SPEAKERS

Thursday April 25th, 2024

Keynote Speaker

Time: 10:00 – 11:00

Advances in Multicultural Psychology

Dr. Cynthia de las Fuentes

APA President 2024

Dr. Cynthia de las Fuentes

During her graduate school training, Dr. Cynthia de las Fuentes was awarded a United States Congressional Fellowship through the Women’s Research and Education Institute and another fellowship with the Women’s Program Office of the Public Interest Directorate at the American Psychological Association (APA). She earned a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1994 and subsequently became licensed by the State of Texas in 1996. From 1993-2007, she was a tenured associate professor of psychology at Our Lady of the Lake University, an APA accredited doctoral program, and held numerous leadership positions within the university and department including serving as Training Director. Since 2007, she has worked in private practice offering sliding-scale consultation, psychotherapy, and forensic evaluations focusing her expert testimony on the victims of hate crimes, racial, gender, and sexual orientation discrimination and immigration evaluations. Her pro bono work includes training bilingual psychologists in her community on the cultural and linguistic competent delivery of forensic evaluation services to the Latine immigrant community and delivering self-care and stress management workshops to immigration lawyers and their staff. She has dozens of presentations and publications in her areas of scholarship: ethics in psychology, feminist psychology, multicultural and Latine psychologies. She is active in governance of the APA where, among other positions, she served as president of the Society for the Psychology of Women, was a member of the Board of Education Affairs, was chair of the Committee for Women in Psychology, served on the APA Council of Representatives representing Division 45, the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race, was chair of the Council Leadership Team, and as a member of the Policy and Planning Board. She is a founding member of National Latinx Psychological Association and was elected a member and secretary of the Board of Trustees for the Texas Psychological Association. She is currently the 2023 President-elect of the American Psychological Association.

Time: 12:30 – 1:30

Connecting creative thinking with solution-focused therapy

Dr. John McCarthy

Dr. John McCarthy

Dr. John McCarthy earned his PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri–Kansas City (USA) and has been teaching since 1995. He joined the Liberal Arts faculty as a Professor of Psychology at Rochester Institute of Technology in Dubai (UAE) in August 2022.

Dr. McCarthy was a tenured, full professor in the Department of Counseling at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (USA) while serving on the College of Education faculty from 1999-2021.

From 2009 to 2015, Dr. McCarthy participated in the International Academic Fellowship Program in the Higher Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute. In this role, he worked with both Tbilisi State University in the Republic of Georgia and Yerevan State University in Armenia. In addition, he has offered professional presentations in Turkey, Lebanon, Singapore, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, China, Kuwait, Hong Kong, England, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan.
In 2011, Dr. McCarthy served as an academic visitor at the University of Cambridge (UK).

Dr. McCarthy has 30 journal publications and over 60 professional presentations. His professional writings have been featured in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Huffpost.com, The Buffalo News, Cleveland.com, Counseling Today, and The Psychotherapy Networker. He is the author of two recent books, The Innovator Next Door and Driving Forward in Reverse, that address creative thinking and problem-solving.

He is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Division 10 (the Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts) of the APA. Dr. McCarthy blogs for Psychology Today and also shares his work and thoughts at creativestrengths.com.

His interests include innovation and creative problem-solving; career issues; international issues in mental health; counseling and wellness; CBT, solution-focused, and strengths-based counseling approaches; and motivational interviewing.

Time: 11:30 – 12:30

Hikikomori like idiom of distress

Nutaila Al Kharusi, MA Psychology, PhD (C)

Nutaila Al Kharusi, MA Psychology, PhD (C)

Bachelor of Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, California, in 2004.
Master of Psychology from Chapman University, California, in 2006.
Currently a PhD candidate in Public Health, focusing on pathological social withdrawal (Hikikomori) in Oman, at Sultan Qaboos University.

Nutaila Al-Kharusi is the Managing Director at Al Harub Medical Center, where she leads a team of therapists and administrative staff. Her specialization includes individual, family, child, and adolescent therapy, addressing issues such as family and peer conflict, oppositional or risk-taking behavior, parenting and discipline challenges, academic motivation, school failure, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Nutaila authored a monthly psychology advice column for ‘Usrat El Youm’ magazine from 2009 to 2016 and has facilitated workshops on mental health issues and intervention strategies for students and employees. She is a sought-after speaker on mental health topics for various local groups and agencies.

Proficient in Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Schema Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Family Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT), Mrs. Al-Kharusi integrates these approaches in her practice, often combining VRT with CBT, for example.

As the founder of the Psychology Department at AHMC in 2007, she established the first mental health clinic in private practice in Oman. Before joining AHMC, Mrs. Al-Kharusi worked as a Behavior Change Analyst and therapist at Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), in both the Corporate Health Safety and Environment (HSE) Department and the PDO clinic. Additionally, she served as a Lecturer in Psychology at Mazoon College, Muscat, from 2010 to 2012.

