Creative expression workshops as Psychological First Aid (PFA) for asylum-seeking children: An exploratory study in temporary shelters in Montreal

de Freitas Girardi, Julia; Miconi, Diana; Lyke, Claire; Rousseau, Cécile (2019, décembre)

Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry

12 p.

Background: Considering the growing number of asylum-seeking children worldwide, research
on interventions which may buffer the effects of early resettlement conditions on asylum-seeking
children’s adjustment is warranted. In Canada, creative expressive workshops for asylum-seeking
children and adolescents were implemented as a Psychological First Aid (PFA) intervention in
temporary shelters. The present exploratory study aims to describe the implementation of
these workshops to assess whether the intervention met core elements of PFA and explore its
potential in supporting the diverse needs of asylum-seeking youth in temporary shelters, adopting
a process-evaluation research approach.
Method: The intervention was evaluated via a qualitative thematic analysis of extensive field and
supervision notes and focus groups with facilitators.
Results: Preliminary results suggest that the intervention contributed to fostering emotional safety
and a sense of normalcy in children and supported the creation of connections among both children
and parents. Children’s expression of past and present experiences during the workshops was seen
as a way to promote self-efficacy in children and was reported as a potential way to provide some
comfort and hope in a time of high instability. However, the high needs of children and the lack of
resources in the temporary shelters represented significant challenges and barriers.
Conclusions: PFA using creative expression may be a promising youth mental health prevention
intervention in temporary shelters