The Complexity of Trauma: Considerations for Working with the Latino Immigrant Family

  • Jun29, 2018
  • 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

This half-day presentation will examine the prevalence of various forms of trauma experienced by immigrant Latino children and families throughout their immigration experiences.

In 2016, there were approximately 44 million immigrants estimated to be living in the United States with almost 45 percent of immigrants reporting having Hispanic or Latino origins (Zong, Batalova, & Hallock, 2018).

For many Latino immigrant families, the risk for and the complexity of trauma exposure is threaded throughout the immigration experience. Many have been subjected to trauma in their home countries, including gang activity, violence, abuse, severe poverty and corrupt government activities that prompt their decision to immigrate to the United States (Torres Fernandez, Chavez-Dueñas, & Consoli, 2015; Kennedy, 2014). Their risk for trauma is not limited to their experiences in their home country - many have documented re-victimization during their travels to the U.S., by both direct and indirect exposure to physical abuse, verbal abuse, rape, kidnapping, extortion, and murder (Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, 2015). Once in the U.S., they may also encounter a significant number of acculturative stressors, such as discrimination, lack of employment, legal status and potential deportation, language acquisition, separation from family and community of origin (Matlow & Romero, 2016) as well as losses pertaining to professional status, culture and a sense of belonging.

Clinicians and service providers alike are confronted by the unique needs of Latino immigrant families and challenged by the complexity of their trauma experiences.

This half-day presentation will examine the prevalence of various forms of trauma experienced by immigrant Latino children and families throughout their immigration experiences. Clinical considerations for working with the Latino family and the importance of incorporating Latino cultural values into treatment will be discussed.


  • Marilyn Camacho, LCPC
    Marilyn Camacho is a licensed clinical professional counselor at the Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. She implements evidence-based and trauma-informed treatment models to help children and families cope with complex traumatic stress, including Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), and the Strengthening Family Coping Resources (SFCR) multi-family group modality. Marilyn has worked extensively with the Latino community for nearly two decades. Her research and clinical efforts have focused on addressing the mental and health needs of the Latino immigrant communities she serves. She is the coordinator for the center's Avanza! Clinic, which provides trauma informed and culturally competent mental health treatment services to Latino children and their families who are primarily Spanish-speaking.
  • Jessenia Perez-Carrion, PsyD
    Dr. Perez-Carrion has extensive clinical experience providing mental health treatment services to the Latino Immigrant population as well as knowledge in the areas of trauma, anxiety, depression, victims of domestic violence, older adults, children and adolescents, neurodevelopmental disorders, and social and emotional and behavioral problems. She is fluent in both English and Spanish. She is presently completing a post-doctoral fellowship training at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Center for Child and Family Traumatic Stress outpatient hospital and a Johns Hopkins affiliate.


Kennedy Krieger Institute - Greenspring Campus
3825 Greenspring Ave
Bowles Board Room
Baltimore, Maryland 21211