Psychosocial Interventions and Children’s Rights: Beyond Clinical Discourse
Dona, G. 2002. Psychosocial Interventions and Children’s Rights: Beyond Clinical Discourse. Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. 8 (1), pp. 47-61.
There has been a significant increase in psychosocial interventions in the aftermath of ethno-political violence. Rwanda after genocide received sustained psychological attention and this paper critically examines the contribution of psychosocial interventions to the broader development agenda of reconstruction and rehabilitation. We undertake a brief psychologically informed analysis of the factors that contributed to genocide as a means of outlining the political and cultural context in which psychosocial interventions operate. During the violence, ethnicity was politically mobilised, communities polarised, social networks fragmented. An analysis of psychosocial interventions for children highlights that programmes have not examined implications of social power and status before reintegration and community based psychosocial interventions have been slow to develop. An examination of how psychological knowledge has been utilised in post-genocide re-constructive efforts shows that ‘trauma’ has been a dominant discourse. We explore the potential impact of a narrow focus on victims and survivors on societal rehabilitation, and reflect on the implications of how ‘trauma’ may be appropriated and politicised as a symbol of genocide and political legitimacy. This leads to reflection on groups that have been marginalised from psychosocial support and the potential implications of this. The paper concludes with an analysis of what a rights framework can contribute to psychosocial interventions in linking psychosocial work more centrally to broader political and development analysis.
|Keywords||trauma; Rwanda; psychosocial interventions|
|Journal||Peace & Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology|
|Journal citation||8 (1), pp. 47-61|
|Accepted author manuscript|
|Web address (URL)||http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1403|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||08 Dec 2011|
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