Group psychotherapy of Holocaust survivors - authors' own experience
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Psychoter 2010;152(1):25-35
The psychotherapy of children of survivors of the Holocaust is conducted in Poland within the framework of a programme leaded by professor Maria Orwid. Such group psychotherapy is conducted in intensive courses of 3 days, 6 hours a day in meetings held two or three times a year, and takes in around 60 people. One of the basic goals of psychotherapy is to restore the destroyed connection between the present and the past and make the survivors aware of their strengths allowing them to survive. These people need psychotherapeutic intervention helping them to change their self-perception, and replace their self-image of a weak and helpless person into that of someone strong who managed to survive the worst. The power of group psychotherapy lies in survivors' common experiences giving them a sense of being understood, and facilitating their acceptance of interpretations proposed by other group members. Besides, it is the reverse of the trauma situation where the survivors were in isolation. In survivor psychotherapy the therapist is painfully confronted with a sense of helplessness and with questions about possibilities and boundaries of psychotherapy, with existential problems - possibility of a life after the loss of one's world and leaving the world regained.
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