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We are the Change: Dealing with self-stigma and HIV using Inquiry-Based Stress Reduction (IBSR): The Work of Byron Katie

Phase I began in 2013, in Harare, Zimbabwe. Trócaire, in partnership with ZNNP+ developed, implemented and evaluated a 12-week pilot program using Inquiry Based Stress Reduction (IBSR), a technique also known as The Work of Byron Katie. Based on formative research, the curriculum was designed to support participants to work through self-stigmatizing beliefs, specifically those centering around self-abasement, shame, guilt, disclosure, restricted agency, hopelessness, sexuality and death.

Phase II began in November 2014 where 11 members of the cohort who completed Phase I in 2013 undertook comprehensive training to become qualified as Coaches. 

Phase III took place from September-November 2015. The Candidates-in-training were supported by International Facilitators to deliver the 12-week self-stigma and HIV course to a new group of 20 participants.

Since then 54 people living with HIV have taken part in the course, seven are qualified Coaches for the Work and another eight are in training to become qualified. 


​Qualitative and quantitative data was collected at baseline, post-program and three months after the program completed. The Internalized-AIDS Stigma Scale and the Quality of Life scale, measuring mood, perceived stress and quality of life were used. For evaluation purposes, this program was designed as an operations research study with the support of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Ethics approval was secured from the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe with a local research institution Impact Research International, as principle investigator. 

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Data from the three month follow-up shows very positive results. Qualitatively, participants report being able to live more positively with HIV, experiencing lessened fears about disclosure, feeling they are not limited by their HIV status, and experiencing more peacefulness. Quantitatively, results show statistically significant improvements in a number of areas as shown below:

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