What is the Healing the Wounds of History approach?

Healing the Wounds of History is a process in which experiential techniques are used to work with a group of participants who share a common legacy of historical trauma. The process was developed by Armand Volkas who is a psychotherapist, drama therapist and theatre director from Berkeley, California. Volkas is the son of Auschwitz survivors and resistance fighters from World War II. He was moved by his personal struggle with this legacy of historical trauma to address the issues that arose from it: identity, victimization and perpetration, meaning and grief.

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 How does it help?

Healing the Wounds of History helps participants work through the burden of such legacies by transforming their pain into constructive action. Armand Volkas’s work has received international recognition for bringing groups in conflict together as well as cultures who carry collective trauma: Descendants of Jewish Holocaust survivors and The Third Reich; Palestinians and Israelis; Japanese and Chinese on the legacy of The Nanjing Massacre and WWII, Koreans on the legacy of comfort women; Tamil and Singhalese in the aftermath of the Sri Lankan Civil War, Armenians and Turks, Turks and Kurds, African-Americans and European-Americans on the legacy of Slavery, Muslim Palestinians and Lebanese Christians and the factions involved in the Lebanese Civil War.

 What are the premises of this approach?

Healing the Wounds of History is based on the premise that there can be no political solutions to intercultural conflict until we understand and take into consideration the needs, emotions and unconscious drives of the human being. Healing the Wounds of History, which takes a psychological approach to conflict, provides a map to help both groups traverse the emotional terrain to reconciliation. We invite participants from groups in conflict, who are willing to be emotional pioneers for their cultures, to participate in this groundbreaking work:

  • Breaking the taboo against “enemies” speaking to each other
  • Humanizing each other through sharing our personal stories
  • Taking steps towards healing personal and collective wounds using creative and experiential methods
  • Transforming historical trauma into constructive action and service

How can you support this work?

Join us in an effort to work through the layers of the unresolved feelings we carry about each other.

You can support this work by:

  • Joining one of our projects as a participant where we explore what it means to be an emotional pioneer who helps pave the way for others to follow,
  • Proposing a new gathering between “enemies”
  • Sponsoring an encounter
  • Donation

For more information contact Armand Volkas at (510) 595-5500, Ext 11 or email him at info@livingartscenter.org