Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Courtney Wells


Social Work


There is an abundance of studies in the literature highlighting psychotherapy methods for people who have experienced trauma. This is not true for the specialized treatment of refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers. Despite the growing worldwide displacement of people and the trauma they endure, there are only a limited number of studies conducted involving interventions with these populations who have survived prolonged and complex psychological trauma. This research project focuses on refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers who have experienced complex psychological trauma as a result of persecution, war, violence, and migration; specifically, it focuses on the mind-body based psychotherapeutic interventions that best meet refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers’ unique set of needs. Traditional psychoanalytic therapy and body-based psychotherapy are two approaches with people who have experienced trauma; the psychoanalytic approach addresses cognitive needs while body-based psychotherapy approaches trauma by beginning with somatic sensations. This study will explore somatic-cognitive therapeutic interventions which combine these two approaches and provide hope for those suffering from trauma, including refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers with complex trauma histories. This qualitative study explores what types of integrative somatic-cognitive therapies are being used with refugees, asylees, and asylum seekers. Psychotherapist practitioners who work with these populations were interviewed to learn about effective interventions for addressing somatic and cognitive needs to heal trauma, best practices, and other related areas where further research would be beneficial.

Included in

Social Work Commons