Narrative responses to trauma in Palestine : A partnership between TRC and Dulwich Centre

The Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC)

TRC is a non-governmental, nonprofit organisation that provides comprehensive psychosocial services to survivors of torture and organised violence in the West Bank in the Palestinian Territories.

TRC works to reduce the traumatic and devastating physical and psychological consequences of torture and organised violence and reduce retaliatory acts by offering victims and their families comprehensive medical, physical, psychiatric, and psychological care completely free-of-charge in a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

TRC also works to prevent and combat torture, violence, and impunity through training, research, and advocacy.

The Dulwich Centre has an eight year history of working in partnership with the TRC, and building the capacity of its workers. Over the last three years, our partnership has been supported by The European Commission. The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is funding the Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture (TRC) to implement an action known as Sustaining and Enhancing Comprehensive, Community-based Service Delivery to Victims of Torture and Politically Motivated Violence living in the North and South of the West Bank. Dulwich Centre Foundation International is a formal partner of this project.

Project goals

One of the aims of this three year project involves building the capacity of TRC staff in narrative responses to trauma so that by the end of 2011 the TRC will be in a position to:

  • Supervise their own staff in the use of narrative responses to trauma
  • Offer training in narrative responses to trauma throughout the Palestinian Territories

The funding from the EC will end at the end of this year and Dulwich Centre and TRC are both looking for funding support to continue our partnership. Our partnership has been extremely successful, not only has it resulted in building the capacity of local therapists, it has also resulted in the publication of articles and presentations at international conferences.

articleWhen the trauma is not past or ‘post’: Palestinian perspectives on responding to trauma and torture 


This publication includes the following articles:

  • Responding to continuing traumatic events, Dr Mahmud Sehwail
  • A human rights approach to psychotherapy, Khader Rasras
  • Glimpses of therapeutic conversations: Engaging with narrative ideas – Bilal Hassounh, Iman Ja’ouni, Deema Al Tibi, Amani Al-Jamal, Maryam Burqan, Wisam Abdallah
  • Public speech: Bringing people together, Faiseh Muhtaseb
  • The media as an avenue for therapeutic and community work, Hasan Salim

Seasons of Life: Ex-detainess reclaiming their lives, Nihaya Mahmud Abu-Rayyan

articleThis paper describes therapeutic/psychosocial support work with Palestinian ex-prisoners. This work draws upon imagery from nature’s seasons and elements to create conversations based on a ‘seasons of life’ metaphor. This metaphor enables ex-detainees to trace their journey through the stages of detention, incarceration, and release into society. This approach offers opportunities for ex-detainees to offer double-storied testimonies of their prison experiences and to draw upon the skills and knowledges they used to endure incarceration in order to move forward with their lives.

The next steps in our partnership are to involve supporting TRC staff to supervise and teach practitioners throughout Palestine and other Arabic speaking countries.

We have recently published an Arabic handbook in relation to narrative responses to trauma. This handbook includes hopeful stories of practice from TRC staff and will be used to support workers throughout the Palestine. An English version of this handbook is also now available !


Contact Dulwich Centre for more information.

The following TRC therapists are using narrative practices in their work:

Top: Akram Musbah Sobeh Othman, Alaa Jafar Ismael Harb, Hussam Jamal Abud Shufut, Ibrahim Mohammad Hamze Yassin

Middle-top: Jamal Mohammad Said Daglas (always in our memories), Khader Mahmud Ahmad Rasras, Miassar Yousef Ali Sbeih, Mohammed Abed Ahmad Absi

Middle-bottom: Nahed Mahmud Awawwdah, Nihaya Mahmoud Abu-Rayyan, Osama Ibraheem Said Eesheh, Sahar Mustafa Ismael Mohammed

Bottom: Sawsan Mohammad Yusef Tabanja, Wael Yousef Mohammad Dawabsha

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