Programs and Services

NESTT works to provide integrated psychological and legal services to survivors of torture:

Psychological Services - Connecting Cultures
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. It is a clinical-science specialty clinic within the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center (BTPC; a 501(c)3), in the Psychology Department at the University of Vermont. The BTPC has been successfully providing mental health services for over 35 years.

Connecting Cultures is comprised of four integrated components: community outreach, direct clinical services, clinical research, and training. Its team includes doctoral level clinical psychologists, pre-doctoral clinicians, social workers, and researchers. Connecting Cultures is able to provide high quality, evidence-based, cost-effective services by utilizing clinical psychology doctoral trainees to treat survivors of torture and trauma.

Community Outreach: Through the outreach component, clinicians directly visit the communities it serves, to continue to educate its service providers on the issues of greatest importance to the communities served and to provide services in a community setting. Some of the topics that are currently being addressed include parenting, stress management, and mental health concerns (e.g., PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression) associated with being a torture survivor.

Direct Clinical services include:
• Individual therapy for a range of clinical concerns, such as posttraumatic stress symptoms, depression, and general anxiety
• Psychological assessments for torture survivors seeking asylum status in Vermont
• Psychological assessment for general concerns

Clinical Research: Connecting Cultures seeks to improve its understanding of significant issues, such as how to identify mental health symptoms among torture survivors who might benefit most from mental health treatment, and which mental health approaches are most effective. Connecting Cultures analyzes clinically-relevant information provided by clients, with informed consent. Connecting Cultures also invited Joan Othieno, the Evaluation Research Advisor for the National Capacity Building Project, to conduct a site visit in Vermont. In this regard, we have a commitment to having an effective logic model with appropriate outcome measures for our program, including assessment of client satisfaction, knowledge and behavior change.

Training: Given that Connecting Cultures is the only program currently providing mental health services specifically designed for torture survivors, we are often approached to provide trainings and consultation to other mental health agencies. We are continuously providing trainings to interested agencies and hope to provide a statewide training in September, 2011.