The only effective path forward in addressing the impact of trauma globally, in our opinion, is a paradigm shift from the authority of experts to the innate wisdom of individuals and communities.
The solution to the one billion resides with the one billion themselves. They are our most powerful resource.
Grassroots, community self-care peer programs, supported and facilitated by existing infrastructures, hold the key to broad and effective healing for individuals and thus their communities.
It is our opinion that there is far too little research on the efficacy of telling the trauma story although various narrative approaches have been shown to work. Research is needed to establish the efficacy of a non-pathologizing, non-medical, peer-to-peer model that does not diagnose or treat any medical condition but simply provides a safe space and a predictable structure in which the trauma story can be told.
We consider there to be a “scale of therapeutic chemistry” from most effective to least effective. Those who have experienced the same or similar trauma and have learned the necessary knowledge and skills are at the top of that scale. This is probably the reason for the observation by many practitioners that people often open up and benefit in group therapy with fellow sufferers more than they do in one-to-one sessions with a professional therapist. Unless the therapist has had the same experience he or she cannot, in fact, entirely understand when listening to the trauma story. The chance to fully open up with each other in a one-to-one setting and process their unique and entirely subjective experience is deeply healing for both the narrator and the listener. As one of our participants put it, "We speak to each other in emotional shorthand."
Great strides have been made in the field of psychotraumatology in recent decades. Relying on the fundamentals that have emerged and the work that the program developer had done for years, she has developed the Community Self-Care Demonstration Program (CSDP). We now have the opportunity to offer communities around the world an effective, non-proprietary, generic approach to increasing individual and, thereby, community resilience – a program that communities can ultimately own and replicate where needed and wanted. In addition to being non-medical and thus avoiding the potential stigma of mental health that so often keeps traumatized people (particularly young men) away, the program is also not affiliated with any religion.
In order for the CSDP to be taught and used widely, it must demonstrate that it is therapeutically valid and cost effective and thus earn its place as a broad-reaching contributing solution to the problem of the one billion+.