Thesis

Repairing the attachment bond between immigrant parents and their adolescents who experienced piecemeal immigration: a resource and a guide

The purpose of this project is to create a resource and a guide for clinicians on how to help immigrant families with adolescents repair the attachment bond that was damaged as a result of the families' piecemeal immigration to the United States. The resource portion covers the different components that affect the parent-adolescent relationship - attachment theory, attachment and culture, immigration, grief, acculturation, and adolescent development. The guidebook portion provides a suggested structure on how to address the aforementioned components when working to help repair the attachment bond between immigrant parents and their adolescents. The family's collaborative work in therapy (either through simple open discussion or directive interventions) will help them communicate and become more aware of each other's needs, which is especially beneficial for immigrant parents who often struggle on how to help and reconnect with their respective adolescent. Clinicians can provide a safe and accepting environment where immigrant parents and adolescents can candidly share with each other their personal struggles, thoughts, and feelings pertaining to the challenges of immigration, grief, acculturation, and adolescent development. By becoming more open and understanding, immigrant families can learn to adjust and integrate some values and beliefs of their native culture with their host country's culture to suit the family's current needs. Such expression of attunement can help the family mend and strengthen their parent-adolescent attachment bond.

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