War & Its Impact on Families and Communities – Global

War & Its Impact on Families and Communities – Global

Facilitators: Patrick Dougherty & Jens Riese; trainees: William Aal, Manda Johnson, Christine Arau 
Language: English


In the lab we will focus on War & Its Impact on Families and Communities. We will invite, explore, hold and start to integrate collective trauma related to both “doing harm” and “being harmed”. We expect to have personal and transgenerational trauma present in participants, and will treat this as an opening into the collective impact of war. We will invite specific family, community and national examples of the manifestation of collective trauma, trusting the emergence of what is ripe through a strengthening group coherence. We will also explore how war is both a cause as well as a symptom of collective trauma, and look at what it takes to break the perpetuation of war.

We will be exploring

  • What constitutes the historical background to war as it manifests as collective trauma today?
  • How does the trauma of war influence the construction of identity (e.g., “victim” and “perpetrator”) and the process of ‘othering’ e.g. between former war opponents and those groups that are labeled as having done harm vs. having been harmed?
  • How does the trauma of war influence the development of cultural architecture governing the current relationships between nations, ethnic groups, communities, generations within those and families?
  • How does our use of language reflect and reinforce the consequences of this trauma?
  • What are the blind spots of this trauma that culture turns its back on (e.g., “collateral damage” of war; the war trauma and shame carried by those labelled “perpetrators”)
  • How does this trauma show itself in times of crisis (e.g. Covid-19, inter-country conflict, climate emergencies)?
  • Can we collectively create a coherent we-space and a process of witnessing that leads to an integration and eventual healing of this trauma?

Participants are asked to commit to

  • Care for the well-being of the group as much as caring for yourself.
  • Be willing to share your personal reflections as well as being deeply present to others sharing.
  • The 6 month duration and to attend on a regular basis your triad outside of our group meetings.
  • Explore questions like:
    • What is my personal involvement in war trauma?
    • How has my family and community been impacted by war trauma?
    • How does war trauma manifest (personal, intergenerational, collective) manifest itself in my life today?
    • What have I done/am I doing to integrate the personal impact of war trauma, if applicable? What is your experience in trauma therapy?
    • How do I participate in the manifestation and potentially perpetuation of this trauma (e.g., othering, absenting)?
    • What motivates me to join this lab?
    • What are specific aspects I would like to explore?
  • Ensure to be free from the influence of drugs.
  • Assume confidentiality – all personal sharing within this Lab will be kept confidential and names of other participants will not be shared, nor will they be described.
  • Assuming self-responsibility for your health – this Lab does not provide therapy or treatment.

Max. group size: 20

Time: Every second Thursday (or by exception Tuesday, 29.12); 7:30 pm Central European Time (Please check here to find the time in your location)

Dates: 19.11, 03.12, 15.12, 29.12.2020; 14.01, 28.01, 11.02, 25.02, 11.03, 25.03, 08.04, 22.04, 06.05, 20.05. 03.06, 17.06. 2021

Specifically invited: War veterans, war survivors, 2nd or 3rd generation descendants, and bystanders who were traumatized by witnessing acts of war

Lab Team

Patrick Dougherty
is a licensed psychologist who has over 40 years of clinical work and decades of working with social despair and collective trauma. The last 5 years he has been developing models and protocols to support therapists, individuals and groups to stay in good relationships as they work towards integrating trauma. Stemming from his experience as a Vietnam veteran, he has a focus on collective trauma cause by involvement in or experience of armed violence, war and genocide. He has been with the Pocket Project since its inception.

Jens Riese
works as transformational coach, trauma therapist, leadership trainer and social change facilitator. He has been supporting government, NGO and company leaders, as well as communities through transformations for 20 years. As Senior Partner at McKinsey he co-founded and led practices for sustainability, economic development and centered leadership. Jens supported more than 20 countries and 50 companies in designing and implementing plans for a more sustainable and resilient economy. He pioneered the use of lab approaches to engage diverse stakeholders from all sectors in social change and crisis recovery, incl. in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea. Jens has been studying intensively with Thomas Hübl and has hosted some of his online events. His therapeutic training includes IFS, NARM, NLP, LCP, somatic and team coaching. He has a PhD and research background in developmental and evolutionary biology as well as environmental management.

Apply for this lab now!

Applications for this lab are now closed due to high interest.