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Australas Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;23(3):282-6. doi: 10.1177/1039856215581294. Epub 2015 Apr 22.

Conducting psychotherapy with an interpreter.

Author information

1
Consultant Psychiatrist, Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH), St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia justin.kuay@svha.org.au.
2
Consultant Psychiatrist, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
3
Manager, Direct Services Program, The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (VFST), Brunswick, VIC, Australia.
4
Manager, Research and Policy Program, The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (VFST), Brunswick, VIC, Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This qualitative study assessed how clinicians prepared and used interpreters during psychotherapeutic sessions and investigated the strategies they used to manage the dynamics of this process.

METHODS:

Ten therapists were interviewed at the Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture (VFST). A semi-structured interview format was used. Thematic analysis was conducted on transcripts of recorded interviews to identify key themes.

RESULTS:

Factors affecting the provision of psychotherapy with interpreters agreed with general guidelines for working with interpreters but there were exceptions. The possible roles of the interpreter as a cultural consultant, community advocate and co-therapist were explored. Specific troubleshooting strategies were identified for improving empathy, redefining roles, and adjusting interactions with interpreters.

CONCLUSIONS:

Working with interpreters in psychotherapy is a complex process. These findings may benefit clinicians providing psychotherapy to patients using interpreters.

KEYWORDS:

interpreters; psychotherapy; refugees

PMID:
25903374
DOI:
10.1177/1039856215581294
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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