What Should Clinicians Know About Practice with Immigrant-Origin Clients

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CE Credit: 3

Length: 3 hours

This program was originally webcast live on May 10, 2012 and is now available on-demand.

Immigrants are a growing population in the U.S. and face unique challenges. In addition to coping with acculturative changes while adapting to life in a new country, culture, and language, they endure increasing prejudice and discrimination from the larger society. In this workshop, we will describe these challenges, including acculturative stress and traumatic stress, and intergenerational conflict. We will discuss how to address these challenges and mobilize sources of resilience in clinical conceptualization and intervention, and the importance of attending to sociocultural context within the therapeutic relationship.

Visit the APA Task Force on Immigration Website

Learning Objective 1
Identify common myths about immigrants and strengths of immigrant communities, families, and individuals. 

Learning Objective 2
Recognize the heterogeneity of immigrant experiences and the unique experiences of acculturation and adaptation face by immigrants across generations and contexts. 

Learning Objective 3
Describe the challenges and best practices of assessment, diagnosis, and treatment with immigrant populations.

Presenters: Carola Suárez-Orozco, PhD, Dina Birman, PhD, and Pratyusha Tummala-Narra, Phd.

Dr. Suárez-Orozco is a Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development and the Co-Director of Immigration Studies at NYU. She publishes widely in the areas of cultural psychology, immigrant family separations, the role of mentors in facilitating positive development in immigrant youth, and the gendered experiences of immigrant youth among many others. In 2006, she received an APA Presidential Citation for her seminal work on the cultural psychology of immigration.

Dr. Birman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has published extensively on the acculturation and adjustment of refugees and immigrants across generations, particularly regarding differences in acculturation between adolescents and their parents, and the implications of these differences for family adaptation. With a background in community psychology, she explores these issues from an ecological perspective, examining the characteristics of the receiving communities. She has also conducted research on school-based and mental health interventions for refugee students and the role of parental involvement in immigrant youth adaptation at school.

Dr. Tummala-Narra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology at Boston College. She specializes in multicultural psychology, psychological trauma, ethnic and racial discrimination among immigrant communities, and the role of race and ethnicity in the psychotherapeutic process. She presents nationally and regularly publishes on the topics of immigration, ethnic minority issues, trauma, and psychodynamic psychotherapy with a focus on racial and ethnic discrimination and mental health care disparities among ethnic minority communities. She is a recipient of the Scholars in Medicine Fellowship from the Harvard Medical School.

Supplementary Materials

  • Immigration to the US: Our Population in Context
  • Immigration: Acculturation and Adaptation
  • Immigration: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Intervention

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