Photo by Tony Cece

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Trauma Team Aids Kenyan Mall Hostages

School of Psychology & Counseling 2013 trauma team.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Benjamin Keyes.

October 4, 2013
A volunteer group of 15 psychologists and professional counselors in Kenya is using trauma training materials developed by Regent University School of Psychology & Counseling (SPC) professors in their work helping hostage survivors of the Kenyan mall attack and family members of deceased victims to cope with the tragedy.

Over the last two years, Regent's trauma team, led by SPC professor Dr. Benjamin Keyes, has traveled to Kenya each summer to provide counseling to villagers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the perpetual discord and violence in the Rift Valley. As part of these outreaches, the most recent of which took place in August 2013, the group offered a series of training workshops for local mental health professionals, community leaders, pastors, families and school children.

The training material addressed issues such as psychological first aid, how best to respond to violence, treating traumatized families, treating trauma in children and adolescents, conflict resolution and domestic violence.

Members of the local Kenyan volunteer team took part in this training by the Regent group. The Kenyan team is now, in turn, using that information to provide counseling to hostage survivors and families of the deceased victims of the mall attack.

Joseph Njoroge, who is part of the Kenyan team and chairman of Family Life Healing Initiative (FALIHEIN), an organization that works with bereaved families in Kenya, said, "We are providing significant psychological help to those affected by the mall attack, as many people have been overwhelmed by it. The training material provided by the Regent trauma team has been most helpful and has added much value to what we are doing."

Dr. Keyes, who also serves as the director of Regent's Center for Trauma studies stated, "The people of this area have already seen a tremendous amount of suffering due to tribal violence over the last 15 years. This mall attack has only complicated matters for them. Trauma counseling such as this can have a great impact on one's life, and we take comfort knowing that local volunteers have stepped up to help those who are suffering."

Learn more about Regent University's School of Psychology & Counseling and the Center for Trauma Studies.

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