Resources for Professionals

In the News

Unsettled Journeys

An exceptionally sensitively-written and moving series of articles in the Baltimore Sun, by Liz Bowie, on the experiences of refugee and immigrant youth attending Patterson High School in East Baltimore. The first story in this three-part series focuses on the journey of Narmin El Eethawi, a young woman from Iraq, and the staff and teachers who offer care and support to her and to other young people who have fled conditions of enormous loss and trauma. The second article profiles a boy from Guatemala who has worked since the age of 8, fled his country to escape the threat of gangs, experienced detention on arrival here in the U.S. and now lives in a state of legal limbo while also negotiating a fraught reunion with his mother. The final article profiles a girl from rural Central African Republic who faced drastic adjustment to life here in Baltimore, having never before lived in a city or attended school.

Along with the perspectives of dedicated Patterson staff members Margot Harris and Tom Smith, the article includes contributions from Amy Rakusin, psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor for the Intercultural Counseling Connection. Also included are observations by Dr. Richard Mollica, Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, and Donna Fallon Batkis from the Hispanic Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins.

The online version of the series includes photographs and videos by Amy Davis that depict the remarkable diversity of Patterson’s student body, and give voice to their hopes and to the challenges they face.

Books and Publications

Agger, I. (1994). The Blue Room: Trauma and Testimony Among Refugee Women—A Psycho-Social Exploration. London and Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Zed Books.

American Psychological Association (2010). Resilience & Recovery After War: Refugee Children and Families in the United States. Washington, D.C: Author. Available for download at 

Bemak, F, Chung, R.C., and Pederson, P. (eds) (2003). Counseling Refugees: A Psychosocial Approach to Innovative Multicultural Interventions. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Blackwell, Dick (2005). Counselling and Psychotherapy with Refugees. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Blanch, Andrea (2008). Transcending Violence: Emerging Models for Healing in Refugee Communities (Report). Alexandria, VA: National Center for Trauma-Informed Care.

Blanch, Andrea (Undated). Transcending Violence: Emerging Models for Healing in Refugee Communities – An Annotated Bibliography. Alexandria, VA: National Center for Trauma-Informed Care.

Center for Victims of Torture National Capacity-Building Program (2005). Healing the Hurt: A Guide for Developing Services for Torture Survivors (2005). Minneapolis, MN: Center for Victims of Torture. Available for download at or

Fadiman, A. (1997). The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures. New York: Noonday Press.

Freedman, J. (2007). Gendering the International Asylum and Refugee Debate. Hampshire and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Harvey, M and Tummala-Narra, P. (2007). Sources and Expressions of Resiliency in Trauma Survivors: Ecological Theory, Multicultural Practice. Binghamton, New York: Haworth Press.

Marsella, A., Bornemann, T., Ekblad, S., and Orley , J. (1998). Amidst Peril and Pain: The Mental Health and Well-Being of the World's Refugees. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Miller, K, and Rasco, L. (2004). The Mental Health of Refugees: Ecological Approaches to Healing and Adaptation. Mahwah, N.J. and London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Mollica, R. (2006). Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.

Nader, K. (1999). Honoring Differences: Cultural Issues in the Treatment of Trauma and Loss. Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Refugee Trauma Task Force (2005). Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Children in Resettlement. Los Angeles, Calif., and Durham, NC: Author.

Papadopoulos, R.K (2002). Therapeutic Care for Refugees: No Place Like Home. London and New York: Karnac Books.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network Refugee Trauma Task Force (2005). Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Children in Resettlement. Los Angeles, Calif., and Durham, NC: Author.

Sue, D. and Sue D. (2013). Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice, 6th ed. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

van der Veer, G. (1998). Counseling and Therapy with Refugees and Victims of Trauma, 2nd ed. Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley and Sons.

Walking Together: A Mental Health Therapist’s Guide to Working with Refugees

This resource, developed by Lutheran Community Services Northwest, offers valuable contextual and clinical information for mental health professionals and others who working with refugees and other forced migrants. Key topics include pre-migration experiences and other factors that may affect mental health, barriers to care, treatment planning, medication adherence, and vicarious trauma. 
C copy of the guide can be downloaded from this link:

Web-based resources

American Muslim Health Professionals

Lists numerous resources on Muslim mental health (

and provides a virtual mental health first aid course delivered virtually through the National Council for Behavioral Health (

Cultural Orientation Resource Center

The Cultural Orientation Resource Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CALS) offers extensive materials designed to assist in the orientation, resettlement, and adjustment of specific refugee populations. These include “Refugee Backgrounders,” cultural profiles, DVDs, and webinars on such topics as orientation for unaccompanied youth, older refugees, refugees with disabilities, and health aspects of orientation. A refugee discussion list is also available for professionals working with refugee communities. Numerous resources for refugees are also available on the site, including “Welcome Guides” and videos in various languages as well as phrasebooks.

