About us

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Center ÜBERLEBEN offer?

The Center supports rehabilitation and integration of refugees and migrants. Our services include outpatient medical and therapeutic treatment for traumatized adults, children and youth, immediate psychosocial care for newly arrived traumatized refugees, intensive support and daily structure in a day clinic in cooperation with the Charité University Hospital. Women who experienced severe violence find help in our supervised therapeutic housing community. Integrated social work complements the treatment and helps stabilize our patients/clients. Additionally, scientific research and the development of treatment approaches as well as documentation of the causes, the consequences and the treatment of traumata accompany the work of the Center. The Center also provides basic psychological, social and legal counseling to refugees and migrants. Integration courses together with vocational preparation and training support our patients/clients in everyday and working life. Our state-approved vocational school for social assistants offers education in the field of healthcare.

Who are the patients and clients at the Center?

The Center treats and counsels about 700 patients each year who have experienced torture and war-related violence. These adults, children and adolescents come from about 50 countries, among them Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey, Chechnya, Iran and Iraq. Due to their traumatic experiences, these individuals suffer from e.g., chronic pain, non controllable memories, sleep disorders with nightmares, psychosomatic afflictions, disturbances in concentration and memory as well as depression. Furthermore, over 900 refugees and mi.grants benefit from the center’s services like counseling, integration courses, and vocational qualification. Our state-approved vocational school qualifies around 100 students each year.

How do the patients come to the Center?

Many of the persons who seek help at the Center are referred to us by facilities for refugee assistance, lawyers or medical doctors and psychotherapists outside of the Center, or they learn about us from their communities.

How does the Center work?

Our multidisciplinary team of medical doctors, psychotherapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, social workers and creative therapists applies accepted treatment methods e.g., psychodynamic psychotherapy and behavioral therapy (for individuals and groups) in an intercultural setting. They work together with specially trained translators mediating both language and culture. With our comprehensive services we advocate the protection of our patients‘ and clients‘ rights, and support them as much as possible in establishing their life in exile.

How does the Center finance its work?

The Center finances its work about 50% from public funding, such as from the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), the Berlin Senate and the European Union. Non-public funding comes i.a. from the German Red Cross (DRK), MISEREOR,  the German Lottery Foundation as well as numerous private donors.

Who bears the costs of treatment?

According to the regulations of the Asylum Seekers Benefits Law (Asylbewerberleistungsgesetz), the Social Security Statute Book (Sozialgesetzbuch) as well as the Child and Youth Services Act (Kinder- und Jugendhilfegesetz), the costs for treatment are not completely covered by the responsible ministries. Some patients are medically insured despite their legal status in Germany, but for most of the refugees seeking help there is no state-regulated funding available.

How does your donation help?

Donations help us to finance offers that are not reimbursed e.g., the work of our specially trained translators, social work, and resource-oriented therapies, such as art- and music therapy or our intercultural healing garden.

Where is the Center internationally engaged?

Within the last years the Center conducted research projects in several countries, e.g. Cambodia (project on mental health amongst victims of the Khmer-Rouge and the readiness to reconcile), and Colombia (justice and reconciliation between internally displaced persons and former perpetrators). To provide survivors of torture and war violence with help on site and foster human rights work of international partner organizations, the center is engaged internationally. In 2005 the Center established the first treatment center for torture survivors in Northern Iraq. By now, our on-site co-operation partner, the Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights, provides support for survivors of torture, violence, genocide, and ethnic persecution at ten different locations.

How does the Center campaign against torture and violence?

At the intercept of rehabilitation, integration, and human rights, the Center informs and campaigns against torture and war-related violence through a multitude of publications and lectures. The Center seeks regular contact with national and international associations, organizations and panels that work in the areas of refugee assistance and upholding human rights. The Center constantly informs about its work through Press and PR work. Internationally we campaign for the establishment of treatment centers in persecutor states and conflict areas. The Center itself is politically independent but not neutral. We side with the survivors of human rights violations and foster their reha.bilitation and integration. We see the realization of their rights as part of our work and support them in having a say within the society. We are bound to the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT), the UN Human Rights Declaration and the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child, Madrid Declaration of the Plenary Assembly of the Standing Commit.tee of Doctors of the European Community as well as the European Convention on Human Rights.

Das Schweigen brechen

Folter macht sprachlos. Das Zentrum ÜBERLEBEN bietet Überlebenden von Folter und Kriegsgewalt einen geschützten Raum, in dem sie das Erlebte verarbeiten und ihr Schweigen brechen können – für einen Neubeginn mit starker Stimme.