A Review of the Use of Trauma Systems Therapy to Treat Refugee Children, Adolescents, and Families

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Children and adolescents within refugee families face adverse childhood experiences emanating from multiple sources. These traumatic events can begin with persecution within their country of origin, during the migration process, and within their re-settled countries. More specifically, these children and their families are more prone to the four core stressors being: traumatic, acculturative, isolative and resettlement stress. Trauma Systems Therapy for Refugees (TST-R) is a promising treatment model to address child and adolescent mental health disparities revolving around direct and vicarious trauma. In TST-R, the treatment team systematically targets the needs of the child, while collaborating with cultural brokers from the refugee community, their school, and family unit. Researchers have used TST-R as an intervention for reducing trauma symptoms in Somali, Somali-Bantu, and Bhutanese children, adolescents, and their families. We review the strengths and limitations of this model. Further research is needed to determine its applicability to other communities within the United States and abroad.

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Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy

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