Working with Youth

Risk and resilience for psychological distress amongst unaccompanied asylum seeking adolescents

Hodes M, Jagdev D, Chandra N, Cunniff A. (2008), Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(7):723-32. Full article requires paid subscription.

Summary written for by CVT Intern Joseph Walker: 

Across the world there are significant numbers of displaced and unaccompanied refugee children. They are sent away from their families or flee from their communities out of fear of persecution, organized violence, or war. Young people who experience war events and displacement have elevated rates of psychopathology, particularly posttraumatic stress disorder.

The mental health of children affected by armed conflict: protective processes and pathways to resilience

Betancourt TS, Khan KT (2008), International Review of Psychiatry; 20(3):317-28.

This paper examines the concept of resilience in the context of children affected by armed conflict and presents key studies in the literature that address the interplay between risk and protective processes in the mental health of war-affected children from an ecological, developmental perspective.
Note: Requires paid subscription - link is to abstract.

Children, torture and psychological consequences

Alayarian, A. (2009). Torture: Journal of Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of Torture, 19(2), 145-156.
Impact of torture on children may vary depending on the child’s coping strategies, cultural and social circumstances. In this paper the author gives a brief introduction of the work the Refugee Therapy Center does with children, discusses the effects of torture on children and presents a vignette and some examples of clinical intervention.

* The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)’s Journal on Rehabilitation of Torture Victims and Prevention of

Torture in Children

This article written by co-founder and medical director of the Program for Torture Victims, Los Angeles reviews the available literature on the topic of children and torture. The author also identifies significant issues relevant to torture against children and effective strategies and preventative programs.

Quiroga, J. "Torture in Children." Torture. Vol 19, No. 2 (2009): 66-87. (Link below is to full article PDF on IRCT site. This entire volume of TORTURE is devoted to the issue of working with youth.)

Therapeutic Work with Children and Families

Chapter 10 of this book outlines issues pertaining to the impact of war and violence on children and families. The authors review the consequences of war and refugee trauma on children and outline possible treatment methods.

Porterfield, K. and Akinsulure-Smith, A. Therapeutic Work with Children and Families. In Smith, H., Keller, A., & Lhewa, D., (Eds.) "...Like a Refugee Camp on First Avenue:" Insights and Experiences from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. (pp. 299-335). New York, New York.


My Name Is... Stories and Art by Young Refugees in Minnesota Schools

The entire book is attached for download (17 mb file). Developed for teachers to increase their understanding of refugee student experiences or to be used with mainstream students to increase their awareness of their peers’ experience. It can also be used by trained professionals in their work with refugee youth to help refugee students see that they are not alone in their experiences.


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