Learning from Gaza (Palestine)

Mental Health paradigms from the Grass Roots


The research project, “Learning from Gaza,” seeks to position the Palestine Trauma Centre (UK) [PTC-UK] as a grassroots leader in mental health programming by challenging culturally inappropriate frameworks imposed on vulnerable populations. The study aims to establish knowledge networks that support the organization in achieving its long-term goal of fostering communities competent in psychosocial support best practices, thereby granting agency over Mental Health to those enduring ongoing violence.

PTC(UK)’s Tarkiz program, developed over a decade, draws inspiration from Eugene Gendlin’s theory of “Focusing.” It places emphasis on recognizing personal responses to harm and understanding reactions to them, enabling psychological well-being even in adverse conditions. By externalizing harm and separating it from the individual, Tarkiz empowers individuals to identify the causes of harm and envision their inner lives as separate from grief or violence. The involvement of solidarity communities is crucial in this process, with the ultimate objective of establishing a self and community care system for long-term sustainability.

While existing cross-sectional and anecdotal evidence supports the effectiveness of PTC’s approach, conducting a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) is necessary to definitively demonstrate its efficacy. The study involves an extensive literature review to highlight the novelty of the approach and its adherence to best practices in Mental Health. The outcomes of the feasibility research directly contribute to the broader aims of the Rights for Time project, encompassing the publication of the feasibility study, the development of the draft Tarkiz manual, and the establishment of a network of researchers and practitioners. These outcomes position PTC -UK as a leader in mental health practice, reshaping trauma perspectives, and disseminating findings to contribute to ongoing efforts in the field.