Best practices

Physical Therapy/Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy (Physical Therapy: these terms will be used interchangeably on this website) is a growing field in the area of torture survivor treatment. Survivors of torture are often affected by chronic pain and by difficulty in carrying out functional activities.
Research carried out by Dignity-Danish Institute Against Torture suggests that up to 80% of torture survivors could benefit from receiving physiotherapy. A worldwide survey of torture treatment centers carried out by the Center for Victims of Torture staff shows that a majority of clients receive physical therapy 51% of the time

Carol White

Healthcare Reform Activist

Carol White, MA Early Childhood Education, MPH, is the former manager of CVT’s National Capacity-building Project.  She has worked at CVT since 2000, managing the NCB project since 2004. She has a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in early childhood education from Stanford University, and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota. She has managed primary care clinics and agencies for underserved populations (homeless adults and families, urban adolescents, low income urban pregnant women) in Minnesota for nine years previously.

Measurement tools

These resources and webinars review measurement tools used in psychological testing.  You are already familiar with many of these.  The selection of a tool appropriate to your population and construct is essential for the success of your evaluation.

You will see how validity and reliability are assessed for a measurement tool.  The basic process to examine the validity and reliability of a measurement tool reveals that the process is quite accessible.

In his webinar “Outcome Evaluation for Torture Treatment Centers: Concepts and Strategies”, Ken Miller’s case studies of tool development will

The Value of Integrating Primary Medical Care into the Treatment of Survivors of Torture


In this webinar Dr. Kate Sugarman will present on the collaborative healing relationship between torture rehabilitation staff and primary care physicians and the value of integrating psychological and medical care into a torture survivor’s treatment plan.  Dr. Sugarman and Laurel Smith-Raut, MSW, a social worker at ASTT, will present on their unique approach to this model.


After attending this webinar participants will be able to:

  1. Describe one medical approach to treating  survivors with comorbid conditions
  2. Recognize the importance of documenting a survivor’s comprehensive



This book is a starting point for professionals who work with torture treatment centers, such as: therapists, social workers, attorneys, nurses, physicians, and administrators. This book can be read in its entirety, or the professional can read the areas pertinent to specific disciplines. By reaching out to members of torture treatment programs in the United States, the reader should be able to build a network services, either community-wide or within an agency, to better meet the needs of their clients.


Information on providing services to torture survivors is available from a variety of sources. There are many books and journals accessible from libraries as well as numerous online resources. The following is not a comprehensive list of resources but provides a good starting point for those seeking more information. Reference help from many libraries is available online through email and real-time interactive chat. Library catalogs and databases of journals are also available online. Librarians, trained in resources of all types, will help with research.

Healing the Hurt

Healing the Hurt: A Guide for Developing Services for Torture Survivors was developed by The Center for Victims of Torture for practitioners who may or may not have worked previously with torture survivors. It is a multidisciplinary guide that addresses some basic considerations when working with this population. This handbook is a primer, and it should not take the place of more in-depth training in torture treatment. We hope you find this resource helpful in your work with torture survivors. Various chapters are referred to under Providers Resources at


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