International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

SDO Promotes Therapies to Help Kuwaitis Cope with Stressors

Posted 1 April 1996 in StressPoints by Fahed Al Naser, PhD

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the subsequent occupation caused many psychological and social problems among the Kuwaiti citizens, whose traumatic experiences included violence, abuses, torture and imprisonment, refugees, death and bereavement and others. During the occupation, a country once known for its harmony and prosperity was turned into a land of terror, distress and scarcity. Kuwait's liberation left an ocean of traumatic stress related disorders, which were aggravated by the problem of the prisoners of war and missing persons.

Preliminary studies showed that a considerable segment of the population developed traumatic stress related disorders, including PTSD. It was at this juncture in 1992 that the Amiri Diwan Social Development Office (SDO) was established. Initially, the task of treatment was formidable because counseling and other psychotherapies - due to their social and religious implications - were something alien and unacceptable to the majority of citizens. SDO mobilized campaigns to create awareness and recognition of the need of therapies for proper cure and rehabilitation of the afflicted, with extreme care to safeguard the sanctity and privacy of the individual, family and society. The tenacity of SDO, combined with international cooperation and assistance, generated positive results.

The SDO sponsored a series of studies, as well as seminars, conferences and training courses in which internationally known scholars shared their expertise and experience in related fields. Modern therapies and methods were introduced and Kuwaitis were enabled to face the present and future challenges.