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Year : 2003  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 22-27

Stress and Coping in Traumatised Interpreters: a pilot study of refugee interpreters working for a humanitarian organisation

1 clinical psychologist at a school counselling centre in south-west Jutland, Denmark., Denmark
2 clinical psychologist at The Rehabilitation Centre for Refugees, Aalborg, Denmark., Denmark
3 professor of clinical psychology at the University of Aarhus, Denmark., Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Ask Elklit
Dept. of Psychology, Asylvej 4, 8240 Risskov, Denmark.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Twelve Kosovo-Albanian interpreters at the Danish Red Cross (DRC) asylum reception centre participated in an interview about their background and work. The majority had fled from the Serbian persecution in Kosovo, which involved living in a permanently hypervigilant stat, with intense fear of rape, ethnic suppression and civil war. All of the interpreters reported a heavy workload and a high level of distress. The most distressing part was interpreting at interviews for psychologists, where stories of torture, annihilation, persecution, and loss were told. A considerate and respectful treatment of this staff group may enhance the quality of therapeutic work as the interpreters get an opportunity to contribute with their culture specific knowledge.

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