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Working Clinically with Violence in the Context of Refugee Trauma and Resettlement

Dr Yaya de Andrade, PhD

Held 11 September 2014

Seminar outline

This seminar presented practical ways to better understand the concepts involved in the complex issue of the cycle of violence in refugees, and Models of Care. Participants were able to identify linguistic devises that conceal responsibility; blame; pathologise, and obfuscate refugees’ resistance, which are essential in clinical work with refugees. Features of the Canadian Model of Care were discussed to better understand the social discourse involving violence, through accounts by perpetrators and victims, and the concept of psychosocial destruction and the psychocultural context of trauma. It presented ways to highlight resilience and post traumatic growth in refugees, and ways to provide culturally appropriate treatment and assistance to those involved. One of the most important features in these discussions was to help clinicians realise that treatment provides opportunities for refugees to change, to find new ways to think, to relate to others, and to offer assistance towards goals that are essential for their wellbeing and resettlement. Service providers must help refugees through programs that clarify their responsibility for violence, honour victims’ responses and resistance, and challenge the blaming and pathologising of victims.


View Dr de Andrade's recorded lectures from this seminar for a small fee at Psychevisual.

Comments from participants

“She was funny, knowledgeable, clever and kept the day interesting with lots of stories”

“Good sense of humour and anecdotes”

“Engaging, genuine”

Dr Yaya de Andrade, Ph.D., is a Registered Psychologist in Canada and Brazil. Dr de Andrade co-founded the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST), and the Canadian Network for the Health and Human Rights of Survivors of Torture and Organized Violence. She has extensive national and international experience in direct and coordinating services related to mental health. As a clinician, she has worked with children and adolescents with disabilities and medical disorders, refugees, survivors of torture, individuals, families and groups traumatised by overwhelming circumstances and long lasting armed conflicts. She has participated in projects with the United Nations and non-governmental organisations, and has spent time building resources in Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, Sudan and Georgia. She is an experienced presenter and currently teaches at the Graduate Program of the City University of Seattle, Campus Vancouver.