Testimonial Therapy: Impact on social participation and emotional wellbeing among Indian survivors of torture and organized violence


  • Mia Myhre Jørgensen University of Copenhagen
  • Jens Modvig DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, Copenhagen
  • Inger Agger DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, Copenhagen
  • Lenin Raghuvanshi People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, Varanasi, India
  • Shirin Shabana Khan People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights, Varanasi, India
  • Peter Polatin DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture, Copenhagen




Torture, trauma, rehabilitation, India, Testimonial Therapy, violence, community empowerment, emotions


Introduction: Traumatizing events, such as torture, cause considerable impairments in psycho-social functioning. In developing countries, where torture is often perpetrated, few resources exist for the provision of therapeutic or rehabilitating interventions. The current study investigated the effectiveness of Testimonial Therapy (TT) as a brief psycho-social intervention to ameliorate the distress of Indian survivors of torture and related violence.

Method: Three outcome measures (the WHO-5 Well-Being Scale, Social Participation-Scale and Pain and Anger Analogue) were compared before and after receiving TT, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with survivors who had previously received TT.

Findings: Participants showed significant improvements in emotional well-being, social participation, and self-perceived pain and anger. Furthermore, three qualitative interviews
with survivors indicated that TT had a positive impact at the community level.

Discussion: Although the study was conducted without a control group for comparison, TT appeared to be an effective method for improving well-being and ameliorating distress among survivors of torture. Furthermore, TT can potentially promote community empowerment. However, more research on this aspect is needed.


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How to Cite

Jørgensen, M. M., Modvig, J., Agger, I., Raghuvanshi, L., Khan, S. S., & Polatin, P. (2018). Testimonial Therapy: Impact on social participation and emotional wellbeing among Indian survivors of torture and organized violence. Torture Journal, 25(2), 12. https://doi.org/10.7146/torture.v25i2.109672