A growing group of IPTAR members and psychology interns and externs have been involved in a pilot program with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to provide psychological counseling to refugees being resettled in New York through the IRC.
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We initially worked with individual adults, and continue to do so, often in partnership with translators for non-English speaking clients.
A few months into this pilot project, IRC requested that we participate in their Unaccompanied Minors program, children who have crossed the U.S. border without an adult. An IPTAR member has been providing weekly pro bono counseling to several of these traumatized children and their new families in NYC, in their native Spanish language. IRC would very much like to expand counseling services for this population.
We have also been asked to support students in the ‘Saturday Learning Series,’ IRC’s Education Department’s academic support program. Every Saturday during the school year, up to 50 young refugees (ages 4 – 20) receive oneto- one academic tutoring by a volunteer tutor.
The program directors, concerned that their students had been made anxious by recent executive orders banning refugees from some Muslim countries, as well as other anti-immigrant rhetoric, asked us to provide counseling and emotional support. Several IPTAR members and candidates have been running short term groups and workshops with these young people.
At the conclusion, it is possible that some
students will be interested in individual
counseling or continuing in a group.
The IRC is an international humanitarian agency. In NYC they help resettle newly arrived refugees, and provide services to promote self-reliance and integration. If you’ve been feeling that you would like to use the skills and experience that you have to “do something” to support this vulnerable and increasingly insecure community, working in these initiatives could be a wonderful opportunity.