Psychologists’ experience in mental healthcare services for migrant population in Italy: A qualitative study.
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This qualitative research presents the results of an investigation conducted in Italy on a group of psychologists working in mental healthcare for migrant population. These professionals addressed problems characterized by complexity, in particular related to high level of trauma encountered among migrants and to intercultural aspects to consider in the clinical practice. The author, a physiotherapist specialized in mental healthcare, was interested in the investigation of facets related to psychologists’ distress, secondary reactions, coping strategies and resilience, with a particular focus on the bodily reactions. The findings confirmed the presence of various phenomena of both positive and negative character, that could be linked to existing constructs described in scientific literature. The negative phenomena showed to be in relation to both objective stressors and subjective factors. The positive ones revealed the link between psychologists exposition to stressors and their growth at personal and professional level. Original themes that further emerged from the analysis were that of the body as a work-tool and that of re-humanization. The latter could be seen as the essence of psychologists’ intervention, in responding to the extreme de-humanization which they frequently witnessed in migrant population. The theme of the body as a work-tool appeared to be strictly related to the constructs of body-awareness and embodiment. Besides the qualitative investigation by means of interviews, also a supplementary observation of body patterns was conducted that confirmed a remarkable level of physical affliction, evidenced in deviations from posture and respiration patterns. Thus, the results underpinned the relevance of the subject of interest, stimulating further investigations. Building on these findings, new research should override the limitations of this study that did not explore subjective characteristics and traits that also could have an influence on coping mechanisms and resilience of psychologists. By exploring the relationship between body phenomena, body awareness and resilience in clinicians, a possible goal of further research could be the contribution to the development of a prognostic tool and of a therapeutic concept, to be used with supportive function for the psychologists. The contribution of a body-oriented approach like that of Norwegian Psychomotor Physiotherapy could be worthy and should be considered.
Master i psykisk helsearbeid