Workshop 5

Immigration and Mental Health

Presented by Aileen Torres, PhD

Course Description

The impact of immigration-related problems such as piece-meal migration, fears of deportation, acculturation issues and marginalization play a large role in a person’s self-identity. For example, immigrant parents may experience unemployment, discrimination and social isolation, placing them at higher risk of victimization or mental health concerns. Immigrant parents may face language barriers or feelings of marginalization which render them less involved in their child’s education, social activities, etc. As immigrant children develop multicultural identities that may differ from their parents’, they may experience increased stress, adjustment problems, or maladaptive behaviors. These are just some of the mental health implications many immigrant families are facing. This workshop will explore the impact of these difficulties on clinical work. Real-world vignettes will be used to demonstrate the ways in which professionals can help families with these issues in the therapeutic process.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn the current research on the mental health of immigrants.
  • Obtain a basic understanding of the immigration process for many families in New Jersey.
  • Understand clinical implications of immigration effects on work with families.
  • Explore and process real-world vignettes.

Presenter Information

Aileen Torres, PhD
Aileen Torres is currently the Associate Director of Clinical Services at Youth Consultation Services (YCS) Institute for Infant and Preschool Mental Health and Past-President of the Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey (LPANJ). Dr. Torres represents LPANJ on New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families’ Advisory Group on Child Abuse and Neglect Mental Health Evaluation. Dr. Torres, a licensed clinical psychologist in NJ and Puerto Rico, is also in private practice in Montclair where she specializes in psychological assessments, mainly for immigration purposes. She was formerly the Director of the Bilingual Integrative Trauma Treatment Program at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. Dr. Torres has presented at the NJ Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect and on other topics at the Eastern Psychological Association, American Psychological Association’s, Minority Fellowship Program and the Symposium on Hispanic Mental Health Disparities.

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