(Mis)recognition in the Therapeutic Alliance: The Experience of Mental Health Interpreters Working With Refugees in U.K. Clinical Settings

Hibah Hassan, Leda Blackwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Mental health interpreters play a crucial role in clinical support for refugees by providing a bridge between client and clinician. Yet research on interpreters’ experiences and perspectives is remarkably sparse. In this study, semi-structured interviews with mental health interpreters explored the experience of working in clinical settings with refugees. We conducted inductive analysis informed by a reflexive thematic analytic approach. Our analysis identifies interpreters’ pleasure in being part of people’s recovery, offset by the pain of misrecognition by clinicians that signals low self-worth and invisibility. Three sites of tension that create dilemmas for interpreters are identified: maintaining professional boundaries, managing privately shared information, and recognizing cultural norms. These findings are discussed in terms of the implications for clinicians working with interpreters, with a focus on the importance of a relationship of trust founded on recognition of the interpreters’ role and the unique challenges they face.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Early online date31 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • asylum seeker
  • interpreter
  • qualitative
  • reflexive thematic analysis
  • refugee
  • therapeutic alliance
  • United Kingdom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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