Common Bond Institute

2017 T T Conference Presenter Bios

2017 T T Presenter Bios


6th Annual International Conference on

Transgenerational Trauma:

Communal Wounds and Victim Identities

October 12-14, 2017 ~ Amman, Jordan

Sponsored by:
Common Bond Institute,
Michigan State University
Yarmouk Univerdity
Queen Rania Center for Jordanian Studies and Community Service
International Humanistic Psychology Association

International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations


2017 Program Presenters

We wish to honor and thank this year’s presenters who recognize the importance of this initiative and have stepped forward to help facilitate it. Presenters have gathered from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, and countries to share skills, learning, promote an engaged, inclusive dialogue, and facilitate action planning toward a more comprehensive, cross-cultural global understanding and response to communal and transgenerational trauma.

(In Order of Appearance in the Program)

Thursday, October 12

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Greeting, Mission, Overview of Conference Theme and Challenges

Steve Olweean, MA
is founding Director of Common Bond Institute, co-founder & President of International Humanistic Psychology Assoc. (IHPA), & past President of Assoc. for Humanistic Psychology. Among topics he writes and speaks on are concepts of communal trauma, The OTHER, & dynamics of belief systems. Founder of numerous international conferences in various countries, such as “Engaging The Other;” “Religion, Conflict, & Peace;” “Transforming Conflict;” & “Transgenerational Trauma.” He initiated the Global Network for the Study of Transgenerational Trauma. He has his graduate degree in Clinical Psychology with treatment focus on abuse and trauma recovery of victims & perpetrators and healing negative belief systems, and is adjunct faculty with Michigan State Univ. Dept. of Psychiatry. He developed the Catastrophic Trauma Recovery (CTR) model for treating large populations of trauma victims, and is co-coordinator and core training faculty of CBI’s innovative Social Health Care (SHC) training and treatment program based on it for local capacity building to treat communal trauma. He is 2011 Recipient of the Charlotte and Karl Bühler Award from the American Psychological Assoc. for outstanding contribution to Humanistic Psychology internationally, and recognized for his life long work in a chapter devoted to his role with CBI in the “The New Humanitarians.”
Email:   Web:   and

Community Building Exercise:

Ilene A. Serlin, Ph.D, BC-DMT
is a licensed psychologist and registered dance/movement therapist in practice in San Francisco and Marin county. She is the past president of the San Francisco Psychological Association, a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, past-president of the Division of Humanistic Psychology. Ilene Serlin is Associated Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, has taught at Saybrook University, Lesley University, UCLA, the NY Gestalt Institute and the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich. She is the editor of Whole Person Healthcare (2007, 3 vol., Praeger), over 100 chapters and articles on body, art and psychotherapy, and is on the editorial boards of PsycCritiques, the American Dance Therapy Journal, the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Arts & Health: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, and The Humanistic Psychologist
Website:   Blog:


SESSION – A   11:00 am – 12:15 pm

Tanya Awad Ghorra, MBA
has a media background, an MBA in journalism, & MBA in Non-Violent Education and conflict resolution from AUNOHR (Academic Univ. for Non-violence & Human Rights). She took a challenge 2 years ago, & volunteered to create a non-violent communication & conflict resolution course in a private school for children aged 5 to 10. The school has since declared itself a non-violent one, & is in the process of implementing a mediation desk & extending the course to higher classes. She is also a trainer for teachers & NGOs where she introduces NVC & conflict resolution, often traveling to Egypt & other countries to do so. Tanya is an activist in her country of Lebanon, working on abolishing capital punishment & achieving permanent peace in civil society & civil marriage. She is often featured in the media for her work & increasingly enlisted by media, business, & even political parties to offer NVC programs & workshops to staff members, corporate managers, & the public. In August of 2012 she began the 1st weekly public education TV show on NVC in Lebanon that has since expanded to airing twice a week. Tanya is on the core training faculty of Common Bond Institute’s Social Health Care (SHC) training and treatment program.
Email:  Blog:


SESSION – B   1:45 am – 3:00 pm

Myron Eshowsky, M.S.
is co-developer of the Social Health Care (SHC) Program for Syrian Refugee Families and Children and on its core training faculty. For over 40 years, he has pioneered the integration of indigenous healing models to address issues of modern life. He has worked with gangs and youth at risk, prisons, community mental health, various communities in conflict, AIDS orphans/child soldiers in Africa, opiate addiction, creating self help programs for community issues, and health/trauma issues. He is the author of numerous journal articles and books on these topics. Additionally, Myron has taught throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
Email:  Web:


SESSION – C    3:15 – 4:30 pm

C-1   Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.
is a psychologist and author at the forefront of the existential-humanistic movement.  Dr. Schneider is adjunct faculty at Saybrook University and Teachers College, Columbia University as well as president of the Existential-Humanistic Institute. He is the author of 12 books, including the acclaimed “Awakening to Awe,” and “The Polarized Mind.”  His latest book is “The Spirituality of Awe: Challenges to the Robotic Revolution.”E-Mail:   Web:


