This paper describes an evolving working model of rehabilitative practices with traumatised children from refugee backgrounds. Torture and Trauma should be treated as events that impact on everyone in the survivor's family and are embedded in societal and cultural contexts. Children are hurt as a result of these events, some from direct experience; others from the experience of loved ones. Torture and trauma potentially has the most severe and long lasting impacts on children more so than on adults, as it disrupts their early normative and healthy emotional, physical and social development.
Western models of therapeutic intervention do not always suitably reflect the multiple realities and complexities of working with young refugee children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Research gaps indicate the need for effective models of intervention developed specifically for this client group. This paper describes a holistic working model informed by the experience as a Children Counsellor at the Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT).
This model integrates the perspective of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT) including:
- The Trauma Recovery framework, as well as,
- Systems protocols that not only address intrapersonal difficulties but also focus on survivors’ relationships with others as critical for healing in the aftermath of trauma. This approach includes the school (teacher, peer, etc.), parents and/ or caretaker, and other key and relevant stakeholders
- The main counselling interventions considers multicultural issues in play and creative therapies, which are informed by attachment and child development theory, as well as mindfulness practices, and somatic work,
- It takes the forms of individual child centred work, as well as group work interventions designed to address childrens needs.
The main counselling interventions considers multicultural issues in play and creative therapies, which is informed by attachment and child development theory, as well as mindfulness practices and somatic work. It takes the form of individual child centred work, as well as group work interventions designed to address children’s needs.
As the child healing and recovery work progresses, children are linked to other relevant therapies and support, for example speech pathology, OT, developmental optometrist, development targeted interventions. The model will be illustrated through case discussions with the goal of encouraging other practitioners to work with children from refugee backgrounds within their social and cultural context.
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
There are none.