Psychology school passes out trauma healers

May 29, 2018

The training came as a result of the country having limited efforts to talk to people who have been traumatised due to man-made disasters and other conflicts.

PIC: Gilbert Matsiko (left) from Africa Dream Initiative receiving a certificate from Barbara Faye Streets (third-left) upon completion of traumatic healing training, while Kikooma looks on, This was at Makerere University Guest House on saturday. (Credit: Photo by Noah Jagwe)



HEALTH- A total of 15 beneficiaries from agencies all over Uganda have been passed out upon completion of 6 month trauma-informed healing training and outreach programming at Makerere University school of Psychology. 

Speaking at the pass out at Makerere University on Saturday, Professor Peter Baguma said the training came as a result of the country having limited efforts to talk to people who have been traumatised due to man-made disasters and other conflicts.

"With that, we thought we could carry out research and training on how to heal those affected, but we lacked funds," Baguma said. 

A number of people who have been affected by conflicts for example during LRA and other insurgencies, have not been diagnosed and if not treated may not be able to live a meaningful life, he added.

The idea of training in trauma healing started in 2012 after Makerere University realised that a big proportion of  people in the Greatlakes region, particularly East Africa, were affected psychologically (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ) due to disasters including floods, droughts, wars, displacement, child abuse and rape.

The graduates included representatives from Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, Refugee Law Project, Dorna Centre, Noah's Ark Foundation, Africa Dream Initiative, University of Kisubi and Bishop Achiles in Lira.

Barbara Faye Streets, an associate professor with Oswego State University of New York, who conducted the training, said trauma impacts individuals in so many ways.  

"I wanted to provide trauma healing training and information about how to do best practices for communities impacted by trauma," Faye said. 

She said trauma has become so much part of people's lives.

Faye is on Fulbright award provided by United States of America government that allows teachers, scientists and doctors to go places around the world to promote mutual understanding of United States and other countries. 

The Dean School of Psychology, Julius Kikooma, said if Uganda is to address trauma effects, the country needs high quality training of people and experts in the field of trauma healing as a society recovering from conflicts. He, however, said the country should build its capacity other than relying on people of goodwill.

"We want to uphold this model because what is important is a society that is able to solve its own problems without depending on other people," Kikooma said. 

He said he expects the graduates to use the knowledge acquired to heal society, adding that a good training not only gives knowledge, but responsibility. 

"Don't just sit there with knowledge, but trigger to be part of the solution," Kikooma said. 

He described Uganda as a very special region because it is a post conflict region. It has been surrounded by countries that have emerged out of conflict, saying the situation puts Uganda in a tricky situation on how to overcome the challenges that have come with it.


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