Distributor:  Icarus Films
Length:  52 minutes
Date:  2010
Genre:  Expository
Language:  French; English / English subtitles
Grade level: 10-12, College, Adult
Color/BW:  Color
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State of Mind

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Therapist Albert Pesso trains mental-health care works in Kinshasa, Congo, in a technique to help genocide survivors overcome the traumas they witnessed and endured.

State of Mind

In war torn countries people will not be able to be productive and development will fail until they overcome their trauma. Yet, Is it even possible for a country overwhelmed by the legacy of five million deaths to successfully heal and move on?

That is the underlying question in Congolese documentary filmmaker Djo Munga's powerful film STATE OF MIND, about the use of psychotherapy to talk about loss, forgiving, and finding new memories to overlay the traumatic older ones.

Pioneering therapist Albert Pesso is invited to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, where many people suffer from years of post traumatic stress disorder. Pesso is there to train health practitioners in symbolic interaction, a form of relatively short-term, group-session based, psychotherapy.

In the training sessions the health care workers themselves, many of whom are also survivors of horrendous violence, work through the therapeutic process with Pesso. STATE OF MIND: HEALING TRAUMA captures the sessions in a series of fly-on-the-wall scenes, and candid, heartbreaking interviews with the participants put the effort in a larger context. A layered, engrossing and intriguing look at a national collective trauma and one ambitious initiative to try and heal wounds.

'Al Pesso, a Master therapist from the U.S. demonstrates how the language of trauma and recovery transcends language and culture, and that it is possible to install a sense of safety and protection in even the most traumatized individuals. A remarkable achievement.' -Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Director, National Complex Trauma Treatment Network


** 2010 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
** 2010 Dokfest Munich
** 2011 Western Psychological Association Conference


Main credits

Tunda Wa Munga, Djo (film director)
Tunda Wa Munga, Djo (film producer)
Markovitz, Steven (film producer)
Pesso, Albert (presenter)

Other credits

Cinematographer, Inigo Westemeier; editor, Nathalie Triniac.

Distributor credits

Steven Markovitz and Djo Tunda Wa Munga for SUKA

Steven Markovitz and Djo Tunda Wa Munga for SUKA!
Djo Tunda Wa Munga

Docuseek2 subjects

African History
Conflict Resolution
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire)
Grief and Recovery

Distributor subjects

Central Africa
Conflict Resolution
Mental Health
US and Canadian Broadcast Rights


Albert Pesso; therapy; treatment; therapautic; recovery; trauma; genocide; mental health workers; documentary; film; video; DVD; Congo; Kinshasa; DRC; Zaire; Djo Munga; "State of Mind"; Icarus Films

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