Grupos Vida LogoPoverty and violence lead to a socio-emotional climate in urban slums that contributes to low self-esteem, apathy, lack of hope and resignation. Many slum dwellers suffer from psychological and emotional wounds as a result of cumulative trauma and non-processed personal and communal histories. This makes it very difficult to build a healthier society, As long as trauma and pain remain untreated, they contribute to the vicious cycle of poverty and keep people stuck, without the ability to dream, and conforming themselves to the socio-emotional and political reality in which they live.

GruposVida is an initiative to help hurting people get in touch with the emotional and psycho-spiritual dimensions of their lives, all within the safe environment of small emotional recovery and support groups. Our self-help groups are guided by trained facilitators and allow people to healthily deal with trauma and pain in their lives.

Indeed, creating spaces to allow people to talk about their painful experiences is crucial to overcome apathy and isolation. Helping people interested in improving the state of their personal health, share their personal history is a critical step towards emotional recovery. The correct way to deal with trauma and pain is through three simple steps: acknowledge what happened, express what happened and reflect on what happened. Arts processes (that include aspects of art therapy), emotional recovery and support groups, and inner healing prayer are great assets to deepen this journey of self-discovery and healing.

This is particularly the case when they encourage people not only to share and reflect on their personal history, but lead them to understand how their personal lives have been marked by their country’s history and culture, including dysfunctional cultural coping strategies, while at the same time guiding them to see God’s presence throughout their lives. This allows them to find meaning and significance in what they have lived through and re-engage life.

We believe that GruposVIDA is vital for some of the people we work with to have more hope, grow in their self-esteem and self-knowledge, to recover emotionally and from addictive behavior, and have the ability to face and overcome times of grief and trauma and learn from them.