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Title: How does the experience of working with asylum seekers and refugees construct the professional identity? : an analysis of the discursive positions of specialist professionals who work with asylum seekers and refugees
Author: Apostolidou, Zoe
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 2697
Awarding Body: University of Wales
Current Institution: Regent's University London
Date of Award: 2014
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An extensive literature search reveals the profound lack of research on specialist professionals’ perspective on clinical work with asylum-seekers and refugees. This study explores the manner in which practitioners’ clinical experience with asylum-seekers and refugees informs the way they make sense of their professional identity. It is the first study undertaken in the UK that investigates the notion of professional identity among practitioners who work with this client population. Drawing on a social constructionist epistemology and a Foucauldian theoretical and methodological framework of power and discourse, I analyse extracts from semi-structured interviews that I conducted with eight specialist professionals who have provided therapeutic work to asylum-seekers and refugees. I explore how professional practices related to clinicians’ work, as well as legislative policies around asylum fall within a broader spectrum of regulatory discourses, interact and shape practitioners’ professional identity within a postmodern migration context. The findings of this study suggest that the notion of professional identity among these practitioners envelops a social and political activist stance and a deep sense of commitment towards helping and promoting social change within the wider community. Likewise, clinical work with refugees combines professional knowledge and values with a politicised involvement that fosters a psychosocial perspective on clients’ distress, takes into account the socio-political parameters of refugees’ trauma and allows practitioners to contextualise their distress and difficulties without pathologizing them. These findings are useful for professionals who work in the field of clinical practice and who conduct or consider conducting clinical work with refugees and clients that have multifaceted social and psychological needs and difficulties, as well as with clients from different socio-cultural backgrounds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Counselling ; Psychotherapy ; Refugees