Australian Family Physician
Australian Family Physician


Volume 39, Issue 4, April 2010

Compassionate listening Managing psychological trauma in refugees

Joanne Gardiner Kate Walker
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‘Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him’.1
The physical and psychosocial effects of trauma in refugees are wide ranging and long lasting. They can affect symptom presentation, the patient-doctor relationship and management of refugee victims of trauma.
This article discusses how refugees survivors of trauma may present to the general practitioner and gives an approach to psychological assessment and management.
A strong therapeutic relationship built by patient led, sensitive assessment over time is the foundation to care. A management framework based on trauma recovery stages and adapted for general practice, is presented.

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