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Mander, G. (2007). Counselling and Psychotherapy with Refugees by Dick Blackwell. Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2005; 128 pp; £14.95.. Brit. J. Psychother., 23(2):304-306.

(2007). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 23(2):304-306

Counselling and Psychotherapy with Refugees by Dick Blackwell. Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2005; 128 pp; £14.95.

Review by:
Gertrud Mander

This book is a rich and well-crafted manual for therapists who are working with refugees and want to learn how to engage with the experiences of persecution, violence and exile which are often faced by refugees. It is the outcome of its author's wide experience of working for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture as a psychotherapist and supervisor, and it offers a flexible methodology that was specifically developed to deal with the particular circumstances that characterize the contexts in which different cultural and political backgrounds are usually encountered. In its didactic purpose the book differs deliberately from other books on the refugee experience and therapeutic approaches to helping refugees, such as Therapeutic Care for Refugees by Renos Papadopoulos (2002), who is an expert on the subject.

Blackwell recommends a modification of the psychodynamic approach in regard to frequency, use of the transference, and regression, and he deals consistently with four different levels of experience - the political, the cultural, the interpersonal and the intrapsychic, systematically setting out the multiple issues arising in the course of this kind of work - be that curbing unrealistic expectations, facing one's own ignorance, resolving conflicts with colleagues, working with interpreters, being involved in protection, advocacy and welfare rights, or the need for understanding government policy and legislation with regard to ‘asylum’.

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