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Interpersonal Counseling 3-Session for Assessment, Triage, and Engagement With Forced Migrants

May 31, 2023 2:00PM EST

Webinar from National Capacity Building Project through CVT

The National Capacity Building (NCB) Project at the Center for Victims of Torture is pleased to announce our upcoming Webinar, “IPC-3 for Assessment, Triage, and Engagement With Forced Migrants”.

May 31, 2023 2:00 – 3:30 pm Eastern Time (90 minutes)
(1:00 – 2:30 CT, Noon – 1:30 MT, 11:00 – 12:30 PT) 

(1:00 – 2:30 CT, Noon – 1:30 MT, 11:00 – 12:30 PT) 

Certificates of attendance are available for participants who attend the session and complete the feedback survey. 


Interpersonal Counseling 3-Session (IPC-3) is an empirically informed treatment that follows a structured and time-limited approach. In order to bridge the treatment gap of forced migrants who need help and those who receive it, IPC-3 offers a novel short‐term psychosocial intervention by clinicians or clinically supervised peer providers to familiarize clients with mental health resources, identify key problem areas, and encourage future connection to mental health services, where appropriate. Utilizing this brief consultation as the first point of introduction to treatment, IPC-3 may increase short-term engagement with mental health treatment for those who need it as well as longer-term engagement via community reintegration. IPC-3 may be uniquely suited to feasibly and substantially address the barriers forced migrants face – promoting engagement in support and addressing interpersonal stressors, including life transitions. This webinar will expose attendees to the foundational model of IPC-3, cover the development and adaptation of IPC-3, discuss the clinical research and evidence base for the protocol, as well as illustrate the strategies and techniques in IPC-3.

Note: The term forced migrants is used here as it includes asylum seekers, asylees and refugees over 44% of whom have experienced primary or secondary torture in their country of origin.

Learning Objectives

After attending this webinar, participants will:  

Target Audience

Staff of torture rehabilitation programs that are funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and/or are members of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs as well as others who provide services to survivors of torture. This session is designed for providers working with survivors of torture and forced migration populations.


Bryan Cheng

Dr. Bryan Cheng is the Director of Research of the Global Mental Health Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University. He completed his doctoral internship at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and West Hospitals where he focused on the care of individuals suffering from psychotic and personality disorders, and continues to stay on faculty where he supervises psychiatry residents and psychology interns. Dr. Cheng provides oversight on various projects in the lab as a co-investigator and methodologist. His previous research includes an assessment of the needs of Syrian refugees in Jordan and validation of mental healthcare instruments for that population, as well as utilization of new statistical methodology to investigate trends and trajectories in mental health outcomes in large clinical epidemiological data. He is also an IPT supervisor and trainer, and specializes in other modalities and forms of therapies including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). He also teaches two classes in the Master’s program – Introduction to Clinical Interviewing, and Introduction to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. His research interests continue to include the role of rumination in depression, the economics of mental health interventions in health systems, and the development and cultural validation of mental health measures in minority and underserved populations.  

Dr. Lena Verdeli

Dr. Lena Verdeli is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and the Director of Clinical Training at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received federal and foundation funding to study psychotherapy for prevention and treatment of mood disorders. In the past fifteen years Lena Verdeli has played a key role in landmark studies involving adaptation, training, and testing of psychotherapy packages used by non-specialists (primary care staff, community health workers, etc.) with depressed adults in southern Uganda; war-affected adolescents in IDP camps in northern Uganda and depressed IDP women in Colombia; distressed patients in primary care in Goa, India; depressed community members in Haiti; and war-affected Syrian refugees in Lebanon, among others. She is a member of the Mental Health Advisory Committee for the Millennium Villages Project of the Earth Institute, a Scientific Advisory Council member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Scientific Advisory Board of Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. She received the American Psychological Association International Psychology Division Mentoring Award and chaired the research workgroup of the Family NGO at the UN. She is currently a technical advisor for the WHO on global dissemination of psychosocial treatments.

Hawthorne Smith

Dr. Hawthorne Smith is a licensed psychologist and the Director of the Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor at the NYU School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Smith received his doctorate in Counseling Psychology (with distinction) from Teachers College; Columbia University. Dr. Smith had previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, an advanced certificate in African Studies from Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal, as well as a Masters in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Among his clinical duties, Dr. Smith has facilitated a support group for French-speaking African survivors of torture for the past 25 years. He also speaks extensively at professional conferences and seminars on providing clinical services for survivors of socio-political violence, and enhancing cross-cultural clinical skills among therapeutic service providers. Dr. Smith has been recognized for his work with such awards as: the Robin Hood Foundation’s “Hero Award”; the “Frantz Fanon Award” from the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health; the “W.E.B. DuBois Award” from the International Youth Leadership Institute; the “Distinguished Alumni – Early Career Award” from Teachers College; the “Man of Distinction Award” from the National Association of Health Service Executives; the “Union Square Award for Community Advocacy” from the Fund for the City of New York; and a “Humanitarian Award” from the Cousul General of the Republic of Haiti. Prior to coming to Bellevue, Dr. Smith was a youth counselor to “court involved youth” in Washington, DC during the height of the crack epidemic. He then coordinated care at a shelter for homeless families in San Francisco prior to, and in the aftermath of, the 1989 earthquake. Dr. Smith was also a co-founding member of Nah We Yone, Inc. (a non-profit organization working primarily with refugees from Sierra Leone, as well as other displaced Africans in New York), and helped to coordinate the International Youth Leadership Institute (IYLI), a leadership program for marginalized New York City teens. Currently, Dr. Smith provides forensic evaluations, human rights consultations, and mitigation services on capital cases for private legal firms and public entities such as the US Department of Defense and the US Office of the Federal Defender. Dr. Smith is also a professional musician (saxophonist and vocalist) with national and international experience.