La Silla Vacía (The Empty Chair), Fred Ramos for El Faro.

According to the criminalist Israel Ticas, if a person in El Salvador disappears and spends more than three days without being found, it is most likely that the person will not be found alive. But for the relatives of the disappeared person, a mother for example, the hope of finding that person alive will only be gone until proven otherwise.

Living with such uncertainty immerses families in a state of unresolved grief. The Empty Chair therapy is a technique from the Gestalt psychology which uses a chair as a tool to allow the patient to close circles, such as unresolved grief. In therapy, the patient projects the absent person and establishes a verbal communication with them in order to understand that although the person does not exist in a physical reality, it exists in a psychological reality. 

  1. Ángela de Calles: Mother of Andrés Fernando Calles, who disappeared on March 24, 2012 at the age of 19.
  2. Margarita Andrade: Grandmother of Bryan Alejandro Portillo. Bryan was raised by Margarita since he was 3 months old until he was 16 when he disappeared on October 8, 2009.
  3. Romelia Campos: Mother of Edwin Antonio Mendez Ramos, who disappeared on January 10, 2011. 
  4. Margarita María Melara: Mother of Jaime Antonio Saavedra Melara, 19, who disappeared on August 21, 2009; and Fausto Zamora Carlos Melara, 32, who disappeared on June 26, 2011. 
  5. Ana de Contreras: Mother of Alejandro Contreras, who disappeared 7 years ago, on May 8, 2006. 
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