Beyond Trauma, What Kept them Going? An Analysis of the Lives and Narratives of Five Syrian Women in Lebanon


  • Kholoud Saber Barakat Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)
  • Pierre Philippot Psychological Sciences Research Institute, University of Louvain (UCL)



Trauma, Agency, Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, Meaning-making, Gender roles, Syrian women


Using interpretive phenomenological analysis, this paper analyzes the narratives of five women who fled from Syria to Lebanon, with the objective of understanding how they continue to lead their lives beyond trauma. Results showed that these women’s ability to create meaning of their traumatic experiences and link it to their current lives is a determining factor in understanding their ability to move on. Finding a reason to keep going, creating a way to cope with loss, and perceiving an evolving sense of agency were significant aspects of getting over the traumatic event or enduring pain. Finally, changes in gender roles were identified by all five women, but their evaluation of these changes differed.


Kholoud Saber Barakat, Catholic University of Louvain (UCL)

is a doctoral researcher at the Psychological Sciences Research Institute, University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium. Her research project is concerned with the psychological consequences of sexual violence on Syrian and Egyptian females, focusing on the role of gender role identity and rumination. She graduated from Cairo University, Egypt, in 2006, obtained a diploma in clinical psychology in 2007, and her MA degree in 2013.

Pierre Philippot, Psychological Sciences Research Institute, University of Louvain (UCL)

is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Louvain (UCL)and a director of the Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology (LEP). His teaching and research domains cover emotion (with special interests in cognitive regulation of emotion and autobiographical memories, respiratory feedback in emotion, and emotional facial expression recognition) and psychotherapy, especially CBT and emotion-focused approaches. Philippot is past president of the Belgian French-Speaking CBT Association: Association pour l’Etude, la Modification et la Thérapie du Comportement (AEMTC). He founded and is presently directing a clinical center specialized in the treatment of emotional disorders in the psychology department of his home university. He is directing the postgraduate training for psychotherapists organized by the universities of Louvain and Liege.





Barakat, K. S., und P. Philippot. „Beyond Trauma, What Kept Them Going? An Analysis of the Lives and Narratives of Five Syrian Women in Lebanon“. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Bd. 11, November 2018, S. 44-57, doi:10.17192/meta.2018.11.7802.