An exploration of outcomes of psychological therapy for refugees

Prof Doc Thesis

Stuart, Joanne 2009. An exploration of outcomes of psychological therapy for refugees. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsStuart, Joanne
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Refugees seeking asylum in this country have undergone multiple traumas. Many are
fleeing persecution or have lived in war zones where there is a constant fear for one's
life or safety. Some have lost loved ones, friends, or members of their community in
brutal circumstances. Torture has been a factor for many, where the physical,
psychological and social outcomes are far-reaching. All have fled their country of
origin seeking refuge in a foreign land, where perhaps the language and culture is
unfamiliar to them. The UK government has stated that refugees should be offered
therapy in a psychology service once they arrive in the UK and a number of such
services exist today.
It is difficult to ascertain what psychological help might be useful for refugees and
asylum seekers from the current literature due to a number of difficulties with the
research. Some have argued that a qualitative methodology is appropriate to use when
conducting research with different cultures, as it allows the emergence of unexpected
material and can privilege indigenous knowledge, rather than quantitative research,
which forces expression within the categories provided by the researcher, thus
imposing ideas by dominant cultures.
This research set out to explore how refugees and asylum seekers describe their
experience of psychological therapy. The aim was to give a voice to those who are
generally marginalised, with the hope that the information participants provide can be
used to develop future therapeutic services for refugees and asylum seekers.
Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse interviews with eight
participants who had attended an NHS primary care psychology service. Themes
relating to being 'stuck in the past', 'searching for solutions', 'helping me to move on'
and 'moving on' were discussed and implications of these themes on service
improvements, clinical psychologists, and further research were considered.
Conducting this research has led to the conclusion that despite the experience of extreme events people show the strength, determination and resilience to find solutions
to their problems thereby enabling them to 'move on' and to find lives that are
meaningful to them.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited13 Jun 2014
Publisher's version
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