Jinsook Song, Ph.D., is a 2020 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Janet Robertson, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Lucille Byno, PhD, Committee Member
  • Aimee Burke Valeras, PhD, Committee Member


Refugee, Family Relationship, Community Engagement, Acculturation

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Many refugees that come to the United States experience loss and separation from their norms, home, community, friends, and more. While resettling, they often deal with unfamiliarity, confusion, and uncertainty. They need support and resources to restore their losses and integrate into a host country’s culture and norms. Community plays an important role in providing support and resources to refugees during resettlement in the United States. Previous studies that explored the community’s role in refugee resettlement were focused on an individual level. There is a lack of research on how refugee families engage in community and how their community engagement influences their family relationships. The purpose of this study was to describe and interpret the meanings of Bhutanese refugee families’ experiences in community engagement and its influence on the family relationships. Community engagement was defined as participation in a community garden. Phenomenology was used to describe and interpret the shared lived experience of the community engagement and its influence on families’ relationships by nine Bhutanese refugee families.

The systemic lens in this study explores and emphasizes the importance of the partnership between the family and the community, as well as within family members, in their effort of resettlement and acculturation. This study illustrates how participants view family in a collective sense rather than trying to fit into the Eurocentric view of the nuclear family. Three main themes emerged from the study. The main themes included (a) intergenerational transmission, (b) community building through community engagement, (c) and strengthening family relationship through community engagement. The themes gave an illustration of participants’ meanings of family, family constellation, their efforts to preserve family and cultural traditions and values, and parents’ role for a well-adjusted family. They also captured the participants’ experiences of community engagement and its benefits for them. Furthermore, it illustrated how the community engagement strengthened participants’ family relationships.


Jinsook Song

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0003-4132-3802