EU SUPPORT FOR CHILD PSYCHOLOGISTS BEGINS
A significant grant (about US$900,000) from the European Union’s Partnership for Peace program has guaranteed the continuation of the only training program for Israeli and Palestinian child psychologists in the Middle East.
The leaders of this program, Prof Esti Galili-Weisstub and Dr Shafiq Masalha.
The Project Rozana-initiated Binational School of Psychotherapy (BSPT) at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem was officially inaugurated in September last year and classes for the first cohort are well underway.
The group of 29 of post-graduate therapists from Israel, the West Bank and Gaza commenced COVID-safe training as a result of the ground-breaking €742,000 EU grant (approx. US$900,000).
Seed funding from World Vision Australia and Project Rozana in 2016 allowed a pilot program to be rolled at Hadassah Hospital involving 13 young Israeli and Palestinian mental health professionals. The success of that trial and the pressing need for skilled child therapists in this conflicted region influenced the EU’s support.
The BSPT will now become a World Health Organization-accredited school, training and preparing 60 Israeli and Palestinian post graduate psychotherapists in a 42-month cycle.
Hebron-based Green Land Society for Health Development is the newest project partner. The BSPT is led by…
- Esti Galili-Weisstub, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Hadassah Hospital and a world-renowned expert in the treatment of conflict related trauma.
- Shafiq Masalha, an Arab-Israeli clinical psychotherapist, President of ERICE (Empowerment and Resilience In Children Everywhere) and senior academic lecturer at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
The EU declared that the BSPT is significant in,
“the improvement of mental health care and treatment for conflict-affected children and adolescents in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.”
Funding and foundational support for the BSPT was one of the first major initiatives of Project Rozana after its establishment in 2013. It recognised that the greater Jerusalem area had the highest incidence of youth trauma in Israel. This reflects issues around domestic violence, sexual abuse, bullying and inter-communal conflict.
The primary project outcome of the EU grant is the continued expansion of technical capacities (mostly therapeutic and clinical) of Israeli and Palestinian mental health professionals in a cross-cultural context.
The project will also increase professional interaction between Israeli and Palestinian mental health professionals in a parallel peace-building program. And as a result, build mutual trust and promote co-existence.
The BSPT is an important element of Project Rozana’s training programs, all of which will have the long term benefit of lessening Palestinian dependence on the Israeli healthcare system.