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Exploring an Eclectic Approach to Establish Best Practice for Clinicians Working with Asylum Seekers Navigating the Immigration Process in New Zealand.

Exploring an Eclectic Approach to Establish Best Practice for Clinicians Working with Asylum Seekers Navigating the Immigration Process in New Zealand.

The responsibility of proving the need for protection rests with the asylum seeker during their immigration hearing(s). The length of the interview, style of questioning, history of trauma, and anxiety about the settings in the interview, may impact on the asylum seeker’s ability to present a credible and coherent statement, and exposes them to possible re-traumatization.

This presentation discusses a collaborative approach between clinicians, lawyers and immigration which has been successful in working with asylum seekers in New Zealand. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the value of an eclectic approach that includes components of In Vivo and Imaginal Exposure Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), and Trauma Centre-

Trauma Sensitive Yoga, to help asylum seekers manage distress related to their interview. The challenges of this approach, and the implications of the clinician being present during the hearing process will be discussed.
Our evidence to date suggests that taking the time to develop collaborative relationships allows the clinician to provide onsite interventions, thus enhancing the immigration process. This is achieved by empowering the asylum seeker to present his/her experience more fully and confidently, resulting in the delivery of a more coherent and credible statement, and minimising the risk of re-traumatization during the hearing

RASNZ, Auckland, New Zealand