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“I have been shocked, humbled, and immeasurably changed by this population…”

PTRBlog, Global Voices

It is my pleasure to provide this letter of recommendation on behalf of Partnerships for Trauma Recovery (PTR) in support of their application for Palo Alto University’s Award for Distinguished Service in Multicultural Training in Psychology. I am currently completing an advanced practicum placement and dissertation research with PTR, and I can say without hesitation that my experience at PTR has provided the most comprehensive, integrated and experiential learning related to diversity in clinical practice that I have received to date. Throughout my training, I have held multicultural learning as crucial to my development as a clinical psychologist. My dissertation focuses on the psychological experience of forced displacement, and necessarily involves significant interaction with people who have lived vastly different lives than my own. Although I was qualified to progress to internship this year, I opted to complete additional practicum training with PTR in order to gain the international perspective I had not yet gained from previous sites. I am thrilled that I did.

The training provided by PTR is diverse in every sense. PTR leadership, supervisors and trainees bring far greater variation in perspective and cultural viewpoint than I have previously known, as the group consists largely of multilingual speakers with representation from many countries, religious identifications, ethnic backgrounds and lived experience. PTR provides a learning environment in which it is possible to more fully explore our individual identities, both as this relates to interactions within the training group, the socio-political world at large and in the clinical encounter. The training curriculum is thoughtfully designed to hold distinct subjectivities that were formed within extremely different contexts, allowing space for clinical thought and room to better understand our own experiences as they may align, conflict or grow from another’s. From this, a greater world perspective, that helps us each to better know ourselves and meet the needs of our clients, grows.

As an American-born woman, working therapeutically with refugees and asylum seekers, this kind of learning has been essential. I have been shocked, humbled and immeasurably changed by this population. Developing relationships with people who have experienced torture, forced detention, abduction and severe, government sanctioned physical and psychological oppression has mandated a significant shift in perspective and required change to my internal understanding of the world in which we live, and PTR has shown itself capable of facilitating, holding and encouraging these significant demands. As we attempt to meet the needs of our world’s growing refugee population, training models such as this need to be implemented and shared widely. I hope that your organization can help make this goal a reality.

Thank you for your consideration, and please don’t hesitate to contact me at (415) 513-9142 should you need any additional information.


Kristina Wunderman, MA
Global Healing & Human Rights Trainee
Partnerships for Trauma Recovery