The Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic: Trauma and Refugee Mental Health Treatment in the 1990s

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The Indochinese Psychiatry Clinic (IPC), located in Boston, was founded in 1981 to meet the special needs of traumatized Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian refugees resettling in the Boston area. Over the past 16 years, IPC has pioneered the field of refugee mental health and the treatment of the psychological and social sequelae of mass violence and torture. IPC developed the bicultural model of psychiatric treatment of refugees suffering from trauma-related mental disorders, which utilizes a multidisciplinary, bicultural team approach that emphasizes understanding the patient's trauma history within the appropriate cultural, social, and political context. This article summarizes IPC's background, patient profile, clinical approach, service elements, and funding structure. Recent immigration and welfare reform legislation will have a harsh impact on the population of refugees who are disabled due to the psychosocial consequences of their traumatic experiences. This legislation and the restrictions on mental health care imposed by public managed care will also affect the providers of their mental health care.

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