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Immigration Evaluations


Immigration Evaluations

For many immigrants and refugees, their migration journey to Canada is marked by multiple stressors and cycles of violence that are shaped by gender, ethnicity, politics, sexual and gender identities and other intersections.

The stress of being separated from family and navigating the complexities of immigration law in Canada can be overwhelming. For people who have experienced trauma, the combination of their immigration experiences and symptoms of mental health can be overwhelming. Being confronted by the complex system of immigration laws in this country can be intimidating, creating a perfect storm for traumatic stress to emerge.

When you add the knowledge that a person’s safety may depend on his/theirs/ hers mental health status at the time they leave their homeland, it becomes clear that there is no room for error when working with refugees.

The process of exploring the refugees’ history to determine eligibility for asylum can be painstaking, detailed, and complex. Further complicating the matter is the fact that traumatic stress is a common issue experienced by many immigrants seeking asylum. Clinicians who conduct these evaluations must therefore have a very specific set of skills and cultural competencies that allow them to maximize their effectiveness. Specialized training in this area will help clinicians more successfully evaluate the client.

Clinicians who conduct immigration evaluations should follow a safe clinical work. This will help ensure that the client is not harmed by unfair or unnecessary practices such as self-report questionnaires, taking details of history of trauma or being incompetent and unaware of cultural manifestation of mental health.

In practice, clinicians are best positioned to understand how to effectively conduct immigration evaluations, and how to advocate for clients within the larger social, cultural, and political framework. Given that clinicians receive training in these types of evaluations, they are likely the ideal candidate to develop cross-disciplinary expertise in contextual variables relevant to each individual’s experience with the intersections of multiple identities such as race, ethnicity, sexual and gender identities, religion, culture etc.

Your rights as a refugee

As a refugee, it is your right to ask questions about the competencies of your therapist or the clinician who will conduct the evaluation. You can also ask for an evaluation by someone with specialized knowledge of trauma and immigration issues.

Here are some questions to ask in advance:

What is her/their/his educational background?

How long has been working in this area?

What are their credentials?

What kind of training has she/he received to conduct immigration evaluations and trauma?

You may also want to ask about their experience in working with refugees.

Remember: The therapist needs to be licensed/registered with a governing body in order to practice in the province where they are conducting evaluations.

In addition, you should feel comfortable with your therapist and have an honest conversation about how they will conduct the assessment. You can ask them what language they speak and if they will have an interpreter present during the interview.

When deciding on an evaluator for your case, it is important that you feel comfortable with them and trust them because this person will be making decisions about your future.

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me.


For the time being, we will be conducting appointments exclusively through virtual means.

Thank you for your understanding.

Experience You Can Count On


I am an Ottawa-based Registered Psychotherapist and have a full-time private practice. In the past, I worked in social service agencies for many years. I offer individual, relationship, and sex therapy in English, Arabic, and Armenian to adults 18+, and I do not work with minors.

In 2011, I earned a master’s degree in Counselling from the University of Ottawa. I am a Registered Psychotherapist in Ontario (CRPO#001132) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario. In addition, I am a Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA#3058). My clinical training focuses on relationship and sex therapy and trauma/PTSD. Since 2013, I have been at Algonquin College as a seasonal professor, teaching courses in mental health and addiction.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to publish peer-reviewed articles and contribute chapters concerning Counselling, coming out, and trauma related explicitly to LGBTQ+ refugees and newcomers to Canada. I have presented numerous workshops and continue to offer trainings nationally and internationally on the mental health of LGBTQI+ and SOGIE refugees and asylum seekers.


Professional Work

Early in my professional career, I specialized in individual therapy and served clients with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and grief. Since then, I have taken my clinical work to a higher level and gained more experience in four areas: PTSD and Trauma, Sexuality and Gender Identity, Sex and Relationship Therapy, and Refugee mental health issues. I have received various trainings in these areas since choosing to specialize. As an example, I received training from Division 56, Trauma Psychology, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Global Institute of Forensic Research in writing immigration evaluations for immigration courts. Furthermore, I have completed multiple trainings in trauma/PTSD therapy and relationship therapy (Poly. Kink). I have participated in numerous training opportunities in the field of sex therapy, sexuality, and gender identity. 

I am a LGBTQI+/poly/kink/CNM supportive and informed therapist.

Therapeutic approaches
In addition to Narrative Exposure Therapy for PTSD (NET), I have also been trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD and Experiential Therapy and Focusing. I integrate social justice and rights-based principles into my work as a trauma-informed therapist.

In recognition of my dedication to helping LGBTQ+ refugees and asylum seekers in Canada, I received the 2017 Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA).

AffiliationsI have an international affiliate membership with Division 56, Trauma Psychology, the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Global Institute of Forensic Research.


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