Working with PTSD in asylum seekers and refugees

PTSD is the most common diagnosis in treatment seeking refugees and asylum seekers (RAS). Because they have experienced multiple traumatic events in their country of origin and during their escape, they often present to services with a complex PTSD presentation. This is characterised by high levels of dissociation and nightmares and flashbacks to many different events.

This workshop will aim to give participants a practical framework for the cognitive-behavioural assessment and treatment of refugees and asylum seekers with PTSD. Topics covered will be:

· Epidemiological information

· Outcome research in this area

· Working with interpreters

· How to understand and work with dissociation in RAS

· What to consider at assessment– including readiness for treatment

· How to explain PTSD to RAS and how to engage them in therapy

· Treatment planning and phasing

· An introduction to the evidence-based psychological treatments for this group (to cover: Narrative Exposure Therapy, Reliving, Imagery re-scripting)

The workshop will feature some case discussion and films of therapeutic techniques as well as formal presentations.


Arntz, A., So, D. & van Breukelena, G. (2013) Imagery Rescripting as treatment for complicated PTSD in refugees: A multiple baseline case series study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 51, 274-283

Grey, N. & Young, K. (2008). Cognitive behaviour therapy with refugees and asylum seekers experiencing traumatic stress symptoms. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36, 3-19

Schauer, M. & Elbert, T. (2010) Dissociation following traumatic stress: Etiology and treatment. Journal of Psychology, 218, 109-127

Schauer, M, Neuner, F. & Elbert, T. (2011) Narrative Exposure Therapy: A short term treatment for traumatic stress disorders, 2nd Edition Gottingen: Hogrefe


Kerry Young

Kerry Young is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead of the Woodfield Trauma Service in London, UK. This is an innovative service offering evidence-based cognitive-behavioural treatment to refugees and asylum seekers suffering from PTSD, within a phased, multidisciplinary model of intervention. Kerry also works at the Oxford Rose Clinic, a centre for the medical and psychological treatment of women who have experienced FGM. She has spent 23 years seeing patients in specialist trauma services and has written and lectured widely on how to treat simple and Complex PTSD and how to work with traumatized asylum seekers and refugees. She advises the UK government on the services and treatments needed for this group of patients.

Additional Information

Cancellation & changes policy

If you cancel more than 14 days prior to your booked event, we will refund your fee minus a charge of 15% to cover our administration costs. We regret that cancellations 14 days or less before the booked event cannot be refunded or changed/transferred.

If you wish to change/transfer your booking after confirmation we will do our best to accommodate you if you notify us 14 days prior to your booked event, and if there is space to do so. However there will be an administration charge of £15 per change/transfer.


Workshops often contain clinical material. This is always anonymised as far as possible but delegates are none the less reminded to respect confidentiality.

All that is discussed in your therapy sessions will be treated as confidential, with the following exceptions.
We are required to seek supervision by our professional body (The British Psychological Society or equivalent) as a means of ensuring good practice. We will usually inform your referrer of your progress, but the details that we disclose will be discussed with you. We do have a statutory obligation to break confidentiality under rare circumstances, namely, if we believe that a client is of danger to themselves or to others (under the Mental Health Act, 2001) or if we believe that a child is at actual risk of physical or sexual abuse (The Children Act, Section 47, 1989).

If we felt that it would be helpful to request additional medical, social or legal information, we could only do this with your consent. Similarly, should another medical, social or legal professional request information from us, we would not release this without your consent.


OCTC makes every effort to ensure that this programme is delivered as advertised. However, should a presenter have to cancel, we will endeavour to find another suitable presenter. We will inform attendees as soon as is reasonably practical and, if requested, will offer a refund. In the rare event that we are unable to substitute a presenter, we may cancel a workshop and refund payments already made by attendees. OCTC will not refund travel and accommodation costs that attendees may incur.
All the workshops in this programme are carried out by highly experienced therapists and trainers. The individual presenter is responsible for the content of the workshop and any views expressed do not necessarily represent those of OCTC.
Although highly informative, none of the open workshops or workshop series confer a formal qualification or assurance of competence in CBT (or a specialist area of CBT) since we are unable to assess attendee competency within the training event. However, credit and award-bearing courses that lead to formal qualifications are offered by OCTC in conjunction with the University of Oxford. More about these courses is available on our website

Levels of competence

Before booking a place on a workshop, please ensure that it is pitched at the appropriate level of competence for you. The guide to levels is as follows:


Basic workshops are for people from a variety of backgrounds, who have at least one year’s clinical experience. Cognitive behavioural knowledge is not necessary for attendance at these workshops, though in practice, a number of attendees will have some skills in the area, and are refreshing/updating their knowledge.


Intermediate workshops are directed towards people who already have knowledge of CBT, and experience in using cognitive formulations and treatment methods – for instance, they are able to identify and test automatic thoughts, and design behavioural experiments. Most participants will be using CBT as part of their clinical practice, and may still be acquiring new CBT skills.


Advanced courses are directed towards those professionals who use CBT routinely as part of their clinical practice. They have probably undertaken a significant number of training courses and/or workshops, and use a broad range of cognitive behavioural strategies to work with a range of presentations at varying levels of complexity.

Making reservations

Bookings can only be considered confirmed after we have received your online registration or application form and payment (or invoicing details, including an official purchase order document). Please note that registration to workshops closes 7 days prior to the event date.

If you are booking a workshop place for someone else, you must complete your own details in the billing field, but ENTER THE WORKSHOP PARTICIPANTS NAME/ADDRESS in the shipping field. If you wish to order items using a paper order form instead of online, you can view or download an order form in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Once downloaded, print it out, fill it in, and send off with your payment [cheque made payable to OXFORD HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST] to the address on the form.


The cost of the workshops includes hot drinks on arrival, mid-morning and mid-afternoon, but not usually lunch unless stated. However, for workshops that do include lunch, if you have any special dietary requirements please let us know at the time of application.

Special needs

We welcome applications from diverse backgrounds. If you have any particular needs, please contact us
prior to booking.