The Need for Trauma-Focused Rehabilitation
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Millions of people around the world are exposed to potentially traumatic events each day. Indeed, recent U.N. reports confirm that the world is in an unprecedented mental health crisis, with existing support structures unable to meet the needs of those struggling.
Exposure to trauma has been suggested as a possible risk factor in the development of criminal or violent behavior, including violent extremism. Yet, participation in violence—including in violent extremism—can itself expose an individual to new traumas. Participants are often exposed to life-threatening situations, and even the process of exiting a violent extremist group can be stressful. While taking a pro-social step, individuals may lose relationships, sense of purpose, and goals.
Yet, most professionals and practitioners in charge of supervising those incarcerated for extremism-related offenses or those working with individuals who once joined an extremist group have not been trained to deal with the psychological or physical effects of trauma and stress, specifically when it comes to understanding the consequences that embracing extremist beliefs can have in an individual and how that damage can have long-term adverse consequences in their rehabilitation and reintegration process, including recidivism and other problem behaviors.
The purpose of these 10 two-hour virtual sessions is to equip professionals directly or indirectly involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration process of those convicted for extremism-related offenses with knowledge on how to best design and offer tailored mental health and psychosocial support services to address stigma as well as advance social, educational, and economic capital among extremism-related offenders, while building long-term resilience against extremism.
These materials are an adaptation of the Field Guide for Barefoot Psychology, developed by Beyond Conflict, an international NGO that focuses on applying brain and behavioral science to the realm of conflict resolution, peacebuilding, P/CVE, and violence prevention.
All sessions will be delivered by Beyond Conflict’s Dr. Vivian Khedari DePierro and CEP’s Dr. Juncal Fernandez-Garayzabal.