vivo international has more than a decade of experience in training local personnel in conflict- and post-conflict areas to deliver trauma-focused therapy (Narrative Exposure Therapy) and similar methods. In October 2013 vivo organized two trainings in trauma therapy in the Kivu regions in Goma and Bukavu. The aim of vivo was to enable local staff in this war-affected region to help traumatized people in need.
The training in Bukavu included a wide range of health personnel like psychologists, doctors, nurses and social workers who work mainly in the context of gender-based violence.
Participants received knowledge about the basic concepts of war‐related mental disorders. They learned interviewing techniques, basic counselling skills like empathic listening and how to screen for PTSD. The main part of the training focused theoretically and practically on Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET).
In Goma, the staff of two local NGO’s took part in the training. Both work with vulnerable youth who is affected by the war. The majority of these young people had previously been involved in fighting in armed groups, often via forced recruitment at a young age.
The aim of this training was to enable the employees of these two local NGOs who are already working with these young people to identify those who are experiencing PTSD and difficulties managing aggression, and to treat them using Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) and Narrative Exposure Therapy for Forensic Offender Rehabilitation (FORNET).
Similar trainings were also held in Dungu (in the Lord Resistance Army affected region of the north-eastern DR Congo) as well as in Bukavu (for MONUSCO staff). In total, more than 60 participants successfully completed the trainings. Through these trainings vivo enables local staff to fight the war in the minds of many affected people and to deal with the high rates of traumatized people in the society of an ongoing crisis region.