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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-25

Psychosocial interventions, or integrated programming for well-being?

1 Senior Technical Advisor for the Displaced Children and Orphans Fund, United States, and has worked for UNHCR and the Christian Children's Fund as well as consulting for UNICEF and other organizations
2 independent consultant on child protection and psychosocial programming. She has worked with the International Rescue Committee and Save the Children (UK), and consulted with UNICEF on issues related to children in armed conflict

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John Williamson
DCOF, North Tower, Suite 700, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20004, USA.

Malia Robinson
Malia Robinson, 1926 S. 22nd Street, Lincoln, NE, 68502, USA.

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Over the past 25 years, humanitarian programming has increasingly included attention to the psychological and social impacts of conflict. Over this time, a wide variety of approaches have been developed to address these ‘psychosocial’ issues. The authors argue that labelling these approaches, as a distinct and separate sector of activity is not helpful, either conceptually or programmatically. They further believe close operational co-ordination is essential among the various kinds of intervention required to help any particular population affected by armed conflict to improve its psychosocial, biological and material well-being. The article includes a graphic framework that reflects the integration of safety, participation, and development within the various elements of well-being. An integrated perspective and approach is proposed that calls for inclusion of psychosocial issues within humanitarian programming, across all sectors of intervention. The significant question is not, therefore, what constitutes a ‘psychosocial intervention,’ but rather how do humanitarian interventions together promote over-all well-being. Throughout the article, points are illustrated with examples from field practice.

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