Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik

An independent international centre for advanced studies


In Dialogue with Experts in Assisting Survivors of Early Childhood, War and other Man-made Traumas across Cultures
28 May 2018 - 31 May 2018
Course directors:
Rudolf Gregurek, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Boris Drožđek, De Hemisfeer, Den Bosch, Netherlands
Course description:

Since the last Dubrovnik Summer School of Psychotraumatology in 2016, we all have, unfortunately, witnessed many events of violence which have strongly impacted individuals and communities throughout the world. We are facing large movements of people due to armed conflicts, economical and ecological challenges, in particular in the Middle East and Africa. We were witnessing endless cohorts of refugees moving through Europe from its Mediterranean shores to the north, and rubber boats transporting refugees capsizing in front of the Italian and Greek coasts on a daily basis. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are now populating camps in the south of Turkey, and many of these camps are becoming long-term or permanent accommodations due to the ongoing conflicts in countries of origin.

At the same time, governments of the EU countries receiving refugees are fearing cultural and political destabilization and are therefore increasingly rejecting those seeking shelter and protection. We also have witnessed many terrorist attacks around the globe, installing fear in citizens, challenging their illusion of the daily-life safety, and motivating decision makers to build walls, like in Calais, France, and ences, like in Hungary, in one of the many attempts of the nations to „protect“ themselves from arrival of „the others“. At the same time, knowledge regarding assistance and care for survivors of violent events is improving due to persistent daily activities of thousands of helpers worldwide and expansion of knowledge generated by scientific research.

More than ever, the international community of professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other counsellors, should become aware of the necessity of an interdisciplinary and contextsensitive approach to health of the survivors. More than ever, we should recognize that all of us assisting those who were exposed to violence can learn from each other, regardless of the population we are helping on a daily basis, refugees, military, terrorist attacks, early childhood trauma or family violence survivors.

Therefore, the 2018 School aims at integrating experiences and knowledge of the three globally respected mental health professionals, each of them approaching challenges of working with the survivors of violence from a unique and different perspective. Through an interactive proces of teaching, sharing and learning from each other, we hope that the 2018 Dubrovnik Summer School of Psychotraumatology will be the venue where you will have a chance to improve your craftsmanship.


Renos Papadopoulos’

presentation consists of two interlinked parts: the first addresses the images and conceptualisations of trauma and their interrelationship with the wider societal discourses about distress and wellbeing. The importance of ‘epistemological vigilance’ is emphasised in discerning the process and various stages of theorising about these emotionally charged issues and under such pressured situations. The second explores formulations of the characteristics and difficulties that involuntarily dislocated persons experience. Throughout, the emphasis is on avoiding exclusive focus on the problematic and pathological facets of persons and circumstances, whilst not minimising their distressing effects; instead, the intention is to develop a framework within which it is possible to articulate a balanced perspective that includes both of the suffering and trauma as well as the resilience and development that such situations also activate. Examples from work with individuals as well as from intervention projects will be presented and discussed.

Mariette Groenendijk

focuses on healing of the adult survivors of a severe early childhood chronic traumatization. She discusses the phase-oriented model for treatment of complex PTSD and structural dissociative disorders, rooted in the theory of structural dissociation. Moreover, at current times when EMDR is, by some, considered to be the ubiquitous and a quick-fix approach to healing of the psychological impacts of exposure to trauma, she will present in-depth on the value, role and timing of the use of EMDR in treatment of the very complex dissociative identity disorder, using thereby filmed session material.

Kenneth Miller

elaborates on the evolution of a Social Ecological Model, useful for understandingthe interplay of armed conflict related and post-conflict stressors on mental health. He will also teach about the Caregiver Support Intervention, an ecological approach to strengthening conflict-affected children’s wellbeing. Moreover, based on research and his extensive field experience, he will share the knowledge about what works in mental health and psychosocial work with conflict-affected populations. Last but not least, his documentary Unholy Ground will be shown, followed by a discussion on culture, grief, and healing in a Sri Lankan Buddhist community on the frontline of a civil war.

Course lecturers:
Kenneth Miller, Independent Researcher, United States
Mariētte Groenendyh, Clinical psychologist in own practice, Netherlands
Renos Papadopoulos, University of Essex, United Kingdom
Attached documents