Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Primary caregiver detention and deportation: A therapeutic workbook for Latino children and families
by Utter, Lauren A., Psy.D., Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, 2014, 416; 3624585
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to construct a guided therapeutic activity workbook, in English and in Spanish, for Latino children and families who have experienced the actual or threatened deportation or detention of a primary caregiver. The workbook is primarily intended to be utilized by Latino children between eight and twelve years of age with assistance from a family member or substitute caregiver, although the workbook can also be used with mental health professionals and other helping adults. The theoretical foundation of the workbook is largely based on the Reflective Network Therapy Model, as well as a narrative approach to trauma treatment. It also utilizes the concept of ambiguous loss, and incorporates the therapeutic use of writing and drawing about traumatic experiences.

The workbook is designed to strengthen the relational resilience of children forced to deal with a parent or caregiver's detention or deportation. Children are invited to think, write, and draw about their positive memories of their caregivers, strengthening their internalized relationship to them. They are given tools for self-soothing and for turning to others for support, and offered avenues for active mastery. Helping adults, are given guidance on using the workbook to strengthen resilience rather than retraumatize children.

Five mental health professionals with substantial experience in different aspects of this topic were recruited as consultants to provide oral and written feedback on how to improve the workbook. Their critiques and recommendations were categorized and analyzed by the researcher with the assistance of her doctoral research committee. Interpretations and conclusions regarding the analyzed data were incorporated into a final draft of the Spanish and English versions of the workbook. Recommendations included simplifying the workbook language, expanding the introduction for helping adults, and increasing the number of meaningful interactions between the children using the workbook and the adults helping them.

The resulting workbook provides a much-needed therapeutic tool. The workbook's adaptability for use within children's natural support networks or with a mental health professional is designed to increase its accessibility and utilization. Future studies should evaluate the effectiveness of this workbook with the target population.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kliman, Jodie
Commitee: Celli, Maria, Dingman, Robert
School: Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Massachusetts
Source: DAI-B 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Latin American Studies, Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Deportation, Hispanic, Immigration, Latino, Latino children, Trauma treatment
Publication Number: 3624585
ISBN: 9781303982323
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