Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World is written by Dr. Richard Mollica. Mollica is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma. The book provides Mollica’s personal reflections on his years of clinical work with victims of genocide, torture, and abuse. The book offers critical insight into the human potential to heal, which Neil Boothby describes as part of our “survival instinct”.1
In chapter 1, Striking Out on a New Pathway, Mollica and colleagues at the Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic (IPC) in Boston realize the importance of allowing patients to share their trauma stories. Mollica describes, “the trauma story is a personal narrative told in the person’s own words about the traumatic life events they have experienced and the impact of these events on their social, physical, and emotional wellbeing” (pg. 21). While sharing one’s trauma story is important, as Mollica explains it requires both the storyteller and listener to be prepared and on the same page. This section emphasized something that is integral to the L2T program, which is human connection and interpersonal relationships. Without a deep sense of trust, it is unlikely that trauma narratives will be shared.
Mollica’s experience working in this field is a testament to the fact that healing is possible even for those that have experienced horrendous violence. It is this core belief which is the basis for the L2T program. Humans have great potential given the right tools and support. Through the examples Mollica provides in the book, it is obvious that there is no health without mental health and thus we need to see a greater commitment of resources, both human and financial, to the arena of global mental health. How can we expect communities to recover from adverse events, related to war or climate change, without first addressing the mental health of these individuals? We need to invest in mental health treatment but in the meantime programs like L2T can help bridge care gaps.
Healing invisible wounds: Paths to hope and recovery in a violent world. Project MUSE. (n.d.). Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://muse.jhu.edu/book/21116