Therapy can be a relieving experience, allowing for people to have a safe space to express their fears, doubts, and the emotional overload they could be dealing with. However, access to psychotherapy is not as easy to attain for those who are not citizens of the United States. However, more is being done to allow immigrants the same access to mental health care as their contemporaries born in the U.S.
The Stress of the Immigration Process
Immigration has found itself in the spotlight even more in recent years, especially after the restrictive guidelines of the Trump administration. This saw a higher rate of deportation, and a greater push for representatives in immigration law to navigate these choppier waters. This was especially common in international hubs, with a greater search for immigration lawyers in New Orleans, New York, and Los Angeles among the major U.S. cities.
Legal services from obtaining an immigrant visa to going through the process of becoming an American citizen can be a lengthy process. While it’s important to have an immigration lawyer that will delay compassion for you and your family, having a therapist each step of the way can be just as beneficial to release the stress of the process. With complicated paperwork and fear of any removal proceedings, cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps those in the middle of an immigration case to understand coping mechanisms to alleviate stress and anxiety.
For some immigrants, making their way into the U.S. can be a harrowing experience. If you’ve followed the news lately, you’ve seen the traumatic stories that have emerged from the Southern border. From children coming over the border unaccompanied to women being subject to abuse, arriving in the Land of Opportunity has put many people in danger. With limited access to immigration attorneys or mental health care on entry, a social justice problem has emerged that is starting to draw a great deal of attention.
Now, immigration lawyers and other officials are pointing out free psychotherapy services that can help those immigrating to the United States or going through the naturalization process to feel heard. This has been expanded to dealing with severe symptoms of mental issues, such as panic attacks, that may be attributed to a traumatic experience, even without coverage from an insurance company.
Despite incredible resilience, it’s best to air these emotions. This can also be true for spouses or family members who have had to witness a loved one face deportation or be forced to their home country by immigration officials.
Access to Care
Finding the right therapist is difficult for anyone, but it’s rendered even tougher when there are limited ways to access mental health care. However, extensive experience is becoming available in immigration hubs. For example, more New York psychotherapists are offering their services in an affordable manner to assure that even a first-time patient is getting insight on the help they may need long-term.
While sitting in a psychiatrist’s office may not be possible because of coverage or scheduling issues, it’s now easier than ever to access a therapist online or by phone. Like many meetings and appointments throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, accessibility via Zoom and other platforms has become a precious thing. This has allowed for some immigrants to find the psychotherapy care they need, even finding licensed therapists to address issues in their native tongue.
In-person services are available beyond individual sessions, with some people struggling with the immigration process finding better success in group practice. This creates an environment of shared understanding, and even a chance to provide legal advice or other assistance.