University of Leicester
2013Al-RoubaiyNSPhD.pdf (2.17 MB)

Post-migration stress among adult male Iraqi refugees and its implications for counselling and psychotherapy : a qualitative study

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posted on 2014-01-10, 11:41 authored by Najwan Saaed Al-Roubaiy
This three-phase study explores how counselling and psychotherapy can address the post-migration stress that adult male Iraqi refugees can experience in later stages of exile (defined in this study as having lived in Sweden for a minimum of five years). In Phase 1 the exile-related experiences of ten Iraqi refugee men were explored with specific emphasis on social support, acculturation, racial discrimination, and support systems. In Phase 2 the counselling experiences of ten adult male Iraqi refugee ex-counselling clients were explored. In Phase 3 the views of eight professionals were explored regarding their experiences of counselling Iraqi refugee men. The adult male Iraqi refugee participants in Phase 1 and Phase 2 were individually interviewed using semi-structured interviewing. The twenty interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). In Phase 3, the findings from Phase 1 and Phase 2 were used to design two focus group interviews using four mental health professionals in each group. The two focus group interviews were also analysed using IPA. The main findings of Phase 1 were that Iraqi refugee men expressed feeling disempowered, racially discriminated against, and marginalised by society. The main findings of Phase 2 were that adult male Iraqi refugee ex-counselling clients expressed a reluctance to disclose to therapists issues pertaining to their ethnic minority status and experienced racial microaggressions from therapists. The main findings of Phase 3 were that professionals described avoiding and struggling with cultural issues. Another main finding of Phase 3 was that in spite of client feedback revolving around the need for practical help and the experience of post-migration stress, professionals emphasised pre-migration trauma in discussing their views on counselling this client group. Based on the findings of this three-phase study, a pluralistic counselling approach is proposed to address the different post-migration stressors that adult male Iraqi refugees can experience in later stages of exile in Sweden and perhaps other Western countries.



Pugh, Valerie; Wheeler, Susan

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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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