Claudia Thoms is an AHPRA registered psychologist who has worked with survivors of torture and trauma for over 15 years. She currently leads the Afghan Community Response Project at the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) in Melbourne. The project is delivering mental health support and community engagement to over 2000 Afghan refugees that have arrived in Victoria since the evacuation of Kabul in August 2021, and to the large group of Afghans who have settled in Victoria over the past decades. The project also focuses on community and sector capacity building.
Claudia started her career in child and youth mental health and worked as a counsellor advocate with young refugees and their families for 9 years before becoming a team leader of the Child, Youth and Family Team at Foundation House. She has extensive experience in providing trauma informed and trauma focused therapeutic interventions to children, young people and their families. As a team leader, her work has focused on supervising counsellors as well as developing and delivering therapeutic services for children and young people that are accessible, client centred and inclusive of the systems surrounding the clients. Claudia has also been involved in building the capacity of schools and other services to respond to the needs of refugee and asylum seeker communities through training and consultations.
In her career, Claudia has worked extensively with the Afghan community, including developing and delivering therapeutic responses to the large cohort of young Afghan asylum seekers arriving as unaccompanied minors in Australia between 2009 – 2012. She has provided therapeutic interventions to many resettled Afghan children, young people and their families to support their recovery from trauma and has engaged schools, community and mental health services in building their capacity to provide trauma informed services to families from an Afghan background.