Working with Interpreters in Mental Health

People are increasingly moving across national borders and becoming resident in countries where they may not be fluent in the national language. The 2007 survey by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) states that two out of five adults in a large British city do not speak English as their mother tongue. In addition gender politics and other issues can mean that some people who may have been resident in Britain for some time may not be fluent in English. Therefore there are a range of related issues to be considered to ensure that psychologists and trusts provide services which are accessible and appropriate to all members of the community, that they embrace this diversity and remain mindful of excluding people directly or indirectly. In this workshop we begin to consider the issues involved when working with an interpreter.

This workshop will focus on the following areas:

Working with unfamiliar languages and cultures

  • Moving from a traditional health consultation dyad to a triad
  • Explanatory health beliefs & idioms of distress
  • Training and skill acquisitions for both the psychologist and the interpreter
  • Mediated communication
  • Contextual variables
  • Dilemmas, challenges and opportunities when working with interpreters in health settings

Guidelines & relevant legislation

Working with an interpreter in a clinical situation

  • Developing a working alliance with the interpreter
  • Cultural factors including diverse constructions of well-being
  • Technical terminology
  • Different models of interpretation
  • Reviewing and developing best practice in working with interpreters in mental health – improving service delivery in your area.

Provisional timetable
09:30 Registration/Tea and Coffee 
10:00 Workshop starts (there will be a break for lunch)
16:30 Workshop ends


This workshop is based on the BPS guidelines on Working with interpreters in health settings and is aimed at counselling, clinical and health psychologists. 

Learning outcomes and objectives

  • Critically  reflect on  some of the issues which may arise when working with someone with a first language and culture different to their own
  • Have an awareness of the range of  languages spoken in the UK and the need to work effectively in partnership with interpreters
  • Begin to consider how language and culture may construct and influence diverse help-seeking behaviours, idioms of distress and explanatory health beliefs and how these need to be considered in clinical practice
  • Have some familiarity with the relevant legislation and literature relevant to the topic of working with interpreters in mental health.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of working safely, ethically and effectively in partnership with an interpreter
  • Have some awareness of  the impact of working as an interpreter in mental health

Facilitator: Professor Rachel Tribe CPsychol FBPsS

Professor Rachel Tribe is a Fellow of the BPS. She has published over 50 papers,  book chapters and books  on the  areas  of working with interpreters in mental health, migration and mental health, professional and ethical practice and trauma.  She was a member of the World Psychiatric Association’s task force on migration and mental health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ expert panel on improving services for refugees. She has worked clinically with a range of diverse communities and presented her work in over 25 countries. She is an active clinician and is involved in national and international consultancy and training work with organisations in the UK and abroad.

Rachel co-edited a book on Working with Interpreters in Mental Health (2003) and co-produced a DVD on this topic for the Department of Health in 2011. Rachel currently works at the University of East London.  

Booking information


Non-Society Member: £142 (£118.33 + VAT)
Society Member: £111 (£92.50 + VAT)
DCoP / DCP Member: £80 (£66.67 + VAT)

How to book

Registration for this event will close at 17:00 on 17 July 2013. 

To pay by cheque or request an invoice complete and return the registration form

Please note that we are only able to accept invoice requests at least 6 weeks before the event date.


The Portland by Thistle
3-5 Portland Street
Piccadilly Gardens
M1 6DP

Tue, 23/07/2013 (All day)
Contact Information: 

BPS Learning Centre

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 9925
Fax: +44 (0)116 227 1314

BPS Learning Centre, Division of Counselling Psychology North West & Division of Clinical Psychology North West Branch