Instilling Wellness from the Inside Out

I didn’t really know what it meant to be a survivor before coming to TASSC. Here, I first understood how significant the psychological scars [of torture] are, and how powerful I am as a survivor. TASSC broke down the loneliness and the silence I was confined in.
— TASSC Survivor

Program Overview

The Health and Psychological Wellness Program is a key competent to TASSC's holistic model of care. The trauma of torture and the process of acculturation in the United States greatly impact survivors' physical and mental health. After arriving in the United States, survivors may experience depression, anxiety, sleeping problems and fearfulness. They may lose trust in themselves and in others, making it difficult to establish new relationships. They need supportive programming to process their trauma and navigate a new country.

This program is staffed by licensed counselors, therapists, clinical social workers and graduate level interns.  Working from a trauma-informed and strengths-based approach, they employ culturally responsive healing techniques and trauma-informed interventions to help survivors cope with multiple losses and traumas in a safe, caring, and confidential environment. TASSC's Health and Psychological Wellness Program offers individual and group therapy; couples counseling; on-site psychiatric care provided by our partners at Georgetown; and, supportive group activities which foster social connections, help to build new relationships and reduce isolation. TASSC also offers massage therapy services to survivors to help support their physical and psychological well-being. In addition to relieving muscle tension, stiffness, and pain, massage therapy promotes relaxation and deeper sleep, and may also help to reduce mental stress, anxiety, and fatigue. 83 Survivors were recipients of one or more of these services in 2017. 

At TASSC, we celebrate the diverse experiences each participant brings in a welcoming and empathetic atmosphere for survivors to identify and build upon the inner strengths and wisdom inherent to each of them. We talk; we listen; we laugh; we cry; we build community; and, we support survivors in their journey from surviving to thriving.



Medical and Psychological Forensic Evaluations

Medical and psychological forensic evaluations are significant supporting documents for many survivors seeking asylum. We coordinate evaluations as requested by survivors' lawyers, at no charge, through internal staff and a network of community professionals.

TASSC’s clinicians and partners have specialized training and experience in recognizing, evaluating, and documenting the trauma of persecution, discrimination, detention, and fear of return - issues that are central to applications for asylum.  The evaluations submitted by the clinical and medical evaluators are significant in corroborating the client’s persecution and are important factors in evaluating asylum claims.


Health and Wellness Support Groups

In addition to individual services, we offer opportunities for healing and community building in group settings.

  • Safe Skills is a weekly therapeutic group for survivors to learn expressive techniques and practice healthy coping skills. We include meditation and mindfulness practices, movement therapy, and activities focusing on topics and skills associated with emotional safety for trauma survivors.

  • Community of Healing is a monthly lunch and activity that encourages social connections and artistic expression to support survivors as they recover and build community in the United States

These group activities are essential for stress management and community building for both long-time TASSC members and newcomers.