Healing

How do communities around the globe recover from the emotional and psychological wounds of torture and war?

And how can both service providers in developed countries and NGOs in the developing world foster healing in the aftermath of these horrors?

Survivors of war’s atrocities must learn to live with what can never be forgotten. Simply resuming daily function means contending with tangible reminders of vulnerability and loss. Where entire populations have been targeted for abuse, the impact of these losses is magnified. Traditional, collective endeavors are often torn apart entirely. Especially in the developing world, post-conflict communities coming to terms with massive violence struggle with terribly complex obstacles, and all the more so where vicious rivalries remain deeply rooted and the worst of emotional wounds ignored.

Global WellBeing focuses on restoring communities’ capacity to define their own pathways to reconciliation after the destruction of war and organized violence. Dedicated to fostering community healing and reintegration in such contexts, Global WellBeing Director David Alan Harris is both a dance artist and a mental health clinician specialized in torture rehabilitation. David initiated and ran a successful psychosocial support program in the U.S. for resettled refugee minors from the South Sudan, which used dance as its primary modality for healing.

David has also developed a dance/movement therapy process he calls Rehearsing Connection and trained local counselors extensively in Sierra Leone, and more briefly in Liberia, and Zimbabwe to use dancing and creative movement in their interventions and self-care. The remarkable success of the dance-based group David ran with Sierra Leonean former boy combatants is testament to the vast potential for these restorative, community-based practices to foster genuine reconciliation after the most unthinkable horror.

Having trained African counselors to draw on the strength of dancing traditions as a venerable source of post-conflict healing with survivors of atrocity, David aims to share the Global WellBeing healing message with new audiences.

Global WellBeing offers a range of training opportunities to help providers develop useful skills and create more effective, culturally-relevant psychosocial interventions. Since responding to the needs of child soldiers and other children of war is at the core of the Global WellBeing mission, financial subsidies may be available to support trainings in post-crisis situations in developing countries, particularly for NGO personnel serving war-affected children.

Click here to view a video of a workshop session for psychosocial counselors in Liberia.