Sign up for Monthly SSPC Webinar Series on Working with Refugee Families [UPDATED 3/15/21]

by | February 25, 2021 | Trainees, Webinar

Working with Refugee Families

Currently, 26 million people worldwide are classified as refugees. Millions more, fleeing home, are on a journey to an undetermined destination. Their experiences are traumatic. Activities that give order and meaning to their days are replaced by efforts to steer away from danger and to negotiate culture clashes they barely understand. For many refugees, the consequences of trauma endure. However, a noteworthy number of families and individuals manage to limit the influence of trauma and to adjust. A few even thrive. The difference raises important questions for researchers and clinicians. The refugee experience leaves a unique traumatic mark in each family while the strengths of many are, in turn, exemplary. Which family processes and which contexts add to their hardship long after completing their journey? Once wounded by the migration process, does the trauma ever end? How can we help families go through the experience more easily? Can we reduce their trauma and enhance their resilience? In this webinar series, we will discuss what is known about these issues.

The SSPC Family Interest Group is proud to open the registration for a monthly webinar series on “Working with Refugee Families” led by Steven Wolin, Lucia De Haene, and Carlos Sluzki and organized around chapters from the recently published book by the same name, edited by De Haene L. and Rousseau, C., Cambridge University Press, 2020. Authors from selected chapters of the book will be interviewed by the webinar leaders.

Sessions will be held from 3-5 pm EDT on the 2nd Thursday of each month for 6 months beginning May 13, 2021, through November 11, 2021 (no session in August).

The webinar series is being offered free of charge and open to all SSPC members, and a limited number of non-members based on space available.

The sessions will focus on both theories of family processes during migration and asylum, and clinical programs which help families go through the refugee experience. Among the concepts we will discuss are:
  • Refugee family functioning
  • Risk and protective factors during migration, positive coping, and post-migration growth
  • Trauma and transgenerational trauma transmission
  • Children – their needs, experiences, and mental health consequences
  • Family conflicts and ruptured kinship ties during and post-migration.
  • Changing identities in refugee families and acculturation to the host country
  • Rebuilding trust and connections to the home family
  • Family separation and reunification, including legal issues.
  • The effectiveness of multifamily support groups in managing family adjustment.
  • Advocating for refugee families in the school, at the court and with government agencies


Participants are required to obtain a copy of the book Working With Refugee Families: Trauma and Exile in Family Relationships, Edited by Lucia De Haene and Cecile Rousseau, Cambridge University Press, 2020. If the book is not available in your library, SSPC trainees can receive a complimentary eBook copy. Other registered participants can purchase an ebook at a publisher’s discount. . Participants will be expected to read two specific chapters of the book before each session when the author of those chapters will be interviewed by the course leaders, followed by Q&A with participants. A certificate of completion will be given to those who attend at least 5 sessions and write a one-page summary and evaluation of the webinar.

Please register by April 15th to obtain your copy of the book in time for the first class on May 13th.


Registration has reached full capacity and is now closed.

For any questions, please contact Steven Wolin at

Learn More about Our Leadership

Steven Wolin, M.D. DLFAPA

Member of SSPC and past President 2012-2015, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at George Washington University, and Director of family therapy training from 1980 -2009

Dr. Steven Wolin is a member of the guest faculty at the Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), Chennai, India. In 1991 he received the Distinguished Contribution to Family Systems Research (with L. Bennett Ph.D.) from AFTA and SSPC’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. He was Co-Director (with Sybil Wolin Ph.D.), at Project Resilience (1990-2005). He is the author of more than 50 publications on psychological resilience, family rituals, and alcoholism transmission in families. (cf. Project Resilience and

Lucia de Haene, Ph.D.

Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences, University of Leuven

Dr. Lucia de Haene’s research focuses on the sequelae of organized violence and exile within refugee family relationships. As a family therapist and family therapy trainer, she works with refugee families in the Faculty Clinical Centre PraxisP, where she coordinates the team Transcultural Trauma Care for Refugees and leads the development of school-based therapeutic interventions and a systems-therapeutic, collaborative therapeutic psychiatric daycare program for minor refugees together with the University Psychiatry Hospital (UPC KU Leuven). (cf.

Carlos E. Sluzki, M.D.

Member of SSPC, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine, and Professor Emeritus of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University

A psychiatrist, family therapist, psychoanalyst by training and international consultant, Dr. Carlos E. Sluzki has been Editor-in-Chief of the journals Family Process and American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Temporary Advisor at the WHO, the UNHCR and the ICC, and author of numerous articles, chapters of books and books on refugees, social psychiatry, family therapy, social networks and human rights (cf. Sluzki)

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