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For Healing Professionals

Last updated: July 19, 2023

Extending rehabilitative care to people who have survived deeply traumatizing experiences is challenging for those in the healing professions. Sharing knowledge about trauma-informed and culturally competent care and clinical interventions is important across the healing disciplines.

Below are resources to support your work with people who have survived torture or deeply traumatic experiences.

Restoring Hope and Dignity: CVT Manual for Group Counseling
This comprehensive manual focuses specifically on CVT’s group counseling intervention. It was developed by CVT clinicians based on our decades of group counseling experience around the world, in combination with a review of the current literature in the field, contributions from CVT’s internal experts, external peer reviewers, field counselors and feedback from former CVT clients. It is intended for use in humanitarian or low-resourced settings with individuals who are experiencing marked distress and reduced daily functioning due to having experienced extreme stress related to war, torture or human-rights violations. Order a copy of the manual here.

Improving Well-Being for Refugees in Primary Care: A Toolkit for Providers
CVT’s Healing Hearts program uses a holistic, team-based approach to bring specialized care to Karen clients in primary care settings. The team’s comprehensive manual gives providers the necessary tools to improve treatment plans for patients who have lived through traumatic experiences. Order the toolkit here.

How can professionals take good care of themselves while working with people who have experienced trauma? Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) is intended for any helper – health care professionals, social service workers, teachers, attorneys, emergency response, and others to understand the impacts of their work on themselves. The tools on this site provide information about positive and negative aspects of helping those who experience trauma and suffering, and can improve your ability to help them and keep your own balance. Learn more at the ProQOL site.

The HealTorture site provides resources, elearning and information to help professionals who work with survivors of torture in the United States. HealTorture is CVT’s National Capacity Building Project, offering training, technical assistance and resources to rehabilitation centers across the U.S. Learn more at the HealTorture site.

National Consortium of Torture Treatment Providers (NCTTP)
The NCTTP is a U.S.-based network of programs that advances the knowledge, technical capacities and resources devoted to the care of torture survivors living in the United States. The consortium acts collectively to prevent torture worldwide. Learn more at the NCTTP site.

International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
The IRCT is the umbrella organization and global network of civil society organizations and experts who support torture survivors in more than 70 countries. The organization provides rehabilitation services to torture survivors, promotes justice for survivors and raises awareness on the issue of torture among policy-makers and citizens. Learn more at the IRCT site.

Additional Background and References for Working with Survivors of Torture

The Istanbul Protocol
The Istanbul Protocol contains international recognized standards and procedures for recognizing and documenting symptoms of torture so the documentation may serve as evidence in court. The protocol provides guidance for health professional and lawyers who want to investigate whether or not a person has been tortured and report the findings to the judiciary and other investigative bodies.

Declaration of Tokyo, World Medical Association
This declaration by the World Medical Association condemns medical participation in torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It serves as a template for many medical codes.

U.S. State Department Human Rights Reports
The reports cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture
The special rapporteur is an expert appointed by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to examine questions relevant to torture.