Dear participant to the 12th ECOTS!

Since World War II a comprehensive body of law has been developed to protect and promote human rights. Since then the influence of human rights violations on both physical and mental health has been increasingly studied, with the focus on trauma and PTSD in particular. Mental health professionals have played a prominent role in documenting the consequences of human rights abuses, such as torture, forced displacement or massive rape associated with political conflict. Since late 1970`s specialized centers provide care and rehabilitation for survivors of political violence, new therapies and medication have been developed to ease the suffering of survivors of severe human rights violations.

Still many questions remain at the intersection of traumatic stress and human rights violations:


● Is the trauma model adequate to study any population affected by human rights violations?

● Which are the most vulnerable groups, what do they need from trauma experts and other professionals?

● Do we know enough about the consequences of human rights abuses? What are the appropriate clinical descriptions and classifications for individuals suffering exposure to long-term human rights abuses?

● Is evidenced based therapy appropriate for all torture survivors?

● What are the necessary components of interventions for healing after massive traumatization?

● How to promote resilience in volatile areas?

● Should the prevention of human rights abuses be considered by mental health professionals as a primary prevention against trauma?

● What are the relations between traumatization, justice and reconciliation?

● How to alleviate retraumatization when victims testify in court?


These questions arise from a multidimensional and multidisciplinary framework to understand individual and collective trauma emerging from human rights abuses. By choosing the theme „Human Rights and Psychotraumatology“, the 12th ECOTS in Vienna wants to attend to these issues.

However, other topics on traumatic stress, models of innovative practice and therapy, studies on resilience to

traumatic experiences at the individual and collective level, trauma prevention and recovery in emergency services and disasters, and other issues within the field of traumatic stress studies are welcome!

Dean Ajdukovic
Chair of Program Committee
Department of Psychology, University of Zagreb, Croatia and Society for Psychological
Assistance, Zagreb, Croatia; past president of ESTSS (2003-2005)

Brigitte Lueger-Schuster
Chair of Organizational Committee
Faculty of Psychology, Institute of Clinical, Biological and Differential Psychology,
University of Vienna, Austria; president elect of ESTSS (2011-2013)



























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