Authors: Raymond Tint Way, NSW
Event: 2010 TheMHS Conference
Subject: IMMIGRANTS, TRAUMA, TRANSCULTURAL, CULTURE
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The immigrant experience is one of adjustment towards integration into the majority society. Many bring a sense of loss and separation, and some refugees have suffered the effects of trauma. Australia accepts refugees from war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Burma, including Karen refugees from the Thai border, who have fled the military regime’s relentless onslaught. Australia’s existing health services will have to adapt to their needs, to promote mental wellbeing. There are barriers to pathways to care, relating to cross-cultural issues, help-seeking behaviour and the pathoplastic effects of their culture on symptom formation and expression. Trained interpreters and bilingual workers are crucial to helping them resettle in the new country. This paper explores the theory of trauma from the perspective of Self-psychology and discusses the use of “empathic attunement” as a method of engaging this traumatised community, based on the author’s experience in dealing with Karen refugees in Sydney.