Lavi, Tamar, Orit Nuttman-Shwartz, and Rachel Dekel. “Therapeutic Intervention in a Continuous Shared Traumatic Reality: An Example from the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict.” British Journal of Social Work (early view; online first).
Growing political instability around the world has exposed an increasing number of communities to military conflict. Social workers and other mental health professionals who work as trauma workers, and who both live and practise within these communities, are doubly exposed: directly and indirectly, personally and professionally. The present study examined the consequences on trauma workers and on the therapeutic process itself of working in a continuous Shared Traumatic Reality. The study was based on content analysis of three focus groups conducted among thirty trauma workers, between the ages of thirty and sixty, who were trained in a variety of therapeutic professions, mainly social work. Findings suggest that a high level of exposure to life threats and emotional distress can coexist with high levels of professional functioning and resilience. Results further point to complex implications associated with therapeutic relationships and settings that include: diminution of the transitional space, strengthened sense of identification between workers and clients, and acceleration of the therapeutic process. The discussion reviews the variables that facilitate and impede the professionals’ functioning and highlights the unique effects of continuous exposure.