Time: 11:30 – 12:30

How is Psychological Trauma defined and experienced by citizens of the GCC Arab Community

Dr. Guillermo Ybarra

Dr. Guillermo Ybarra

Guillermo J. Ybarra, CRC, LPC is a Mental Health Therapist with over nine years of experience. He currently works for the U.S. Navy in the Kingdom of Bahrain, previously in Yokosuka, Japan, and was previously a Deployed Resiliency Counselor assigned to the U.S.S. Ronald Regan. In these roles he provided one-on-one talk therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, and domestic violence, child abuse, anxiety and depression trainings for military services members, their families, and U.S. civilians working abroad. Mr. Ybarra successfully defended his dissertation and will earn a PhD in International Psychology, Trauma Services concentration, from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He specializes in complex trauma and sexual assault and currently teaches undergraduate psychology courses at the University of Maryland Global Campus as an adjunct professor.

Time: 1:00 – 2:00

The application of Investigative Psychology in the GCC

Dr John Synnott

Prof Maria Ioannou

Dr Dara Mojtahedi

Dr Calli Tzani

Dr John Synnott

Dr John Synnott is an Associate Professor of Psychology, a Chartered Psychologist (British Psychological Society), Chartered Scientist (BPS), an Associate Fellow of the British Psychology Society and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. John has presented research on the Psychology of Crime and Offender Decision Making at conferences around the world. He recently presented a keynote talk in Baghdad, Iraq on the application of Investigative Psychology. Dr Synnott also recently delivered several keynote presentations to the Royal Thai Police in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai Thailand.

Dr Synnott has provided consultation on the development of a Risk Assessment Tool for Domestic Violence for police force across the UK and overseas. He recently published a special issue as guest editor on the topic of Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse for the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. John has extensive experience in the evaluation of intervention programs recently he has completed an evaluation of a prison training program at Shelton Abbey Prison in Ireland. He also completed a Mental Wellbeing project at the same facility that was presented at the British Psychology Societies Division of Forensic Psychology conference in Bristol.

Dr Synnott is in the process of establishing the UKs first National Police Doctoral College to support police-based PhD projects. This build on an existing program that he started in October 2022 involving doctoral candidates that are drawn from policing partners in the Northwest of England, consisting of the highest operational ranks in UK policing. John directly supervises all of these projects as main supervisor which include studies on Child Criminal Exploitation, Gender and Race in Policing, the Role of Interventions in Combating Exploitation and Womens role in Serious and Organised Crime. In addition to this he also directs a number of projects and supervises a number of other PhDs, on but not limited to the following topics: Polygraph in Police Investigations, Risk Taking Behaviour, Offending and Mental Health, Sexual Assault Assessments, Sexual Offending in Southeast Asia, Human Trafficking in the Middle East, Bullying, Rape Myths, Stalking and Domestic Violence and Abuse in the GCC.

Dr Synnott has supervised over 60 master’s research projects in the area of Psychology within the Middle East and is supervising and supporting several PhD Candidates from the region,
who are developing important research in the areas of Trafficking, Domestic/Sexual Violence, Youth Violence, Offender Profiling, Social Media, Public Order, Terrorism and Radicalisation. Dr Synnott has published extensively over the past 10 years and has over 35 peer research papers in high-ranking academic journals.

John is currently completing a number of funded projects. One example is a piece of work funded by Merseyside Police on the non-consensual distribution of imagery amongst adolescents as well as a funded project examining the nature of Cuckooing offences in the UK. This is in addition to a recently completed piece of work with his colleagues which was a funded rapid evidence assessment for the Home Offices, Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse and an evaluation of a Domestic Violence Judicial Protocol with Thames Valley Police. John has extensive Media experience having appeared on radio (Newstalk, Capital FM) and television (BBC) and his work has featured in media both nationally and internationally (Washington Post & CNN) as well has being featured in the prestigious journal of Nature. John is the Editor for the newly commissioned Forensic Psychology in the Middle East Series which will be published in 2024.

Professor Maria Ioannou

Professor Maria Ioannou (BSc, MSc, PhD, C.Psychol, CSci, AFBPsS, FHEA, CMgr, MCMI), is a Professor of Investigative and Forensic Psychology, Director for two postgraduate courses: MSc Investigative Psychology and MSc Security Science and ex-Director of the Secure Societies Institute at the University of Huddersfield, UK. She is also a Chartered Forensic Psychologist (BPS), Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Registered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist (BPS), Chartered Manager (Chartered Management Institute), Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and board member of the Institute on Crime and Criminal Justice Policy, European Public Law Organisation (EPLO).

Prof. Dr. Ioannou has considerable experience in exploring offender and victim profiles and has been involved in the assessment and development of intervention programmes for reducing/preventing crime for a range of different forms of criminality and groups of offenders and ‘at risk’ individuals as well as impact delivery. She has delivered a variety of courses to professionals as well as applied research, case reports and consultancy projects to police, government authorities, intervention agencies and other public bodies and has contributed to various legal cases. Prof. Dr. Ioannou has been invited to train law enforcement and security personnel as well as give lectures and seminars in a number of countries in Europe, Middle East and South East Asia. She has an extensive publication record, media experience across all platforms appearing on CNN and BBC radio and her work has been presented nationally and internationally.

Dr Dara Mojtahedi

Dara Mojtahedi is a Reader in Criminological and Forensic Psychology. Dara teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses and supervises PhD, MSc, and BSc projects.

