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International – Trauma healing

July 2016

Over 30,000 refugees in the Middle East are receiving psychological support from a Bible-based trauma healing programme.

Adults and children in Jordan, who have fled from Syria and Iraq, are receiving support from Bible Society, as they come to terms with the devastating effects of war across the region. Many are suffering trauma-related issues as a result of these experiences.

Healing the wounds of trauma is a worldwide programme designed to help the specific needs of people who have experienced war, disease and displacement. It uses the Bible as a source of hope and comfort. The programme is now being run in 76 countries. There are nearly 4,000 group facilitators and 183 language translations of the material.

In Jordan, trained facilitators help both Muslim and Christian families come to terms with what has happened to them. Pastor Amjad, a trained facilitator, spoke about the children they work with:

‘At first they used to draw guns, killing and negative drawings. Through prayer and trauma healing we were able to change the mindset of these children. Now we see them drawing flowers and children holding each other’s hands and things that are normal for every kind of child’.

Hope

Saraa, 30, lives with her six children in a one room apartment in Jordan. For years, she had pretended to her young children that the explosions they heard were fireworks. When the house next door was bombed, she could no longer pretend.

In Jordan, she found herself ‘broken and aggressive’. Now, she says, she’s able to cope better thanks to the trauma healing course. ‘It affected me greatly, just knowing how to deal with my anger’.

The programme is unique, because it is Bible-based and enables people to see their own experiences through characters and events from the Bible. It is adapted on an international basis into different languages, and is also adapted for children and those who cannot read.      

The work is overseen by the Trauma Healing Advisory Council (THAC). It is made up of mental health professionals, who state that the programme is not intended to ‘cure’ people, neither is it designed to be a replacement for medicine or professional therapy.

Naomi Dunn, Bible Society’s international advocacy support officer said: ‘Trauma healing works because it helps people find hope in their darkest moments … The Bible is vital to this, as it helps people find meaning and purpose knowing that they are loved and not alone’.

Bible Society in the UK is asking Christians to pray for refugees, using an interactive prayer tree. (More information from biblesociety.org.uk/prayertree)

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