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Counseling Immigrants & Refugees

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Alex Markle

on 28 February 2015

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Transcript of Counseling Immigrants & Refugees

Counseling Immigrants & Refugees
Challenges in seeking treatment...
Linguistic &
Communication Issues
It is imperative that we consider the implications of adding another individual (interpreter) to the therapeutic process
Interpreters can be used an important cultural resource, a way to better understand the client through their culture
"Most interpreter receive little to no training in working with distressed or traumatized individuals, and they may experience uncontrollable feelings of emotional distress when hearing traumatic stories, especially when their backgrounds are similar to those of the clients" (Miller, Zoe, Pazdirek, Caruth & Lopez, 2005)
Clients often develop a stronger attachment to the interpreter than the therapist
Interpreters may also interject their own opinions or questions interventions; they are not translation machines
Gender Issues &
Domestic Violence
Cultural & Acculturation Conflicts
A few counselor implications
- "a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion," (Martin & Yankay, 2014).
: "An applicant for refugee status is outside the United States, while an applicant seeking asylum status is in the United States or at a U.S. port of entry" (Martin & Yankay, 2014).
- "a person who chooses to resettle in another country," (Martinez & Marquez, 2014), and the process to enter is similar to what is required of refugees & asylees. Illegal immigrants are those are here without proper documentation.
Historical & Sociopolitical Factors
Prejudice & Discrimination
Lack of Knowledge of Westerm Health Care System
Lack of Resources
Best Practice
Interpreters should receive some amount of training so that they understand various disorders and the typical interventions used
Interpreters should be trained in a few self-care strategies so that they can properly cope with client's disclosure
Interpreters should be trained in basic counseling skills (empathy, congruence)
Therapists should be trained in how to work with an interpreter and know their translation preference (simultaneous vs. delayed)
Perform a self-assessment to understand our own perspective toward refugees, asylees and immigrants
View each client as a complex person affected by many systems
Ask questions! Try to understand where each client comes from, what their greatest current struggle is, what the most traumatizing experience has been
Provide psychoeducation on health care system, disorders, symptoms, treatment plans, etc.
Stay up to date on what is happening at the local, state, and federal level in immigration
Sue & Sue (2013) explain that "male immigrants often face the loss of status and develop a sense of powerlessness"
How does this circumstance + cultural value that women and children are "lesser" contribute to gender issues and domestic violence?
Women often ignore their own pains or symptoms so that their family receives better care
Refugees, asylees and immigrants face huge challenges as they seek education, try to be come proficient in the language and look for jobs.
Seeking mental health care may be very taboo due to attitudes of family self-disclosure and the anxiety of looking "weak."
This group may not seek help because they blame themselves for their problems, they have to take care of children or they do not understand that their own cultural norms (abuse, violence, alcoholism, etc.) could be harmful.
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