Although the mental health of refugees has been a focus of researchers for some time now, refugee transitions and refugee counselling are underrepresented and often neglected topics in the counselling literature in Canada. The practice of multicultural therapy with refugees continues to focus on a medical model and psychological issues that refugees face in pre-, trans-, and post –resettlement contexts. Within the current landscape of refugee counselling, very little research exists about refugees’ counselling needs as conceptualized from refugees’ perspective. This heuristic inquiry explored the stories of 6 refugees and their experiences of counselling in Canada. Based on the stories of the 6 co-researchers, 4 main categories emerged: (a) counselling process, (b) counsellor factors, (c) therapeutic relationship, and (d) client outcomes. Contributions to the academic and professional literature are highlighted. Implications and recommendations for future research and practice are identified and discussed.
In response to the growing need to identify the effective counselling practices for refugees, this heuristic research focused on exploring the refugees’ lived experiences of counselling. This research also focused on capturing refugees’ voices about the factors that contribute to successful/unsuccessful counselling engagement and outcomes. It aimed to increase understanding of how refugees’ pre-, trans-, and post-migration experiences influence their resettlement and adaptation, and subsequent counselling needs.
Keywords: refugees, refugee resettlement, refugee counselling, refugee therapy