Immigration patterns to the United States play a significant role in the Latino cultural experience, so it deserves special consideration. Out of the approximately 53.9 million Hispanics living in the U.S. in 2013, 18.7 million were foreign born, and an estimated 12.7 million were undocumented residents (24.2%). More than half of the nationâ€™s 16 million Hispanic children were born to at least one foreign born parent.
Immigration represents two major sources of stress, (1) family dislocation, fragmentation and reconstruction, and (2) culture change for individuals and across generations. The process of immigration and resettlement can be relatively uncomplicated or, in some cases, very complicated with added difficulties such as experiences of trauma, acculturation stress, and substance use.
The purpose of this symposium is to provide a forum where behavioral health professionals can learn about, and speak about these added difficulties.
Successful treatment for clients with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) related disorders requires an expert mix of science, clinical training, pragmatic experience, and the continuing development of clinician skills. This training serves as an aid for ATOD counselors for improving their skills in response to treatment challenges presented by clients from Latino cultures. Treatments must, in essence, be Culturally Informed. The word culture is loaded with meaning, and has many potential implications, so the ideas expressed in this brief overview are not exhaustive or intend to provide a freeze frame cultural portrait of all Hispanics and Latinos which pretends that they are all the same or unchanging. Such a portrait defies reality.