Human Rights Office is in the process of Supporting Trauma for the parental survivor groups from 2004 through counseling, workshops on healing, celebration of memories in different ways.
Taking another step forward, moving towards Trauma Support to the off springs of the survivor families, for the first time we successfully conducted a workshop from the 11th- 13th August 2014 at the National Seminary Philosophate Ampitiya Kandy for the children of the trauma victims
“I was the best student in grade 5, but after my father was tortured I failed in my grade 05 scholarship examinations”
“Now I am more anxious than before and I find to handle difficult situations”
“After my father was tortured I am afraid to go along, even to go the school my mother accompanies me”
“My relationship with others is disturbed. I find difficult to face them and tend to avoid those whom I knew before the traumatic incident of my father”
“When I meet those who killed my father I get an uncontrollable impulse to harm them and kill them”
Children living with traumatized parents are influenced by the continuous trauma symptoms that the parents display at home. The emotional instability that comes with the symptoms becomes embedded in the children. Trauma is passed from parents to their children (Trans-Generational Transmission of Trauma) and children start displaying the symptoms as well e.g. anxiety, difficulty in concentration, emotional numbness, anger, impulsive attempts to take revenge etc.
The workshop was planned in detail to meet the psychological needs of the children of the survivor families and support trauma. The trauma stories told and retold and reassessed, and the in depth pain of the trauma was dealt with Art therapy, trauma healing exercises and group sharing.
The Art Therapy sessions touching the pre- trauma scenario and slowly moved to trauma story and the post trauma situation covering the whole life span of children. At in between sessions for the first time the children freely expressed their pain and the struggle that they go through with the parents who were tortured and suffer with trauma. Trauma healing exercises were introduced to release the pain and bring them to a relaxed mood.
There were 35 children and 05 parents who accompanied them. There were children of parents who were disappeared, fathers imprisoned and some tortured by the law-enforcing agencies during their period of detention and now being released. Often the parents refrained in speaking about the Torture they underwent and therefore the children experienced the trauma the parents go through.
Within a very short time, the children organized a very colorful programme for the final night of their recreation with dances, drama, songs and music. The performance of a child with special needs was also highlighted in the recreation. The audience was stuck with emotions when the children explained the reasons for being present for the workshop and expressed their joy of being together with sentiments of appreciation to the facilitators and organizers.
The research of trans-generational transmission of trauma began with the study of children of holocaust survivors and recent researches suggest it can also be transferred genetically and not solely due to learn or psychological implications.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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