24 May 2018 Photo Supplied
Trauma and the role of dance in peace making Patty Abozaglo
Patty Abozaglo, Peruvian human rights lawyer and a certified mediator.

Trauma is a psychological wound, or the destruction of individual or collective structures, following an event or several events that are a major stressor occurring within a social context. At a recent lecture held by the office for Student Leadership Development, UFS Student Affairs, Patty Abozaglo, a Peruvian human rights lawyer and a mediator certified by the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland, presented her lecture on Trauma, Reconciliation and Peace-building.

In her lecture, she discussed trauma, reconciliation, and the role of dance as a means of mediation in conflict and traumatic situations. Trauma can affect the person directly experiencing the traumatic event and also those taking care of the person directly affected. Groups or communities are also affected by trauma, and it can even be transgenerational.

“The physical and mental body are affected by trauma and therefore our surroundings and our relationships are affected,” said Patty Abozaglo. The consequences of trauma can be at individual or social level manifesting through nightmares, insomnia, depression, relationship breakdowns, chronic exhaustion, addictions and uncontrollable angry outbursts.

Following the lecture, there was a dance workshop to demonstrate how dance can be used in mediation. As a Capacitar International programme and Laban dance and body movement tutor, Patty Abozaglo said that dance enhanced wellbeing in society. “If not addressed, trauma can jeopardise efforts to maintain peace and instead fuel patterns of violence,” she added. As trauma affects the physical and mental body, Capacitar and Laban dance enables those who have experienced trauma to release tension in their bodies and minds and by so doing creating relaxed and healthy community environments.