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Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 63-65

From the editor: on deviation(s)

Editor in Chief

Date of Web Publication30-Jul-2018

Correspondence Address:
Marian Tankink

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/INTV.INTV_49_18

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How to cite this article:
Tankink M. From the editor: on deviation(s). Intervention 2018;16:63-5

How to cite this URL:
Tankink M. From the editor: on deviation(s). Intervention [serial online] 2018 [cited 2023 Jun 9];16:63-5. Available from: http://www.interventionjournal.org//text.asp?2018/16/2/63/237958

The word ‘deviation’ has specific − and differing − meanings within psychology and statistics. That is also true within the context of this very special issue of Intervention 16.2, where deviation can have either very positive consequences, such as innovation, new perspectives or approaches, or negative ones. On the positive side, we present a Special section written by humanitarian workers who participated in a course of the International Organization for Migrants (IOM), which deviates from our ‘norms’, both by publishing student work and the fact that these interventions are very small, but still have much to teach us. We also deviate from the well-established ‘norm’ within humanitarian and psychosocial fields of avoiding political commentary. This ‘norm’ was established for very good reasons, to allow aid workers to cross borders and sides safely, but as we have discussed in our work that has crossed into peace building, and in cases of torture, should we remain impartial bystanders, and what are the negative consequences of doing so?

  Current affairs Top

This issue opens with that very question in a Current affairs editorial by Gerald Gray. Although we often use Field reports or Personal reflections for this section, this editorial raises such serious concerns − within the UN definition of torture − we have chosen to deviate from our usual path. Gray’s concerns surround the alleged human rights violations occurring at the United States/Mexican border because of the policy of the United States. In an attempt to stop to illegal border crossings, in spite of the right of anyone to present at the border seeking asylum, the American Government has begun prosecuting parents and separating them from their children in the El Paso border area. In his contribution, ‘Children “disappeared” at the United States/Mexican border: a symptom with consequences for the United States’, Gray states that adult, illegal immigrants are made to wait in prison for as long as it takes for them to give up and return to their countries of origin. While doing this, the children are taken away to places unknown. The children are thus used as tools to increase pressure on the adults who brought them. Civil Right activists were able to bring this under the attention of the public and the US judge has ruled that the children should be reunited with their parents, but, as of going to press, few cases have been resolved with some children ’lost’ in the system. What can be the role of our field in such situations? Shouldn’t medical and psychological research and involvement contribute to the current legal debate of human rights organisations in the United States? In our field, advocating for humanity has become an essential part of helping people keep or regain physical, mental and social well-being.

Special section: Psychosocial support and conflict transformation: a necessary dialogue

The contributions in this special section are from Turkish professionals working with Syrian refugees in the Turkey who followed the course ‘Psychosocial Support and Dialogue’ organised by IOM at the Social Sciences University of Ankara. The Editorial Board of Intervention believes that it is invaluable to provide space to small case studies, written by students. It not only offers new and unusual insights into how creativity can be used as a way of expressing the unspeakable in a safe environment, or in cases of conflict transformation, thus providing an alternative − or deviation − to hopelessness. It also serves as an extra dimension to the course itself by allowing students to write and publish a paper, and we are proud to provide that platform. We hope that you will enjoy reading them as much as we did. For further information on this Special section and for short descriptions of the contributions, please see the Introduction to Special section on: psychosocial support, conflict transformation and creative approaches in response to the needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey by Guglielmo Schininà, Head of Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication of IOM and myself.

  Articles Top

Two articles about Ebola open our Articles section, both in valuable contributions as we now experience a new Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Inka Weissbecker, Reshma Roshania, Vanessa Cavallera, Michaela Mallow, Ashley Leichner, Jules Antigua, James Gao and Adam Carl Levine describe in their article, Integrating psychosocial support at Ebola treatment units in Sierra Leone and Liberia, a model of the International Medical Corps to reduce patient and family distress and to promote healthy behaviours and recovery. It is an innovative and comprehensive model used and tested in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Their findings show that it is essential to include mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS)-related approaches integral in every step of the process of care, and thus, the whole-systems approach based on Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) MHPSS guidelines should be implemented.

The article ‘New targets for behaviour change in Ebola outbreaks: ideas for future interventions’ by Tara Zolnikov asks for more attention to social and behavioural factors and states that if social and behavioural understandings are embedded within interventions and programmes − at the levels of individuals, communities and international networks − there is more chance for long-lasting change in terms of dangerous behaviour, not only within affected communities, but also within institutions, key players and at a broader level. She pleas to include theoretical perspectives on health and behaviour to improve programme effectiveness by including personalised, culture-based information within the context of the surrounding environment. I invite readers of Intervention to react to both Ebola articles, related to other experiences, findings and practices.

The other articles in this issue address a wide range of topics, but the first two address refugees in Western countries.

