About the Torture Trauma Initiative

The purpose of this initiative is to find consensus among experts regarding best practices in recovering from torture for both the survivor and her or his family and how best practitioners can help them. The initiative is a demonstration of the use of both the Variable Generating Activity (VGA) methodology for studying video interviews and the Rapid Action Research (RAR) Approach in quickly organizing an expert panel, based on informed inclusion criteria, who selects the key informants to be video interviewed.

We know it may be impossible to stop torture, given the reality of human behavior and history, but we can help those who have been harmed by torture. Our research initiative on torture trauma aims to provide resources for those interested in learning how those who have been traumatized by torture are able to recover.

Through interviews with expert panelists, we have identified the risk and protective factors for torture trauma survivors, and make recommendations on how we can make them whole - enabling them to recover from their mental and physical injuries and transform their horrific treatment into life-long lessons that enable them to find peace and joy again in their lives.

Torture Trauma Initiative Objectives

  • Provide resources and allow collaborations within the field; 
  • Develop a series of handbooks to treat torture survivors;
  • Create a textbook for training purposes for better treatment of torture survivors;
  • Develop further research to aid the field of torture trauma;
  • Create a dialogue for this work through open resources and further development of interdisciplinary approaches to treatment.


  • Figley, C. R. (2009). Why Torture Doesn’t Work and Other Trauma Psychology Lessons: A review of The Trauma of Psychological Torture, Edited by Almerindo E. Ojeda. Westport, CT:  Praeger, 2008. PsycCRITIQUES, 54:22.
  • In Preparation:
    • Toward a Useful Patient Education Pamphlet for Torture Survivors and their Families.
    • Torture Trauma Treatments Initiative: A Rapid Action Research Panel Study
    • The Use of the Variable Generating Activity in Identifying Axioms among Video Interviews of Experts

Torture Trauma Expert Panel Interviews

Our expert panel was chosen for their expertise in treating torture related trauma. All experts have ten or more years of experience in treating torture trauma and were nominated by their peers.

Click play below to view our video interviews with each of the expert panelists. 

Torture Trauma Team

leadership team

Founding research team