Considerations about the difficult experience of giving psychological support to migrant asylums seekers

Journal title INTERAZIONI
Author/s Stefania Baraldo, Emma Luciani, Alida Martignon, Amalia Mineo, Mariadele Santarone, Anna Tabanelli, Stefano Trinchero
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/1 Language Italian
Pages 17 P. 110-126 File size 191 KB
DOI 10.3280/INT2022-001012
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The authors reflect on the difficulty in the understanding - resulting inattempts at homolo-gation and misinterpretations - and on the complex psychic mechanisms that occur among the staff of the receptioncentres for migrants and even among the psychotherapists appointed to providethe migrants with psychological support.They consider the manifestations of the post-traumatic suffering of those who endure the dramatic experiences of uprooting, life-threatening events, different forms of slavery, impossibility or incapacity to plan for the future, and of an abrupt, harshdescent into a world with rules migrants don’t understand. A world that, despite its pretence of welcoming them, controls them, segregates them, and then suddenly releases them from the reception centresin the assumption that they have the skills and resilience to adapt and integrate. Often, and over a lengthy period of time, traumatic experiences don’t find words nor adequate symbolic representations, and henceforth they "speak" through somatiza-tions, physical complaints, references to examples and models belonging to the culture of origin, all of which results in bewilderment and helplessness among those who are supposed to listen and comprehend. According to the authors, cultural differencespose not only the problem of the correct in-terpretation of the uneasiness and symptoms mentioned, but also questions on the adequacy of the setting and the interpretative keys utilised in our culture. The article mentions some trans-cultural approaches and the psychotherapists’ need for a shared space for comparison on counter-transferal life experiences, often overwhelming, which, if not understood and processed, may lead to attitudes of renunciation and avoidance.

Keywords: migration trauma, cultural misinterpretations, transcultural settings.

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Stefania Baraldo, Emma Luciani, Alida Martignon, Amalia Mineo, Mariadele Santarone, Anna Tabanelli, Stefano Trinchero, Riflessioni sulla difficile esperienza di supporto psicologico a migranti richiedenti asilo in "INTERAZIONI" 1/2022, pp 110-126, DOI: 10.3280/INT2022-001012