Janet Ann Robertson is a 2014 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England.

Dissertation Committee

  • Walter Lowe, Ph.D. - Committee Chair
  • Aimee Burke Valeras, Ph.D. - Committee Member
  • Megan Murphy, Ph.D. -Committee Member
  • Catherine Lounsbury, Ed.D. - Department of Applied Psychology Representative

Janet Ann Robertson, Ph.D.


phenomenology, refugee clients, foreign language interpreters, counseling psychology, psychotherapists, mental health professionals

Document Type


Publication Date



This dissertation consists of two articles focusing on foreign language interpreters in mental health. The first article is a literature review examining the existing research on mental health professionals working with foreign language interpreters while conducting therapy with refugee clients. After excluding articles that were not research studies and those that focused on physicians rather than therapists, 19 articles fit the search criteria. The majority of the articles that did not fall into the research category focused on recommendations and protocols for treatment. Those that did fit within the criteria were categorized into 5 main themes. Those themes were: effectiveness research, emotional influences, therapeutic alliance, role of the interpreter, and therapists’ experiences of interpreter roles. The second article explored the interpreters’ and therapists’ perceptions of the triadic and dyadic relationships within the therapist-interpreter-refugee client system. A systemic lens was adopted to directly examine the question of how interpreters and therapists working with refugee clients experience the relationships among interpreters, therapists, and refugee clients in therapy. Three interpreters and three therapists were interviewed and four themes and nine subthemes emerged, all centered around a triadic relationship between the therapist, interpreter and client. This study revealed a circular process within the triadic system in which all of the members of the system influenced one another. It also revealed a reciprocal process in which both the therapist and the interpreter’s perception of the other member’s relationship with the client influenced the individual’s feelings of effectiveness in therapy.


Janet Ann Robertson, Ph.D.

I earned my master’s and doctoral degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Antioch University New England (AUNE). I currently work at AUNE as a core faculty member in the family therapy program. Before working at AUNE, I worked at an integrated primary care setting in Concord, New Hampshire. It is in this setting that I found my niche in treating refugee families in a holistic manner. I worked to broaden awareness of their needs and increase their access to services in the community. In collaboration with the Office of Minority Health and Refugee Affairs, I implemented a refugee health screener into follow up medical visits with physicians at the clinic. I also developed a mental health module designed to educate minority populations on the importance of mental wellness and resources in the community.

My dissertation topic relates to my work in Concord and my passion for increasing effective care for refugee clients in therapy. My passion for this subject lies in my own experience as an immigrant from Cape Town, South Africa. This experience led me to develop deeper understandings of the refugee and immigrant experiences and strive to dedicate my work to issues of social justice.

I carry these interests with me to my position as a newly appointed core faculty member at AUNE. In this role, I believe in fostering mutual respect, gentle challenging, and growth in students. I thoroughly enjoy supporting students in the beginning of their journeys as therapists and watching them grow as professionals in the field.