Testimony therapy includes individual counseling, whereby the
clients told their life stories, including traumatic events, and
counselors provided support and documented the details of the
narratives. After sessions, the counselors transcribed the narratives,
which were compiled into books for the clients.
Next, a culturally adapted ceremony involved a Buddhist ritual and a truth-telling event to which community members and non-governmental organization representatives were invited.
A study shows that this intervention, testimony therapy plus ceremony, reduced symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression among Khmer Rouge torture survivors from across Cambodia.
"We hope that these findings encourage researchers to continue to study testimony therapy more closely and for practitioners to consider its applicability in their work."
Co-author Sopheap Taing noted that participants often shared their experiences related to the ceremony component of the intervention. "[It] is a healing process that allows us to honor the deceased person and to feel forgiveness towards the perpetrators and to let it go," said one participant. "When it comes to our suffering, [it] means taking the thorn out from our heart. If we keep it there, it will still hurt us."