Further Reading

General reading

Refugee Tales I-IV. Comma Press 2016-2021

Modelled on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and growing out of the work of the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group (https://www.gdwg.org.uk)  this series of books shares the tales of those who have sought asylum in the UK and ended up in immigration detention.  The stories are told first to established writers, such as Monica Ali, Patrick Gale, Kamila Shamsie and Ali Smith – who then find a way of making them into a form that can be heard more widely.


The project also organises walks where people who have been through the detention system, and those who want to help them, can walk together and share experiences.


The House of Journalists, by Tim Finch.  Jonathan Cape 2013

A cautionary tale about the uses of displaced and ill-treated peoples’ stories by the media, and for the self-aggrandisement of others. It also explores political defiance and the dynamics of creative expression.  Finch has been a BBC political journalist, and a former Director of Communications for the Refugee Council.



‘Illegal’ Traveller: An Auto-Ethnography of Borders, by Shahram Khosravi. Palgrave Macmillan 2010.

Based on fieldwork among undocumented migrants and asylum seekers, Khosravi offers both ethnographic and personal narratives of the nature of borders, border politics, and rituals and performances of border-crossing.




Mental health issues and therapeutics


Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees and War and Torture Victims. Edited by John P Wilson and Boris Drozdek. Routledge 2005.

A multi-disciplinary and multi-national volume of chapters exploring diverse treatment options for this client group across a range of settings. It provides insight into the psychosocial and mental health aspects of war and political violence from a range of perspectives.



Groupwork with Refugees and Survivors of Human Rights Abuses: The Power of Togetherness.  Edited by Jude Boyles, Robin Ewart-Biggs, Rebecca Horn and Kirsten Lamb. Routledge 2022.

A guide to the power of groupwork for refugees and survivors of human rights abuses in different settings, such as torture rehabilitation services, refugee camps, and reception centres. The voices of participants demonstrate the variety, creativity, and value of group and community approaches for recovery.



Involuntary Dislocation: Home, Trauma, Resilience, and Adversity-Activated Development, by Renos K. Papadopoulos.  Routledge 2021

Papadopoulos explores the experiences of people who reluctantly abandon their homes, searching for safer lives elsewhere, and provides a detailed guide to the complex experiences of involuntary dislocation. He explores its linguistic, historical, and cultural contexts, and challenges existing assumptions and established positions, with an emphasis on the language of repair and renewal.



A Practical Guide to Therapeutic work with Asylum Seekers and Refugees,  by Angelina Jalonen and Paul Cilla Corte. Jessica Kingsley 2018.

A handbook for mental health practitioners and therapists wanting to adopt a psychosocial approach to direct work with people seeking asylum and refugees



Psychological Therapies for Survivors of Torture: A Human-Rights Approach with People Seeking Asylum.    Edited by Jude Boyles. PCCS Books 2017.

A rich and varied  presentation of issues and experiences to reflect upon, and take account of, when working with survivors of torture and other abuse.



Social Work with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants. Theory and Skills for Practice. Edited by Lauren Wroe, Rachel Larkin, and Reima Ana Maglajlic. Jessica Kingsley 2019.

Provides practical ideas for practitioners working with people seeking asylum and other vulnerable migrants, and brings together perspectives across different disciplines.



Trauma and Recovery: From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, by Judith Herman. Pandora 1992.

Never out of print since first published, ‘Trauma and Recovery’  is a key text for practitioners working with refugees. Herman’s ground-breaking views on trauma and the process of healing have now become established wisdom.  She links the public traumas of society to those of domestic life, and  places the individual experience of the political prisoner, or those who suffer domestic abuse in a broader political frame.



Working with interpreters


Working with Interpreters in Mental Health.  Edited by Rachel Tribe and Hitesh Raval. Routledge 2003.

A collection of papers on best practice in using interpreters in medical and mental health settings, informed by theory, research and practice, and written by practitioners and interpreters in the mental health sector.



Working with Interpreters in Psychological Therapy: The Right To Be Understood, by Jude Boyles and Nathalie Talbot.  Routledge 2017.

This book addresses the needs and the anxieties of therapists and interpreters working together for the best possible outcomes for clients. Examples from collaborative practice illustrate how to relate to, and provide psychological safety and containment for, clients who are in great distress.



Assessing physical signs of ill-treatment


Monitoring Detention, Custody, Torture, and Ill-Treatment: A Practical Approach to Prevention and Documentation. Edited By Jason Payne-James, Jonathan Beynon, and Duarte Nuno Vieira.  CRC Press 2017

A comprehensive and definitive guide written by forensic physicians. It covers how to identify and document signs of ill-treatment  in all forms of detention, and related matters such as management of hunger strikes and deaths in custody.



The Medical Documentation of Torture.  Edited by Michael Peel and Vincent Iacopino. Greenwich Medical Media 2002.

Now rather old, but still a helpful and readily digestible guide to the principles - and includes a valuable discussion of late sequelae of a range of injuries.



Personal accounts


Lynne Jones is a British psychiatrist, aid worker and writer with experience in conflict and disaster settings. She is the author of Then They Started Shooting (2013). Her latest book is Outside the Asylum: A Memoir of War, Disaster and Humanitarian Psychiatry (2017).



Waheed Arian is a UK doctor who sought asylum himself in his mid-teens. He founded a telemedicine charity Arian Teleheal that enables doctors in conflict zones and low-resource countries to use their smartphones to receive advice from volunteer specialists elsewhere. His memoir is In The Wars: A Story of Conflict, Survival and Saving Lives.


Walking with Amal10