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NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors

STARTTS is guided by a number of principles that inform our way of working with clients from refugee and refugee-like backgrounds.

The Complex Interaction

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We think of people from refugee backgrounds as sitting in the middle of a complex interaction between:

  • The impact of the traumatic experiences they have been through (violence, deprivation and loss)
  • The challenges of resettling in a new country (learning the language, understanding the system etc)
  • The normal life challenges that we all face (relationships, illness, employment, ageing etc)

Additionally, the socio-political climate and services in Australia, and international events such as renewed conflict in the country of origin also impact on the refugee experience.

The Biopsychosocial Model

Bio-Psycho-Social Approach graphic

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Our clients often experience multiple levels of refugee trauma, which affect the individual at a Biological, Psychological and Social level.

Biological impacts frequently include physical pain and injury, however trauma can also have the effect of changing the structure of the brain.

Psychological impacts can be many and varied, and can include issues such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress.

Social impacts are those that break down relationships and the bonds of trust between individuals, families and communities.

STARTTS offers a range of services that are capable of addressing impacts within and across these three areas.

  • Biological impacts can be addressed by complementary therapies or Neurofeedback.
  • Psychological impacts can be addressed by various forms of counselling.
  • Social impacts are addressed through many community development projects.

The Systemic Approach

Systemic Approach graphic

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The individual refugee does not exist in isolation, but within the context of their family, social network, refugee community and the larger Australian society. Trauma has impacts across all of these spheres; given this, STARTTS has a holistic and systemic approach addressing all five areas.

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