The psychosocial approach in peacebuilding

Can and should we simply blank out our emotions in certain contexts? Key figures from the world of international collaboration and peacebuilding increasingly agree about one thing: at times of social change, the feelings of those affected cannot be ignored. And this is precisely where the psychosocial approach comes in, which is concerned with the emotional sensitivities and social reality of individuals.

This approach is particularly important in conflict situations as few things are as emotionally charged as violent confrontations. Although our partners at federal level and those from the NGO world have been working with the psychosocial approach for a long time now, it has recently come to prominence again and more is being done to exploit its potential. In fact, the psychosocial approach is enjoying a veritable renaissance and taking a wide variety of forms.

The focus of peacebuilding is slowly shifting toward the potential of methods which place “human” aspects at the heart of things. This new awareness of psychosocial structures is feeding into the work done with people’s emotions, and the creativity involved is almost limitless.

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