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Resilience and Refugee Trauma: From Research to Clinical Interventions

Dr Angela Nickerson

Following exposure to a traumatic event, many people experience distress and impairment. Accordingly, the majority of research investigating post-traumatic stress responses have focused on psychological symptoms and associated disability. Recently however, research attention has turned to those individuals who continue to show low levels of psychological symptoms and continue to function well, even after experiencing significant trauma and adversity. 

For example, most studies conducted with refugee and post conflict groups have identified a substantial group who do not report significant psychological symptoms, even after exposure to war and persecution. This presentation reviews the literature on resilience following exposure to traumatic events, both in the context of broad trauma research, and studies conducted with refugees and asylum seekers.  The implications for psychological interventions for refugees is also considered. 

STARTTS Clinical Master Class
Recorded: 30 April 2014
Visit STARTTS: www.startts.org.au

 

Angela Nickerson
Angela Nickerson
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Dr Angela Nickerson

Dr Angela Nickerson is a Lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of NSW, and Director of the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program. Her research focuses on understanding the psychological mechanisms underpinning refugee and post-conflict mental health, and developing effective interventions for traumatic stress reactions in refugees. She is also interested in the impact of policy on refugee mental health, and cross-cultural considerations in psychological processes. She has worked with numerous refugee and post-conflict populations in Australia, Switzerland, the United States, and Timor Leste. Prior to taking up her position at the University of NSW, Angela conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard University and Boston University, investigating psychological responses to loss and trauma. She is a practising clinical psychologist specialising in traumatic stress reactions. At the University of NSW, Angela is involved in training therapists on the Master of Clinical Psychology program, lecturing on anxiety and mood disorders, traumatic stress responses, refugee mental health, and cross-cultural considerations in mental health.

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