Anger Management with Art in Northern Uganda

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Dr. Marian Liebmann


These workshops arose out of a request from a Ugandan colleague, who had been working with victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war 1988-2004, started by Joseph Kony and rebel forces. She and her colleagues felt some direct work on anger would be helpful.

Most of the anger being expressed has arisen from people’s experiences in the LRA wars. Boys and girls were abducted and recruited into the LRA army and taught how to kill; they suffered beatings and watched brothers and sisters die at the hands of the LRA. If they were able to escape, they returned home only to find that often their parents had been killed by the LRA and their houses burnt down.

Clearly any short-term training could not remove the causes of the huge anger that has built up. So the focus of this training was to introduce strategies of handling anger so that people did not make things worse for themselves.

Case studies and examples of participants’ art work are included. The article also reflects on the relevance of such work in cultures where both art work and therapy are not very usual or available, and whether such work can be sustainable.

Key words: conflict, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), trauma, Uganda, war

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