Groupwork with Refugees and Survivors of Human Rights Abuses describes, explores and promotes the power of groupwork for refugees and survivors of human rights abuses in a range of contexts.
Drawing on multiple theoretical approaches, the book features chapters from practitioners running groups in different settings, such as torture rehabilitation services, refugee camps, and reception centres. The voices of participants demonstrate the variety, creativity, and value of group and community approaches for recovery. The editors have gathered chapters into three sections covering: community-based approaches; groups that work through the medium of "body and soul"; and group approaches that focus on change through the spoken word.
The book will be relevant to those working in rehabilitation, community, mental health, and humanitarian fields and are interested in using groupwork as part of their services.
This is an exceptional and authoritative book that appears at the appropriate time, to help all of us grasp the complexities of human suffering resulting from the adversities of various forms of involuntarily dislocation and human rights violations, from a wide variety of perspectives. Its encyclopaedic, almost, scope provides a broad vision of effective interventions in many different contexts and settings, all over the world. Combining theory and practice, the book is written by committed practitioners, generously sharing their expertise and experiences, but also their sincere reflections about their work. The book will be a welcome resource for everyone working in these fields as well as for the informed readers who wish to obtain a thoughtful update on the current developments of these interventions.
Professor Renos K Papadopoulos, PhD, University of Essex. Clinical Psychologist, Family Therapist and Jungian psychoanalyst; author of Involuntary Dislocation. Home, Trauma, Resilience and Adversity-Activated Development
Framing the injustices against torture survivors, including asylum seekers, as moral transgressions requiring moral responses, this book brings together a collection of varied and powerful group practice examples of such responses. Togetherness, in group-based and community-based work with survivors, is exemplified as both a metaphor and as a means to foster solidarity against injustice, human connection, awareness-raising and collective action, towards the restoration of the human dignity of survivors and towards justice. In an era of individualising, pathologising psychological therapies being heralded as solutions to all forms of trauma, this book reminds us of the immense creativity and power of groupwork in enabling change beyond the individual. It is a timely and an invaluable resource for all those working with refugees and survivors of human rights abuses.
Nimisha Patel, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London and Director of International Centre for Health and Human Rights, UK
As a practitioner based in Sri Lanka, this collected volume was one I wanted to immediately share with my colleagues. Drawing from practice across diverse contexts - from Zimbabwe to Tunisia, from the UK to Uganda - the book brings together a truly global set of contributions that are accessible, descriptive and genuinely inspiring. The chapters give us an account of the underlying theories of change and values that guide these processes. Crucially, many also provide us with vital details about how these are responding to the wider events and socio-political processes that the participants of groupwork have to navigate in their daily lives - and underscore the importance of organic connections between approaches, context and the people involved in this work. The voices and views of the people whose experiences drive the groupwork are consistently and actively represented throughout, as are the different traditions and epistemologies that the approaches draw from. The contrasts between the diverse settings and approaches are largely implicit, but are very present and tangible to the reader, greatly enriching their experience. This collected volume is truly relevant to a global audience, offering meaningful insights into therapeutic groupwork approaches that have a lot to teach practitioners in any context.
Ananda Galappatti, Director of Strategy, MHPSS.net
What a book! So much material, so many examples of hope emerging out of coming to terms with painful tragedy. The Contributors to this title have brought to life the challenges, and the joys of helping people to find their inner resources to cope with perhaps the worst of human experience – violent inhumanity. This is achieved by offering the reader examples of what has made a personal difference from groupwork projects around the world. The power of the group experience is revealed in many ways as people spend time together, seeking a way forward and offering each other support and encouragement. There is something fundamentally enhancing to the person through positive and constructive group experience. This title is impressive and inspiring, offering examples of how the best of human experience can help people to find new lives after experiencing the worst of humanity. And on a lighter note: from reading this book I now understand the therapeutic power of sprouting broccoli. You will have to read it as well to discover this.
Richard Bryant-Jefferies, author, Counselling Victims of Warfare
The absolute joy in this book, is its accessibility and practical application for humanitarian practitioners engaged in groupwork with refugees and survivors of human rights abuses. The sheer geographic breadth of examples from Peru, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kosovo, and the UK amongst other contexts, demonstrates the electric and creative work happening at a local level in countries hosting refugees - whether they are persons recently displaced, in transit or navigating legal asylum application systems in host countries. The case studies illuminate effective, culturally-relevant and alternative group (therapeutic) approaches that counter-balance and challenge the harmful dominance of the ‘Western and individualised’ medical mental health model. This book is recommended reading for anyone, working within and outside of humanitarian contexts, who wishes to harness the positive aspects of group approaches to support refugees and survivors of human rights abuses.
