Of late there has been a proliferation of centres and programmes providing mental health care for refugees and victims of violence. This proliferation has mainly occurred in Western countries, but an increasing number of projects have been delivered to Third World war zones in the name of the treatment of ‘war trauma’. Western psychology and psychiatry provide the theoretical and therapeutic tools which are used by most of these projects. This paper argues that because these tools are not value neutral, there are profound ethical problems associated with this work. The insights developed by a number of post-modern theorists are used to provide a framework for discussing these problems