Working with Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Greece: The experience of Greek NGOs' Mental Health Workers. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

  • Margarita Bouki
  • Markella Lamproukou
  • Chrysa Poulaki
  • Penelope Louka


The current study aims at investigating the experience of Greek NGOs’ mental health workers who work with refugees and asylum seekers (RaAS). An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used, to create a deep understanding of practitioners’ emotions and meaning-making regarding their struggles and the ways they cope as professionals and as human beings. The data-collection was accomplished via a semi-structured interview of five practitioners who worked at an NGO in Greece. The analysis brought to light four major themes: the first theme relates to the cultural gap between clients and practitioners, the second theme highlights the importance of being person-centred, the third theme relates to the practitioners’ psychological impact as a result of counter-transference and the final theme highlights the importance of setting boundaries in order to avoid burnout. Findings revealed the existence of humanistic values in NGOs’ mental health workers who work with RaASs in general, and the importance of a person-centred approach to bolster the effectiveness in the therapeutic context with RaAS clients.

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