Making Peace with the Past: Peace Education in Post-Conflict Societies Through the Application of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Mufti Riyani, Wasino Wasino, Suyahmo Suyahmo, Nugroho Trisnu Brata, Fitri Amalia Shintasiwi


This paper has 2 objectives, namely to map the problems of history learning in post-conflict societies in an effort to promote peace and to offer applicable solutions. The research questions in this paper are: 1) How do schools in post-conflict areas experience pedagogical conflicts especially when confronting “difficult history” themes that arise in the classroom?; 2) How are the impacts caused by this situation?; and 3) What are the solutions that can be offered? The research method used is in the form of phenomenological research with a case study. The main informants in this research are teachers and students in East Aceh as the post-conflict generation. Techniques used in data collection are observation, interview, curriculum vitae review, documentation study, and Focus Group Discussions. The results of the research show that the themes of “difficult history” evoke the unconscious history. The challenge by teachers is how to manage cognitive distortions so that students are not trapped by various psychological pressures and values passed on by the past and the social environment in the present. Efforts to suppress cognitive bias can be carried out by: 1) Encouraging teachers and students to increase the number of emotional history projects by prioritizing principles; critical empathy, balancing personal and communal memory, reinterpreting unconscious history, closing the blind spot of the national history curriculum with local and oral history; and 2) Applying training and cognitive therapy in the classroom through the application of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Therefore, this research concludes that the use of CBT in particular to manage negative emotions that arise in “difficult history” learning can lead to thinking skills, behavior changes, personality development as well as improving emotional situations and social anxiety in post-conflict societies. This can stimulate the emergence of new knowledge which is useful in peacebuilding.


aceh, cognitive behavioral therapy, difficult knowledge, peace education, post-conflict

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