Group physiotherapy with survivors of torture in urban and camp settings in Jordan and Kenya


  • Laura Janet Pizer Gueron Center for Victims of Torture
  • Arobogust Amoyi The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Winnie Chao The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Justine Chepngetich The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Jepkemoi Joanne Kibet The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Stephen Nyambok The Center for Victims of Torture
  • Joseph Wesonga The Center for Victims of Torture



group physiotherapy, interdisciplinary, refugee, pain, pelvic floor


Introduction:  In this paper we report provisional field results on the impact of CVT’s (the Center for Victims of Torture) interdisciplinary group treatment on physiotherapy indicators in refugees living in urban and camp settings in Kenya and Jordan. The physiotherapy component of this model includes pain neuroscience education, sleep hygiene, posture and body mechanics instruction and healing of pain and trauma from a biopsychosocial perspective, in a program of ten weekly sessions. This program is supported by a clinical assessment that records a broad set of indicators of participant experience and functioning. In addition, some survivors report having pelvic floor dysfunction and data will be offered about a subset of survivors looking at prevalence of these issues.

Methods: Survivors are identified through referral systems, community education and sensitization campaigns, contacts and trainings with other NGOs and health care providers. Prospective survivors are screened into CVT services or referred to other agencies that can better meet their needs. CVT focuses its services on refugees with physical and emotional difficulties that may be effectively treated through its interdisciplinary treatment model and who have survived torture or related human rights violations. Following an informed consent process, survivors participate in a comprehensive individual assessment and then progress to the 10-week program. Wherever possible, follow-up assessments are conducted 2 weeks after the sessions end, and at 3, and 9 months following completion of the 10-week long intervention.

Results: On average, participants who completed 3-month follow-up assessments showed statistically and clinically significant improvements on physiotherapy indicators.

Discussion: Provisional results are encouraging and suggest that the model is adaptable to the needs of different populations and settings. As nearly all participants receive both counseling and physiotherapy, it is difficult to know which benefits can be attributed to physiotherapy alone. 

Author Biographies

Laura Janet Pizer Gueron, Center for Victims of Torture

Laura has been Physiotherapy Clinical Advisor for the CVT Kenya programs since 2012. She has a Bsc in physiotherapy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1983), a Master's degree in public health education from the University of Minnesota (1990) and a doctorate in physiotherapy form Shenandoah University (2010). She is a Therapeutic Pain Specialist (TPS-2017).

Arobogust Amoyi, The Center for Victims of Torture

Amoyi has worked as a physiotherapist in the CVT Nairobi program since 2018. Prior to this, he worked in hospitals in Malinda, Kenya. He received his BSc from Moi University -College of Health Sciences.

Winnie Chao, The Center for Victims of Torture

Winnie graduated from Moi University -- College of Health Sciences with a BSc in physiotherapy. Prior coming to CVT in 2017 to work as a staff physiotherapist in the Kakuma program, she worked at Daniel Lomboni Health Center and Osoita Physiotherapy Wellness Center.

Justine Chepngetich, The Center for Victims of Torture

Justine graduated with a BSc from Moi University-Department of Health Sciences, and has worked a a physiotherapist in the CVT Kakuma program since 2018. Prior to working with CVT, she worked at A.I.C. Kijabe Hospital treating patients in orthopedics, outpatient, pediatrics and general surgery departments.

Jepkemoi Joanne Kibet, The Center for Victims of Torture

Physiotherapist/Trainer for Nairobi program. Has been trainer for CVT for 8 years. Is completing doctoral program in physiotherapy from University of the Western Cape in South Africa. Prior to joining CVT, was Head of the Department and Lecturer Physiotherapy Department at the School of Medicine, Moi University, Kenya.

Stephen Nyambok, The Center for Victims of Torture

Stephen graduated from Kenya Medical Training College with a Diploma in physiotherapy. He has worked as a CVT physiotherapist in the Nairobi program since February of 2017.

Joseph Wesonga, The Center for Victims of Torture

Joseph Wesonga has a Diploma in physiotherpay from Kenya Medical Training College and a Masters degree in Public Health from Great Lakes University in Kisumu, Kenya as well as certificate in Community Based Rehabilitation and Management from Kaliniya University in Sri Lanka. He has been CVT physiotherapy trainer in the Kakuma program since its inception in 2017. Prior to coming to CVT, he worked for several years at a Government of Kenya Hospital, and then for many years with Humanity and Inclusion in the Dadaab Refugee Camp, as HI technical lead and as area manager.


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How to Cite

Gueron, L. J. P., Amoyi, A., Chao, W., Chepngetich, J., Kibet, J. J., Nyambok, S., & Wesonga, J. (2021). Group physiotherapy with survivors of torture in urban and camp settings in Jordan and Kenya. Torture Journal, 30(3), 27–42.