Refugee Mental Health Resource Network → Student - $5 CE Option

An Overview of Issues in Working with Vulnerable Immigrant and Refugee Populations - April 30, 2021

This 20th free webinar of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network consists of two presentations that will deepen the viewers’ understanding of some of the most difficult circumstances and mental health challenges faced by persons who are immigrants and refugees. The first presentation is by Dr. Hasmik Chakaryan and is titled, “An Overview of Working with Vulnerable Immigrant and Refugee Populations: Presenting Issues and Best Approaches.” The second presentation by Dr. Debbie Stiles is a case study titled, “The Garcia Family: Love, Fear, Community Support, and Psychological Resilience.” This case study describes a mixed-status family who is living in constant fear of the father being deported. Both presentations emphasize empathic understanding, cultural sensitivity, counseling skills, empowerment, and holistic approaches. Dr. Elizabeth Carll will serve as the moderator.

Presented by:
Elizabeth Carll, PhD
Hasmik Chakaryan, PhD
Debbie Stiles, PhD

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify the physical, psychological, and emotional effects of immigration status and racial trauma on the mental health of individuals who hold refugee status, documented and undocumented legal status, and families with mixed status.
2. Participants will be able to describe importance of self-assessment of one’s own biases, stereotypes, discomfort, over-identification with the client.
3. Participants will be able to describe empathy, cultural sensitivity, empowering others, counseling and listening skills, holistic approaches, and practicing self-care.

Elizabeth Carll, PhD is a licensed psychologist in New York, founder and chair of the Refugee Mental Health Resource Network (RMHRN), an APA Interdivisional Project. She is a founding member and a former 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 boards of non-profit organizations. RMHRN webinar organizer and moderator.

Hasmik Chakaryan, PhD is an Associate Professor, Licensed Professional Counselor, Trauma Specialist and Clinical Supervisor. In addition to teaching and supervising, Dr. Chakaryan's career focuses on social justice advocacy. Her research focuses on cultural competence in counseling, counselor education and supervision as well as internationalizing clinical counseling. Her research and clinical work center on underrepresented populations, specifically refugees and immigrants, as well as victims and survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and sex trafficking.

Debbie Stiles, PhD is a professor of applied educational psychology and school psychology at Webster University, where she is now in her 40th year of teaching. She is a human rights fellow, research scientist, Fulbright scholar, and licensed psychologist who has dedicated her professional life to understanding and helping vulnerable children and adolescents. Over the years, Webster University encouraged her to visit schools, consult, and conduct research in thirteen countries of the world.

Brabeck, K. M., Lykes, M.B., & Hershberg, R. (2011). Framing immigration to and deportation from the United States: Guatemalan and Salvadoran families make meaning of their experiences Community, Work & Family, 14(6), 275-296.

diTomasso, L. (2010). Approaches to counseling resettled refugee and asylum seeker survivors of organized violence. International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 1(3/4). Retrieved from Vol 1, No 3/4 (2010)

Etemadi, S. (2013). Multicultural counseling with the immigrant and refugee communities. Counseling Today, 12. Retrieved from

Hacker, K. et al. (2011). The impact of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on immigrant health: Perceptions of immigrants in Everett, Massachusetts, USA. Social Science & Medicine, 73(4), 586–594.

Kotlowitz, A. (2019, April 30). The Trump-Loving Town and Its Favorite Undocumented Immigrant Alex Garcia has been hiding in a church for 18 months. Poplar Bluff’s citizens miss him. New York Magazine. Retrieved from
  • An Overview of Issues in Working with Vulnerable Immigrant and Refugee
  • RMHRN April 2021 CE Test
  • Division 56 Survey
Completion rules
  • All units must be completed
  • Leads to a certificate with a duration: Forever