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Trauma therapy brings gradual relief in Gaza

November 22, 2010

In a complex part of the world, complex problems. Whatever your views it is undeniable that people in Gaza are certainly among the most traumatised in the world.

If ever there was a little corner of the world where trauma therapists hanging out their shingle should do a booming business, it has to be Gaza.
Take, for example, Samira, a 43-year-old school teacher and mother of five who lived too close to a Hamas security complex bombed repeatedly during Israel’s December 2008-to-January 2009 cross-border offensive.
"I could not sleep for months — no, for a year. I used to have dreams and even while awake I used to hear the sound of explosions when there was really nothing happening," said the woman, who did not want to be named.
"One of my children also wet his bed for several months," she added.
A trauma therapist should have been on the case, and in this instance, was. But in Gaza, despite decades of Israeli incursions, economic blockades, deadly internal infighting among Palestinians and grinding poverty, dealing with trauma is something brand new — and not a total success, either.
Experts estimate that up to 15 per cent of Gazans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but western-style psychotherapy is a relatively recent arrival.

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