Dara completed his PhD in 2018 (Investigating the Effects of Co-witness Influence on Blame Attribution) and holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, MSc in Investigative Psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education. Dara is an active researcher, having published research within various fields of psychology, including forensic and investigative psychology, personality and individual differences, applied sports psychology, and mental health. He has carried out and supervised research for numerous professional organisations, including the National Crime Agency, NHS, FIFA and police forces.

Dr Calli Tzani

Dr Calli Tzani is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Huddersfield and the deputy director of the Applied Criminology and Policing Centre, as well as the Forensic consultant of the BPS magazine, ADM. Dr Tzani is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a member of several advisory bodies, including the Institute on Crime and Criminal Justice Policy, European Public Law Organisation (EPLO), the Psychologist British Psychological Society, Member of the Youth Mentoring Listserv, Member of the School Ethics Research Panel (SREP) at University of Huddersfield, Fellow of the NLP International Society. Dr Tzani is also reviewing for several scientific journals, such as the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, the International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Sage Open, E Cronicon, Psychology & Psychiatry, International Journal of Bullying Prevention, and Journal of Generic Psychology.
Dr Tzani is teaching for the MSc Investigative Psychology a number of subjects, including Introducing Investigative Psychology: From Offender Profiling to the Science of IP, Violent Acquisitive and Sexual Crime, Clinical Forensic Psychology, statistics, research methods, Terrorism and Conflict Resolution, Psychology of Crime Prevention, Offender Spatial Activity: Beyond Geographical Offender Profiling, Improving Legal Testimony and Evidence in Court and Investigations and Professional Issues and Applications. She has also supervised over 100 MSc research projects, has had PhD completion and is currently supervising PhD projects on Sexual Offending Against Children, Stranger Sexual Killer, Radicalisation Language of Extremist Groups Online, terrorism, Juvenile Rehabilitation and Criminal Desistance in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Dr Tzani has also been invited to various educational establishments to teach or train, such as the Royal Police Academy of Bahrain, the University of Edinburgh, Panteion University, Greece, Oldham University, University Indianapolis. She has conducted research on various areas of psychology and criminology and has published numerous scientific articles on peer reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Computers in Human Behavior, New Ideas in Psychology, the International Journal of Bullying Prevention, the International Journal of Cyber Criminology and many others.

Dr Tzani has also contributed to media coverage multiple times, for example The Conversation, BBC, The Independent, The Examiner, New Zealand Herald, Daily Mail, World News, and many other. She has presented in various conferences globally, contributed to numerous funded projects and collaborates with scientists all over the world. Finally, Dr Tzani is conducting research on school bullying, cyberbullying, cyber-fraud, cybercrime, sextortion, terrorism, wellbeing, and many other areas related to psychology and crime.

Time: 1:00 – 2:00

The Impact of Climate Change on Psychosocial Well-being

Dr. Patricia Tesoriero

Dr. Patricia Tesoriero

Dr. Tesoriero is a recent UNITAR Global Diplomacy Research Fellow, holding a Ph.D. in International Psychology, and a leading experienced business professional with demonstrated corporate skills in global markets. As a GDI Fellow, Patricia worked with experienced advisors on a research paper titled “The Impact of Fracking on the Environment and Social Justice”, which she presented through a speaker panel at the 78th United Nations General Assembly in September 2023.

Dr. Tesoriero also conducted research for her dissertation on “The Psychosocial Implications of Hydraulic Fracturing on Nearby Communities in North America”, which she also presented at the 2023 MEPA conference, as a poster presenter. Patricia’s international psychology doctorate focused on Organizations + Systems, and her research emphasized the impact such practices have on marginalized populations, with little to no political voice. It also seeks to promote systematic change to help improve the quality of life for those impacted most.

Patricia’s corporate experience has led her to be skilled in team development, management, finance, business planning, and operations as well as system controls. In addition to earning a Ph.D. from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Dr. Tesoriero’s other academic achievements include possessing two Masters’ degrees, one in Diplomacy from Norwich University, focused on International Commerce, and a second in Sociology earned from Arizona State University. Patricia also holds certificates in ADR and CTL.

Time: 1:00 – 2:00

Treatment of Trauma in the Context of Couples Therapy

Ms. Nashwa Tantawy

Ms. Nashwa Tantawy

Nashwa Tantawy is a Psychologist, Couples Therapist, Researcher, and Speaker. She holds the position of the Managing Director of Nafsology Psychology Center in Dubai, UAE.

She specializes in offering psychotherapy, speeches, and workshops in Egypt and the UAE for adolescents, adults, and couples focusing on personality mood disorders and couples therapy.

Nashwa is a researcher in the psychology field focusing on violence against women, personality disorders and integrating AI technology with personality assessments; she presented her work at several conferences; including MEPA annual conference and IPCD.

Nashwa is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and an active member of the Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA), holding the role of Treasurer of the MEPA UAE Country Chapter.

Following her mission of spreading mental health awareness in the Arab World, Nashwa launched Nafsology by Nashwa Tantawy virtual initiative in 2019; in 2022, she founded Nafsology Psychology Center in Dubai with a mission to provide best practice mental health services in a safe and supportive environment while respecting people’s uniqueness, individuality, cultural considerations and helping the community.

