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The role of Hope and Resilience in overcoming Refugee Trauma

Shaheen Pordily

Refugee clients often experience multiple traumas and losses, and present with a range of psychological and physical problems, as well as settlement needs. Restoration of hope and resilience can aid the process of healing and recovery from traumatic life experiences, and assist them in adjusting to the new environment, which includes coping with multiple settlement stressors. 

Shaheen will illustrate this with a case study of a 17 year old female from Afghanistan who has spent 13 years of her life in various refugee detention centres in Indonesia. She presented with low mood, hopelessness, sleep disturbances, and increased anxiety about her future. Strengths-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy was utilised to draw on her strengths and enhance her resilience. The client’s ‘hidden’ positive qualities were incorporated into the recovery process. Focusing on building rapport and trust was also emphasised in the therapeutic relationship.

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Shaheen Pordily
Shaheen Pordily
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Shaheen Pordily

Shaheen Pordily is a registered Psychologist who has completed six years of education and training at the University of Western Sydney. Her training enables her to conduct psychological assessments and formulate appropriate treatment for different mental health issues. Shaheen has previously worked with individuals who suffered from chronic and complex mental health issues for instance; Schizophrenia, mood disorders, severe self-harming behaviours, drug and alcohol issues, and chronic suicidality. Currently, she is employed by STARTTS as a Neurofeedback Counsellor providing treatment and rehabilitation for survivors of torture and trauma. She works with a wide range of clientele including adolescents, adults and elders. These individuals are either asylum seekers in community detention or permanent residents. Shaheen has also been involved in running therapeutic groups particularly for adults as well as providing training to external agencies on how to work effectively with refugee torture and trauma survivors.

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Australia Society for Psychological MedicineANZAPWorld Council for PyschtherapyPACFABrisbane Institute of Strength Base PraticeISHHR - International Society for Health and Human RightWAS - World Association for Sexual HealthMissing of HopeAABCAPSTARTTSANSA