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Healing Trauma across Cultures: A Contextual and Developmental Approach to Assessment and Treatment

Dr Boris Drozdek, MD, MA

Held 17 October 2013

Dr Boris Drozdek Landscape

Seminar outline

One cannot fully understand the complexity of traumatic life events without framing them in “the ecological environment” of a survivor. In this seminar a contextual/developmental framework that can be used in intercultural trauma assessment, diagnosis and treatment with traumatised clients was introduced. The seminar aimed to combine knowledge from psychiatry, anthropology and social psychology, in an in-depth analysis of complex trauma reactions and PTSD. It described how an authentic and productive intercultural encounter gradually takes place in trauma therapy. Within this framework, individual case histories were analysed within their “ecological environment”, through different phases of developmental life stages, and with respect to both resilience, and psychological damage upon exposure to traumatic experiences. In this seminar participants learnt how to apply this paradigm in daily practice, and understand survivors’ problems in the wholeness of human existence. Issues of therapeutic relationships, transference and counter transference in trauma treatment, were also discussed.


Comments from participants

“Broadened my knowledge base and understanding”

“Well explained – Focus on science, theory, history was related to clinical practice”

“Interesting, thought provoking, breaking ground”

About Dr Boris Drozdek, MD, MA

Boris Drožđek is a psychiatrist, and a medical director at a trauma centre in the Netherlands. He is an expert in treatment of survivors of political and war violence, and author of many scientific articles and chapters to books in the fields of psychotraumatology and transcultural psychiatry. He teaches on a regular basis in the Netherlands and abroad, and cooperates with NGO’s in different post-war settings. He co-edited the books Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers and Refugees, War and Torture Victims (2004), and Voices of Trauma: Treating Survivors across Cultures (2007). Dr. Drožđek is a co-director of the International Summer School for Psychotrauma in Dubrovnik, Croatia, board member of the Dutch-Flemish Trauma Society, and council member of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).