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Dr. Kristin Samuelson and her students - conducting psychological evaluations on immigrants applying for asylum

Dr. Kristin Samuelson, associate professor at the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), San Francisco campus, has been conducting and supervising pro bono psychological evaluations for immigrants applying for asylum through the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Berkeley. 

Dr. Samuelson became involved with this agency through her work with Physicians for Human Rights, and recruited CSPP students Alma Enriquez and Gina Midili and CSPP alumni Ann Tran and Mark Beidelman to conduct evaluations under her supervision. Both Enriquez and Midili are Tauber Fellows, awarded by faculty nomination for their strong academic performance, background in psychology research and history of community engagement.

The team has conducted many evaluations of torture survivors and immigrants who were persecuted in their countries of origin for their sexual orientation, gender, religion, or indigenous status.  They have worked with immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya and Cameroon, with trauma histories that include assault or torture due to LGBT status, female genital mutilation, domestic violence and rape.

These psychological evaluations provide the critical documentation needed in asylum cases: a detailed history of torture or trauma and a psychological assessment of the trauma's detrimental effects on a person's mental health. 

Dr. Samuelson has also provided trainings for interviewers about post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and traumatic brain injury assessment, forensic interviewing and cross-cultural assessment. 

Thus far, the team has conducted over 40 evaluations, and of the clients who have completed their legal proceedings, all have successfully been granted asylum.

Learn more about Dr. Kristin Samuelson