PSYC 356
Asylum: Understanding the Psychological Effects of Persecution, Trauma, and the Migration Experience Fall 2022
Division II

Class Details

Asylum is a specific form of humanitarian relief granted to an individual who can legally establish a history of previous persecution, or fear of future persecution, on account of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. What are the psychological effects of being physically and emotionally persecuted because of who you are, what you believe, and/or your identity? Using the framework of asylum, we will study the effects of persecution, loss, and displacement on mental health and well-being, and the psychological impacts of traumatic stress and of seeking asylum in the United States. Through close reading of empirical studies, case studies, narratives, and legal writing, we will consider the psychological outcomes most frequently reported by asylum seekers, as well as the effects of traumatic stress on attachment and interpersonal relationships, family functioning and the capacity for recovery and post-traumatic growth. We will explore various types of persecution (e.g., gender-based violence, gang-violence, political persecution, and family separation) and their global health context. Finally, we will examine the social determinants, legal frameworks, and social justice implications of therapeutic interventions and resettlement. Students will also explore the clinical literature on psychological outcomes and how this research is informing both psychotherapy and social service interventions in the US and humanitarian settings across the globe. Guest speakers will punctuate our time over the semester, so that students can understand the role of lawyers, clinicians (medical and psychological) and global mental health researchers in addressing issues of forced displacement.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1600
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Attendance and active participation, weekly reaction exercises (brief papers and presentations), and a final paper on an asylum-related topic of particular interest to the student.
Prerequisites: PSYC 252 is encouraged but not required. Students who have not taken PSYC 252 are encouraged to contact the instructor.
Enrollment Preferences: Psychology majors will have priority, but non-majors with interests in issues of asylum are encouraged to register.
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: PHLH Social Determinants of Health
PSYC Area 5 - Clinical Psychology

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