Anxiety and Depression Treatment for Immigrant, Refugee, and Asylee Clients



Rachel Singer, PhD
September 10, 2020
- 1:00 pm
Anxiety Disorders

Immigrant, refugee, and asylee clients represent a diverse group with unique mental health needs. Over 1 million individuals obtained a green card in the United States in 2018 (Department of Homeland Security, 2020). Further, as of 2017, immigrants accounted for 25% of all children residing in the United States (Child Trends, 2018). This population experiences a host of stressors related to their experiences of migration and acclimating to a new environment in their host country. By very nature of their flight from hardship, refugees experience high rates of mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD (APA, 2010;Mahtani, 2003; Robjant, Hassan, & Katona, 2009). Indeed, anxiety and depression represent global mental health challenges that transcend geographic boundaries, with the World Health Organization estimating 264 million individuals suffer from depression and 284 million individuals with anxiety (WHO, 2019). Recognizing the particular vulnerability of this population, it is imperative that clinicians are adequately prepared to provide competent treatment using evidence-based interventions. Understanding the complex factors that shape individual identity allows clinicians to tailor treatment based on client needs and identify their own biases that may undermine interventions. Using a systemic lens provides a more comprehensive foundation for treatment. According to Bronfenbrenner’s ecosystemic theory, individuals exist within a complex web of intersecting aspects of identity and experiences that may shape their health outcomes and impact goals for therapy. Conversely, both internal resilience and external resources, such as social support from the community (Singer & Tummala-Narra, 2013), may improve outcomes for immigrant clients.

This webinar provides an overview of strategies for integrating multiculturally competent strategies into evidence-based treatment of anxiety and depression for immigrants, refugees, and asylees. Specific tools for addressing barriers to treatment and incorporating resources are also addressed. Discussion focuses on strategies for conceptualizing and treating clients from a systemic perspective. This training also includes case application and discussion of practical tools. 

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Define immigrant, refugee, and asylee status
  • Identify potential barriers to treatment in working with immigrant, refugee, and asylee clients and review strategies for increasing access to care
  • Integrate multicultural tenets into evidence-based treatment for anxiety and depression


This webinar is also eligible for 1 Cross Cultural Competency Diversity Credit.


Presenter(s) Biography

Rachel Singer, PhD

Rachel Singer

Dr. Rachel Singer is a licensed psychologist who specializes in trauma, anxiety, and multiculturally competent interventions for immigrants, refugees, and asylees. Dr. Singer practices at the Center for Anxiety and Behavioral Change in Rockville, Maryland, and also conducts asylum evaluations for individuals seeking asylum in the U.S. She completed her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. Dr. Singer completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Singer regularly presents at national conferences, has published in academic peer-reviewed journals, and has published several book chapters on clinical recommendations for working with immigrants. She received APA's Citizen Psychologist award for her outreach and advocacy with immigrant populations.

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