Pre-conference Workshop 3

Workshop 3

Reframing sociotherapy

Reframing sociotherapy: from Santpoort to Rwanda and back/resilience and conciliation in the aftermath of disaster

Annemiek Richters, speakers from Rwanda

09:00 – 17:30 hrs



Additional workshop information:

Community Based Sociotherapy (CBS) as practised in Rwanda is a group-based mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) intervention for people suffering through relational and collective trauma resulting from war, genocide, forced migration, epidemics, or natural disasters. It recovers the capacity to build supportive new relationships while research shows that this leads to empowerment, reconciliation between perpetrators and survivors, and the mitigation of a range of psychological disorders.

The main questions to be discussed in the workshop are:

  1. What did sociotherapy bring from the Netherlands to Rwanda;
  2. What new insights does it bring traveling back to the Netherlands (and other countries in the Western world for that matter); and
  3. What (if any) adaptations may be needed to make it work after its return.


Workshop facilitators include:

  • Emmanuel Sarabwe and Theoneste Rutyaisire, each involved in the CBS practice and research since 2005 in Rwanda and lately in neighbouring countries;
  • Marianne Vysma, medical anthropologist and Jungian therapist who supports CBS through training and research;
  • Carolien Grootendorst, initiator of CBS in Liberia in 2013 and representative of the International Institute for Community Based Sociotherapy (; and
  • Annemiek Richters who has contributed in a number of leadership capacities to the development of CBS in Rwanda (



Morning program:

09:00 - 12:30:

  • Introduction of the workshop and getting to know each other.
  • Getting familiar with the why, how and what of CBS implementation and research. Including presentations, discussion, relax and refocus exercises, and video clips.

Afternoon program: 

14.00 – 17.30:

  • The potential needs and opportunities for an approach such as the CBS one to be implemented in various care settings in the Western world


To read:

  • Cora Dekker (2019) Handbook Training in Community-based Sociotherapy. Experiences in Rwanda, East Congo and Liberia. African Studies Centre Leiden, the Netherlands. >
  • Annemiek Richters, Theoneste Rutayisire, and Cora Dekker (2010), “Care as a turning point in sociotherapy: Remaking the moral world in post-genocide Rwanda”, Medische Antropologie: Tijdschrift over Gezondheid en Cultuur 22(1): 93-108. >
  • Optional: Emmanuel Sarabwe, Annemiek Richters & Marianne Vysma (2017) “Marital conflict in the aftermath of genocide in Rwanda: An explorative study in the context of community-based sociotherapy”, Intervention: International Journal of Mental Health, Psychosocial Work and Counselling in Areas of Armed Conflict 16(1):14-21.