Taking a psychodynamic perspective, the present exploratory study proposes an integrated approach to explore the forced migratory experience, focusing simultaneously on mental health risk and protective factors and on the quality of the subjective experience of migration. We aimed to
evaluate trauma and protective factors and to explore in-depth representations and meanings asylum seekers hosted in Italy attribute to their experiences. Levels of trauma and resilience were first evaluated for twenty asylum seekers hosted in two Reception Centres; then, in-depth interviews
were administered. Six out of twenty participants presented with symptoms of trauma and all presented with moderately high resilience levels. The interviews were analysed using a quality-quantitative methodology via T-Lab software, and showed four thematic clusters: A godforsaken place;
From death to life across the sea; Memories from the past; Searching for a land of care. In line with the identity fracture highlighted in psychodynamic literature, our results show a breakdown between the deeper and original aspects of participants’ identity and their new
cultural identity as migrants, which has many social components. Reflections on the implications of the study will be outlined.
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