Violence, attacks, internal displacement, disappearances and abductions of people thousands of murders and illegal recruitment characterize the history of Colombia for more than 50 years. After an ongoing wave of violence and terror, the Colombian government began the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of illegal armed groups in 2006. The process serves 55,800 demobilized and is coordinated by the High Commissioner for Reintegration (Agencia Colombiana para la Reintegración – ACR ) and implemented locally through 26 service centres . The ACR offers the ex-combatants both psychosocial support and assistance in their professional reintegration.
In a recent study by vivo international, interviewing 252 Colombian ex-combatants, it turned out that over 30% met the diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The IOM (International Organization for Migration) in collaboration with the ACR mandated vivo international to develop and support the care centres for ex-combatants nationwide in their mental health provision. The training allows psychologists to recognize trauma spectrum disorders and to offer Narrative Exposure Therapy to the beneficiaries. The implementation of a trauma -focused intervention in the Colombian Reintegration Program can assist the participants to better utilize the DDR services and enable social reintegration of the demobilized in the long run.