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Healing and Human Rights: A Blog by the Center for Victims of Torture

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Noor Zada, MENA initiative manager for New Tactics in Jordan, recently participated in the Regional Youth Forum organized by Equitas to promote youth leadership in human rights programs in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Veronica Lavet

In our international projects, our healing work for torture and war trauma survivors is conducted through group counseling. Groups typically meet for 10 weeks. This is the fourth in a series of posts by Veronica Laveta as she follows the counseling group cycle in Jordan. Veronica Laveta is CVT’s clinical advisor for the Jordan project.

Read previous entries in this series:

For World Mental Health Day 2015, Ann Willhoite, CVT clinical advisor, comments on the importance of mental health care as part of the humanitarian response for survivors of torture as they work to restore their dignity and their lives.

Veronica Lavet

After building a sense of safety and confidence in the survivors during the first three counseling sessions, we slowly enter the trauma processing phase of the group cycle. In session four, we have them first imagine themselves as birds flying over rivers that represent their lives. They draw their rivers of life, starting with birth, placing symbols and labels for traumatic events and for times when life was calm or happy.

Annie Sovcik, director of CVT's Washington, D.C., office, shares her thoughts on being among those in attendance at the White House reception for Pope Francis.

Veronica Lavet

In this session, as we continue to build safety and stability in the group, we aim to draw out survivors’ internal strengths and external resources to counteract the unhelpful tunnel thinking that keeps traumatized people in a state of despair. After reviewing the grounding exercise that helps survivors feel more stable in their bodies and returns them to the present moment, the facilitators use a table metaphor to demonstrate how the more “table legs” one can develop (internal and external resources), the easier it is to carry the burdens on the table.

Jenni Bowring-McDonough, CVT media relations manager, comments on the critical and growing need for mental health and psychosocial support services in response to the ongoing refugee crisis.

On World Humanitarian Day, CVT recognizes humanitarians around the world including CVT staff.

New Tactics in Human Rights

In the spring of 2010, the New Tactics in Human Rights program launched the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Initiative to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders in the MENA region. This new phase of the program included training local human rights activists in the New Tactics 5-Step Strategic Effectiveness method.

Brent Jensen, online community coordinator for New Tactics in Human Rights, summarizes the ten most important considerations for NGOs working with photography as part of activism.

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