Psychological First Aid: A Tool for Mitigating Conflict in the Middle East

  • Patricia A. FindleyEmail author
  • James Halpern
  • Rebecca Rodriguez
  • Karla Vermeulen
Part of the Advances in Mental Health and Addiction book series (AMHA)


Terrorism is a complicated construct in the Middle East, particularly in the last 15 years since the Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted in September 2000. The response to this terrorism is a challenge on both the political and the psychological level as Israel addresses the need for its people to cope with very difficult and ongoing events. Through a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Bank Gaza Conflict Management and Mitigation grant, a project titled Mitigating Conflict Via Early Mental Health Interventions: Community-Based Psychological First Aid Training for Palestinians and Israelis supported the development of psychoeducation materials to provide families and helpers with some of the tools necessary for coping and recovery as well as the training of community members in the practice of psychological first aid (PFA). This chapter reports on the activities of the grant that brought American trauma experts and partners in the Middle East together to use PFA as a means to promote coping following trauma, but also as a way to promote conflict mitigation among the project participants. The PFA training materials were translated and adapted from English into Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian, then educators worked to promote understanding and train community members in the practice of PFA. The challenges of doing such cooperative work amid a backdrop of conflict and war and cultural and language variations will be discussed, as well as the effectiveness of these programs in Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem, Israeli, and Bedouin communities.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Collective Efficacy Disaster Mental Health Collaborative Service Hebrew Speaker 
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia A. Findley
    • 1
    Email author
  • James Halpern
    • 2
  • Rebecca Rodriguez
    • 2
  • Karla Vermeulen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social Work, Rutgers University, The State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Disaster Mental HealthState University of New York, New PaltzNew YorkUSA

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