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Dolores: Following up 

From: Chapter 14, Trauma Work with Latin American Women in Canada, in Working With Immigrant Women: Issues and Strategies for Mental Health Professionals (© CAMH 2008)

The emotional stability experienced by clients is not consistent. In particular, flashbacks and nightmares return in difficult and stressful times connected with the refugee process (e.g., when they receive a letter about a hearing date or about the cancellation of a hearing date or as they await a written decision from immigration, which can take months). If an application is rejected, the panic and helplessness increase as arrangements for the review are put in place.

The question of separation from the therapist becomes more of a concern as clients begin to feel better. Clients have had enough “termination,” abandonment and loss. I do not “terminate” sessions with clients. The clients themselves manage the separation. When the time seemed right, I asked Dolores, “Do you think that you still need to see me weekly, can you manage less often or do you want to call me when you want another appointment?” Dolores opted to see me every two weeks at first, then once a month, then as needed.

In the “as-needed” stage, she called me twice in six months and I saw her twice after each call. The issues were about the resurging pain of a yet another hearing postponement and the anxiety of awaiting a response that was two months overdue.

 In Trauma Work with Latin American Women in Canada

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