Kosovo was the pilot program for CMBM’s innovative use of mind-body medicine with population-wide healing. Over five years beginning in 1998, with support from the British Department for International Development, foundations and generous individual donors, our international faculty trained more than 600 Kosovar clinicians and educators. CMBM’s model became one of the pillars of Kosovo’s post-war nationwide community mental health system, where it is now available to the entire population of 2 million people. Kosovar psychiatrists Afrim Blyta, MD, PhD, and Jusuf Ulaj, MD are Country Co-Directors of this landmark program. They and their team of fifteen faculty continue to provide ongoing supervision to CMBM trainees who use our model in Kosovo’s community mental health centers.
The first randomized controlled trial (RCT) of any intervention with war-traumatized children and the first RCT of a successful, comprehensive mind-body approach with any traumatized population was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry in 2008, showing highly significant and lasting changes in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The war murdered some of my classmates and it made me feel awful, have nightmares. I hardly could eat anything. [After learning mind-body skills] now I feel much better, and keep practicing the skills at home.Albulena Berisha (age 14)
Our Published Research
Gordon, James S., Staples, Julie K., Blyta, Afrim, Bytyqi, Murat and Wilson, Amy T. Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Postwar Kosovar Adolescents Using Mind-Body Skills Groups: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2008 Sep;69 (9):1469-76.
This study demonstrates that CMBM’s groundbreaking model can be used to produce highly significant and lasting changes in levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms in highly traumatized children.
82 high school students in Kosovo participated in this randomized-controlled study. The program was conducted by teachers in an educational, supportive small group setting and included meditation, guided imagery, breathing techniques, and biofeedback as well as self-expression through words, drawings, and movement. All the students met the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which was measured using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Following the program, the number of students having symptoms indicating PTSD was significantly reduced from 100% to 18%.. The reduction in symptoms was maintained at a 3 month follow-up.
The full text of this study can be accessed here.