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Cross cultural assessment and treatment of torture and refugee trauma with children and adolescents

Event Details
Date: 25-26 July 2019
Venue: Sydney, NSW
CPD hrs: 15

Concession: $299

Standard: $349

Organiser: STARTTS

This two-day clinical workshop incorporates close to 30 years of STARTTS’ experience working with refugee trauma and is based on the latest research in the trauma field. It aims to provide counsellors with a framework of the essentials of best practice in moving beyond symptoms to the context of children and young people from refugee backgrounds which includes cultural transition, resettlement, integrating into a school community and collectivism. It will cover the distinct biopsychosocial sequelae of torture and refugee trauma, including on the developing nervous system, memory and attachment; ways to overcome barriers to engaging young clients from refugee backgrounds in therapy and groups; and the importance of utilising a combination of expressive and body and mind approaches in a phased trauma treatment approach. It will emphasise the importance of incorporating family, the school and community; and working with other professionals to achieve desired clinical outcomes.

Workshop program

  • The refugee experience
  • Considerations and challenges of refugee trauma work
  • Clinical implications of torture and refugee trauma manifestations
  • Effective cross-cultural engagement
  • Comprehensive refugee clinical assessment
  • Formulating a case and treatment plan for torture and refugee trauma
  • Psychoeducation
  • Trauma treatment strategies
  • Ending treatment and measuring clinical outcomes
  • Self care in the face of highly traumatised clients

Learning objectives

  • To understand who are young refugees and the context of political conflict, organised violence and human rights violations
  • To understand the impact of traumatic experiences on the brain and defence responses and on attachment
  • To understand the impact of torture and other types of refugee traumatic experiences on the resettlement process particularly schooling and the family
  • To know how to effectively engage young clients from refugee backgrounds in clinical treatment
  • To understand the crucial components of a comprehensive clinical assessment in the context of resettlement in a new country
  • To understand how this translates into a useful case formulation to facilitate engagement and effective and targeted treatment
  • To understand useful treatment modalities for refugee trauma and the strengths and limitations of each
  • To have an appreciation of transference and countertransference
  • To be aware of the impact of vicarious trauma and burnout and how to self-manage these

Presenter details

Nooria Mehraby MD is a senior clinician and clinical trainer at STARTTS. Herself a former refugee, Nooria has more than 25 years experience working with refugees both overseas and here in Australia. This includes over 20 years experience at STARTTS. Nooria first trained as a medical doctor in her native Afghanistan and later obtained a Master of Counselling with Distinction in Australia. Nooria is an experienced national and international conference speaker and is the author of multiple publications (including textbook contributions) on refugee trauma, cross-cultural approaches and working with children. Nooria has lectured in various universities in NSW and has facilitated clinical workshops across Australia. She is currently teaching trauma counselling as a part of the Master of Clinical Counselling at the Australian Catholic University. Nooria is the editor of Refugee Trauma and Cross-Cultural Approaches sections of the Psyche visual Online Journal, and was formerly the editor of Interface Column in Psychotherapy in Australia. Her particular interest is in developing cross-cultural therapeutic interventions with refugees, especially with Muslim clients. In her current position as STARTTS’ Clinician Trainer, she brings clinical expertise to STARTTS’ wide range of training programs and regularly delivers workshops to service providers. She has trained hundreds of clinicians working in trauma assessment and interventions. In 2015 she was the recipient of Australian Muslim Professional of the Year Award.

Julie-Anne Younis is a psychologist with over 15 years’ experience, and the Senior Child and Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS. Prior to joining STARTTS, Julie-Anne worked in a number of clinical settings, including Community Health, Mental Health and Youth Health services within NSW Health. Julie-Anne is passionate about the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, and as such has worked exclusively with this population since 2008. Her areas of expertise include working with clients that have experienced complex trauma, hence she has worked with clients that are marginalised within our communities. She holds a keen interest in the interplay between culture and personality which has drawn her to work with clients from a variety of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. In addition to providing psychotherapeutic services to clients, she provides clinical consultation to a number of colleagues at STARTTS. She strives to provide meaningful clinical consultation as she believes that this is a forum whereby the clinician can engage in exploration of the self as therapist, as well as providing the space for the clinician to increase their therapeutic efficacy and confidence. She regularly provides training with regards to working with children and young people to professional colleagues both internal and external to STARTTS.

Location and date


25-26 July 2019


Concession: $299

Standard: $349



AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers