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

STARTTS provided me with a place to ventilate, share experiences and feel comfortable. When I first arrived my memories were quite strong. As soon as I started to talk about them I could deal with them in a better way.

STARTTS’ counsellors work together with clients from a refugee or refugee like backgrounds, or seeking asylum, to help them develop ways to better manage their reactions to new situations, address and resolve problems, and work through thoughts and feelings. Counselling helps clients cope more effectively and regain control over their lives. STARTTS provides counselling face-to-face and via telehealth.

Speaking can help because the counsellor:

  • Can help a person ‘let off steam’
  • Is impartial and won’t judge a person
  • Will keep information confidential
  • Is experienced working with people from refugee backgrounds

Who are STARTTS’ counsellors?

STARTTS counsellors come from a range of professional backgrounds including social work, psychology, welfare, family therapy and community development. They use a variety of counselling techniques and therapeutic approaches to help refugees overcome the effects of their experiences.

Many of our counsellors come from refugee or refugee-like backgrounds and are familiar with the cultures and experiences of our diverse client group. Many of our counsellors also speak the same language as our clients, however if this is not the case we will arrange for a professional interpreter.

Why STARTTS provides specialist refugee trauma counselling

The majority of refugees have experienced traumatic events before coming to Australia. Many have been brutally tortured, others have seen loved ones killed, or have escaped from a war zone. Many have experienced all three, and all have fled for their lives.

The physical and psychological effects of trauma are often devastating and difficult to overcome and, combined with the challenges of settling into life in an unfamiliar country, many people face severe and complex challenges. Traumatic memories may be triggered by different life situations and could trouble people years and decades after the traumatic experience occurred.

But people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum are also resilient, and with the help of a counsellor it is possible to overcome traumatic experiences and rebuild lives that have been impacted by torture, brutality and exile.

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