Healing Invisible Scars
Serving Syrian refugee women in Jordan, Jeanette and her team participated in a clinic that focused on breathing therapy, designed to address the Syrian women’s trauma from the war. Interviews revealed that all refugees had forms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which made it difficult for them to execute the simple tasks required to care for themselves and their children. Jeanette, herself, understood the debilitating effects of secondary trauma from atrocities she had witnessed in war zones.
After establishing Symbol: Hope, she returned to Jordan with a consultant who specializes in program analysis and research. Her research revealed that the refugees needed healing for their invisible scars before beginning more tangible initiatives including vocational training. They needed soul therapy that would provide and sustain hope.
While living and working in the Middle East for 14 years, Jeanette and many Middle Eastern women developed a strong heart connection forged on their mutual love of arts, beauty, and music. More than one year after a small vocal performance, Jeanette’s students still shared video clips with her; it had obviously touched their hearts. When the first musical created by an Arab artist debuted in a Jordanian theater, Jeanette witnessed as the arts brought hope to the audience. In many ways, it served as therapy; it was a chance for the audience to celebrate and reflect while the creators simultaneously raised funds and generated awareness about important issues. As Jeanette researched therapies used to treat PTSD, she found that the arts were pivotal in treating trauma and the telling of their story.