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Am J Psychother. 2003;57(3):361-73.

Testimony therapy: treatment method for traumatized victims of organized violence.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Leiden. avandijk@centrum45.nl


Former political prisoners in Chile gave testimony of their traumatic experiences, which resulted in diminishing their posttraumatic symptoms. Based on this experience, testimony therapy has been developed and used in treatment of traumatized victims of war or other organized violence. This short-term therapy, as it applied in the treatment of traumatized asylum seekers and refugees in Centrum '45/De Vonk in the Netherlands, is described in this article. The therapy consists of 12 sessions in which patients tell their life stories, including the traumatic experiences. The narrative is reflected in a written document that, for example, can be read to family and friends, or be sent to a historical archive. This article discusses the preliminary research data on the effects of testimony therapy. Finally, hypotheses on the working mechanisms of testimony therapy are offered.

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