The Resource Center funded by the Department of State/Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (BPRM), and provides for refugees resettling in the United States, and to the individuals and communities who support them.

Dignity – Danish Institute Against Torture

DIGNITY is a self-governing, independent organization that provides interdisciplinary treatment for torture survivors within Denmark, conducts research, and works in collaboration with international partners to advocate for the prevention of torture and to share knowledge and expertise. The organization’s highly extensive, searchable Library contains over 30,000 resources, including news items, journal articles, research studies, and information on consultative specialists on specific topics.

The website’s “Publications” section features materials on mental health treatment, rehabilitation, prevention and documentation of torture, legal aspects, monitoring of detention conditions, and country-specific reports:

The “Library" section, described as the largest of its kind in the world, contains indexed references to peer-reviewed literature, reports, and other materials on torture and related issues, with hyperlinks to web resources:  


HealthReach, a national collaborative partnership, serves as a resource for multilingual, multicultural public health information for those working with or providing care to individuals with limited English proficiency. Resources include health education materials in various languages and formats (brochures, fact sheets, videos); provider tools (including best practices, cultural information, and effective use of interpreters); and special collections on Emergency and Disaster, Women’s Health and Mental Health.

HealthReach grew out of the Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN), extending the resources in the RHIN database so as to serve immigrants and others with limited English proficiency, in addition to refugees, asylees and those seeking asylum.


Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU)

The IPSU mental health toolkit ( includes resources for individuals and professionals, including specific resources for support of American Muslim children.

Refugee Health Lending Library

The Minnesota Refugee Health Program's Lending Library maintains a comprehensive collection of educational materials about refugee populations and health issues, including several items related to mental health issues. The lending library currently holds over 180 videos. These items are available for free loan (except for the cost of return postage) to any public health organization or community group (including schools, churches, book clubs, etc.) in the United States. The entire collection can be searched by topic or by language through the program’s online catalogue.

Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC)

This website offers tools, resources, and support for health and mental health providers working with refugees in resettlement settings. Sections include:

Users can subscribe to e-newsletters and related announcements. Submissions to the site are welcome. RHTAC is funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). The lead agency for the project is the Refugee and Immigrant health Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

* Available on the RHTAC site as of June 2012: The Refugee Suicide Prevention Training Toolkit.

Developed in collaboration with Bhutanese community members, this adapted version of the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) recognized suicide prevention training model includes presentation slides, facilitator's guide, interactive training activities, and resource handouts.



Refugee Services Toolkit (RST)

The Refugee Services Toolkit is a web-based resource that provides users with information about four core stressors that refugees commonly face, and guides users through an assessment of a particular youth or family's needs. Based on the assessment, tailored recommendations for resources and interventions are generated through this web-based resource developed by the Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center.


Online Training Opportunities, Webinars, etc

National Institutes of Health (NIH) REFUGEEHEALTH-L Home Page

The REFUGEEHEALTH-L Listserv provides information on refugee health needs, serves as a resource for promoting healthy lifestyles and disease prevention, and is a reference on health activities for refugee populations conducted by governmental and non-governmental agencies.

National Partnership for Community Training/Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services

The NPCT is a collaboration between the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture (FCST), the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. (see expanded description under “Selected Internet Resources on Trauma and Torture.”

Several webinars are available on the NPCT website on topics including “Working Clinically with Traumatized Refugee Children and Families” (Porterfield); “The Trauma Story: An Empathetic and Therapeutic Conversation with the Survivor” (Mollica); and “Understanding the Prevalence of Domestic Violence in Post-Conflict Communities” (Chaudhry).

Selected Internet Resources on Trauma & Torture

"The Hand Model of the Brain"

This YouTube video, developed by Daniel Siegel, is a useful tool in helping mental health professionals explain the effects of trauma to clients. It incorporates elements of interpersonal neurobiology, neurophysiology, trauma-focused treatment and mindfulness in an accessible, visual manner.

Center for Victims of Torture

Provides numerous resources for torture survivors, providers, researchers, and others, including training guides and films (see “Publications”).

HealTorture website:

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Refugee Resettlement, this site includes extensive resources and links relevant to diverse aspects of working with torture survivors. Included are sections on mental health, social services, legal issues, medical care, specific populations, and healing centers in the U.S. and overseas. A variety of webinars on these issues are available for viewing. The HealTorture site is a project of the Center for Victims of Torture.

