Developing a Trauma-Informed Culturally-Based Intervention (TICBI) Approach for Refugee Resettlement Practices

Nimo Bokore, Susan Lee McGrath, Patricia McGuire, Abdirizak Karod, Mitra Rahimpour, Ajani Asokumar


Trauma-informed interventions have recently received more attention in the field of refugee resettlement and mental health. Although these interventions can be helpful to all trauma survivors, our model offers enhanced and cultural-based practice benefiting war-related trauma survivors, especially those from Post-Colonial nations. This model is based on needs identified by participants and collaboratively developed with the research team and the community. Our community-based participatory research (CBPR) began with three objectives. The first was to explore the current use of culturally-based, trauma-informed interventions and to assess service users’ (SUs) and service providers (SPs) experiences. This was accopmlished by collaborating with a local community agency. The second objective was to identify service needs and gaps. The third objective involved working with the project’s steering community members to develop a more effective model of interventions that can be used by resettlement and mental health agencies supporting refugees. During analysis, we examined the unique challenges identified by SUs and SPs to create a trauma-informed culturally-based intervention model (TICBI).

We used a mixed-method study involving focus groups, individual interviews, and surveys with 23 service users (SUs) and 20 service providers (SPs). The barriers identified by the SUs included lack of access to needs-based assistance, cultural and linguistic misunderstandings, and marginalization. The barriers identified by the SPs included lack of structural/organizational support, lack of funding, large caseloads, and burnout risk.

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