In November 2009 Healing Kashmir brought therapists from the UK to work on the project in Kashmir. Over the course of six weeks we worked with patients who had been selected by Dr Arshad and his colleagues. We treated them in both the clinical environment of the hospital, and also in their villages. The average number of treatments for a patient during this time was between four and seven sessions that included counseling, homeopathy, psychotherapy, cranio-sacral therapy and Reiki. We also began to train some of the junior doctors and counselors in the basics of these methods in order that they could continue to work with patients until stage II of the project.
The results of this first stage were dramatically successful. Rather than being too cocky about this we must factor in two things: the first is that the people of Kashmir derive a great sense of support when people come in from the outside, aiming to ease their situation. They have felt very isolated during the course of the conflict, so just the arrival of foreign therapists in itself had a positive effect. Add to this the fact that many Kashmiris feel that they can speak much more freely and openly to outsiders’ about their problems, rather than to another Kashmiri, even if he or she is a doctor.
This is because there has been a great breakdown of confidence and very few people trust each other, particularly with sensitive personal information. The second factor is that most patients are used to having a maximum of two or three minutes with a doctor or psychiatrist in a crowded, noisy and chaotic outpatients’ department setting. We were treating patients individually in a quiet room, for up to an hour at a time. The combination of these things added to the therapies that were being given. To gauge the success of the treatments requires on-going assessment of the individuals. Dr Ashad Hussain and his staff will be making these assessments between the treatment phases.