Working with Torture Survivors

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Chapter 3: Core Competencies in Working with Survivors

Attachment(s): PDF icon Healing_the_Hurt_Ch3.pdf

When providers are familiar with and respect the culture, language, and trauma experience of their clients, they create bridges of understanding. In order to provide appropriate and effective services, professionals need to develop a degree of expertise in the following four core fields of competency: KNOWLEDGE of the life experiences and resettlement issues of refugees, asylum seekers and asylees before, during, and after the violence; COMPREHENSION of torture and its long-term effects on survivors, their families, their community, and professionals who work with them; CULTURAL COMPETENCE with traumatized people; WORKING EFFECTIVELY with interpreters. This chapter provides information on the four competency areas that apply to providers in all disciplines and service domains.

Communicating Effectively Through an Interpreter

Cross Cultural Health Care Program (1998)

This excellent 28-minute video helps providers with: choosing an appropriate interpreter; recognizing the signs of professional and unprofessional interpretation; working effectively with a trained interpreter; guiding an untrained interpreter.
Note: Available for purchase; cost $150 in 2012


General Considerations for Interviews

Physicians for Human Rights (2001), Physicians for Human Rights Tools and Resources


Improving patient–provider communication: insights from interpreters

Hudelson, Patricia. (2005) in Family Practice 2005; 22: 311–316.

The article focuses on effective patient-provider communication as a way to ensure high quality medical care, and the role interpreters play in translating cultural cues.