Events at SAIS

Afghanistan: Vicious Circles of Violence

Inge Missmahl
Psychoanalyst, Germany

Conflict Management, Failing States and Peacebuilding Series. Supported by the Steven Muller Chair in German Studies

Inge Missmahl, Dipl. Analytical Psychologist, Psychoanalyst. From dancer to humanitarian by way of analytical psychology, Inge Missmahl's unusual life trajectory led her to Kabul in 2004, where she saw that more than 60 percent of the population was suffering from depressive symptoms and traumatic experiences - hardly surprising in a country that had lived with ongoing violence, poverty, and insecurity for 30 years. In response, Missmahl founded the psychosocial Project Kabul for Caritas Germany, a project that trained Afghan men and women to offer psychosocial counseling in 15 centers throughout the city. The project has offered free treatment to 12,000 clients to date, helping to restore self-determination and well-being, while breaking down ingrained gender barriers and the social stigma of mental illness. Thanks to Missmahl's efforts, psychosocial counseling is now integrated into the Afghan health system.

Missmahl now works on behalf of the European Union as Technical Advisor for Mental Health for the Afghan government, and is founder of the International Psychosocial Organisation (IPSO), a network of experts dedicated to developing and implementing psychosocial programs in various contexts. IPSO is specialized in the field of mental health and psychosocial care, in developing locally adapted concepts, and in delivering training for psychosocial counsellors, medical doctors, nurses and community health workers, enabling them to treat mental health-related problems including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress following war, insecurity and challenging living conditions. IPSO has established close working relationships with the Afghan Ministry of Public Health and all other stakeholders working in the field of Mental Health in Afghanistan.

Missmahl and IPSO support cultural dialogue and cultural expression through their concept of "cultural containers" ( in several Afghan cities, thus strengthening cultural and social identity.

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Date and Time
December 14, 2017
6:30pm - 8:00pm Local Time


Event Type
BC Event