Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 251–286 | Cite as

“It takes a village to heal a child”: Necessary spectrum of expertise and benevolence by therapists, Non-Governmental Organizations, and the United Nations in managing war-zone stress in children traumatized by political violence

  • Erwin Randolph Parson


This article highlights the post-traumatic stress responses in some war-zone children who were exposed to political violence—witnessing unspeakable horror, maimings, brutal beatings, torture, and murders. Children inducted into rebel military units to serve as child-soldiers further traumatized self and others by raping and killing children and adults. Additionally, some children go without food, shelter, and adult protection, while finding themselves as refugees in a foreign country. This article advances some conceptual, technical, and practical issues in intervention with these children and provides a model of intervention that seeks to integrate established international policies of the United Nations (UN) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) along with cognitive, behavioral, and psychodynamic clinical approaches in the context of cultural/racial sensitivity and indigenous folk medicine. The child's adaptational strengths are discussed, and the recognition and management of transference and countertransference are not ignored in the treatment of traumatized children. Basically, the author's point of view is that Western models of interventions are very useful, but that the personal, cultural, social, spiritual, and economic resources of the child's homeland or village probably constitute the best system for healing and integration after brief or continuous exposure to political violence.


United Nations Foreign Country Practical Issue Continuous Exposure Folk Medicine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erwin Randolph Parson
    • 1
  1. 1.Perry Point

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