 30-7-2018
Journal Torture: Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 72-84
URL https://irct.org/publications/torture-journal/141
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