Freedom from Torture treats clients of all ages, and recognises that the effects of torture go far beyond the individual who has has been tortured or witnessed the torture of others. Torture affects whole communities and can have a profound effect on a survivor's family.
The stuff of nightmares: children and young people
They may have been tortured or forced to witness torture of others, including their parents. Their emotional turmoil is often compounded by the suspicion with which they are treated by sceptical British immigration officials. Freedom from Torture clients can often feel physical pain, as well as isolation, suicidal feelings and have frequent nightmares. Freedom from Torture uses counselling, group-work, art, music and story-telling to help young clients find some understanding of their experiences. Children may have witnessed the violation of their parents, their homes and their neighbourhoods. Some have been imprisoned, raped and tortured so that they too can become emotionally detached from their families and peers.
Keeping everyone together: therapy with families
The extreme trauma suffered by torture survivors who are parents can mean that they become emotionally distant from their partner and children. Zohreh Rahimi, head of the child and family team likens family therapy to heart surgery: healing one part has the potential to heal the whole.
'If one person in a family has been hurt or killed, the whole family suffers. Through family therapy, those who remain can be brought together to talk and redevelop their lives as individuals and as a group.'