Time: 3:30 – 4:30

Breaking Taboos: A New Approach to Mental Health in the MENA Region

Dr. Pia Tohme Khalaf

Ms. Sandra Salame

Ms. Sandra Salame

Dr. Pia Tohme Khalaf

Dr. Pia Tohme Khalaf graduated with a Ph.D. from University College London, investigating parental mentalizing capacities with regards to their adolescent identical twins and its effects on attachment security. She is trained in the Approach to Parenting Teenagers from the Open Door Young People’s consultation services and in Mentalization Based Therapy for Children and Adolescents, as well as its application in a school setting, from the Anna Freud Centre, London. She is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychology Program Lead at the Lebanese American University and, works in private practice with children, adolescents and their parents, based on attachment and mentalizing principles. She is also Head of Psychology Services at Siira, a mental health platform aimed at democratizing mental health by making it accessible to all, through regular workshops, support groups, and various online content. Her main research interests focus on the cross-cultural application of the construct of attachment in Lebanon, as well as the role played by mentalizing in our culture, in promoting healthy development from infancy through to adolescence.

Ms. Sandra Salame

Ms. Sandra Salame is the founder of Siira, a disruptor in the mental health space of the MENA region, as a mother of 3 and an experienced technology executive with a 20-year career in the IT industry, now set to bring innovation to the field of mental well-being. With a background in computer and communication engineering and a successful track record of establishing and managing a cybersecurity company, she is now on a mission to transform the way we approach mental health. Personal struggles and passion for the subject has led her to found Siira, a platform dedicated to providing accessible and effective mental health services to individuals in need. In a region where mental health stigma persists, Siira is breaking down barriers and creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for those struggling with everyday challenges.

Time: 3:30 – 4:30

Introducing Emotional Regulation Skills Groups within Mental Health Services

Ms. Zuleikha Sayani

Ms. Zuleikha Sayani

Zuleikha Sayani, a dedicated and licensed psychologist, holds a Master of Science in Mental Health Studies from Kings College London (United Kingdom) and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology (with Honours) from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom). She recently moved to the United Arab Emirates and has joined Lifeworks Holistic Counselling Center as a Licensed Psychologist. Zuleikha offers comprehensive care to individuals struggling with mood, personality, and anxiety disorders. Her expertise lies in helping clients identify, understand, and overcome their feelings concerning life events. Zuleikha brings a curious, compassionate, and caring approach, creating a comfortable and secure space for clients.

Zuleikha has provided impactful, tailored assistance to clients in the UAE and the UK, including her role with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. Beyond her clinical work, Zuleikha serves as an Advisory Board Member at Nexgen Wellbeing in London (United Kingdom), contributing valuable insights to mental health courses for adolescents. She promotes awareness of mental health as a Writer at Medium and in recognition of her written contributions, she was invited to present her research at the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorders.

Time: 3:30 – 4:30

Applying Collaborative Proactive Solutions (CPS) model to challenges associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Ms. Anna Kaminski, MA Psych

Ms. Anna Kaminski, MA Psych

Anna Kaminski, MA Psych., is an international certified ADHD Family and Adult Coach and presenter, inclusive employment advocate, mindfulness educator as well as a children’s book author. She has great passion for using the science of psychology to support people of all ages in leading happier and more fulfilling lives. As a certified coach in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with practical and educational background in psychology, she coaches people towards greater understanding of its impact, as well as self-acceptance and maximisation of personal potential. She is a keen advocate for school and university students with ADHD and other expressions of neurodiversity. She is committed to reducing misunderstanding and stigma about this neurological difference, by providing science-based guidance to families and organisations across the world. Having lived in Europe and Africa, for the last 15 years Anna has enjoyed the hospitality of the Middle East. As a keen learner, she is very appreciative of the experiences she has had working and living with diverse communities in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Time: 5:00 – 6:00

Getting you and your clients back into the Groove when stuck in a #F + Stress Response

Dr. Dawn McBrian

Dr. Dawn McBrian

Dr. Dawn McBride is a registered psychologist and an associate professor in counsellor education (Canada). Her main areas of study include professional ethics with a specialty in documentation and consent issues counsellors face; multiculturalism; supervision/training, family violence, trauma, disordered eating, self-harm, and the advanced use of many therapeutic approaches (e.g., emotional regulation, EMDR, play therapies, psychodynamic, somatic interventions, & transactional analysis). She has won teaching awards, co-edited a book on teaching practices across cultures in higher education, and is currently writing a book on consent and documentation practices in counselling. Webpage: www.dawn-mcbride.com

Time: 5:00 – 6:00

Exploring Adult Attachment Styles: Unveiling the Implications for Building Healthy Relationships

Ms. Walanda Johnson

Ms. Walanda Johnson

Walanda Johnson is a Marriage and Family Therapist who holds licenses in California and North Carolina. She is a solopreneur with her own practice which focuses on helping individuals understand and explore healthier attachment outcomes. Her history of work expands almost two decades in provide clinical care for dependency cases, adults with substance abuse, families of children with high-risk behaviors, military personnel involved in domestic violence cases, youth in residential treatment, and individuals and couples in private practice. Clinically, her passion is in attachment therapy, specifically for adults.

