An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Of Mental Health Professionals' Experiences Working With Syrian Refugees In Turkey

Tepeli, Ayten Deniz
More than 3.7 million Syrian refugees are currently under temporary protection in Turkey, making Turkey a host country the largest community of refugees in the world (UNHCR, 2021) are currently residing. These individuals face numerous challenges, including mental health difficulties such as trauma, distress, and feelings of sadness, anger, disinterest, and hopelessness. In addition to struggling with basic needs like shelter and food, Syrian refugees also encounter social inequalities, discrimination, rights violations, and economic hardships, as reported by various refugee associations Although there are organizations in Turkey that aim to support refugees, access to mental health services remains limited. Previous studies focus primarily on multicultural competence and the mental health of refugees, with only a few studies investigating the experiences of mental health professionals working with refugees. The purpose of the present study was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the experiences of mental health workers, particularly psychologists, who work with Syrian refugees in Turkey. By exploring their well-being and shedding light on their difficulties and need for support, this research aimed to contribute to advocating for better resources for these professionals. To achieve this objective, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 mental health workers, consisting of 7 women and 3 men, all psychologists, ranging in age from 29 to 46. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method, resulting in the identification of five overarching themes. These themes encompassed secondary traumatization, post-traumatic growth, challenges faced by clinicians, rewards experienced by clinicians, coping strategies, and available resources. The researcher discussed the findings in relation to existing literature on refugees and secondary traumatic stress, while also considering clinical and policy implications, as well as limitations and future directions for research in this area.
Citation Formats
A. D. Tepeli, “An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Of Mental Health Professionals’ Experiences Working With Syrian Refugees In Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2023.