Sarah Harrison, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Practitioner
This text opens us up to the power of collectiveness and how practitioners have applied the group approach to support individuals and communities heal and overcome emotional difficulties, suffered as a result of rights violations and abuse. The Book is a rich collection of exemplars, showcasing the work of community-based practitioners that have been carefully selected from a diverse range of countries. The context where interventions were implemented, range from conflict, displacement and torture, hence enabling the reader to relate groupwork approaches with the unique needs of these communities. Each book chapter presents a very unique country context which enables the reader to broaden their understanding of groupwork and how it can be applied in multiple contexts. From Zimbabwe to Peru, the authors share lived experiences of survivors and their sheer will to overcome adversity, rebuild their lives and support one another to regain their esteem, by working together in groups. For a researcher looking to learn more about the collective healing power of groupwork, to the practitioner eager to deliver low cost community appropriate interventions, the Power of Togetherness is an invaluable resource.
Patrick Onyango Mangen, Chief Executive Officer REPSSI
This book is a very welcome addition to the literature; it is innovative in that it brings together a wealth of information from a number of countries about group and community work in relation to human rights. It is written in an accessible style, is broad in its scope and provides a range of diverse illustrative examples. The reader will learn a lot about varied projects and the power of this work. The chapters are written by people bringing a range of skills and creative thinking and it may encourage others to take part in this important work. The richness of the content of this book will be very useful to anyone concerned about human rights.
Rachel Tribe, Professor of Applied Psychology, University of East London, UK
Table of Contents
Foreword. Boris Droždek;
Introduction. The Editors;
1. Group and Community Approaches: A response to the barriers of institutional racism in the UK asylum system. Robin Ewart-Biggs; SECTION 1 – Building communities;
2. Tree of Life Zimbabwe: Community-Based Trauma Healing. Lynn Walker, Eugenia Mpande, Susan Wyatt;
3. Listen to Our Voices: Women Asylum Seekers Together (WAST);
4. "We all together carry the suffering now": Community supports after enforced disappearances in Perú. Miryam Rivera-Holguín, Victoria Cavero, Jozef Corveleyn, Lucia De Haene;
5. What is the use of talking when I can’t feed my children? TPO Uganda’s integrated approach to supporting refugees. Grace Obalim, Caleb Tukahiirwa, Letitia Biira Birungi, Elias Manirakiza;
6. Home Away from Home: Healing among Congolese refugees in Rwanda through community-based sociotherapy. Theophile Sewimfura, Emmanuel Sarabwe, Annemiek Richters;
7. Women and Girls Safe Spaces: The power of feminist social groupwork in humanitarian settings, Melanie Megevand, Micah Williams, Laura Marchesini;
8. A Therapeutic Community for Survivors of Torture and Human Rights Abuses. Room to Heal;
9. The Use of Groupes de Parole as a Medium for Change in the Tunisian Penal System: Confronting institutional violence in a context of democratic transition. Mark Fish, Rim Ben Ismail;
10. Author Discussion: Building Communities; SECTION 2 - ‘Body and Soul’;
11. Adversity, Therapeutic Witnessing and the Arts. Enda Moclair;
12. A Move Towards Groupwork: Addressing Complex PTSD in Survivors of Torture through Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and LGBTQ Peer Support Groups. Aisling Hearns;
13. Homelands and New Lands: Artmaking with refugee survivors of human rights abuses. Amanda Bingley, Emma Rose, Macarena Rioseco;
14. The Art of Healing in a Transitory Context: Groupwork with people seeking asylum in asylum centres in Kosovo. Ardiana Bytyçi, Malisa Zymberi, Besnik Rustemi, Ejona Miraka Icka, Feride Rushiti;
15. Stone Flowers: A Music Group with Refugee Survivors of Torture. Christine Adcock, Jude Boyles, Lis Murphy, Emmanuela Yogolelo;
16. Seeds of Hope. Mary Raphaely, Martha Orbach;
17. Football Therapy Groups for Survivors of Torture. Terry Hanley;
18. Author Discussion: Body and Soul; SECTION 3 – Together through Talk;
19. Healing through Connecting: The life of a Tamil-English therapy group for male survivors of torture. Kirsten Lamb;
20. Connecting Hearts and Minds: A faith-sensitive psychosocial group model. Weihui Wang;
21. Sew to Speak: Common Threads Project Psychotherapy Circles. Rachel Cohen;
22. Voicing the Unspoken. Support our Sisters: A model of groupwork for women affected by female genital mutilation. Peggy Mulongo;
23. Author Discussion: Together through Talk
About the Editors
Jude Boyles is a psychological therapist who specialises in working with refugees and survivors of human rights abuses. Jude established and manages a therapy service for UN resettled refugees for the Refugee Council.
Robin Ewart-Biggs is a systemic family therapist who works with survivors of human rights abuses with a focus on groupwork. He runs a charity for young people with cancer.
Rebecca Horn is an independent psychosocial specialist and senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Health and Development, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.
Kirsten Lamb worked as a clinical psychologist in NHS mental health services from 1981 to 2018. Kirsten works with refugee charities on a freelance basis.