Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) rebuilds the lives and restores the hope of people who survive torture and war atrocities. By training local mental health staff in the countries it serves, these counselors contribute to the long-term mental health needs in their countries. CVT provides technical assistance and training to torture survivor rehabilitation centers in the U.S. and around the world to strengthen each center’s mental health services, organizational management and financial stability. CVT also advocates in Washington, D.C. for resources and policies to help the victims of torture.

In St. Paul, Minnesota (where many refugees are resettled), survivors receive medical treatment (including psychiatric services), nursing care, psychotherapy (including with a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, or clinical social worker), social services, and massage and physical therapy. These services are provided in a nonclinical, home-like setting.

Most of the mental health services CVT provides internationally are in the form of small group counseling sessions, while those with severe trauma receive individual counseling until ready for group therapy. CVT also works with local community members and refugees to train them in counseling, physical therapy, advocacy, and education in areas where these services did not exist.  CVT’s National Capacity Building Project uses the website www.healtorture.org as resource for other service providers and rehabilitation centers to gain access to CVT’s research into best practices, clinical skills, fundraising, and program evaluation.

From their offices in Washington, D.C., CVT advocates for the end of the use of torture, provides resources for survivors, and promotes refugee resettlement here in the United States and internationally. This work is vital because conflict, war, displacement, and the ongoing plight of refugees causes incredible challenges. Furthermore, torture victims bear an additional burden that must be addressed.