Connecting Cultures is the primary mental health service component of NESTT and the only program in Vermont specifically designed to address the mental health needs of survivors of torture.
In response to the mental health needs of Vermont’s expanding community of refugees, Connecting Cultures was established in 2007 to serve refugees and survivors of torture. Millions of refugees, including thousands of survivors of torture, were internationally displaced in 2017 due to war conflict, persecution, and/or unstable political infrastructure contributing to record numbers worldwide. These individuals experience chronic traumatic stressors during war, throughout the resettlement process, and post-migration. The Connecting Cultures clinical-science specialty service utilizes a multidisciplinary, evidence-based model of mental health intervention. Doctoral student interns in Clinical Psychology at the University of Vermont work within the
Connecting Cultures service and receive comprehensive training in the cultural competencies necessary to successfully work with refugees including at risk children, adults, families, and communities. The social justice model of training highlights the importance of working with cultural consultants, interpreters, and community elders.
The Connecting Cultures Program integrates four main components including: 1) Direct Service; 2) Outreach Services; 3) Training; and 4) Evaluation/Research. Our programming is multi-disciplinary, integrating mental health services with social work case management and legal services in addition to a medical referral process. Our services are evidence-based and culturally responsive. Specifically, we utilize both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) frameworks. Connecting Cultures serves individuals across the life-span for a wide range of clinical presentations.
Connecting Cultures is a clinical-science specialty clinic within the Vermont Psychological Services-VPS; a 501(c) 3), in the Department of Psychological Science at the University of Vermont. VPS has been successfully providing mental health services for over 40 years. Connecting Cultures is specifically designed to provide direct clinical services, outreach, research and evaluation for refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers.