Impact Case Study
To understand children’s experiences of trauma in their ‘own’ words
In the context of ongoing war and conflict in Palestine children are often left devastated by the effects of trauma and anxiety. The pioneering research conducted by Dr Ian Barron, for the first time, identified and quantified the different types of traumatic events children experience under military occupation in Palestine. The project aimed to transform recovery programmes in Gaza, the West Bank and other Middle East countries.
Their research sought to understand children’s experiences of trauma in their ‘own’ words and, through training, counsellors developed effective listening and helping skills to allow children to feel more comfortable during trauma recovery programmes.
As a direct consequence of the Dundee research a phased programme of training has developed across Palestine. To date, the phased programme has included training:
- nine hundred school counsellors in Gaza in the indigenous Healing Trauma Combating Hatred (HTCH) programme;
- fifty school counsellors in the newly developed Arabic culture-specific version of the world leading Teaching Recovery Techniques programme (TRT);
- and, twenty school counsellors in Nablus have received the novel Listening Skills for Crisis intervention programme.
Development and Research has begun with impact in mind, to identify the most effective methods of child trauma prevention and recovery. ICCTPR has sought to bear witness to children’s experience in adversity and capacity build local services for sustainable service delivery. Children in the most marginalised groups across the world have been the focus of intervention, including children in situations of war and those who have experienced cumulative domestic violence resulting in secure accommodation/juvenile detention. The best of practice and the highest standards of evaluative research have been brought to the worst and most complex of situations. Through attracting sustainable funding, projects span local, national and international settings and are developed over a series of years. The breadth and depth of influence of this research has been captured in two recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact case studies and four star world leading REF article submissions. On-going research seeks to develop a unique cross-cultural conceptualisation of intergenerational and developmental trauma in children within a broad range of contexts involving extreme domestic and military violence. Research methods cover a wide range of methodologies including randomised control trials; participative action research (PAR); interpretive phenomenology; semi-quasi qualitative approaches and various research design field trials.
The Centre for Applied Research in Ramallah has been monitoring the gains for counsellors over time. Benefits reported by counsellors include increased:
- knowledge and recognition of the nature of children’s trauma;
- skills in listening and in the delivery of trauma recovery programmes;
- confidence in responding to traumatic events;
- networking between counsellors; and,
- confidence in practice from access to external international expert consultation.
As a direct consequence of the research involving counsellor training:
- 5000 children have received the HTCH programme in Gaza; and,
- 1000 children have received the TRT programme in the West Bank.
This has lead to substantial reductions in the rates of children meeting the criteria for:
- post traumatic stress disorder (down by 25%);
- depression (down by 50%); traumatic grief (down by 30%);
- and, other mental health concerns (down by 25%).
In addition children’s motivation and concentration in school has significantly increased (20% gains).
By the end of the rolling programme of training and programme delivery in Palestine more than 1 million children will have benefited from this initiative.