Undocumented and Unafraid: Resilience Under Forced Separation and Threat of Deportation

  • Catalina Perdomo
  • Tiffany Adeigbe


In this chapter, we share our Spanish-language work with undocumented immigrants and their families within the context of the Texas-Mexican border. We include the historical and legal contexts of immigration in the United States as well as the role of mental health workers in biopsychosocial evaluations. We present two cases of our therapy work with excerpts from the session transcripts. Additionally, we explain our theoretical orientation of strengths-based brief therapy as it applies to our work with immigration clients. The first case presentation shows the benefit of strengths-based family therapy when a family member is deported. In the second case presentation, we share how letter writing in a single therapy session successfully addressed severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for an undocumented woman seeking a trafficking visa. Furthermore, we highlight the benefit of considering posttraumatic growth when working with themes of immigration and how our local work in Texas is relevant to the wider global context. We end our chapter with practical implications for clinicians interested in this work.


Undocumented immigration Biopsychosocial evaluations Case presentations Strengths-based therapy Brief therapy Deportation Letter writing Resiliency PTSD 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catalina Perdomo
    • 1
  • Tiffany Adeigbe
    • 1
  1. 1.Our Lady of the Lake UniversitySan AntonioUSA

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