ACA member, Dr. Cheryl Sawyer, recently spoke to Fusion about a Harry Potter-inspired project she developed to help refugee children unpack their trauma and give it a safe space to live.
Working with counselors, the children document their unique stories in books with words, drawings, art, and pictures taken from the internet, since many don’t have the vocabulary to explain what has happened to them.
All of this was inspired by a scene in Harry Potter during which Professor Albus Dumbledore explains the purpose of his "Pensieve," a magic bowl where he stores memories and retrieves them later.
Harry Potter: “What is it?“
Albus Dumbledore: “This? It is called a Pensieve. I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.“
Dr. Sawyer, who spearheads the book project as a professor of counseling at the University of Houston, wants to help refugee children learn to compartmentalize traumatic memories and understand that they have moved from the danger and are now safe to write happier chapters: “They need to be able to take the memory out of the back of their head, where it’s always about to jump free, and put it in a safe place," she said.
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