Abstract: This study explored posttraumatic growth (PTG) among refugee citizens of Cote d’Ivoire (aged 18 to 56 years; M = 37.4 years) affected by living in asylum inLiberia (M = 167.5 days). Research focused on use of the Companion Recovery (CR) model as a means to educate participants on how to process trauma, focus on finding meaning, and implementing positive change as a result of the traumatic struggles they experienced. The hypothesis was that the CR modelwould promote PTG in Ivorian participants. Results suggest that the use of the CR model was instrumental in increasing PTG in the participants. Implications for future research, as well as research in a cross-cultural emergent environment, are addressed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract)
Supporting Theories of the Companion Recovery (CR) Model
The CR model evolved from collaboration with world renowned scholars, literature reviews, and extensive personal experiences (Gregory & Embrey, 2009b). The model is consistent with current research and state-of-the-art clinical practices. The original model was cost-effective, reproducible, and generalizable. It attempts to address the strength of a multimodal approach to trauma intervention while keeping a “critical eye in investigating the ‘theory behind the treatment’” (Figley, 2002, p. 6). This is accomplished through an eclectic collection of theories that incorporate the following elements:
- Peer support theory is a system of giving and receiving help founded on principles of respect, shared responsibility, and mutual agreement. This theory emphasizes the importance of understanding the situation of others empathically through the shared experience of emotional and psychological pain, providing holistic understanding based on mutual experience and acceptance without the constraint of traditional relationships. Peers feel mutually empowered (Miller & Stiver, 1997). By participating as a “companion,” the individual is empowered to support their peer; providing intervention, sustainment, and cultural respect. Natural mechanisms are built into the CR model to prevent compassion fatigue/secondary trauma (Figley,
1995) using peer support.
- Gestalt therapy is experientially guided intervention designed to assist clients in overcoming symptoms caused by trauma, enabling them to become more fully and creatively alive. This
approach assists in discovering a freedom from symptoms as a result of unresolved issues negatively affecting emotional growth and development (Latner, 1992). This method of intervention was used in significant ways during the Release portion of the CR model.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy assists clients in appreciating the important role of thought in determining both feelings and actions. If unwanted feelings and behaviors are recognized, it is important to identify the underlying thinking that may be causing them. Clients learn the importance of reframing counterproductive thinking with thoughts leading to more desirable actions (Beck, 1995). This form of educational redirection was offered throughout the 36-hour training.
- Traumatic-incident reduction (TIR) theory is a brief one on one, person-centered method for eliminating negative effects of past trauma. Theoretically, once TIR has been implemented to fully and calmly view a painful memory, life events no longer “trigger” flashbacks causing distressing symptoms. TIR has been proven useful in relieving a wide range of fears, restrictive beliefs, and suffering due to loss including unresolved grief and mourning, depression, and other posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. TIR is implemented within a
person-centered, nonjudgmental, and nonevaluative context (French & Harris, 1999). Coupled with peer support, TIR was offered throughout the training. 5. Resilience training and dependable strengths articulation (Haldane, 1975) exposes participants to nature and characteristics of resilience and the relationship self-care plays, and includes identification of personal strengths. Much like building muscles, clients are taught to practice specialized “bounce back” strategies (Grotberg, 2003).