Her educational background includes a bachelor’s in Organization Leadership and a master’s in Marriage, Child, and Family Counseling. Currently, she is enrolled in a doctoral program studying International Psychology with a concentration in Organizations and Systems. Her dissertation focuses on how attachment styles affect workplace outcomes.

She has developed curriculum and training for leadership in nonprofit sectors. She loves to volunteer and has co-written and starred in plays, toured with a youth singing group, mentored youth, and coached cheerleaders. She exercises and journals regularly and does not miss her Wednesday night dance classes. She is an advocate for women empowerment and well-being and finds her own solace in God, nature, and her relationships with friends and family. She finds delight in pushing herself to challenge her fears, the most recent one being snorkeling in the warm, Caribbean ocean!

Time: 5:00 – 6:00

Mental Resilience through Mindfulness and More

Dr. Christopher Willard

Dr. Christopher Willard

Dr. Christopher Willard, (Psy. D.) is a clinical psychologist, author and consultant based in Massachusetts. He has spoken in over thirty-three countries, and has presented at two TEDx events. He has keynoted educational and corporate events in Kuwait and Emirates, and consulted and led workshops in Egypt, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Jordan and elsewhere in the MEPA region. He is the author of twenty books, including Alphabreaths (2019), Growing Up Mindful (2016) and How we Grow Through What we Go Through. (2022) His thoughts on mental health have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, cnn.com, and elsewhere. He teaches at Harvard Medical School.

Friday April 26th, 2024

Keynote Speaker

Time: 9:30 – 10:30

Psychological Safety in High-Risk Work Settings: Drawing on Lessons from Aviation

Dr. Robert Bor

Director of the Center for Aviation Psychology

Dr. Robert Bor

Professor Robert Bor is Director of the Centre for Aviation Psychology www.centreforaviationpsychology.com which provides well-being support to nearly 30,000 pilots. He is a registered and practicing Clinical, Counselling and Health Psychologist in the United Kingdom. He is also a certified Aviation Psychologist in Europe and a Board Member of the European Association for Aviation Psychology, Civilian Psychologist to the Royal Air Force, on the ICAO Mental Health Working Group, Aerospace Medical Association Mental Health Group and European Pilot Peer Support Initiative Committee. He is formerly the Lead Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, working in critical care and high-risk settings. He has published more than 35 textbooks and 200 academic papers and chapters in books, including 4 key textbooks in aviation psychology: Aviation Mental Health, Pilot Mental Health Assessment and Support, Pilot Selection and The Handbook of Aviation Neuropsychology. He received the highest award in aviation in 2017, an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and is listed on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Wall of Honor in Washington D.C. He a Liveryman of the Honorary Company of Air Pilots and also holds the Freedom of the City of London. Rob is a Churchill Fellow (presented by H. M. The Queen) and together with the AsMA mental health group has recently received the Boothby-Edwards award from the Aerospace Medical Association.

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

Enhancing Systemic and Relational Therapies with Single Session Integration

Dr. Monica Sesma-Vazquez

Dr. Rubina Rahiman

Ms. Dunia Clemente

Dr. Monica Sesma-Vazquez

Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD, RSW, RMFT-SM (She/Her/Ella) is a social constructionist-oriented social worker, family therapist, educator, supervisor, and researcher. She is a Mexican Mestiza who lives in the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot Confederacy) and Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. Monica is an Assistant Professor and the Academic Coordinator of the Post-Masters in Couple and Family Therapy Program at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. She works at the Eastside Community Mental Health Services and the Calgary Family Therapy Centre as a family therapist, researcher, and supervisor. She is the Research Coordinator of the Calgary Family Therapy Centre. Monica is currently a Board Member of the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Family Process Institute. Her clinical and research interests focus on relational and systemic work with undeserved communities. Monica research focuses on children and their families and on immigrants, refugees, and newcomers’ issues.

Dr. Rubina Rahiman

Dr. Rubina Rahiman RCT, CCC is an accomplished Mental Health professional with over 15 years of experience in counseling, teaching, program development, and community outreach. Holding a medical degree from the University of Calicut (India) and a Master’s in Counselling Psychology from Lehigh University (USA), she specializes in trauma-focused therapies and family counseling. Dr. Rahiman’s career includes diverse teaching and leadership roles in Canada, the Netherlands, Kuwait, and India. She is dedicated to career guidance, advocacy programs, and cultural sensitivity training, focusing on empowering vulnerable communities. Her commitment to continuous multidisciplinary learning enriches her mental health skill set. Dr. Rubina is a proud member of the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy as well as Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.

Ms. Dunia Clemente

Dunia Clemente MSW, RSW, RMFT-Sq is a social worker, couple and family therapist, and supervisor. She identifies as a postmodern, systemic/relational, strength-based, collaborative, culturally sensitive, non-judgmental, and reflective practitioner. Dunia believes in love, connection, and humanistic values as tools to overcome challenges in life. She holds the belief that everyone is an expert in their lives and possesses their own truth. In her work, Dunia employs systemic, collaborative, narrative, and strength-based approaches, including the IP-Scope, Accelerated Resolution Therapy (A.R.T), and the single-session model. Her goal is to help clients feel safe, empowered, generate hope, transform relationships, desensitize distressing memories and feelings, and achieve healing.

