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Factors That Inhibit and Facilitate Wellbeing and Effectiveness in Counsellors Working With Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia

  • Rachel M. Roberts (a1), Natasha Won-Yee Ong (a1) and John Raftery (a1)
Abstract

This study aimed to identify the factors that counsellors working with refugees and asylum seekers in Australia consider influence their wellbeing and effectiveness. Nine employees in counsellor roles were interviewed. Thematic analysis indicated that government policies and practices were the greatest challenge. Factors facilitating effectiveness and wellbeing included having clear values, being able to see results for the client, receiving organisational support, working in a positive organisational culture, and having the support of family and friends. Factors inhibiting wellbeing included personal pressure to exert change, counsellor experience, feeling alienated from the community, lack of supervision, unclear organisational guidelines, and organisational values not being upheld. Along with the reported negative impact, positive psychological transformation was also reported. Through reflection on their clients’ strengths and resilience, participants reported feeling inspired, with increased effectiveness and wellbeing rather than vicarious trauma. This research contributes to the discussion about the psychologically harmful effects of government refugee and asylum seeker policy on counsellors and their clients.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: R.M. Roberts, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Adelaide, North Tce, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005, Australia. Email: rachel.roberts@adelaide.edu.au
References
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