Cross-Cultural Adaptation of Counseling Treatments for Refugee Clients: The Experiences of Mental Health Service Providers

Gurusewak S. Khalsa, Basilia Softas-Nall, Jasmine T. Razo


This study examined the perceptions of mental health professionals through their experiences of adapting counseling treatments to meet the cultural needs of their refugee clients. For this interpretative phenomenological study, eleven licensed clinicians participated in in-depth, semi-structured interviews that utilized multicultural counseling and vicarious trauma theories. Results were presented in superordinate and subordinate themes. The results give context to the developmental process participants experienced and insight into the changes in clinical conceptualization and transformative professional identity which emerged from the challenges and areas of support they experienced during each stage of their professional progression. Suggestions for counseling psychologists, supervisors, mental health professionals, and academic trainers to use in their work included reflective examination of the influences and impact of clinicians’ cultural identities on clients, as well the cultural influences on the mental health paradigms in academic training.

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