Interpreter-mediated psychotherapy – a qualitative analysis of the interprofessional collaboration between psychologists and interpreters

Abstract

In psychotherapeutic treatment of trauma-affected refugees, it is common that psychologists and language interpreters work together. In this qualitative study, the experiences of interpreters and psychologists are examined to gain insight into factors that enhance and challenge the interaction between the two groups of professionals. Three interpreters and three psychologists working with trauma-affected refugees in Denmark were interviewed about their perceptions of conducting interpreter-mediated psychotherapy (IMP) and their experiences of the interaction between interpreters and psychologists. The interviews followed a semi-structured format and were analyzed according to Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). In the analysis, we found that the role of the interpreter is ambiguous. A neutral and objective interpreter was described as ideal, yet interpreters found it difficult to adhere to strict neutrality and psychologists sometimes also requested a more active engagement of the interpreters. Further, we found that conflicts in the interaction between psychologists and interpreters emerged when the two professionals intervened with each other’s areas of expertise. These findings are discussed by including theory concerning therapeutic alliance and interprofessional collaboration.

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Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to them containing information that could compromise research participant privacy/consent, but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Correspondence to Jasmin Rejaye Gryesten.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee.

The study was not notified to a research ethics committee since the study involved qualitative interviews and did not include human biological material. In Denmark studies only including interviews do not require ethics approval. See link: http://en.nvk.dk/how-to-notify/what-to-notify.

In the link, it is described that questionnaires and interviews should not be notified to a research ethics committee.

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Gryesten, J.R., Brodersen, K.J., Lindberg, L.G. et al. Interpreter-mediated psychotherapy – a qualitative analysis of the interprofessional collaboration between psychologists and interpreters. Curr Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-021-01345-y

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Keywords

  • Interpreters
  • Psychotherapy
  • Refugees
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Therapeutic alliance
  • Mental health