A Philippine Human Rights NGO providing Psychosocial Services and Rehabilitation to Internally Displaced Persons and Survivors of Torture and Organized Violence.

A BALAY Perspective on Psychosocial Work

The concept and practice of psychosocial intervention have gained attention in a number of relief agencies, humanitarian organizations and development-oriented service providers with the resurgence of armed hostilities in Mindanao. Trauma, debriefing, defusing, counseling, therapy and other terms and approaches usually employed by mental health professionals, social workers and community counselors have became new buzzwords. Some of these found their way to the language of a number of survivors of war who have recovered from trauma through the intervention of caregivers and counselors. However, a lot remains to be done to make clear what psychosocial rehabilitation is, and to bring it to the mainstream of responding to the rights and welfare of survivors of armed conflict and internal displacement.

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Grief Processing: Healing Traumatic Wounds

Nuraida (not her real name) still remembers her slippers, umbrella, and flower pot she left behind when they hurriedly left their house in Barira, Maguindanao. She was not able to bring any of them when her family escaped from the military assault when the war between government forces and Muslim rebels erupted in March last year. Tears swell at her black eyes when little details of that tragic episode come back to her. She recalls that she was playing with her friends when the first bomb exploded in the middle of their village. But that was all what Nuraida's remembers. Her mind seems to have formed an impregnable wall that shuts off the other images about the terror that shattered their lives. She said that she is only 9 years old, but her frail body betrays her real age.

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Caring for those who care

Caring for others entails some cost to anyone who is into the field of caregiving. Professionals or paraprofessionals who listen to the stories of pain, fear, suffering, anger and agony of others as consequences of a traumatic event have to contend not only with the normal stress or dissatisfaction of work, but also with the emotional and personal feelings for the suffering of others.

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