CBS approach and philosophy


CBS approach and philosophy

Community-based sociotherapy is an approach used to support people in constructively dealing with the psychosocial consequences of war, genocide, violence and other forms of human suffering.

The approach uses the group as a therapeutic medium to create trust, an open environment for discussion and the formation of peer-support structures. The uniqueness of sociotherapy is that it is done at community level with people from the same neighbourhood usually representing different socio-historical backgrounds (e.g. genocide survivors or genocide perpetrators), linking the process of psychosocial recovery to the process of grassroots peacebuilding.

Our Work | CBS Rwanda

The sociotherapy group brings together 10 to 15 people from the same community, having different socio-historical backgrounds. The groups are facilitated by two sociotherapists from the same communities. Each group meets on a weekly basis for three hours and goes through a journey of 15 weeks. 

The approach uses phases and principles to create an atmosphere in the group that support the formation of peer-support structures. The phases the group goes through are safety, trust, care, respect, new life orientations and processing members. The principles that guide the group processes include the inter-est, equality, democracy, participation, responsibility, learning-by-doing and here-and-now.  Sociotherapy is about sharing experiences, ideas, emotions and feelings and learning from each other. 

In a society where people have been much affected by war and genocide, the sociotherapy group helps people to feel that there is a place where people can experience safety again and regain their so-called ‘normal way of living’ without feeling overwhelmed by the consequences of violence.

Approach Community Based Sociotherapy
Infographic CBS Rwanda
Stories of change CBS Rwanda