Workshop for Trauma Management and the Beginning of Resilience with Ex-combatants

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and PASO Colombia joined forces to carry out the workshop "Transitions: Attending to the Wounds of the Soul" in which ex-combatants and people working in the reintegration process learned about managing trauma and the path of psychosocial resilience.

The event was led by Carlos Fayard, PhD, psychologist and associate professor at Loma Linda University (California). He was accompanied by Andrés Martínez, psychologist and program manager for Religion and Inclusive Societies of The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and members of PASO Colombia. The objective of the workshop was integrating the conversations about mental health and psychosocial support to the peace-building process.

Participants in the workshop stated that the institutions responsible for implementing the peace agreements typically pay little to no attention to the traumas and mental health issues that have developed as a result of years of conflict. Dr. Fayard provided some tools to understand and identify these situations, and to provide psychological first aid to those who need it. He also demonstrated that each person's spirituality and comprehension of life are impacted in addition to their biological reactions. He described how spirituality is a useful resource for navigating life's challenges.

Participants agreed that by acknowledging moral wounds and post-traumatic stress disorder, communities can better equip themselves to handle them and lead individuals on the road to resilience. Contributing to the fact that, although working on various tasks, they can decide more wisely as a group, have stronger leadership, and be focused on the common good. As a result, the new communities (villages, AETCR, cooperatives, associations, and collective projects) that have emerged since the Peace Accord's signing can also be forums for discussion that, in the midst of trust and camaraderie, enable the healing of those wounds that have been kept inside each person.