Circus therapy – the answer to war trauma ?

So-called “circotherapy”, developed two years ago in Finland, is today proving successful in helping to rehabilitate Syrian youngsters and adults traumatised by war and homelessness. Originally developed to treat Finnish youngsters with behavioural and emotional problems, Sirkus Magenta, based in Helsinki, began a new project this March, sending twenty trainers to the Middle East to work with PTSD sufferers, the bereaved and homeless.At refugee camps they have been teaching survivors skills ranging from stilt walking and acrobatics to high-wire walking, juggling and uni-cycling. Because it involves teamwork, courage and trust, young people especially, as they learn, soon develop confidence, become less shy and  withdrawn, more outgoing and responsive to others. The trainers also work with entire families, disabled and older people.  Sirkus Magenta recently teamed up with representatives of Finn Church Aid to help refugees at Jordan’s Za’atari camp. An inspiring example of how mastering physical skills can calm troubled minds and repair a fractured psyche under even the most deplorable circumstances.