Refugee Mental Health Resource Network → Member - $15 CE Option

Understanding Differences Between Clinical Trauma Evaluations & Asylum Evaluations - Oct 26, 2018

The first part of the webinar will discuss an update of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network and context for requests for services, followed by descriptions and discussion of asylum and immigration evaluations and how these differ from clinical trauma focused psychological evaluations. Psychologists and other mental health practitioners are frequently asked to provide evaluations for an individual seeking legal relief in the United States. Although not philosophically different from a trauma focused psychological evaluation, the intent behind the immigration referral addresses a substantively different context. It is important to understand the referral question to avoid establishing multiple relationships. The asylum or immigration evaluation is only helpful if it is a neutral, objective document in which the evaluator is not seen as an advocate for the client, since it would be usurping the role of the attorney representing the individual before an immigration judge or officers at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will be able to describe the differences between a forensic evaluation for immigration matters vs a trauma focused psychological evaluation/assessment.

2. Participants will be able to describe the different referral questions that attorneys request from psychologists and other mental health practitioners.

3. Participants will be able to describe how to avoid multiple relationships in addressing the referral question.

Presented by:

Elizabeth Carll, PhD, and Claudette “Claudia” Antuña, PsyD


Elizabeth Carll, PhD is a licensed psychologist in New York, the chair of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network, an APA Interdivisional Project, and past president of the APA Trauma Psychology Division. She serves on the executive committee of the United Nations NGO Committee on Mental Health and other organizations focusing on policy development and mainstreaming of health, mental health, and human rights into global issues. She is also in independent clinical and consulting practice.

Claudette "Claudia" Antuña, PsyD is a bilingual and bicultural forensic evaluator and obtained a MSW, MHSA, and Certificate in Global Mental Health form the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma and has provided over 700 immigration psychological evaluations and testified in more than one third of these cases. She created an internship responding to requests for psychological evaluations for the NW Immigrant Rights Project and is a member of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network.


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Meffert, S.M., Musalo, K., McNiel, D.E., & Binder, R.L. (2010). The role of the mental health professionals in political asylum processing. The Journal of American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 38: 479-489.

Ochoa, K.C, Pleasants, G.L., Penn, J.V., & Stone, D.C. (2010). Disparities in justice and care: Persons with severe mental illnesses in the U.S. immigration detention system. The Journal of the Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 38: 392-329.

Revving up the Deportation Machinery; Enforcement and Pushback Under Trump.

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ("Istanbul Protocol"), 2004, HR/P/PT/8/Rev.1, available at: [accessed 22 October 2018]
  • Understanding Differences Between Clinical Trauma Evaluations - Recording
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