The Experience of Columbian Child Soldiers from a Resilience Perspective
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- Cortes, L. & Buchanan, M.J. Int J Adv Counselling (2007) 29: 43. doi:10.1007/s10447-006-9027-0
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There are child soldiers fighting with government forces and opposition groups in more than 30 countries worldwide. Although studies have been conducted on the impact of war-related trauma on children, very few have focused on those children who do not exhibit trauma-related symptoms after experiencing armed combat. The purpose of this study was to identify and understand some of the mechanisms and resources that resilient children draw upon to overcome the trauma of child soldiering. Six Colombian child soldiers were recruited through purposive sampling techniques to participate in a narrative study focusing on their lived experiences and their personal understanding of how they were able to overcome the effects of war trauma. Six narrative themes were identified and discussed in terms of the literature on trauma and childhood resilience and also related to counselling needs and services.