|Narcissistic Clients Great Attachment Debate Mindfulness Trauma Attachment Mind/Body Future of Psychotherapy David Schnarch Couples Diets Gender Issues Anxiety CE Comments Symposium 2012 William Doherty Etienne Wenger Men in Therapy Alan Sroufe Clinical Mastery Wendy Behary Attachment Theory Mary Jo Barrett Linda Bacon Brain Science Ethics Couples Therapy Challenging Cases Community of Excellence Clinical Excellence The Future of Psychotherapy|
|Hope in the Ruins - Page 2|
Arriving in Haiti
As our plane descends into Port-au-Prince, I can see military vehicles, boxes of aid materials, and warehouses dotting the area around the airport. Inside the arrival terminal, a mariachi band is playing as we make our way through the chaotic baggage-claim area into the blazing hot mob-scene outside. UN vehicles, a snaking tangle of cars, and throngs of people jam every inch of space. Dust and automobile fumes are everywhere. Soldiers and UN peacekeepers with automatic weapons patrol the street.
It takes more than an hour before we spot the people who are supposed to meet us. They're holding a sign saying "Welcome TRI," the name of our nonprofit group, Trauma Resource Institute. We never go into a disaster setting without a sponsor—an organization with strong ties in and knowledge of the area—and a source of funding. This collaboration between TRI and the sponsor—here in Haiti, it's the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)—helps us contact survivors and potential trainees, and helps assure that whatever we offer will fit with local customs and norms. Breathing sighs of relief when we finally find the crowded UUSC van, we settle in for the three-hour journey to Papaye in the Central Plateau, one of Haiti's poorest rural areas.
Since the earthquake, more than 10,000 people have fled or been relocated to Papaye, swelling an already impoverished population to the breaking point. We'll be working in sites connected to the Mouvemente Paysan Papaye (MPP), a grassroots service-and-advocacy organization for the peasant population of Haiti, founded more than 30 years ago, which now has more than 35,000 members. Through MPP, we have immediate access to the other organizations in Port-au-Prince and the Central Plateau that can direct us to the people most in need of our intervention program, the Trauma Resiliency Model for Communities (TRM-C), which is oriented to nonclinicians and to creating networks of trauma and resiliency-informed communities.
During the past five years, we've brought biologically based interventions to Thailand (post-tsunami), Rwanda (post-genocide), Kenya (with a project addressing female genital cutting and a current project providing TRM-C following the post-election tribal violence), and Sichuan Province (following the massive earthquake there). In the process, we've seen firsthand the benefit of using a biological approach to trauma with cultures that are communally, rather than individually, oriented and in which counseling or psychotherapy are considered to be for "crazy people." TRM-C focuses on the ways in which our bodies react when we experience fear and threat. Regardless of where we happen to live, our bodies are neurologically programmed with the same set of automatic survival responses, which can lead to the same set of trauma-response symptoms when our defense reactions are thwarted.