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

A Perspective on Attachment: Adapting Art Psychotherapy to the Middle East

Ms. Natalia Gómez-Carlier, MAAT, ATR-BC

Ms. Sara Powell, MBACP, HCPC UK

Ms. Natalia Gómez-Carlier, MAAT, ATR-BC

Natalia has a degree in Psychology from Universidad de Los Andes, a master’s in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), is a Registered Board-Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) with the American Association of Art Therapy (AATA), and a Ph.D. student at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). She was a co-founder and president of the Colombian Art Therapy Association, taught at universities, frequently presented at International Mental Health Conferences, and is a published author. She has practiced as an art psychotherapist for over 20 years in Bogota, Chicago, New York, Muscat, and now Dubai. Natalia is trained in psychodynamics and uses and adapts different techniques and modalities according to the needs of each individual. Incorporating techniques from CBT, Gestalt, Brief Therapy, Depth Psychology, Transpersonal, Mindfulness, and other modalities, therapy is oriented by the uniqueness of each individual. Natalia enjoys working with children and young people from all over the world. She speaks English and Spanish fluently and is a 300HR Jivamukti Yoga Teacher.

Ms. Sara Powell, MBACP, HCPC UK

Sara Powell is the founder of ATIC Psychological Counseling Center. She is from the UK, a Third Culture Kid, growing up in the Gulf. Sara is an Art Psychotherapist and is registered with the Health Care Profession Council (HCPC) UK and a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT). She is a Registered Psychotherapist (MBACP) with the Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) UK. Sara is a PhD candidate in International Psychology with focus on Trauma, at the Chicago School. Sara has over 12 years clinical experience and has provided psychotherapy to children, adolescents, adults, families, and facilitated a variety of groups and programs. Sara is passionate in supporting women, specializing in child and adolescent related disorders and has worked extensively with people of determination and those who are non-verbal. Sara is a mother to three and during her pregnancy observed a need for perinatal and postnatal mental health as well as an overall lack of early intervention available for children 6 years and below, which led Sara to the introduction of ATIC’s Early Intervention and Child Development services. Sara has overseen numerous projects consulting Government agencies in Singapore and UAE. Sara is a published author and has presented at many national, regional, and international conferences.

Time: 11:00 – 12:00

The Influence and Involvement of Family Members in Career Decision-Making

Dr. Ahmad Oueini

Dr. Ahmad Oueini

Associate professor of education, researcher, licensed educational psychologist, teacher trainer, special educator, and psychoeducational examiner.

Research interests include diglossia, bilingual language development, bullying, gendered education, and emotional intelligence.

Author of over 50 publications, between referred articles in international journals, book chapters, and conference proceedings.

Regularly featured in popular morning TV and radio shows, trains teachers and parents on such topics as learning disabilities, study skills, behavior management, learning styles, intelligence, literacy, anger management and assertiveness.

Time: 11:30 – 12:30

Gender Stereotypes and Eating Disorders

Dr. Jeremy Alford, PhD

President of the Middle East Eating Disorders Association – a partner chapter of the
Academy of Eating Disorders for the Middle East

Senior Lecturer for the National Centre For Eating Disorders in the UK approved by the
British Psychological Society Learning Centre

Dr. Jeremy Alford, PhD

Jeremy has a PhD in clinical psychology with over 20 years of mental health experience working in multicultural settings in the UK, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He runs his own customized mental health wellness retreat program as well as consults in private practice. He graduated from the University College Kensington in the UK and makes sure to stay up to date through regular CPD courses. He adopts a person-centered multimodal approach consisting of cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral coaching, and will integrate mindfulness, clinical hypnotherapy & neurofeedback/biofeedback therapy.

He has a core specialization in the treatment of eating disorders and obesity. As a Senior Lecturer he trains and supervises healthcare professionals with the latest thinking from a range of evidence-based psychological approaches including health psychology and other approaches offering those with eating distress or even weight management hope, recovery, and change. He is stigma-aware, gender-aware and sensitive to the needs of every person.

Time: 12:30 – 1:30

Young Violent Offenders within the Gulf

Lt Col. Abdullah Althuwaikh

Lt Col. Abdullah Althuwaikh

I am a PhD student in forensic psychology at the University of Roehampton, and currently live in Wimbledon. I am keen on studying juvenile offenders, particularly in the Middle East region. My research analyses juvenile general violence profiling in Kuwait in order to enhance criminal profiling in regard to juvenile offenders. Additionally, I have been working as a crime analyst for 10 years in Kuwait related to juvenile offenders and child protection. Recently, I joined the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Criminal Profiling (JIPCO) as a peer reviewer. As a result, I am now up to date in my specific discipline. I have also done a peer review request for a new forensic psychology book, which will be published by Routledge (2023).

Time: 12:30 – 1:30

Early Intervention strategies for building mental health and competency in young adults

Dr. Nafees Sultana

Dr. Nafees Sultana

Dr Nafees Sultana is a highly experienced Senior Counselor at the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), specializing in counselling, well-being, and serving individuals of determination. With over 20 years of dedicated service in this field, she has made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals.

