Torture in Honduras: Therapeutic Experiences of 2007-2008 and the Aftermath of the Coup


Background: The Center for Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation for Torture Victims and their Family (CPTRT) participated in the “Professionalization facilitated through training in key healthcare services for torture victims” project coordinated by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT). Centers like CPTRT are typically created and run by small groups of healthcare professionals and human rights activists, often at great personal cost and risk [1]. The purpose of the project was to document the physical and psychological damage caused by torture as well as the results of the medical and psychological therapy. It also addresses: the socio-demographic profile of the victims, methods of torture and/or cruel, inhuman and degrading (CID), treatment, causal factors, and treatment effect. Material and Method: Psychometric and non-psychometric techniques were applied in order to obtain a baseline of the victims’ state of mental health, socio-demographic background, clinical and torture exposure, as well as evaluating the impact of the medical-psychological therapy at three and six months, respectively. The sample of torture victims is presented by the use of descriptive statistics and the effects during the study are presented with repeated measures analysis of variance. Results: The victims mostly experienced depression and anxiety and to a lesser extent, post-traumatic stress and somatizations as a response to the traumatic events they endured. The analysis demonstrates a significant drop in symptoms over the six months of the study in those victims who participated in the entire project. Conclusion: Although the several limitations and unforeseen situations arose in a study of this type, a holistic, multidisciplinary and systematic approach is able to decrease disorders moderately, but not without taking into account the sociopolitical contexts and the obstacles appearing therein, which should also be considered and studied through triangulated methodologies that provide a broader perspective for exploring a complex phenomenon like torture. Therefore, a standard rehabilitation program is neither possible nor desirable in the field of torture treatment (this is amplified in a political context of a coup).

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Alvarado, A. (2014) Torture in Honduras: Therapeutic Experiences of 2007-2008 and the Aftermath of the Coup. Open Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 2, 63-75. doi: 10.4236/ojtr.2014.22011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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