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Larson-Stoa, Deborah 2010 Effect of therapy on depression, anxiety, somatization, and functioning in Indonesian torture survivors, MA thesis. University of South Dakota.
    © D. Larson-Stoa, 2010. Use of any part of this thesis for any purpose must be acknowledged.


The Indonesian population has faced political violence, victimization, and torture throughout the last 70 years. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the participants improved after therapy, and to further understand the psychological effects of torture. Local communities in Indonesia were invited to join the psychosocial program, Survivors of Torture (SOT). The program was created and implemented by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) in 2008. After attrition, 178 male participants were recruited from Jakarta, Papua, and Aceh, Indonesia for the SOT program which would help survivors of violence with "heavy hearts." The clients in Papua went through individual sessions of supportive therapy with a trained counselor, while the clients in Jakarta and Aceh went through group supportive therapy with a trained counselor. The counselors conducted the first intake using the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25), Current Level of Functioning Questionnaire, and the Seven Common Somatic Symptoms list. The intervention lasted three months, and the follow-up intake was conducted after four months. The results indicated the participants' anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, somatic symptoms, and functioning improved from the intake to the follow-up. There were differences between the modes of therapy, as well as differences between all three locations. The change in somatic symptoms was predicted by the change in depressive or anxiety symptoms depending on location. Levels of functioning was predicted by anxiety, depressive, and somatic symptoms depending on location. The SOT program appeared to have been effective in reducing the participants' symptoms and impairment in functioning, and the relationships between symptoms were affected by the culture and intensity of the conflicts in each location.

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