The situation of agitation and wars that the Middle East region is living expose people daily to traumatic episodes marked with violence and bloodshed, directly or indirectly, the thing which put them in the forefront of facing a lot of problems and the psychological and physical disorders that appear as a reaction to these episodes.
The Syrians nowadays come in the first ranking in facing such episodes daily, either inside Syria or throughout their asylum seeking journeys abroad. One of the most popular disorders nowadays is the Traumatic Neurosis that took a group form rather than individual one. It is then a functional neurotic disorder uncoupled with a structural change in the Nervous System. Also, it is one type of phobias which follows trauma, and causes a personality disorder and the Psychique equilibrium generally. This takes various manifestations to reveal itself, sometimes in a form of acute emotional form, or other times in the form of constant readiness for fear of something that might happen. It also shows in the form of disturbing nightmares, dreams, Insomnia and Scrupulosity.
The pre-mentioned Insomia, mainly the traumatic one, appears coupled wit physical syndrommes which have no physiological reasons; like having stomachache or headache, or having paralysis in one of the body organs. Talkıng about the Syrian reality, in particular, we will realize that all Syrians have, in one degree or another, have been exposed to one type of the psycholofical traumas which can be direct, by the person himslef encountering a traumatic episode, or indirect throughout what the different mass media show of the various killing scenaries, with violence and bloodshedding, which are nowadys reachable to everybody.
The mostly influenced and harmed group by this situation is the group of children! A child doesn’t have adequate abilities to absorb the traumatic experiences encounter him, and unable to express them except those that accord to his limited abilities. Therefore, he is exposed to a lot of psychological disorders and behavioural problems. Besides, the child store these experiences, memories and the traumatic episodes in his subsonciousness, which will invoke at any time in the future in a harmful picture to him and those around him. Thus, he will become more aggressive and hostile or separated form society, looking for unstraightforward alternatives.
As for the old persons, they have the ability to understand the traumatic event and giving it an interpretation. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily always illustrates that the mentioned meaning carries a positive connotation. In that sense, the successive traumas and the psychological pressures and the absence of appropriate spaces for self-expression on them recur and not only keep the individual in a situation of anger and agitation, but rather expose him to the behavioural and psychological disorders.
Cases of addiction, radicalism, suicide, sexual exploitation and others are no more than expressions for psychological defamation as a result of subsequent psychological shocks losing the ability to get over daily encountered difficulties, and therefore looking for unstraightforward alternatives. Therefore, here we realize the urgent necessity for group confrontment to these cases. Consequently, talking about individualized therapy, amidst an Arabic reality that considers psychological care as not as important as any other types of care, seems to be a difficult and unrealistic pursuit. Therefore, Group Therapy occupies a significant and active role and targets larger numbers of people, like Art Therapy particularly (the Psychodrama), which is one type of the psychological theatrical treatments in which acting is being used as a mean to help individuals to discharge their feelings and emotions linked to their life traumatic episodes.
Here I can remember a courageous and an important experience for a group of Syrian women in Biaruit, the time where they stood on stage (the City Theatre Stage) in the sixteenth of January in the Two-Thousand and Fourteenth, that was the first time ever in their life, where they performed a theatrical showing inspired by the tragedy ‘Antigon’ for the Greek writer ‘Sofoklis’ which deals with the rebellion issue against the Tyrannical regime.
Antigon is a woman who stood against the king and his repressive rules, and refused to obey to or abide by his will. The play raises one of the most important issues in the history of humans; which is: ‘Where does the right of the ruler stops? And where does the right of the people starts? The ruler here is not (the ruler of the country), but rather the ruler of society as a whole and its masculine authority. The episodes of the play have been reflected on the Syrian reality, the reality of women in particular through their brave confrontment to all manifestations of prosecution, deprivation, and defamation, on the societal, cultural and political levels, to which the Syrian women have been for long time encountering and still encountering. The theatrical showing aims at the change of the Syrian women’s simple typical picture, making them all the Antigons of this era.
The performance on the psychological level was considered one type of the psychological therapies through the Art, as encountering traumas and fears that women have been exposed to on the stage in front of the general public was a big challenge to them, took them out of from the denial phase (Denial of the trauma) to the confrontment phase, which is something very important when talking about the Neurotic Trauma.
There are other types of the Group Therapy, like treatment through music, playing with children, the psychological support and group outreach sessions that target the different groups and offer them sufficient space for self-expression and understanding themselves.
Having individuals reached to the self-support ability and supporting those around them is something very important amidst the unusual circumstances of wars and crises that a huge number of humans are being exposed to.
A Psychological Specialist
Exclusive to the Syrian Women’s Network.