Middle East mature woman exercising
Project Type - Pilot Projects

A Trauma-Focused Physiotherapy Intervention in Refugees

Exploring the role of trauma-focused interventions to improve refugee mental health


The aims of this project are (a) co-design resources that can support the remote delivery of an existing physiotherapy intervention to traumatized refugees in Jordan and (b) evaluate the acceptability of these across a range of stakeholders. 

Project Details

In Jordan, 744,795 people have registered with the United Nations (UN) refugee agency. According to the UN Human Rights Council reports of 2019, many of those refugees were exposed to different types of trauma, which led to the development of post-traumatic stress- disorders (PTSD). Taking into consideration the adverse consequences of PTSD on brain health, including the increased risk of cognitive impairments and dementia, there is a massive need of trauma-focused interventions that restores refugee’s mental health. Yet evidence-based interventions that address PTSD and other mental issues in refugees are scarce. Physiotherapy approaches are considered important in managing stress related conditions. However, the effectiveness of physiotherapy has received scarce attention in the context of PTSD and particularly in the field of refugees’ mental health.

The Centre of Victims of Torture (CVT) in Jordan (a non-governmental organization) delivers a multi-disciplinary treatment for refugees which includes a trauma focused physiotherapy. The CVT intervention involves access to clinic-based group therapy. There is, however, an urgent need for remote interventions to enable widening access. This is particularly relevant for those clients who live in rural areas where transportation difficulties significantly reduce the uptake of the intervention. Furthermore, focus group discussions with CVT therapists indicated the need for resources that could support remote intervention delivery (e.g. physical self-care box, educational booklets along with the use of phone calls, online forum for online resources).