Trauma

Group work with trauma victims is a comparatively new field but one in which there is a vigorous range of applications. The most comprehensive overview is that by van der Kolk(l28) which describes a broad range of work. There are now groups for survivors of sexual abuse, ^l30) war trauma,(l31) generational protection against and generational transmission of trauma,(l3,2) and torture and other forms of organized violence. At the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture in London a group work programme caters for a large population of refugees and asylum-seekers. The groups provide psychotherapy for massive psychic and physical trauma, for problems of displacement and exile, and for transcultural problems.(l33) The diversity of different kinds of groups, including a range of activity, problem-solving, and psychodynamic groups, ensures that people can be provided with an environment in which they can each realize their own potential for self-healing. (134)

Group analysis provides a clinical frame by recognizing the needs of the whole person, by affording a relational focus in and beyond the group, and by seeking change through the ordinary language of a group in the free exchange of its members. Where possible therapists work in pairs; they have regular supervision and meetings to share and evaluate their workA35) The programme is grounded in a commitment to human rights, to teamwork that addresses countertransference issues, and to principles of positive intervention to counter emotions of hopelessness and despair. ^l37,138)

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