Saturday 27 June is International Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day.
In reality, we should not be speaking about PTSD. Rather, we should use the term post-traumatic stress reactions (PTSRs), with emphasis on the plural. These are normal reactions to traumatic events, which are events that threaten the physical and/or psychological well-being of the person or someone close. These reactions are individual. They can be psychological, physical, or a combination of both. Drugs deal only with the symptoms, not with the underlying issues. People need to talk and process.
It is important to note that PTSRs do not only occur in the military. They occur in every traumatic situation, that is, personal traumas, family traumas, natural disasters, migration, torture, and situations too numerous to mention. Virtually every person experiencing a traumatic event has PTSRs of one sort or another.
It is important that processing of the trauma takes place as soon as possible after the traumatic event. Still, it is useful to work with the traumas even years, or decades, after the events occur. This is important for the functioning of the person and his/her family.
Also, the person can and will transmit the trauma to other people in the vicinity and to future generations. This is very well known.
A number of organizations work with PTSRs. We are one of them. We train people without previous education in these fields to work with others in our program known as Pragmatic Empowerment Training (PET). Please see our website, www.cwwpp.org, for details.
Friday 26 June is the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture.
Unfortunately, physical, psychological, and sexual torture is extremely widespread. While it is carried out by quite a number of governments, some of which even have schools for torturers, it also is carried out by paramilitary and other groups. Also, unfortunately, torture is nothing new. It has been carried out through the millennia.
Torture of any sort is NEVER acceptable under any circumstances.
It is extremely important that ALL victims of torture get medical and psychological examination and assistance as soon as possible. Such assistance is very important, even if it is many years since the torture occurred.
The links below give organizations that can assist. If you cannot find other assistance, please contact us.
World Refugee Day is Saturday, 20 June.
We say the same thing every year and it seems to get worse rather than better.
The ways that governments are treating refugees and people attempting to assist them are nothing short of scandalous, inhumane, and blasphemous against the tenets of all religions. Virtually all refugees and asylum seekers are fleeing torture, war, discrimination, disease, and poverty. They are seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Virtually all become assets to the regions to which they flee. They provide labor and expertise and become valuable members of their new societies. Thus, rather than killing them and injuring them in pushbacks, governments and other bodies should be opening borders rather than closing them and welcoming them and providing facilities for them to learn the languages and cultures of the regions to which they come.
In order for them to function well, their traumas – that is, those of the regions of origin, those of the journey, and those of the adaptation to the receiving region – must be dealt with adequately. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. We of the CWWPP have seen over the past 25 years – and one of us since 1988 – that people can be assisted to do this with one another through programs such as our Pragmatic Empowerment Training (PET), described on our website, www.cwwpp.org. This allows people to become “barefoot therapists”, also known as “peer supporters”. We have found that this creates capacity relatively quickly and overcomes at least some cultural issues. We welcome people contacting us about this.
Our knowledge is not just theoretical. One of us, Charles, comes from a refugee family and grew up with these issues. Also, as mentioned, we have been at this for more than 25 years.
Please, let us make the world a humane place and heal those with the trauma of flight and treat them as fellow human beings.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that requires social distancing, quarantine, or isolation.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I’ve been thinking and talking with colleagues quite a bit about the situation with the corona virus in the world. There is much to say.
First, I want to note that I am not minimizing the threat of COVID-19. However, I think that talk of it, and concentration on it, has become excessive and obsessive, this to the exclusion of other issues that, in my view, we must work on. Also, I fear that there is a great deal of talk and little or no action. That concerns me greatly, as so much talk will not get us far. I will make some suggestions for action later in this letter.
The person I will be describing is fictionalized for ethical reasons. He and his family are a combination of people whom I have known over the years. The situations that I describe are very real, though.
During the last few months, the situation for migrants in southern Europe has gotten worse and worse. More are coming. Governments are treating them like criminals rather than people fleeing from war and poverty. In Croatia, the president has admitted that she has instructed the police to ignore international rules, and so the police are acting violently at the borders to push them back. We continually are hearing of serious injuries. Furthermore, the conditions within the official camps are getting worse, and ngos are not being permitted to enter them, particularly to give psychological assistance. People who assist migrants also are being treated as criminals. What we are seeing and hearing is that migrants are harming themselves, attempting and committing suicide, and committing acts of violence in greater and greater numbers. This is hardly surprising considering that they cannot move further, nor can they return to their regions of origin. They also are ashamed to go home, as their families expected them to succeed and to bring them out of the horrors of what they have experienced.