Biopsychosocial and Eco-Spiritual Therapy Model

While the following pertains primarily to therapy in war-torn lands, it may also have some application after natural disasters.

The Meaningfulworld Humanitarian Outreach Program developed by Dr Ani Kalayjian utilizes the following seven-step model, through which various aspects of dispute, conflict or disagreements are assessed, identified, explored, processed, worked through and reintegrated. The seven-steps of the Biopsychosocial and Eco-Spiritual Model are:

I. Assess Levels of Distress, Disagreement or Conflict: Participants are given a written questionnaire to define the kind of dispute they are working on, and to elicit the impact of this dispute. Formal instruments can also be provided such as the Harvard Trauma Checklist and Heartland Forgiveness Scale.

II. Encourage Expression of Feelings: One at a time, each participant in the group is encouraged to describe the conflict from their own perspective, and to express their feelings in the ‘here and now,’ in relationship to the dispute they have identified and described.

III. Provide Empathy and Validation: Each participant’s feelings will be validated by the mediator or group facilitator. Emphasis is placed on understanding others and literally placing their feet in their opponent’s shoes. When disputes rupture an individual’s link with the group, an intolerable sense of isolation, helplessness and victimization may occur. Providing validation and empathy in such a group will transform these negative effects by reestablishing the mutual exchange between the individuals in conflict, with the others in the group witnessing this process.

IV. Encourage Discovery and Expression of Meaning: Participants will be asked “What lessons, meaning or positive associations did you discover as a result of this dispute?” This question is based on Viktor Frankl’s logotherapeutic principles: that there could be a positive meaning discovered in the worst catastrophe; there are lessons to be learned in the most difficult situations. The facilitator will help opposing parties discover their own dark sides in order to transform those into lessons learned. Dr King has asserted that only light can transform darkness. Participants will be invited to focus on individual and collective growth, strengths and meanings, which naturally arise out of any dispute or conflict. Forgiveness is also reinforced here as a tool for self care and letting go of resentments and anger, which only reinforce the conflict and dispute and serve to exacerbate the process of healing and peace making.

V. Provide Didactic Information: Practical tools and information are shared on how to gradually integrate the conflict resolution information provided and how to care for oneself as a caregiver/mediator.  Also shared are information re-steps of practicing forgiveness and thus transforming the dispute. In addition, how violence begets more violence and transmits it through seven generations is explored. Information on assertiveness and anger management is also shared, as well as the UN Declaration for Human Rights.

VI. Eco Centered Caring: Practical tools are shared to connect with Gaia, Mother Earth and ways to care for one’s environment. Emphasis is placed on starting with one’s environment and expanding it to the larger globe, while still being mindful of the system’s perspective and how we can impact our environment and how the environment, in turn, impacts us.

VII. Body, Breathing and Movement-Centered Healing: Breath is used as a natural medicine and a healing tool. Since no one can control others and what happens outside of one’s self, participants are assisted in being mindful of how they can respond to the dispute instead of reacting to it. Participants are instructed on how to use breath towards self-empowerment, creating peace within, as well as to engender gratitude, compassion, faith, strength and forgiveness in response to conflicts.

Welcome to Meaningful World – Dr. Ani Kalayjian. Web. 31 Oct. 2010. <http://meaningfulworld.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=12&Itemid=18&gt;.

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