Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2023

Document Type

Project (696 or 796 registration)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Counseling


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Jessica Brown


Balkan refugees, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), counseling


Balkan refugees in the United States have been shown to develop symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and low subjective quality of life after the Balkan wars and the stressors of immigration (Priebe et. al., 2009). Along with these potential mental health disorders, many of these refugees suffer with their mental health in other ways such as loneliness, low self-esteem, financial stressors, lack of understanding of the new cultural norms, language barriers, chronic fatigue, and more that all lead to developing maladaptive coping mechanisms (Keyes & Kane, 2004). Furthermore, most of these refugees do not seek mental health care and suffer in silence. Effective treatment methods for refugees, specifically Balkan refugees, are shown to be lacking. Some options may include various trauma therapies, group therapy, humanistic therapy, or rational emotive behavioral therapy. A review of the literature reveals a gap in mental health professionals understanding how to counsel this group of people. Because of this gap, a training has been developed for mental health counselors on teaching best practices for counseling the Balkan population. In this training, an overview of the history of the Balkan region, Balkan people, and the current research on mental health in Balkan refugees will be discussed. Along with this, the training will also aim to provide various strategies in counseling the Balkan population which includes how to build rapport and various therapies that can be used.



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