Dr Sultana holds a doctorate in Psychology and a Licensed Psychologist (Social Therapist) recognized by the Community Development Authority, Dubai and additionally a member of Middle East Psychological Association (MEPA). Her expertise lies in counselling university students, their families, and students of determination, demonstrating her commitment to fostering their emotional and psychological growth.

Within her role at HCT, Dr Sultana assumes primary responsibility for conducting personal counselling, guidance and advice to students on an individual or group basis. She utilizes counselling sessions, student development workshops, special events, campaigns, and innovative initiatives to enhance student awareness and engagement.

Dr Sultana firmly believes in recommending the most comprehensive range of special accommodations and support for students of determination. As a counselling psychologist and well-being coach, she ensures that each student, including those academically at risk, receives tailored support systems to create an optimal learning environment.

Dr Sultana’s expertise and contributions extend beyond her institution. She has been a featured presenter at various international conferences and published articles in the field.

Time: 3:00 – 4:00

Where did it begin? Understanding Inherited Family Traumas

Dr. Millia Begum

Dr. Millia Begum

Dr. Millia Begum is a UK-trained Consultant Psychiatrist with 23 years of experience working in Adult Psychiatry within the NHS. She is licensed by the Dubai Health Authority (UAE), registered with the General Medical Council (UK) and a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) endorsed in General Adult Psychiatry (MRCPsych).

Dr. Millia’s specific area of expertise is complex trauma and dissociative disorders using Internal Family Systems (IFS) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing). For the last 18 years, Dr Millia has used EMDR for trauma, loss and stress-related conditions within the inpatient and outpatient services of the NHS. She worked in a specialist trauma clinic within NHS for several years conducting PTSD research and has published several research articles and book chapters on topics related to EMDR, PTSD, BDD and phobias. She has been a speaker for various UK-based workshops, seminars, conferences and day events for therapists.

Time: 3:00 – 4:00

Life On the Other Side: Tools and frameworks to help clients debrief and process experiences in cults or high control environments

Ms. Kelsey Hoff

Ms. Kelsey Hoff

Kelsey Hoff is a Canadian Certified Counsellor and the owner of Find Your Way Counselling, which is an exclusively online therapy practice that specializes in dynamics related to religious harm, spiritual abuse, religious deconstruction, and cult recovery. Kelsey lived and worked in Jordan for five years and, while there, worked extensively with the unique mental health realities of expats within the Middle East. She continues to see a portion of her clients in the MENA region and enjoys her work immensely. She lives on a farm in the Canadian prairies with her husband and baby.

Time: 3:00 – 4:00

Mental Health and Well-Being of Third Culture Kids/Adults (TCK/As): Creating Home and Belonging (Part 1)

Dr. Patricia H. A. Perez, PhD

Mr. Brandon C. Kerr

Dr. Patricia H. A. Perez, PhD

Patricia H. A. Perez, PhD is the Executive Director of Beyond the Baby Blues, a non-for-profit organization in Evanston, Illinois that provides therapeutic groups for women struggling with maternal mental health issues and loss. She serves as adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology at Oakton College (undergraduate) and at Adler University (Clinical PsyD). She has over 25 years of experience in higher education, teaching in the fields of human development and psychology online and on-ground. Dr. Perez is an international psychologist, psychotherapist, mixed methods researcher, developmental specialist, cultural expert, international speaker, and global consultant. Dr. Perez provides consultation nationally and internationally (United States, United Kingdom, Ghana, Kuwait, and the Philippines).

Mr. Brandon C. Kerr

Brandon C. Kerr is a lecturer at Kingsborough Community School, a campus that falls under New York’s CUNY system. With 16 years of behavioral health experience, he has leveraged his Master’s in International Psychology and post-graduate studies to work pointedly with international students developing programs for them both domestically and internationally. Brandon has spent the better part of his adult life living abroad, spending 4 years in South Korea, 4 years in Turkey, and several months in Armenia studying Russian language. He is currently completing his doctoral degree with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in International Psychology with a concentration in Trauma Services. He has focused the better part of his research on foreign language anxiety (xenoglossophobia) and how it affects social acculturation amongst international students. His work is invigorated by his personal mission, “Be inspired; Be an inspiration.”

Time: 4:30 – 5:30

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation; a medication-free and non-invasive treatment for mental health conditions

Dr. Abdullah Habib

Dr. Abdullah Habib

Dr. Abdullah Habib graduated with a Doctorate degree in Psychiatry from the University of Glasgow where he was placed in both the Medical department and the institute of Neuroscience & Psychology. He also has a Clinical Certificate in Clinical Psychopharmacology from the British Association of Psychopharmacology in Cambridge and a Master Certificate in Psychopharmacology from the Neuroscience Education Institute in California, United States. He is trained in a variety of treatment and diagnostic methodologies such as brain stimulation, brain imaging, psychometrics, psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.

Dr. Habib has been formally trained in brain stimulation and brain imaging at the university of Glasgow one of the world’s top neuroscience centers. Dr. Habib has over 9 years of experience in the fields of TMS and other brain stimulation modalities and is actively involved in brain stimulation clinical research with the aim of making brain stimulation treatment more efficient and more accessible to different groups of patients.

