Common Iraqi Attitudes on Mental Health, Responses to Trauma, and Implications for Treatment

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Tuesday, July 7th to Wednesday, September 30th

Please join us in an online, open forum on telehealth. NCB is providing an opportunity for clinicians to ask each other questions, share observations and adapted telehealth protocols for the SoT population via an online forum and technical exchange. This conversation will be a forum for peer-led informational exchange. NCB staff will assist in facilitating and monitoring the conversation.

Directions: Please watch Eugene Augusterfer’s presentation and interview Telemedicine in Mental Health first. Then feel free to join us in this open forum. All are welcome to join this forum, whether you have an account on or not. For more information on using the forum, please read the directions on the first post. Please keep your comments respectful, relevant, factual, and do not share identifying information about clients per client privacy and HIPAA regulations. This forum will be open from July 6, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

This webinar, from May 14, 2008, features Husam Abdulkhaleq and Abdallah Boumediene of ACCESS.

This webinar is part of the National Capacity Building (NCB) webinar series. NCB is a project of the Center for Victims of Torture.


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Wednesday, 14 May 2008



This webinar sheds light on Iraqi attitudes toward mental health treatment and response to trauma. The objectives are to identify perspectives on mental health and reasons for stigmatization of psychological distress, to describe Iraqi responses to trauma and differences with newer arrivals, and to identify key aspects of the ACCESS psychosocial rehabilitation model for torture survivors. Iraqis are described as a “shame” society, where mental illness is often seen as a weakness that is brought about by an external entity or spirit (jinn), or a neurotic response to a physical ailment (headache or stomachache). Traditionally, Iraqis would visit their religious leaders, traditional healers, and then a medical provider to remedy their mental illness. The speaker’s goal is for the viewer to “understand the impact of your client’s cultural and religious background on his or her understanding of mental health before providing psychological treatment or psychiatric services.” Key aspects of the ACCESS Psychological Rehabilitation Model are: a holistic philosophy and approach, primary medical care, medications, psychotherapy (group therapy), physical therapy, social services (legal, spiritual), employment, and social club activities.

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