Please Sign In or Create an account
The meaning of place and psycho-cultural border zones: reflections on migration, trauma, shame, legitimacy and identity.

The meaning of place and psycho-cultural border zones: reflections on migration, trauma, shame, legitimacy and identity.

An immigrant is defined as someone who has moved or been moved from one familiar place to an unfamiliar place, but to be an immigrant, rather than to simply intellectually know it, “one must inhabit mental and emotional states that are not easy to endure….The nature of [this] pain…permits no easy definition. Although linked to feelings of loss, it is not what could be called depression, nor is it, strictly speaking, anxiety, though it does include some elements of anguish.

People usually experience it as something nearly physical….as if it lies on the border between the physical and the mental”. This is a good description of the particular experience of the mental pain of being displaced; it is a state which occasions extreme anxiety, alienation and dissociation, because something previously taken for granted can feel traumatically ruptured or even catastrophically lost. This state, which can be difficult to recognise and articulate, is camouflaged by intense shame.

In this presentation Amanda introduces audiences to her thinking about the meaning of ‘place’ and the traumatic experience of displacement, with special attention given to the way in which it complicates the clinical picture when working with individuals, who have already experienced the traumatic effects of being cast out of the taken-for-granted realms of human contact and love, by early relational failures and by the violations of abuse and torture.

Speakers: Amanda G. Dowd
Areas of Interest / Categories: Migrant Issues, Shame, STARTTS 2013, Trauma

STARTTS 2013

Community level interventions in working with torture and trauma survivors - nexus between theory and practice

Rebuilding relationships and trust are the essential components in recovery from human induced traumas such as war, imprisonment and torture. Organised violence as state terrorism target and fragment basic community structures and disintegrate relationships. Consequently, in addition to clinical practice, a community development framework for service provision is well placed to address the psychosocial sequelae of organised violence.   STARTTS approach to working with our client population involves conceptualising the issues as a complex interplay between the consequences of torture and refugee trauma; the process of exile, migration and settlement; and normal life cycle events. Additionally, individual and environmental characteristics are taken into account.

Resolving guilt and shame after trauma: Utilising CBT and ACT techniques.

Shame and guilt are significant facets of post trauma reactions, frequently found in the presentations of many of STARTTS’ clients. Often these require culturally informed interventions.

The Conversational Model approach to guilt and shame associated with trauma.

Shame and guilt are expressions of a Self, seriously wounded, in a relational context. Guilt is more overt, whereas shame, a complex affect, presents a threat of personal annihilation, is sequestered non-consciously, blocking expression of affect and creating considerable difficulty for the individual. Trauma has primary effects on the psychological sense of Self, on the systems of attachment and meaning that link individuals and communities. It destroys fundamental assumptions of safety. Trauma calls into question basic human relationships; it breaches attachment and undermines the belief system that gives meaning to human experiences. Displacement, dispossession, betrayal, violence, insecurity and helplessness are shameprovoking experiences, where guilt of varying proportions is part of the experience of some individuals.  

Applying an acculturation lens for better working with refugee families and communities

New and emerging communities experience varying inequalities while seeking to settle in Australia. Evidence shows that the level of inequality varies according to the degree of cultural transition. Acculturation has actually become a dominant framework used to explain disparities among minority groups. A/Prof Renzaho will show how social exclusion and alienation impact on the physical and socio-psychological health of people from refugee backgrounds and, how families, communities and service providers can respond to these challenges. 

Assisting cultural transition using the Families In Cultural Transition (FICT) program.

In this presentation Mohamed explores how a STARTTS designed group-based program called Families in Cultural Transition (FICT) assists refugee individuals, families and communities deal with the impact

Assisting cultural transition using the Families In Cultural Transition (FICT) program.

In this presentation Mohamed explores how a STARTTS designed group-based program called Families in Cultural Transition (FICT) assists refugee individuals, families and communities deal with the impact

Applying an acculturation lens for better working with refugee families and communities

New and emerging communities experience varying inequalities while seeking to settle in Australia. Evidence shows that the level of inequality varies according to the degree of cultural transition. Acculturation has actually become a dominant framework used to explain disparities among minority groups. A/Prof Renzaho will show how social exclusion and alienation impact on the physical and socio-psychological health of people from refugee backgrounds and, how families, communities and service providers can respond to these challenges.