Healing in a New Home
While the current refugee crisis is the result of various factors, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) remains a significant issue for refugee women. This particular thesis is an applied perspective on the socioecological approach and feminist constructivist theoretical orientation to mental health and psychosocial service provision for refugee women survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. The findings are an analytical stand based upon four interviews conducted with mental healthcare providers working among Maine’s population of recent-arrival refugees from Central/Eastern Africa, as well as a comprehensive literature review on refugee mental health and sexual and genderbased violence theory. It argues that, vis-a-vis these frameworks, care providers can best account for the intersectional identities of the immigrant woman, as well as the collective identity of the culture in which she is situated, both ethnographically via the country of origin, and physically within the resettlement society. The interviews were each individually coded and aggregated into three thematic concentrations spanning a descriptive discussion of cultural differences in perceptions of mental health, a reflection from practitioners regarding the needs for furthering the field, and an inquiry into the macro-level barriers to care. The resulting qualitative evidence from the interviews supports the aforementioned orientations to care and, therefore, illustrates a strong case for culturally-competent applied psychology as a means for both individual and communal healing.