The present work is the first study based on long term treatment of refugees to integrate cultural analysis. Its objective is to identify theoretical and practical challenges which confront tradition-oriented forced migrants and their professional helpers despite the professed multicultural values in our society. Challenges which should be viewed against tragic events that have taken place not only in their past but present lives; and that have individual as well as collective causes and impacts.
Misfortune does not always end with 'the lucky escape' but may continue on foreign soil. Interdisciplinary issues of relevance to subjects such as psychology, psychiatry, comparative religion and anthropology, are raised. But the pain of traumatic experience is not thereby resolved. The women in this study may have become prisoners of their post traumatic stress-related symptoms and strict gender codes. In many ways they are, however, masters of their communication.
NORA AHLBERG is currently professor of psychology and head of the Psychosocial Centre for Refugees at the University of Oslo. She is also professor of comparative religion and head of the Institute of religious Studies at the University of Trondheim, as well as holding an associate professorship at the University of Helsinki.