Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma

23 Nov

Like me, many people who are reading this blog have never been through torture or war trauma.  Not everyone is that lucky.  Today’s organization is here to help those individuals.

The Center for Survivors or Torture and War Trauma (CSTWT) is a St Louis, Missouri based organization with a mission to facilitate the healing process for refugee and immigrant individuals and families who have survived torture and war, and to help them transcend the suffering and move toward healing and self-empowerment.  They work toward this mission by providing culturally appropriate, holistic mental health services in an atmosphere of professional, therapeutic support.

The Center began in the early 1990s when therapists were seeing an increase in refugees who were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. In response, Jean Abbott, CSJ, LCSW coordinated an informal coalition of service providers to address the special needs of these new Americans.  An early partnership with Provident, Inc (a St Louis area family service non-profit agency) made it possible for Abbot to provide on-site therapy to refugees and immigrants.  In the summer of 2001, CSTWT was incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit corporation in Missouri to continue this work with an emphasis on providing mental health services.

St Louis has become one of the largest new resettlement homes for immigrants and refugees and is the largest resettlement city for Bosnians. The Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma serves immigrants and refugees who have fled countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Ethiopia, Iran, Somalia, Liberia, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they have experienced persecution, war, or other forms of trauma.

Common after effects of trauma for refugees and immigrants include fear, isolation, flashbacks, nightmares, dissociations from the present, difficulty regulating emotions and distrust of others.  Common mental health issues reported by refugees who have experienced torture include post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.  Such complex mental health issues make it especially difficult for individuals to maintain employment, sustain housing, and take care of themselves their families.

How can you help?

There are many ways to give your time to the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma. Opportunities include office support, pro-bono therapeutic services for professionals, teaching different types of performing arts to high school youth, mentoring with their after-school program, and administrative projects like grant-writing, advocacy campaigns, or fund raising events.  You can also make a donation on their website

You can learn more about the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma by visiting their website,  You can also contact them via e-mail at or connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization


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