Reflections on Using a Cultural Psychiatry Approach to Assessing and Fortifying Refugee Resilience in Canada
Refugees in Canada, as in many countries around the world, face many difficulties in their journeys towards resettlement and stability. This chapter describes some of the clinical issues around using a cultural competence approach to working with refugees. Use of the cultural formulation is a helpful tool in gaining an appreciation of cultural identity, explanatory models, stressors and supports, as well as cultural factors in the relationship between client and clinician. This approach must also include an understanding of phase-oriented trauma treatment, which begins with safety, symptom reduction and stabilization. Fortifying refugee resilience with an emphasis on current functioning and settlement needs, and avoiding an overly medicalized approach to those who have experienced psychological trauma and torture is recommended. Several vignettes are presented. The importance of post-migration social support is highlighted as one of the most important factors in the promotion of refugee mental health.
KeywordsRefugee mental health Cultural psychiatry Post-traumatic stress Resilience Acculturation
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