Our therapeutic activities include individual, group, as well as verbal and nonverbal therapies.
Individual verbal therapy is mostly a short therapy focusing on the trauma, but we also offer longer ones, consisting of about 15-20 sessions – that are based on discretion, so to say – and aim at improving adaptation skills and facilitating integration, in addition to processing trauma and/or torture. This is of vital significance in the life of a client in a foreign culture.
In respect of family therapies we had relative less experience at our disposal as regards torture victims. This form of therapy would sort of come about spontaneously at reception centres where family members of a victim were present in the room as they were receiving treatment.
As for the nature of trauma, a distinction has to be made: between survivors of torture or abuse and their relatives who are indirectly affected as they experienced secondary trauma. Not only has a trauma destructive effects on the victims themselves, but is likely to lead to complete disorganisation within their families, too. In a way, the surreal realms of the torture chamber linger on within the entangled human relations.
A verbal therapy can be preceded by a nonverbal group therapy which can serve as a sort of icebreaker for the patient – thus, they will become more accessible through a verbal process. In many patients, the trauma suffered generates feelings of shame and guilt of such intensity that it virtually becomes impossible for them to speak of it. A group proves to be encouraging in immersing oneself in the process of working through their problems, whether individually or jointly with the family, by creating a sense of trust in patients who are mistrustful, suspicious, paranoid or living in fear for good reason.
The so-called Hungarian nonverbal method serves a double aim: on the one hand, works as a sort of icebreaker for patients in preparation for the verbal therapy; on the other hand, with its technique combining art, exercise and relaxation, it is an effective tool in itself in the treatment of the symptoms of traumatic stress. The method was first applied in the treatment of Bosnian patients, based on clinical experiences gained at psychiatric wards, from groups engaging in communicative movement therapy.
This was followed by the animation group method that is centred on utilising inanimate objects: by animating them and endowing them with a spirit, a patient in approaching the therapeutic aim, that is to connect with their body that has been alienated from themselves through the act of torture, also, with their environment. The therapies last 6-12 occasions with the aim to help patients to regain trust and self-confidence.