HPRT has authored and translated several training curricula for primary care doctors, mental health practitioners, and bicultural clinicians dealing with the aftermath of mass violence and natural disasters. These will be made available on this site in the coming months.
Training others is a responsibility to the field. Those with a little more knowledge and experience should share their insights with others who can profit from this. Yet training requires caution and responsibility in a medical discipline that is still in its infancy.
The refugee, torture survivor, and civilian survivor of mass violence must be equal partners in the training process. On a clinical level, HPRT’s many training activities have always been in partnership with local health/mental health practitioners and survivors. HPRT’s staff for over two decades has been a multicultural and multilingual group. Many members of HPRT’s staff are also trauma survivors. On a macro level, HPRT has established productive partnerships with universities, their faculty, and their students in conflict/post-conflict societies.
Training others in the mental health care of survivors of mass violence and torture demands an exquisite sensitivity to four major issues:
- Cultural competence: HPRT, in all of its training efforts, creates a curriculum that is based upon understands the cultural meaning of trauma and the healing worldview of the local community.
- Culturally effective practices: HPRT works using diagnoses and treatment techniques derived from both western and local medical and traditional healing practices.
- Human rights: Patients and therapists often live and work in societies where human rights violations are still occurring. While confidentiality and informed consent remain the foundations of ethical treatment, the human rights environment affecting medical and mental health care must be fully considered. Doctors, therapists and patients cannot be put at risk; they must be protected from further violence in the community.
- Self-Care: Self-care of the health care workers and therapists must be dealt with in the training. HPRT’s trainees are often as traumatized as their patients. In addition, most health care workers have extraordinarily heavy clinical responsibilities in resource-poor environments. On a daily basis these providers deal with extremely depressing and painful situations primarily related to the cruelty of human violence and its impact. The physical and mental well-being of providers must be addressed. This is called “self-care.” Teaching self-care is critical for a provider’s health, well being and effectiveness.