We support women and girls in war and crisis zones

STA – Stress- and Trauma-sensitive Approach

Avoiding stress, preventing reactivation of trauma symptoms, strengthen the Resilience

STA – Stress- and Trauma-sensitive Approach to strengthen the Resilience

The Stress- and Trauma-sensitive Approach (STA) is a low-threshold way to ensure support can be offered in a low-resource environment to people affected by violence and trauma. It takes into account certain basic principles in dealing with people who have experienced violence. It involves avoiding additional stress to the affected persons, preventing reactivation of trauma symptoms, and thus strengthening and stabilizing women and girls affected by violence. Such an approach can be implemented in all of medica mondiale’s fields of work. The people who support those affected should also remain healthy as they do so.

In practice: Security, stabilisation, self-determination

The stress- and trauma-sensitive approach characterises all the fields of work and assistance provided by medica mondiale. Creating or re-establishing a feeling of security and safety is not only important in direct psychosocial work with clients, but also during legal advice sessions, at the doctor’s or in court during witness statements. For the staff of our international projects and our main office in Cologne, it is just as important to prevent the renewed or indirect traumatisation which can arise due to the stress and strains of daily contact with trauma and violence – this can be avoided if recognised in time.

Our experience shows: It is important to be careful with oneself and others and also to carry over this carefulness to all levels of the organisation, including project planning and management. In this way long-term cooperation can succeed with lasting impacts. Our fundamental trauma-sensitive approach also takes into account the fact that trauma dynamics can have tangible effects on families, working environments and society as a whole.

Development of the STA

The Stress- and Trauma-sensitive Approach (STA) grew out of close cooperation and practical experiences gained with partner organisations of medica mondiale from Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan and Liberia. It is passed on in training courses and it is always adapted to the specific working context and regional circumstances.


Related topic

Supporting survivors of violence with a multi-sectoral, solidaritybased, Stress- and Trauma-sensitive Approach