The first article that addresses refugees is by Ortal Slobodin, Samrad Ghane and Joop de Jong. They present a pilot study entitled ‘Developing a culturally sensitive mental health intervention for asylum seekers in the Netherlands’. Their small research project with residents of an asylum-seekers centre in the Netherlands, focussed on the needs and expectations regarding support. Because conflict can be considered as a disruption of the social ecology, as well as its cultural systems, it is considered an assault on meaning. According to the authors, interventions should always be culturally informed and go beyond the individual, intra-personal level.

Gail Womersley and Laure Kloetzer also address the importance of culturally informed treatment for refugees. In their article ‘“This is not paranoia, this is real life”: psychosocial interventions for refugee victims of torture in Athens’, they also plead for culturally relevant interventions for refugees. They illustrate, through use of a case study, the psychological impact and cultural manifestations of trauma within the current realities of refugees (in Europe) as they adapt to their new environment. They present an interpersonal/social model is that examines various post migration feedback loops influencing post-traumatic symptomatology.

The following article examines the needs of caring for the carers. In their article ‘Trauma-related mental health problems and effectiveness of a stress management group in national humanitarian workers in the Central African Republic’ (CAR), Capucine de Fouchier and Marianne Kedia assessed the levels of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among national aid workers in CAR, and the effectiveness of a stress management group in reducing these symptoms. In their research group, nearly all (96.4%) of national humanitarian staff were exposed to at least one traumatic event. The protocol of a single session stress management that combines Psychological First Aid and elements of cognitive and behavioural therapy used, and their findings, show that it improves psychosocial well-being of national humanitarian aid workers and is also feasible and cost-effective.

Natalia Quinones, Yvonne Gomez, Diana Agudelo, Gabriela Martínez, María López address Dance movement strategies training to help rebuild social capital in Colombia. The authors implemented an intervention consisting of a 120-h training programme in dance movement strategies as an attempt to build social capital for sustainable peace. With this intervention, they showed that they were able to make positive changes in the participants’ states of mindfulness, bodily connection, emotional intelligence, somatic complaints, aggressive reaction, empathy, agency and subjective emotional experience. A promising addition to support the development of sustainable peace.

The next contribution in this wide-ranging issue examines the impact of stigma. Heather Aldersey, Salome Kavira, Jeef Kiasimbua, Willy Lokako, Pelagie Miaka and Lucie Monte discuss ‘Stigma experienced by families’ members with intellectual disabilities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo’. They have done a participatory action research to better understand stigma experienced by family members and how those family members try to cope with stigma. Their insights can help to develop interventions that address those relatives in reducing the effects. As the reader will see, the authors were able to finance a French version of this paper, so that people in Congo are able to read it as well. We very much support these possibilities that make articles readable for people in the countries that are addressed.

Intervention contains two contributions considering Syrian refugees in Jordan. Anita Loko Kisilu and Lina Darra present in their article ‘Highlighting the gender disparities in mental health among Syrian refugees in Jordan’ that traumatic experiences of the Syrian refugees in Jordan affect their mental well-being in terms of gender disparities. The authors provided a literature review and a focus group discussion to highlight the different gender dimensions of mental health among Syrian refugees in Jordan. These risk factors include, access to and use of mental health services, manifestation of mental health and psychosocial problems, treatment by mental health workers and the socio-economic outcomes of living with someone suffering from mental health issues. Many organisations do not fully incorporate the fact that, for instance, male refugees may also be considered vulnerable groups that need adequate support to prevent further deterioration of mental well-being of refugees.

  Field reports Top

The other paper related to Jordan is a Field report by Paulina Acosta del Rio and Nuria Chica Sánchez on Psychosocial support to foster social cohesion between refugee and host communities in Jordan. They discuss the challenges the host community and the refugees face with increasing competition for already scarce resources and services. The nongovernmental organisation, Action Contre la Faim, implemented a programme to improve psychosocial well-being, fostering resilience and promoting positive interactions between members of both communities, which was well received.

And this issue of Intervention closes with a Field report of Shakeh Momartin, Edielson da Silva Miranda, Jorge Aroche and Mariano Coello discuss psychological and social issues of refugees in Australia in their article ‘Resilience building through alternative intervention: STARTTS “Project Bantu Capoeira Angola”; On the road to recovery’. They describe a programme that supports refugee adolescents at school to reduce the high rates of absence, challenging behaviour and negative relationships with teachers and peers. The Capoeira Angola programme resulted in improvements in resilience, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and school attendance. As a result, students gained a sense of achievement and self-worth, which is not only important for the school environment, but for their social life in general.

We hope that you continue to enjoy our Open Access, as many of you have told us you are, and, in particular, this wide-ranging and interesting issue. Feel free to drop us a line.

Marian Tankink

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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