National Partnership for Community Training

The National Partnership for Community Training (NPCT) is a training and technical assistance program designed to increase awareness about the impact of political torture and provide trauma- informed response skills training to service providers who work with refugees, asylum seekers, asylees and other immigrant populations. Training topics may include developing a trauma-informed care environment in the workplace and in individuals’ approaches; responding to personal narratives that may be difficult to hear; when to make a specialized referral; how to build a referral network; and best, promising and emerging practices in clinical settings.

NPCT trainings benefit organizations and professionals serving immigrant and refugee populations in communities where there are no specialized torture treatment centers. Priority areas include states that receive targeted assistance grants.

Resources available from the NPCT include the Country Condition Reports, webinars (see the Online Training Opportunities, Webinars section), and information guides such as “Working Clinically with Traumatized Refugee Children and Families.”

The NPCT is a collaboration between the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture (FCST), the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma and the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Resources for Those Helping Torture Survivors, Refugees, and Asylum-Seekers

Updated in September 2013, this site features the web page Online Victims of Torture, & Asylum-Seekers, which provides links to over 130 resources, including:

  • Major centers for torture survivors
  • Online courses
  • Legal services
  • Information about asylum and refuge (networks of torture survivors
  • Human rights organizations providing information and services
  • Guides to assessment

and other diverse resources. Links to related journal articles are provided as well.

Sidran Institute

The Sidran Institute is a nonprofit organization of international scope that helps people understand, recover from and treat traumatic stress (including PTSD), dissociative disorders and co-occurring issues such as addictions, self-injury and suicidality. The Institute develops and delivers educational programming, resources for treatment, support and self-help, trauma-informed community and professional collaboration projects, and publications about trauma and recovery. The website offers numerous resources for both trauma survivors and professionals working with them.

Trauma Information Pages

An extensive compilation of resources, including organizations, websites, and reference materials on types of trauma, trauma-focused treatment, trauma-related support and related issues.

Recommended Films

Lost Boys of Sudan (2003)

Emmy-nominated feature-length documentary that recounts the story of a group of Sudanese boys who flee the war’s destruction, arrive at a refugee camp in Kenya, and are then resettled in the U.S. Faced with the demands of a new and strange culture in suburban America, they follow different paths and make difficult choices in the attempt to support themselves, find work, and pursue the elusive dream of education.

Lumo (2007)

A moving, feature-length documentary that profiles a young woman from southern DRC who has survived a brutal attack by marauding militia members. The traumatic rape has left Lumo with a fistula— a condition that has rendered her incontinent and threatens her ability to give birth in the future. Rejected by her fiancé and cast aside by her family, she finds her way to a hospital that provides specialized treatment for rape survivors.

Special Flight (2011)

An extraordinary and moving documentary filmed inside the Frambois detention center in Switzerland—a country that provides asylum status to fewer than 12% of those who apply for it. The inmates featured are among the thousands of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants imprisoned without charge or trial and facing deportation to their native countries, where they fear repression or even death. Inmates have two “options” if their appeals fail: they can voluntarily board planes to their native countries and arrive free and unannounced; or they can anticipate being forcibly loaded, bound and handcuffed, onto subsequent “special flights” that can last as long as 40 hours and from which they are delivered directly to local police.

The Quilted Conscience (2013)

A lively and moving documentary on the experiences and aspirations of refugee children living with their resettled families in central Nebraska, focusing in particular on sisters from South Sudan who become involved with a culture-blend fabric-art project with local residents. The subjects of the students’ quilt panels are Dreams & Memories – showing the girls’ memories of Africa and their dreams of America. These images honor the traditions and heritage of the students’ families and communities back in Sudan, while also reflecting their responses to the question: “Who and what do I want to be in life?” Information on the film and the associated Newcomers Quilt Project is available at the following site:

Well-Founded Fear (2000)

Feature documentary that takes an in-depth look at the decision-making process behind asylum cases decided by the federal U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS, now USCIS) in the New York City area. Applicants must demonstrate a “well-founded fear” of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion; the adjudicating immigration officers weigh their cases and either make a decision or refer the case for hearing by an immigration judge.

Audio Resources/recent broadcasts and podcasts

For Refugees from War-Torn Nations, Mental Health Care is Often Missing

NPR/ WESA, Jan. 6, 2014.

How the Affordable Care Act is Affecting Refugees’ and Asylees' Health Care

WYPR/Maryland Morning’s series The Check-Up, Feb. 4, 2014.

Middle Eastern Refugees in California Suffer with PTSD

The World, PRI/BBC, Feb. 9, 2012.

Providing Therapy Across Cultures

Talk of the Nation, NPR Feb. 15, 2012.