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January 10, 1996

Counselling and Therapy With Refugees: Psychological Problems of Victims of War, Torture, and Repression

Author Affiliations

The Institute for the Humanities at Salado Salado, Tex


by Guus van der Veer, with contributions by Victor V. Rivero and Mia Groenenberg (Wiley Series in Psychotherapy and Counselling, edited by Franz Epting, Bonnie Strickland, and John Allen), 275 pp, with illus, paper, $35, ISBN 0-471-95175-7, New York, NY, John Wiley & Sons, 1992.

JAMA. 1996;275(2):160-161. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530260074041

I eagerly read this book written by a psychologist after seven years on the team of Social Psychiatric Services for Refugees in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With the massive influx of refugees into the western world and the horrendous political repression, imprisonment, torture, violence, and killing, there is an urgent need for helping professionals and government officials to understand how totalitarian governments destroy hppe for democracy.

This book is a welcome overview of healing attempts for refugees. We must look closely at the effect of torture on men, women, and children. No more copouts like the euphemistic oxymoron "compassion fatigue," the buzzword in Washington. There are islands of dedicated people at torture centers for legal and illegal refugees in Europe and throughout the United States.

This book covers a vast area of psychological theory and treatment methods for traumatized, uprooted people. It is readable but is an almost overwhelming condensation for