Receiving Traumatized Patients: the Mother Tongue, a Mediated Therapeutic Lever?
This article discusses how the mother tongue is part of the identity construction and gives the feeling of belonging to a group. In trauma therapy, the use of mother tongue, where trauma is shared, helps the patient express his emotions in a differentiated mode because of the sense of belonging. This contributes to facilitating the access to emotional expression for the patients. The presence of an interpreter creates a safe and familiar environment, as representative of their common cultural background. The use of mother tongue and an interpreter serve as therapeutic levers, as mediation between the patient and his trauma, but listening to such stories impels both therapist and interpreter into a high level of emotions which can develop into secondary traumas that they need to cope with.