The Development and Implementation of a Multi-Couple Therapy Model with Torture Survivors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Erin Morgan, Elizabeth Wieling, John Hubbard, Elsa Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article, we present development and feasibility of implementation of a multi-couple group for use with torture-surviving couples. The model was developed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a community that experienced widespread torture during the wars from 1998 to 2004. The Torture-Surviving Couple Group model is a short-term intervention designed to use few human resources to address relational difficulties resulting from exposure to traumatic stressors. The model was guided by critical and feminist epistemologies and employed an ecological lens to incorporate neurobiology and attachment processes along with narrative therapy techniques. An existing multi-couple group model for addressing violence (Stith, Rosen, McCollum, & Thomsen,), and a stage model for healing trauma (Herman,) also informed the structural development of the Torture-Surviving Couple Group model. Couple groups were conducted using a 10-session program with 13 couples who met weekly. Session themes were incorporated into four phases emphasizing: (a) preparation; (b) safety and stabilization; (c) processing the relationship effects of trauma and grief; and (d) reintegration and rebuilding couple and family life. Couples reported and showed remarkable progress in their relationships after participating in the groups. Clinical and research implications and discussed along with the feasibility of developing and testing the model in a post-conflict low income setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-247
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of marital and family therapy
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

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