Munday, Ann Marie (2010)
Clin.Psy.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
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Working therapeutically with refugees is considered to be a complex process. Literature available suggests a number of factors that contribute to the complexity, including: multifactorial presentations; cultural and political issues; therapists confronted with unfamiliar experiences and the impact of these at both a personal and professional level; insufficient or reductionist models; and working with interpreters. Clinical psychologists’ experiences of working with refugees are explored as there is little qualitative data, being largely anecdotal. Clinical psychologists were interviewed and data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results suggest that working therapeutically with refugees impacts on psychologists in both challenging and positive ways, where levels of support in this work could be variable. Amazement at refugees’ strength and resilience was voiced. Psychologists described their experience of fighting and advocating for refugees within their work. Participants appeared to experience a changing view of the world through their experience of frustrations at the context of delivery, with their understanding of the system challenged. Psychologists’ experiences of working with difference, and understanding of the complexity of the work both evolved in working with refugees. An evaluation of IPA is made. Findings from this study are linked with the literature and clinical implications are considered
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