Child Trauma Recovery in War Torn Contexts

The University of Dundee played the key role in an international partnership involving researchers from London, Bergen and Ramallah which led to the design of and implementation of screening measures for child trauma.

Child Trauma Recovery in War Torn Contexts

Awards for School counsellors trained in the Teaching Recovery Techniques programme, developed by the world leading Children and War Foundation (CAW).

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.

Research Impact

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.

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.

Discover More

  • Case study on the School of Education, Social Work & Community Education website

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Dr Ian Barron

Reader in Trauma Studies


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