Dr. Habib has lectured at the University of West Scotland and the University of Glasgow teaching and supervising both Psychology and Medical students. He is also the founder of the Autism Research Group at the University of Glasgow.

Dr. Habib is currently the CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of TMS NextGen and the Director of Clinical Neuropsychology at MindWell center in Kuwait where he is responsible for developing all clinical protocols related to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.

Time: 4:30 – 5:30

Supervision in Clinical Psychology: What Is It & What Does It Take?

Dr. Amanda Clinton

Dr. Amanda Clinton

Amanda Clinton, M.Ed., Ph.D., is the Senior Director for the Office of International Affairs at the American Psychological Association (APA). Prior to joining the APA, Dr. Clinton served as Professor of Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus. A licensed psychologist and a credentialed school psychologist, Dr. Clinton has experience in clinical, policy and research settings. Dr. Clinton’s scholarly work includes “Climate Action and Global Psychology,” “Integrated Assessment of the Bilingual Child,” and the upcoming “Handbook of International Psychology.” Dr. Clinton earned her doctoral degree at the University of Georgia, a post-doctoral credential in Trauma and Humanitarian Response at the State University of New York and, most recently, certification in Climate and Health from Yale University.

Time: 4:30 – 5:30

Mental Health and Well-Being of Third Culture Kids/Adults (TCK/As): Creating Home and Belonging (Part 2)

Dr. Patricia H. A. Perez, PhD

Mr. Brandon C. Kerr

Dr. Patricia H. A. Perez, PhD

Patricia H. A. Perez, PhD is the Executive Director of Beyond the Baby Blues, a non-for-profit organization in Evanston, Illinois that provides therapeutic groups for women struggling with maternal mental health issues and loss. She serves as adjunct faculty in the Department of Psychology at Oakton College (undergraduate) and at Adler University (Clinical PsyD). She has over 25 years of experience in higher education, teaching in the fields of human development and psychology online and on-ground. Dr. Perez is an international psychologist, psychotherapist, mixed methods researcher, developmental specialist, cultural expert, international speaker, and global consultant. Dr. Perez provides consultation nationally and internationally (United States, United Kingdom, Ghana, Kuwait, and the Philippines).

Mr. Brandon C. Kerr

Brandon C. Kerr is a lecturer at Kingsborough Community School, a campus that falls under New York’s CUNY system. With 16 years of behavioral health experience, he has leveraged his Master’s in International Psychology and post-graduate studies to work pointedly with international students developing programs for them both domestically and internationally. Brandon has spent the better part of his adult life living abroad, spending 4 years in South Korea, 4 years in Turkey, and several months in Armenia studying Russian language. He is currently completing his doctoral degree with The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in International Psychology with a concentration in Trauma Services. He has focused the better part of his research on foreign language anxiety (xenoglossophobia) and how it affects social acculturation amongst international students. His work is invigorated by his personal mission, “Be inspired; Be an inspiration.”

Saturday April 27th, 2024

Time: 10:00 – 3:00

Teaching Recovery Techniques for Traumatized People in War or Disasters

Dr. Masa Al Kurdi

Dr. Masa Al Kurdi

Dr. Masa Al-kurdi – I am a clinical psychologist and a trauma specialist, currently working at the Psychiatry and Therapy Centre. For over 14 years I have been working to provide complex psychological support to people affected by conflict, war, natural disaster and resultant refugee crises across the world. I am a board member of the Children and War Foundation.

Please view full profile here: Dr. Masa Al-kurdi – The Psychiatry & Therapy Centre (Dr. Masa Al-kurdi – The Psychiatry & Therapy Centre (psychiatryandtherapy.ae)

Health Anxiety: Illness, Grief and Death

Dr Nikita Bhatnagar

Dr. Anjulie Dhillon

Mr. Muhammad Ali Ilyas

Dr. Nikita Bhatnagar

I am a UK trained clinical psychologist that was born and raised in the Middle East. I have experience in multiple therapies, including Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Compassion focused therapy (CFT), and Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). I also have experience in grief, family, and couples therapy. I work with children and adults of all ages and use an integrated approach and combine elements from different therapies depending on the needs of the individual.

Dr. Anjulie Dhillon

I am a UK trained Health Psychologist practicing in Dubai. I am passionate about all things, health and illness and have a range of experience supporting individuals with the psychological and emotional difficulties that come with chronic illness. I use an integrated approach where I combine elements of different therapies and adapt my approach according to my clients’ specific needs. I mainly use a combination of; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and third-wave Cognitive Behavioral Therapy modalities (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy & Compassion Focused Therapy), Solution Focused Therapy (SFT) and Motivational Interviewing. I am also trained in the Flash Technique from EMDR Therapy.

Mr. Muhammad Ali Ilyas

I am a DHA Licensed Clinical Psychologist who works with late adolescents and adults. My training is in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Internal Family Systems. I like to pay great attention to the relational element of psychotherapy, and I like to address existential questions that may arise in psychotherapy.

I have experience in corporate training and public speaking across sectors and industries. I have also worked as a neuromarketing consultant and enjoy the application of psychological knowledge to various aspects of everyday life.