Handbook Training in Community-based Sociotherapy : Experiences in Rwanda, East Congo and Liberia
This handbook describes the process of training community-based sociotherapy in four geographically and politically diverse areas where war had left deep scars.
The training is aimed at developing three skills in targeted groups: the ability to facilitate sociotherapy groups in their own region, to recruit and train more sociotherapists and set up and maintain an appropriate sociotherapy organisation.
Dialogue proved to be a suitable tool for arriving at the right training content and form. Dialogue brought about enthusiasm, but also caused confusion and uncertainty. Family-like feelings developed without the presence of a 'strictly controlling father'. Playing games on a daily basis facilitated participants to give meaning to these experiences.
A variety of inter-referring methods proved to be the route to a participatory process of increasing safety, trust, care, respect and having a say in collective affairs. These concepts were used as the subject of further conversation.
Training in this group-oriented way at the same time brought about change in the sociotherapists themselves: in their perception of role definitions, in their expectations and thoughts on the meaning of values that always play a role in social change.
Their regained dignity was thus, ultimately, the result of their own participation. Mutual trust and social assistance returned thousandfold and were percieved as reliable and sustainable.

Cora Dekker (1944-2019) was born in Harenkarspel, the Netherlands. Her continued primary education between 1957-1958 included basic household management skills. Se later qualified as an all-round nurse as well as a lecturer in higher vocational education. From 1995-2009 she worked as a sociotherapist in Dutch clinics specialised in treating war victims and thaught Social Work at Leiden University of Applied Sciences. In the 2005-2018 period she also initiated, trained and supervised community-based sociotherapy initiatives in Rwanda, East Congo and Liberia. Since 2012 she worked to develop the PhD thesis that she defended in 2016.

Year of publication: 2018
Series: Occasional Publications
Volume: 32



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Cora Dekker
African Studies Centre Leiden