Prudence Caldairou-Bessette is a clinical psychologist and an FQRSC-funded Postdoctoral fellow at both the Department of Integrated studies in Education and the Department of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr Claudia Mitchell and Dr Lucie Nadeau. She is also an associate professor of humanistic psychology at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
Prudence Caldairou-Bessette has been working with children and families in different settings, including the public heath system (Youth mental heath services), and gives priority in helping families with precarious and vulnerable life situations. Namely, she has been working with migrant, refugee and asylum seeking families for several years, in clinic and research, mainly in collaboration with the Sherpa Research Center.
Prudence holds a PhD/PsyD degree of UQAM and a doctorate of the Université de Strasbourg. Her thesis looked at differences in identity development of children from different cultures through their drawings. The results of her work where based on drawings from 500 children from 5 different countries, but concerned more specifically differences between children from Québec and Ivory Coast. Her thesis discussed issues of modern individualistic versus collective and traditional cultures.
Her Postdoctoral research is entitled « Including Children in Transcultural Mental Heath Research” aims to develop methods to listen to children in different contexts, namely through arts-based participatory methods. This project seeks two main objective: 1) to use art medias (drawing and play) to understand the perspectives of children who received Youth mental health services in the public health system and 2) to work on art-based participatory action-research projects rooted in the experience of art workshops with asylum seeking families and children. This last objective is meant to allow the inclusion of children that can be more difficult to reach in mental health research (since their access to services is limited), to offer them activities that can bring them joy but also contribute to their development as well as the prevention of mental health problems.