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The Triple Trauma often Faced by Refugees and Immigrants

When working with people at Daily Work, we strive to know about their personal life experiences because these experiences shape their perceptions and how they interact with the world.

At Daily Work. Many job seekers are immigrants or refugees. Moving to a new country can be a very stressful experience and in many cases, it causes trauma. For refugees especially, they often have experienced atriple trauma paradigm”.

David Schuchman, a social worker with 30+ years’ experience working with immigrants and refugees, recently spoke at a Daily Work staff meeting to share his tips for working more effectively with immigrants and refugees. Part of the discussion included learning about the “triple trauma paradigm”.

Handout-CVT, Triple Trauma Paradigm (1)

The triple trauma occurs pre-flight, during flight, and post flight. During pre-flight, refugees and some immigrants may experience extreme poverty, oppression, discrimination, torture, targeting, and / or family and community violence.

During flight the trauma continues. Fear of being caught and returned, living in hiding, loss of home and possessions, witnessing violence, experiencing malnutrition, harsh travel and living conditions, exhaustion and exposure, are common experiences for refugees.

Once at their destination, immigrants and refugees both may experience fear of deportation, loss of identity, anti-immigrant attitudes, unmet expectations, social and cultural isolation, and more. Immigrants and/or refugees often face significant pressure to send money back to their families in their home country, even though they may not be making ends meet.

As an intern at Daily Work, the job seekers I work with share with me their financial pressures, the difficulty of finding good work, and the loss of being separated from loved ones. Despite the impact of these experiences, they show up every day ready to find something better, hopeful for new job that will allow them to live the life they want to live, free from fear. I am amazed by their strength.

I strive to have a better understanding of what our jobseekers have gone or are going through so I can better support them in achieving their goals. From connecting job seekers to English classes, to interview coaching, or just being a good listener, at Daily Work we welcome the opportunity to learn about other cultures and to support each jobseeker that walks through the door.

To learn more about the triple trauma paradigm, click to view this handout from the Center for Victims of Torture.

By Jensen Bloedorn, Case Management Intern

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