Pre-Congress Workshop

Working with Asylum Seekers and Migrants
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
10:00 am - 16:00 pm

Presenter: Cansu Alözkan Sever

10:00-12:00 – Complex mental health needs of refugees and assessment in the emergency settings
- Main concepts
- Psychotherapy with refugees – things to consider
- Three people in the room: Working with interpreters
- Holistic approach: Is just psychotherapy enough?

Lunch break (on your own)

13:30-14:45 - Case examples – Group work on different case examples from the field. Identify the needs, strenghts, treatment plan and things to consider.

15:00-16:00 - Care for the caregivers
- Vicarious traumatization
- Caring for the team
- Caring for yourself

Cansu Alözkan Sever is a clinical psychologists from Turkey who has been working with asylum seekers and refugees in different NGOs and INGOs for some years and also maintains private practice in İstanbul.

(workshop requires 40 minimum attendees)

Workshop Presenter Biography

Cansu Alözkan SeverCansu Alözkan Sever graduated from Psychology Department of Boğaziçi University in 2008. After graduation, she worked in the “Family Research Lab” in University of New Hampshire with Prof. Murray Straus as a research assistant. Later she continued her MA education in İstanbul Bilgi University in the Clinical Psychology Department and graduated by presenting the thesis named "Rorschach Profiles of Torture Survivors and the effects of political activism: A controlled Study." Between 2011 and 2013 she worked in Bilgi University’s Psychology Department as a teaching assistant. Between May 2013 and November 2013 Ms. Sever worked with Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) in their Psychosocial Support Project for migrants living in İstanbul as a clinical psychologist. At the same time, between 2012-2014, Sever worked as a Program Assistant of "International Trauma Studies Program" which was held in İstanbul’s Bilgi University with the collaboration of Columbia University.

Ms Alözkan-Sever worked with the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM) in their Multi Service Center for Syrian Refugees in İstanbul from December 2013-March 2016. After working as a clinical psychologist in the program for one year, Alözkan-Sever started to work as deputy program coordinator in September 2014 while she worked as a Mental Health and Psycho-Social Services Focal Person for all IMC-ASAM programs (in seven different multi service centers around Turkey).

In April 2016, Alözkan-Sever started to work with International Medical Corps (IMC) in their Turkey Country Office as a Psycho-Social Officer.

General Outline of the Workshop

During the times of the humanitarian crisis such as refugee crisis that we are currently facing with, planning and carrying out mental health and psycho-social interventions plays a crucial role. The first part of this workshop will be focusing on more general introduction about the mental health needs of refugees with a special focus on the emergency settings. This first part will also focus on the main concepts about these services, important things to consider and the psychosocial needs of refugees who may be at risk for, or are experiencing an emotional. One of the main challenges working with refugees is the fact that mostly the therapists do not share the same language with the clients. How to overcome this issue and how to most effectively work with the interpreters is also another topic that will be addressed in the morning session of the workshop. Finally having a more holistic approach towards the mental health interventions designed for refugees and the importance of this will be discussed.

After the lunch break participants will break into different groups and work on case examples from the field. The main aim of this interactive part is to both provide case examples that colleagues can come up with while working with refugees and also to share experience and knowledge between different participants.

The last part of the training will focus on self-care. Working in the humanitarian field and working with possibly traumatized individuals also poses a threat for extreme stress on the caregivers. While creating mental health programs and treatment plans for refugees, caregivers should also create ways to cope with their own stress. In this last part of the training vicarious traumatization and self and staff care practices will be discussed.