Resilience, Suffering and Creativity: The Work of the Refugee Therapy Centre

Editor : Aida Alayarian

Resilience, Suffering and Creativity: The Work of the Refugee Therapy Centre

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The trauma of refugee status is particularly corrosive. It does the usual harm of devastating our own self-image and sense of permanence in the world, but it does more. It is a dislocation from our familiar domestic geography and culture, and that must wrench from our grasp all the external markers by which we know ourselves and our worth. The threat of persecution, torture, and death is aimed at a complete destabilization. The result is a complex of anxieties that add up to far more than simple suffering. If therapy is primarily aimed at the gentle exposure of one's worst fears, then what purchase can it have on this most ungentle process of becoming a refugee?

Reviews and Endorsements

'This book is a true labour of love. Staff and associates of the Refugee Therapy Centre in London give their testimonies and reflections on issues of theory and practice connected with working with refugees. Their central theme is that of resilience which is a much-neglected perspective in this field. The book is inspiring, instructive and authoritative. An essential reading for all who work with this group of people.'
- Prof. Renos K Papadopoulos, Tavistock Clinic and University of Essex

'Resilience, Suffering, and Creativity offers a particularly thoughtful overview of what is needed by those who have come finally to rest in some refuge. The specific issues in this kind of work are raised here - the role of words in treating trauma that comes from physical and bodily privation; the indicators by which we can pick those whose resilience can carry them through; the place of social network support (and its loss); the role of the therapeutic institution for people who have been institutionally persecuted; and so on. It is a far-reaching contribution to addressing these various issues and is, by necessity, a vehicle that gives us a feel of the refugee experience through the vignettes. The book itself does a containing job on this most disorientating of all fates. It is a job to help those with less resilience, and it is a job to help those who have to listen therapeutically to the refugee experience.'
- Bob Hinshelwood, Psychoanalyst, Professor in the Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies, University of Essex

About the Editor(s)

Aida Alayarian is a consultant clinical psychologist, child psychotherapist since 1986, and adult psychoanalytic psychotherapist since 1998. She has a Masters in Medical Anthropology and Intercultural Psychotherapy, with a background in Medicine. She is the founder and currently Clinical Director of the Refugee Therapy Centre.

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