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While events of human violence may occur on just a single day, their impact on survivors and their families and can last a lifetime.

The complex multiple effects of extreme violence on human beings demand equally complex methods for discovery and treatment. Observing and caring for the scars of torture on a survivor’s body requires different skills than appreciating the inner suffering of a survivor of sexual violence. Some effects of violence are deeply personal and individualized; others seem to be almost universal.

To understand the suffering and resiliency created by human aggression throughout the world, HPRT has used many separate but interlocking methods to generate new, effective therapeutic insights. These methods and practices include knowledge gained from clinical experience, qualitative and quantitative research, epidemiology, oral histories, and the arts.

HPRT, since it was founded in 1981, has used what is known as a “phenomenological approach.” This approach places aside all presumed knowledge as to the nature of the refugee experience and its medical and psychiatric outcomes. The validity of the current “knowledge” is suspended. It is considered to be neither right nor wrong. To develop a “new” science of healing for survivors of mass violence, for example, HPRT clinicians had to confront their cases directly, without current scientific biases clouding a direct and fresh understanding of the phenomena being observed.

Through this approach of mutual engagement, continued over two decades, a very exciting new area of knowledge evolved. Click here for an extended discussion of HPRT’s methodology.