Transnational Counseling for Mass Trauma: American Trainee Experiences in Haiti

Gargi Roysircar, Lisa A. Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The authors examined the experiences of nine American doctoral students completing a clinical psychology practicum in a primary care clinic in Blanchard, Haiti. This training followed natural and human-made disasters that have traumatized Haitians since the 2010 earthquake. The clinical psychology training program partnered with Haitian medical staff and the trainees provided diverse services, incorporating the use of community-based translators: individual counseling; art and play therapy groups for children; psychoeducational classes; and support groups for diabetic, cardiac, and sickle cell disorder patients. In addition, they conducted research on child disaster trauma assessment and engaged in community resilience-building conversations. The trainees wrote daily self-reflections recounting their challenges, cultural and economic differences, successes, expectations, fears, and personal and professional development. Ninety daily reflection notes were coded applying the consensual qualitative research method. A coding team identified domains and their respective categories/themes in relation to two research questions addressing doctoral clinical psychology trainees' experiences of a practicum in Haiti and their Haitian clients' mass trauma and responses to counseling interventions. The domains related to experiences of the Haiti practicum were Impact of Practicum Experiences in Haiti on Doctoral Trainees and Use of Translators in Global Mental Health Practice. The domains related to intervention experiences in this international trauma-affected community were Transnational Disaster Counseling, Respect for Human and Civic Rights, and Haitian Client-Specific Practice. The findings have direct implications for training in transnational disaster counseling and accessibility to services.

Keywords

  • accessibility
  • disaster trauma
  • global mental health
  • transnational counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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