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Religions 2011, 2(3), 330-344; doi:10.3390/rel2030330
Article

The Spiritual Approach to Group Psychotherapy Treatment of Psychotraumatized Persons in Post-War Bosnia and Herzegovina

1,* , 2, 1 and 3
1 Department of Psychiatry, University Clinical Centre Tuzla, School of Medicine on University of Tuzla, 75000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 Department of Neurology, University Clinical Centre Tuzla, School of Medicine on University of Tuzla, 75000 Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 SEPT at Weller Wing, Bedford Hospital Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK42 9DJ, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 April 2011 / Revised: 4 July 2011 / Accepted: 20 July 2011 / Published: 28 July 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religions and Psychotherapies)
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Abstract

Psychological trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have an intensive negative impact on a patient’s spiritual beliefs or his/her belief in God; this effect may diminish the social and professional skills of many survivors. In the same time researches showed that religion plays a coping role among patients with medical and mental health illnesses. During the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-1995) the whole population, regardless of age, gender, nationality or profession, suffered severely. During the pre-war period in communistic Yugoslavia religious believes altered with atheistic public life styles. Additionally, war traumatization had a negative impact on spirituality and religious beliefs. In the series of case reports we intended to describe and assess the impact of a session of group psychotherapy, with spiritual topics and content, which was offered to patients who needed to reestablish religious beliefs. The patients who come to the Psychiatry Clinic because of trauma-induced mental health problems and who we are interested in strengthening their spirituality met each other in the group regardless of their religious or spiritual conviction. We described the conceptualization and development of such a group and present some self-reported views of clients who took part in these groups. The supportive and empathetic presence of such group in the community helps to prevent withdrawal and isolation, alienation and deviation of traumatized persons. The presence of such group facilitates the rehabilitation process of the victims, allowing them to understand that people are available to them in certain critical moments, to help, to offer protection or to console. Groups like this one, offer long term social and spiritual support to extremely severely traumatized victims.
Keywords: spirituality; group psychotherapy; psycho-traumatized; Bosnia and Herzegovina spirituality; group psychotherapy; psycho-traumatized; Bosnia and Herzegovina
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Hasanović, M.; Sinanović, O.; Pajević, I.; Agius, M. The Spiritual Approach to Group Psychotherapy Treatment of Psychotraumatized Persons in Post-War Bosnia and Herzegovina. Religions 2011, 2, 330-344.

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