AAMFT is aware is that many of our members have clients going through a range of difficulties at this time. Some are distressed and fearful of yet another war erupting on our planet, while others are more directly impacted; perhaps Jewish or Palestinian families living in the US who are concerned about their loved ones in the Middle East; or perhaps families who have generational trauma lingering from the Holocaust who now face old wounds being reopened unexpectedly and horrifically. AAMFT is currently reaching out to systemic therapists in the Middle East, or those with experience working in the region, to obtain more information and resources for working with clients suffering the impacts of war and trauma in the region.
Below are some resources for clinicians related to the impact of war, conflict, trauma, and treatment approaches.
Doing What Matters in Times of Stress: An Illustrated Guide (from the World Health Organization)
A stress management guide for coping with adversity. The guide aims to equip people with practical skills to help cope with stress. A few minutes each day is enough to practice the self-help techniques. The guide can be used alone or with the accompanying audio exercises. Available in multiple languages. Informed by evidence and extensive field testing, the guide is for anyone who experiences stress, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.
Mental Health Innovation Network (MHIN)
Many great resources are included on this site. Search for “war” or “conflict” in the search bar for a variety of resources and information. One recommended resource is PFA-Psychological First Aid. Psychological first aid has been recommended by many international and national expert groups, including the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and the Sphere Project. Psychological first aid is an alternative to psychological debriefing. In 2009, the World Health Organization’s mhGAP Guidelines Development Group evaluated the evidence for psychological first aid and psychological debriefing. They concluded that psychological first aid, rather than psychological debriefing, should be offered to people in severe distress after being recently exposed to a traumatic event."
Pan American Health Organization: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies (MHPSS)
Health emergencies, natural and socio-environmental disasters, armed conflicts, and various migratory phenomena may cause severe suffering in affected populations. The psychological and social effects of emergencies can be severe in the short term, but they can also affect people in the long term. These effects can also threaten peace, human rights, and development. Protecting and improving people's mental health and psychosocial well-being is therefore a priority in emergencies. To achieve this goal, coordinated action is needed among humanitarian assistance providers, including governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups involved in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS).
This online platform enables members to share resources, join groups, and interact with others, based on their work and interests. The platform also plays an important role in mobilizing capacities, resources, and supporting coordination around MHPSS response during emergencies. Scroll down to the "Latest Resources" section for resources on hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Thank you to AAMFT Professional Member Dr. Laurie L. Charlés for her resource suggestions. Dr. Charlés has extensive experience working in regions experiencing conflict and war around the world.
‘I Love You. I Am Sorry’: One Jew, One Muslim and a Friendship Tested by War
A Los Angeles program that connects Muslims and Jews has been strained by the war in Israel. But the group’s leaders found that it has strengthened their bond.
Family Therapy Magazine articles related to trauma:
Trauma-informed Family Therapy: Systemic Treatment of Trauma of Child RefugeesCharity Somo, PhD, and Laurie L. Charlés, PhD
Ronald W. Lawrence, MS
Sarah Bauer, MMFT
Nancy L. Kriseman, MSW and Lane Pease Hendricks, MS
Michael Ungar, PhD
Journal of Marital and Family Therapy:
JMFT Special Section on Mass Trauma
Family Interventions for Populations Exposed to Traumatic Stress Related to War and Violence
Experiencing Couple Relationships in the Line of Fire
Michal Shamai, Saray Fogel, and Dvorit Gilad