Our Newly Trained Rwandan Therapists


Research Update from Rwanda

We have now trained 33 amazing Rwandan therapists.

Our newly trained therapists are a remarkable group as are our translators. We have priests and teachers and directors of orphanages, directors and teachers of secondary schools, policemen, businessmen, and clinical psychologists (with their degrees but they tell us it’s hard for psychologists to find work in Rwanda.)

We enjoy them all and have the greatest respect for them.

Following the training of the therapists last week came the pretesting of the 200 clients. All showed up and were administered the MPSS and the TSI and it went very well. Quite miraculous!

Only one of the 200 could read and all therapists showed up to read the questions to them. The clients who are participating in the study are a rural and impoverished group and were appreciative of any help we might be able to give them.

Carmen Fernandez has done an incredible job of entering all the names in the computer and assigning them either a numbered blue folder or a numbered red folder for the randomization. All names will be removed before leaving Rwanda so that the only identifiers will be numbers. Father Jean Marie has done an unbelievable job of organizing.

The next two days were spent supervising as the newly trained therapists treated the 100 people who comprised the treatment group or Group A, those with blue folders.

All clients expressed that they felt so much better after their treatment and almost all of their symptoms were reduced to a 0. They all seemed so happy. You could see their faces turn from skepticism to amazement and joy as they experienced the transformative effects of TFT. The people who left looked so different than the people who walked in.

Father Jean Marie has asked that the Izere Center, where we meet for the study, be officially the ATFT Center of Rwanda and, of course, we were all delighted and agreed on ATFT’s behalf.

One of our therapists and translators, Jean Baptiste teaches at a secondary school and already, the school administrator has been so struck by the results that Jean has been getting that his administrator has offered to pay Jean Baptiste’s way to the U.S. for further training. Caroline will be giving a training in Hawaii in April 2010. We hope that Jean (We call him Big John) can manage to attend.

The word is around.

Others not in the study are begging to be treated with TFT, so tomorrow and the next day (Monday and Tuesday) we treat 30 plus people each day. In addition, we will be treating some of the newly trained therapists who have been through so much in their own lives and have already helped so many others. These people, treated on these two days by us will, of course, not be in the study.

Wednesday and Thursday will be the post testing of 200 people who are participating in the study. One hundred will have been treated and 100 not yet treated. This is the heart of the study. We hope to demonstrate that the group treated showed more improvement over the past week than the group not treated.

Then Friday and Saturday the newly trained Rwandan therapists will treat those 100 people who are in the study who have not yet been treated. One week later, (Gordon, Carmen and Suzanne are staying behind to do this) those people who are participating and were just treated (Group B), will take a second post test to measure if they are now reporting improvement on the MPSS and the TSI which are our testing instruments.

You can see we are busy but it is a fun group. Gary and Cyndie are now known as “Auntie” and “Uncle”. They keep everyone entertained.

Our three young interpreters, Chris, Prosper, Joseph are all young men who have lived through incredible losses and they have grown fond of all of us and we of them. However they have a special relationship with “Auntie” and “Uncle.” We call Carmen and Gordon the “kids” because they are young and the rest of us are so old.

We had a brief stay in Kigali where we celebrated Chris’s 25th birthday at an Indian restaurant that is incredible. It was his first birthday party. It was so fun. The whole restaurant joined in and it was like we were one family for a brief moment in time. Now Chris is officially 25.

We celebrated again, the next night at an American owned restraint called Heaven. They are displaying and selling the orphans quilts, an offshoot of our work in Rwanda at El Shaddai Orphanage in 2006.

All for now,
Suzanne Connolly and Caroline Sakai

Creative Commons License photo credit: sdpurtill

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