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Restoring Self in Community: Collective Approaches to Psychological Trauma after Genocide


  • Laurie Anne Pearlman, Trauma Research, Education, and Training Institute, Inc., Holyoke, Massachusetts. The author would like to thank Jamie Sullivan, B.A., for research assistance.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Laurie Anne Pearlman, PO Box 1367, Holyoke, MA 01041, USA [e-mail:].


Recovery from the profound negative psychological and spiritual effects of genocide is essential for individuals to live fulfilling lives, engage in reconciliation, and prevent future violence. This article discusses community approaches to trauma recovery that focus on individuals within their social context. It briefly identifies common psychological problems that follow genocide. It then presents constructivist self development theory (CSDT) as a foundation for understanding these effects and the RICH (Respect, Information, Connection, and Hope) framework, based in CSDT, for designing and assessing the effects of post-genocide psychosocial interventions. The article reviews three approaches to collective recovery: a multifamily group approach, a psychoeducational program focused on youth, and a public education program aimed to promote trauma recovery and prevent future violence. The RICH framework is applied to each approach.