The Argentine Team of Psychosocial Work and Research (Equipo Argentino de Trabajo e Investigación Psicosocial - EATIP) was formed as a mental health and human rights center in the context of State terrorism during the military dictatorship in Argentina. EATIP continued working once a constitutional government was back in power, and developed clinical experience that has always been founded on the team members’ commitment toward the advancement of human rights. Since then, the political situation has changed, but the structural causes of poverty, social inequity and repressive policies and impunity still prevail and result in new human rights violations. What will then be the role of the centers regarding the right to rehabilitation?
The clinical and psychosocial rehabilitation work carried out by EATIP is based on the victims’ trust and requires institutional policies that are independent from any government administration in power. Ever since the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo set the example of gathering and organizing during the last dictatorship, assembling became a modality that prevails among people affected by different forms of political repression or social trauma in order to defend and support their claims. We call these groups Witnessing Collectives, and the clinical approach we have developed includes permanent support to these groups, as a form of therapeutic relationship we consider we need to build, and as a required framework for effective therapeutic strategies.
Over the years, government actions from different administrations have been more in the form of statements, rather than effective State policies. Since the recovery of a constitutional government, the challenge has been how to apply the experience accumulated in civil society organizations to public rehabilitation and prevention policies. We intend to encourage discussion to achieve the sustainability of the centers as well as to advocate for the inclusion of guidelines to State policies that grant access and assistance to all affected.
EATIP has vast experience in providing psychological and psychosocial support to people affected by State terrorism and other human rights violations occurred both during the last military dictatorship and after the constitutional order was restored, in 1983. The subsequent administrations have only taken emerging actions in terms of rehabilitation, more formally than in actuality, and such actions have been interrupted with the arrival of the following administration.
Today, institutional independence from any administration in power has become relevant in order to respond to the contextual needs of the victims. The centers are faced with the challenge of attaining independence and sustainability, while being able to advocate for effective State policies for prevention and access to rehabilitation and justice.
The question is: Can we continue providing clinical and psychosocial support and leave a conceptual and technical expertise legacy?
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
There is no conflict of interests to declare.