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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

Trauma and Resilience Among Displaced Populations

A Sociocultural Exploration

  • Includes cases based on the author’s own 10-year experience working in emergency contexts with displaced populations in 11 countries across the world

  • Focuses on the mental health of displaced populations from a uniquely psychological, sociocultural, and ecological perspective

  • Provides practical applications for non-specialist professionals working with displaced populations in complex institutional systems

  • Is an open access book

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (13 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley Ph.D.
    Pages 1-28Open Access
  3. Trauma and Migration

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 29-65Open Access
  4. Prevalence of PTSD Among Displaced Populations—Three Case Studies

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 67-82Open Access
  5. Beyond PTSD

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 83-111Open Access
  6. Culturally Informed Manifestations of Trauma

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 113-146Open Access
  7. Collective Trauma, Collective Healing

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 147-173Open Access
  8. Collective Resilience and Imagination

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 175-194Open Access
  9. Collective Aspirations

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 195-208Open Access
  10. Working with Shame and Trauma

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 209-232Open Access
  11. Working with Cultural Mediators

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 233-247Open Access
  12. Working with PTSD in the Asylum Procedure

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 249-275Open Access
  13. Conclusion

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages 277-305Open Access
  14. Correction to: Trauma and Resilience Among Displaced Populations

    • Gail Theisen-Womersley
    Pages C1-C1Open Access

About this book

This open access book provides an enriched understanding of historical, collective, cultural, and identity-related trauma, emphasising the social and political location of human subjects. It therefore presents a socio-ecological perspective on trauma, rather than viewing displaced individuals as traumatised “passive victims”.  

The vastness of the phenomenon of trauma among displaced populations has led it to become a critical and timely area of inquiry, and this book is an important addition to the literature. It gives an overview of theoretical frameworks related to trauma and migration—exploring factors of risk and resilience, prevalence rates of PTSD, and conceptualisations of trauma beyond psychiatric diagnoses; conceptualises experiences of trauma from a sociocultural perspective (including collective trauma, collective aspirations, and collective resilience); and provides applications for professionals working with displaced populations in complex institutional, legal, and humanitarian settings. It includes case studies based on the author’s own 10-year experience working in emergency contexts with displaced populations in 11 countries across the world. This book presents unique data collected by the author herself, including interviews with survivors of ISIS attacks, with an asylum seeker in Switzerland who set himself alight in protest against asylum procedures, and women from the Murle tribe affected by the conflict in South Sudan who experienced an episode of mass fainting spells. This is an important resource for academics and professionals working in the field of trauma studies and with traumatised groups and individuals.


  • collective trauma
  • refugee resilience
  • trauma and refugees
  • resilience and migration
  • adversity and migration
  • PTSD among refugees
  • PTSD in the asylum procedure
  • shame and trauma
  • identity-related trauma
  • collective resilience
  • conflict in South Sudan
  • ISIS attacks
  • Open access

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institut de Psychologie et Education, University of Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland

    Gail Theisen-Womersley

About the author

Dr. Gail Theisen-Womersley is a South African clinical psychologist who has developed and implemented mental health programmes with international associations in Iraq, Greece, the Philippines, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Ukraine, Zimbabwe, Israel, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This clinical experience includes conducting individual and group trauma-focused counselling for refugee and IDP populations affected by conflict, torture, and violence. It also includes counselling and training staff working in crisis environments. Gail has also worked as a clinical psychologist for the South African Department of Health and the Department of Defence. Her therapeutic orientation is informed by a sociocultural and systemic perspective of mental health. Her doctoral thesis, from the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, explores PTSD among refugee victims of torture from this perspective.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Trauma and Resilience Among Displaced Populations

  • Book Subtitle: A Sociocultural Exploration

  • Authors: Gail Theisen-Womersley

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-67711-4Published: 20 March 2021

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-67714-5Published: 20 March 2021

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-67712-1Published: 19 March 2021

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XII, 305

  • Number of Illustrations: 17 b/w illustrations, 22 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Society, Cross-Cultural Psychology, Psychiatry

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)