Essential guidance for psychosocial assistance in post-conflict settings: Care providers’ perspectives on suffering, healing and pressing needs in Bosnia and Cambodia


  • Laura McDonald
  • Richard F. Mollica
  • Susan Douglas Kelley
  • Svang Tor
  • Majda Halilovic


Traditional healing, Mental health, Psychosocial assistance, Poverty, Violence


This exploratory study aimed to obtain insight into field-level care providers’views on suffering and healing as well as existing obstacles andneeds related to providing care to their clients. This research providesa “snapshot” for a better understanding of existing care systems in twopost-conflict settings. By identifying existing approaches to care andthe needs of the care provider community, this research might be usefulin guiding psychosocial assistance programming in post-conflictsettings. Utilizing a semi-structured questionnaire, 45 care providerswere interviewed, including local health care practitioners, traditional/spiritual healers, and humanitarian relief workers, in Bosnia andHerzegovina and Cambodia. This study found that the majority ofcare providers in both settings perceived poverty and violence as significantcauses and consequences of human suffering and, at the sametime, felt ill-equipped in addressing these issues and related problems.Other issues that hindered these healers in providing care included:limited government/institutional support; lack of training; materialresources and funding. Study findings point to a new framework fordeveloping effective interventions and the need for further emphasison supporting care providers in their work, and most specifically, inidentifying and responding to poverty and violence.


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How to Cite

McDonald, L., Mollica, R. F., Douglas Kelley, S., Tor, S., & Halilovic, M. (2012). Essential guidance for psychosocial assistance in post-conflict settings: Care providers’ perspectives on suffering, healing and pressing needs in Bosnia and Cambodia. Acta Medica Academica, 41(2), 186–198. Retrieved from



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