A Phenomenological Study on the Experience of Syrian Asylum-Seekers and Refugees in the United States

Damir S. Utržan, Elizabeth Wieling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Violence in Syria has displaced an unprecedented number of people from their homes. While couple/family therapy (C/MFT) scholars have explored migration experiences, particularly among refugees, there is still limited research using a bioecological framework. This exploratory study examined the experiences of Syrian asylum-seekers and refugees living in the United States using a qualitative phenomenological approach. Twelve Syrians (n = 8 men, n = 4 women) between 20 and 52 years of age (M = 35.8, SD = 10.7) were interviewed about their experiences across three stages of resettlement: (1) pre-resettlement, (2) resettlement/migration, and (3) post-resettlement. Findings suggest that the effects of conflict-induced displacement and resettlement permeate across multiple ecologies. These range from the individual and his or her interpersonal relationships to their larger community and society. C/MFTs should account for contextual factors while becoming familiar with the sociopolitical impact of displacement and resettlement in their clinical work with this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-228
Number of pages20
JournalFamily process
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020



  • Asylum
  • Refugee crisis
  • Resettlement experiences
  • Syrian refugees
  • United States Refugee Resettlement Program

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Cite this