Mental health Narrative Community-Based Group Therapy in violence-displaced Afro-Colombians: a randomized controlled trial

Med Confl Surviv. 2023 Mar;39(1):28-47. doi: 10.1080/13623699.2023.2177951. Epub 2023 Feb 23.


This study aims to evaluate the effect of a mental health Narrative Community-Based Group Therapy (NCGT) in Afro-Colombian violence survivors. A randomized controlled trial was conducted in Buenaventura and Quibdó, Colombia. Afro-Colombian adults (n=521) were randomly allocated to a NCGT (n1=175), a wait-control group (n2=171) or a Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA, n3=175). The CETA was described separately given conceptual/methodological differences. Lay psychosocial community workers delivered the NCGT. Symptoms were assessed before and after intervention/wait with culturally adapted mental health symptoms and gender-specific functionality scales. Intent to treat analysis and mean difference of differences were used for comparisons. In Buenaventura, a significant reduction in functional impairment (mean difference: -0.30, 95% Confidence Interval [95% CI]: -0.55, -0.05) and depression (mean difference: -0.24, 95% CI: -0.42, -0.07) were found, with small and moderate effect size, respectively. In Quibdó, functionality improved significantly (mean difference: -0.29, 95% CI: -0.54, -0.04, small effect size). Even though differences in depression and anxiety were not significant, there were reductions in symptoms. The NCGT is effective in improving daily functioning among violence victims in the Colombian Pacific and has the potential to reduce symptoms of depression. Further exploration is required to understand the effects of a narrative group therapy for mental health in Afro-Colombian populations.Trial Registration: number: NCT01856673 (

Keywords: Mental health; community-based; conflict; group therapy; violence displacement.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Colombia
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders* / therapy
  • Mental Health
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • Violence / psychology

Associated data