Adult Children of Immigrants are individuals where their families or themselves have immigrated from another country and their primary lived experience has been within one culture, for the purpose of this presentation, the United States of America. Many adult children of immigrants report a pervasive feeling of guilt often feeling that they are not living up to parent expectations, chronic feelings of “not belonging,” experiencing discrimination by both minority and majority groups, self-blame, trauma, shame, and constant shifting cultural frameworks of reference (Navarette and Jenkins, 2011). The negative impact of code switching has been well documented and can be especially daunting when an individual has to manage intersecting identities and acculturative stress.
Nonetheless, adult children of immigrants are resilient and often are the ones to rewrite the narrative of their families and communities.
In this interactive presentation, participants will learn the context and cultural framework of adults of immigrant parents and ways to integrate strengths based approaches within the therapy room.
Alexis Melville, Psy.D is a licensed Clinical Psychologist within Virginia and Florida. Dr. Melville has dedicated her life to working with diverse populations starting with her work in high school as the vice president for the diversity club to being a multicultural coordinator to developing a multicultural focused internship and externship program to her career as a clinical psychologist.
Dr. Melville’s working experience includes university counseling centers, hospitals and community mental health settings in the Caribbean and in the United States. She has also been featured on a panel discussing the intersection of mental health and gender identity, invited as a expert member on a dissertation committee based on her expertise in adults children of immigrant parents, and did a seminal paper on increasing warmth and cohesion within immigrant families. She has conducted trainings on a wide range of topics including but not limited to: resiliency, substance use within college students, managing family dynamics, effective supervision, and multicultural competency.
Dr. Melville also identifies as a daughter of immigrants, born in another country and as a child immigrated to the United States. Currently, Dr. Melville has a virtual private practice where helps, quirky individuals, BIPOC young professionals, LGBTQ young adults, and adult children of immigrants increase self-esteem and authenticity.
Dr. Melville earned her B.A. Psychology and M.S. in Experimental Psychology and a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
- Learn the terms and differentiate between types of immigrant populations ( i.e. International Student vs, Third Culture Kid, vs First Generation Immigrant, vs Second Generation immigrant, etc.)
- Explain at least 2-3 differences between collectivistic and individualistic culture
- Learn how family and cultural roles can impact self-expression, esteem, and identity
- Discuss how early childhood messages and experiences shape identity and self-esteem especially within the adults of immigrant parents.
- Learn creative ways to modify evidence based interventions to allow more cultural context and creativity
- Integrate a strength based approach to therapy in order to foster a safe space for clients to explore their identity and experiences.