Our Immigration And Human Rights Work Group In Action: Psychoanalysts Evaluating Asylum Seekers, Trauma And Family Devastation.
Cohen, Phyllis. Bartlett, Bob. Eisold, Barbara. Kozberg, Sharon. Lyons, Lisa.
Published: October-December 2019
Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy
Vol. 18, No. 4 , p. 376-393
Taylor and Francis Group
530 Walnut Street Suite 850
Philadelphia, PA 19106
This paper presents the story of a family of four refugees from Central America seeking asylum in the United States, and of the experience of a group of psychoanalysts, members of the New York University Postdoctoral Program Immigration and Human Rights Work Group, who evaluated each member of the family and wrote affidavits in support of their applications for asylum. The work described provides an example of how clinicians can apply their skills and understandings outside the consulting room to address the dire needs of refugees who have fled from their homes. We discuss the process of refugees seeking asylum and the role of a psychological evaluation in the asylum process. We elaborate on the content and process of the evaluations of each member of the family with a focus on the trauma suffered and its sequelae on two school-aged children, their adolescent aunt, and their courageous and protective mother. We also address the analysts’ experience of doing psychological evaluations and writing affidavits for asylum seekers who have experienced trauma. (Author abstract)
children of immigrants; human rights; refugees; adolescents; advocacy; mental health services; childhood trauma; PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION; PSYCHOLOGISTS ROLE