The Center for the Study of Trauma and Radicalization (CSTR) is dedicated to:
The CSTR is organized under the umbrella of Parallel Networks, Inc.—a not-for-profit dedicated to combating hate, hyperpolarization, and extremism. CSTR’s relationship to Parallel Networks permits a leveraging of Parallel Networks’ access to survivors of extremism, individuals, family members and friends of those susceptible to, or currently radicalized, as well as those that have disengaged after once belonging to radical/extremist movements. Access to those is facilitated by Parallel Networks’ Light Upon Light ecosystemic approach to preventing and countering violent extremism in the United States. The Light Upon Light ecosystem, housed online at lightuponlight.online, aims to 'create space free of hate' and that consists of the following intersectional initiatives:
Apart from the intimate connection to Parallel Networks, CSTR partners with governmental and non-governmental organizations, particularly in the realm of peacebuilding, that are witnessing, increasingly identifying and incorporating the role trauma can play in radicalizing both recruits and entire communities in contexts of both peace and conflict. In its efforts to develop a peacebuilding approach to preventing and countering violent extremism, Parallel Networks will leverage the awareness, knowledge and framework for application generated by the work of CSTR to provide better support services in the domestic American ambit. The overall objective is to develop a trauma and countering violent extremism-informed paradigm that can push the relatively nascent field of radicalization studies and practice forward.
CSTR will establish a physical presence in Washington D.C. The location will focus on two spheres of activity:
Community Services and Holistic Health
CSTR’s trauma specialists will provide individual and group wellness services to those seeking to disengage from, or at-risk for, radicalization into adverse social movements. Additionally, particularized treatments for populations affected by trauma (such as refugees, asylum seekers, soldiers, violence survivors, etc.) will be provided in-house with the intention of the design, development, and implementation of evidence-based practices and protocols appropriate for replication at the international level.
Other populations served will include support for the clinical providers working in contexts (such as counterterrorism or peacebuilding) that have a high incidence of trauma and radicalization. Services specified to the needs of these practitioners will be comprised of individual and group therapies devoted to mitigating the effects of secondary victimization; wellness workshops; weekend retreats and activities proven to lower the burn-out and secondary victimization rates within these populations. Such activities can then be expanded and offered to practitioners at other appropriate locations throughout the country.
The Wellness Center will host an array of public events and presentations dedicated to disseminating knowledge regarding the complex intersection of trauma and radicalization to the general public, practitioners and policymakers. Events will display the work of CSTR researchers, trauma therapists, activists, artists, participants, and others.
Monthly Working Group Meetings
The CSTR; its partners; academic advisors; practitioners and other affiliates will meet bi-weekly to explore opportunities related to:
CSTR will host bi-monthly webinars where an influential individual or an organizational representative will discuss activity related to the objectives of their organization.
The central activity for CSTR will focus on efforts to conduct in-depth empirical research on the intersections between and overlapping etiologies of trauma and radicalization, while attempting to develop an evidence base for practitioners that move beyond traditional interventionist silos. CSTR will place academics with expertise in the fields of conflict studies, radicalization, extremism, and political violence alongside experts and specialists that work in general trauma-informed activities and trauma research. Knowledge will be synthesized and appropriated from each sphere of expertise to develop multi-dimensional intervention approaches, new research questions will be generated, hypotheses will be tested, and, ideally, through this research, funding will be secured from an array of governmental, private, public and philanthropic institutions.
The CSTR office space will also be used for distributing trauma-informed training to those practitioners in NGO’s, government agencies, within the private sector, and others. These trainings will be conducted by CSTR staff in conjunction with its organizational partners.
CSTR will maintain a website, video site through YouTube, and a Twitter feed. Many events, presentations, and treatments will be disseminated through these media channels and information relevant to CSTR’s dedicated objectives will be shared. CSTR activity will also not be relegated to that which only occurs at its physical center. The Wellness Center and Research Office are to serve as a laboratory of sorts, a controlled environment and home base through which activity that unfolds as the organization is developed and best practices are defined, can be enhanced, implemented elsewhere, and replicated. As CSTR evolves, community-based services distributed across multiple locations and cities will increase.
Publishing and Programming
As the researchers affiliated with CSTR generate new research and salient intervention modalities, new dissemination channels will emerge; papers will be published; researchers will share best practices and progressive findings with the media, at conferences, with the general public, and with professionals and agencies operating around the world. Research conducted in-house will be complemented by application to the domestic space, implemented, where applicable, by the practitioners working within Parallel Networks’ Light Upon Light ecosystem, particularly in the realm of deradicalization-oriented intervention and peer-to-peer support mechanisms. This will help CSTR determine the replicability of their research in new cultural venues with new contextual variables. In this way CSTR will advance its own modules, protocols, and best practices to develop interventions particularized to varied cultural contexts. CSTR partners can utilize such tested and specified interventions in their programming, and CSTR staff will be able to consult with nonprofit agencies and NGO’s conducting counter-radicalization programming that will undoubtedly benefit from these new trauma-informed treatments.
Cumulative CSTR activity will create a reciprocal cycle with feedback loops that will allow both Wellness Center and Research Office to advance a trauma and countering violence extremism-informed paradigm for preventing and countering violent extremism and related international peacebuilding efforts.