Refugee Mental Health Resource Network → Free - No CE

Coping with Disappearance of Family Members during Conflict &War:Missing & Enforced - April 17, 2020

This 16th free webinar of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network will examine differences in definitions and the prevalence of enforced disappearance as a political tactic of war, missing, or unaccompanied individuals. The global scope of disappeared individuals, legal definition in international law, key UN instruments, psychosocial impact and approaches to provide support for families and loved ones will be presented. Family associations formed by the loved one’s of the disappeared, as crucial vehicles to provide empowerment and social support for families advocating for the rights of the disappeared, in the face of impunity, intransigent governments and armed groups will also be discussed. For refugees and internally displaced individuals (IDPs), their uncertainty of a place of refuge, political vulnerability and scarce resources compound the complex journey of searching for their disappeared loved ones
The work of the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) will be presented describing the more than two decades of providing psychosocial support for the families of missing persons.

The helpful approaches implemented by the ICRC with meaningful outcomes addressing the multifaceted needs of the families and alleviating their distress will be discussed. Q and A will follow the presentations.

Presented by:
Kevin DeJesus, Ph.D.
Roubina Tahmazian, M.A.
Elizabeth Carll, Ph.D.

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the similarities and differences between enforced disappearance, missing, and unaccompanied status and its impact on the families of the disappeared.

2. Participants will be able to describe the ways in which refugees and internally displaced person (IDPs) are vulnerable to enforced disappearance and its impact on the experience of being a refugee, IDP, and their families.

3. Participants will be able to identify the range of psychosocial approaches, supports and best practices of mental health practitioners working with individuals and families of the disappeared.

Kevin M. DeJesus, Ph.D., an assistant professor in Social Sciences at Johnson and Wales University, developed and co-leads the undergraduate program in Political Science. He teaches politics, international relations, diplomacy, human rights, and sociology. His current research explores the politics of human rights. Recently, DeJesus interviewed Serbian families of the disappeared in Kosovo and Belgrade, examining how international and regional geopolitics in the Balkans have impacted their pursuit of the fate of their loved ones.

Roubina Tahmazian, M.A. is a clinical psychologist trained in Lebanon and France and based in Cairo, Egypt (ICRC), who has been working as a Mental Health Specialist in humanitarian settings since 1999. In 2006, she joined the ICRC and has been providing psychological support to families with missing relatives in the Balkans, the Caucasus and in Lebanon. In 2008, she participated in the development of the ICRC publication, “Accompanying the families of missing persons: A practical handbook” for persons working in the field.

Elizabeth Carll, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in New York, founder and chair of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network, an APA Interdivisional Project, and chairs the RMHRN webinar series. She is a past president of the APA Trauma Psychology Division and chairs the International Committee. A former chair of the United Nations NGO Committee on Mental Health, she is the founder and chair of its Global Mental Health and NCDs Working Group and serves on the boards of non-profit organizations.

1. Adams, J. Enforced Disappearance: Family Members’ Experiences. Hum Rights Rev 20, 335–360 (2019).
2. Boss, Pauline. Families of the missing: Psychosocial effects and therapeutic approaches. International Review of the Red Cross; Cambridge Vol. 99, Iss. 905, (Aug 2017): 519-534. DOI:10.1017/S1816383118000140.
3. Boss P., Ishii C. (2015) Trauma and Ambiguous Loss: The Lingering Presence of the Physically Absent. In: Cherry K. (eds) Traumatic Stress and Long-Term Recovery. Springer.
3. Preitler, B. (2015). Grief and Disappearance: Psychosocial Interventions. Sage Publications, Inc.
4. Robins, S. (2010). Ambiguous Loss in a Non-Western Context: Families of the Disappeared in Postconflict Nepal. Family Relations 59 (July 2010): 253 – 268 DOI:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2010.00600.x
5. Samarasinghe G. (2016) “My Son Is Alive”: Is Family Therapy Appropriate for Families of the Disappeared in Sri Lanka? In: Charlés L., Samarasinghe G. (eds) Family Therapy in Global Humanitarian Contexts. AFTA SpringerBriefs in Family Therapy. Springer.
  • April 17 Coping with the Disappearance - RMHN.mp4
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Completion rules
  • All units must be completed