Well-being is Possible After Trauma: Perspectives from Immigrant Torture Survivors
Salo, Corrina D
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Since 1975 (National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs, 2014), 125,000-750,000 torture survivors have arrived in the United States (US). In 1948, the US signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, making it our responsibility to protect human rights, including caring for immigrant torture survivors whose health and well-being has been threatened. The US healthcare system most commonly employs a deficit-based, disease-model to health. Alternatively, taking a well-being approach is holistic and strengths-based. The field of torture survivor intervention rarely employs a well-being approach (Salo & Bray, 2015). Unless our research, policies, and interventions address well-being in a more ecological and holistic way, survivors may not receive the protection, respect, and fulfillment of human rights they deserve. Survivors from non-US cultures may define well-being differently than American interventionists and it is important to understand what well-being means to them to intervene effectively. This dissertation investigated the lived experience of well-being of immigrant survivors using a phenomenological (Moustakas, 1994) approach. Findings were that there is an essence to well-being which includes four components: basic needs are a prerequisite, mind-body-spirit wellness are integrated, human rights and freedoms are honored, and people feel interdependent upon each other.