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Trauma conference finds new ways to help victims

Art therapy can help those suffering from trauma
Seanín Graham

SUFFERERS of post traumatic stress disorder learned about new ways to conquer the condition yesterday at a unique conference.

Psychiatrist Dr Ciaran Mulholland and international art therapist Leora Sotto were among the those making presentations at the one-day workshop organised by the charity, The Wider Circle.

Set up during the Troubles, the organisation is funded by the Executive and uses a bespoke type of group therapy to work with victims of violence.

Known as the 'Gosport model', the awareness-raising charity has developed the therapy into a two to three day residential that has provided a remarkable improvement in the participants' well-being.

At yesterday's event in Belfast, Ms Sotto - an Israeli based art therapist with almost 30 years' experience - spoke of the importance of art in helping victims deal with trauma and in particular those living in societies which have experienced political conflict.

Dr Mulholland, who is an expert in his field and also lectures at Queen's University Belfast, has a specialist interest in the impact of psychological trauma.

As well as being the interim clinical director for the Northern Ireland Mental Trauma Service, the Northern health trust psychiatrist has also acted as an advisor to the Victims and Survivors Service on medical interventions for those who have been affected by Troubles-related trauma.

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