BINATIONAL SCHOOL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
THE FIRST COHORT
BINATIONAL SCHOOL OF PSYCHOTHERAPY
THE FIRST COHORT
With Dr Galili’s encouragement and the support of Project Rozana, WVA helped to launch the school in October 2016 with a donation of $420,000. Their donation is funding a two-year training program designed to up-skill these Palestinian and Israeli child psychologists, especially in the latest techniques for children suffering from PTSD. The Palestinian child psychologists are based in Gaza and the West Bank.
Dr. Galili, along with several colleagues at HUH, designed the program to serve the young population in Gaza and West Bank communities using her experience as an adolescent psychiatrist, as well as her experience as director of the highly regarded Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at HUH. In the past, other related workshops and programs took place, initiated by HUH, whose successful response confirmed the need for this project.
Direct participants are those that will directly participate in or benefit from the project.
Due to the insufficient clinical academic facilities to train child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists in the Palestinian Authority programs were held in various venues in Israel in the past decade, exposing and improving the training of these professionals to diagnostic techniques, pharmacological treatments and behavioural therapies (CBT).
We’re working together with mental health professionals from the Palestinian Authority, such as Dr Hazem Ashour, Director of Mental Health Services in the Palestinian Authority, Dr Shafik Masalhha (Arab Israeli) and Dr Taufik Salman (Palestinian) as well as with members of the organization, Erice. We firmly believe that this program will successfully achieve its goal of establishing a binational school of psychotherapy for the training of Israeli and Palestinian mental health specialists.
The first semester of the training program began 30 October, 2016 and ran for three months. Following a mid-term vacation we are now well into the second semester.
SELECTION OF THE STUDENTS
After the appropriate application process was developed and implemented, a total of 20 student psychotherapists (nine males, eleven females) working in clinical sphere of clinical child psychotherapy, were finally selected to sign up in the training program.
Seven Israeli Jews, two Arab Israelis, three Palestinians from the West Bank, three Palestinians from East Jerusalem, one local French resident and four Palestinians from Gaza were accepted after being personally interviewed. Except those candidates from Gaza who were interviewed on Skype.
The total number of accepted participants decreased to 14 due to permits issues and personal main restrictions. The full enrollment of the Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza wouldn’t be assured before the approval of requests of permits, which was undertaking a very lengthy and tedious process.
Unfortunately, two West Bankers and two from Gaza were disallowed due to their permits rejection. One female Israeli Jew dropped out before the commencement of the training due to a personal commitment to a new career path. One female Palestinian from Gaza faced social restrictions and family obstacles to travel and stay alone out of home.
International lectures. Two internationally recognised child psychiatrists were contracted to participate in the training.
- Professor James Leckman, Neison Harris Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Paediatrics at Yale University.
- Professor Ernesto Caffo, chair professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Further details about their involvement will be released at a later date.
Launch day. On 30 October, 2016, the school opened its doors at Hadassah Mount Scopus with a ceremonial event that brought together representatives of Hadassah Hospital, World Vision, professional staff and representatives from ERICE, as well as some of the students.
The program objectives and plans were presented by the teaching staff. The students had a chance to present themselves and their organisations, with a focus on their expectations and future plans. It was explained that Penny Robins of Annamax Media, an Australian filmmaker, was interested in filming this event as part of her plan to produce a documentary called, Out Of The Shadows. This was agreed to, by the participants, allowing Penny to film some of the sessions and to conduct interviews with students.
Implementation and activities. During the reporting period, 30 Oct to 31 Dec 2016, the steering committee continued to meet and retune the schedule of the training program and validate the training progress. They met four times to follow up on the permit issues which undermined the recruitment of more potential candidates from West Bank and Gaza.
A decision was taken to allow Skype access for the students from Gaza to attend the lectures online. Though the contact with the students from Gaza was maintained, Skype interaction was mostly weak due to frequent problems with the electricity supply and poor internet connection in Gaza.
However, the steering committee has also envisaged adding several sessions of intergroup dynamics. This helps better understand the behaviour processes and decision-making mechanisms of the student psychotherapists, based on the core of understanding racism, sexism, and other forms of social prejudice and discrimination.