C-2   Shireen Yaish, MA
is a certified Art Psychotherapist; she received her MA in Art Psychotherapy from Goldsmiths College, University of London, and founded Kaynouna Art Therapy Center in 2012. She has since worked relentlessly to introduce the Arab world to a pioneering form therapy that is psychodynamic, trauma informed, innovative and deeply healing. Shireen has so far, provided more than 4000 refugee women and children with art psychotherapy groups, and provided SELF-CARE and training to psychosocial teams of more than 15 NGO’s in different parts of the world. Shireen is published and has presented papers on her work with refugees in Hong Kong, Toronto, London and Montreal.
Email:    Web:


ROUNDTABLE – D   4:45  – 6:00 pm

Farha Abbasi, MD
is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Michigan State University. She was awarded an American Psychiatric Association/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration Fellowship through which she originated and developed a Muslim Mental Health Conference, the first of its kind in the United States. She is widely known as a spokesperson for mental health issues in Muslim communities in the United States and has been interviewed locally and by national media. She developed and has operated the landmark Psychosocial Traning for Religious Leaders in the US for the past 10 years, receiving high recommedations from leading clergy and religious organizations. Farha represents Michigan State University in it’s partnership with Common Bond Institute on its psychosocial training and treatment programs.
Email:   Web:

Myron Eshowsky, MA  (see B)

Steve Olweean, MA (see Opening session)

Tanya Awad Ghorra, MBA  (see A)

~ Friday, October 13 ~

SESSION –  E   10:00 – 11:15 am

Ayat Nashwan, PhD, PhD
has a PhD in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, USA, and is Assistant Professor at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. Having primary research interests in social work practice with Arab American, Muslim and Middle Eastern immigrant communities, Ayat feels compelled to offer culturally bound solutions for the service gap experienced by these individuals and mainstream practitioners. She believes that effective interventions can only be achieved with the knowledge of existing cultural and societal tools for resilience. Ayat is a core member of Common Bond Institute’s Social Health Care local psychosocial team in Jordan.


SESSION –  F   10:00 – 11:15 am

Steve Olweean, MA (see Opening session)

Myron Eshowsky, MA  (see B)

Ayda Alavi, BS
has her B.S. in Neuroscience with a concentration in behavioral and systems, women and gender studies in health, and is currently in a pre-med program at Michigan State University.
She is a research assistant at MSU and is also conducting individual research on the health issues of refugee women and teenage girls’ in the Middle East and their conditions in refugee camps. She has developed a Women’s Safe Space project for refugee women and girls that CBI is collaborating to establish and maintain in Jordan.

Ayat Nashwan, PhD  (see E)


SESSION – G   10:00 – 11:20 am

G-1   Erica Serlin Ph.D
is a retired licensed psychologist with a PH.D. from Univ. of Michigan in 1979 and postdoctoral fellowship at Univ. of Wisc. Dept. of Psychiatry in 1981. She practiced initially in a community mental health center and then a multidisciplinary private group for 35 years assessing and treating individual children, adolescents, and adults as well as couples and families, with a specialized expertise in trauma treatment.  She has provided clinical training to mental health professionals and agencies and continues to serve as adjunct clinical faculty in the Univ. Wis. Depts. of Psychiatry and Psychology.  She served as a member and Vice Chair of the Wisc Psychology Licensing Board and provided consultation and Board leadership for a non-profit community agency that offers treatment to children and families impacted by trauma.  She has presented at local, state, and national conferences on a multitude of clinical topics including play therapy, children and families of divorce, trauma treatment and ethics, and is a current and past member of the Wisc. Psych. Assoc. Ethics Comm. Since retirement she has become increasingly involved in social justice initiatives in the US, including refugee resettlement.


G-2   Nicholas Janni, BA Hons
has gained an international reputation for his transformational leadership development and coaching work with senior leaders worldwide.  In his first career, Nicholas was a theatre director and taught acting at The Royal Acad
emy of Dramatic Art in London. He has spent 40 years studying and practicing multiple mind/body disciplines and psychotherapeutic modalities. An Associate Fellow at the University of Oxford Said Business School 2010-16, he now teaches at the IMD in Lausanne
Email:   Web:


Session H

H-1   Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch, UKCP SARSM ARBS”
is a Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist who has been in private practice in London for 25 years. She is particularly interested in Trans-generational trauma, an interest that has arisen from her subjective experience of being the daughter of a holocaust survivor. In 2014 she was the co-founder of the Forum For Trans-Generational Trauma, a resource that seeks to provide education and training to other professionals.
Email:     Web:


H-2   Ilene Serlin, PhD, BC-DMT
is a psychologist and dance therapist in San Francisco and Marin. Fellow of APA and the Division of Trauma Psychology, Past-President of the San Francisco Psychological Association, Past-President of Div. 32 of APA, the General Editor of Whole Person Healthcare, on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Arts and Health, The Humanistic Psychologist, PsycCritiques, American Journal of Dance Therapy, and Journal of Applied Arts and Health
E-Mail:  Web:



Erica Serlin, PhD  (see G-1)

Ayat Nashwan, PhD  (see E)

Peter Breen, MSW
has more than 40 years post-master experience in a variety of social work positions including Director of Public Administration of County Welfare Departments and executive positions in non-profits. He is Chairman of the Board of Caring For Children and a Board member of  other organizations including the Salvation Army

Moderator: Steve Olweean, MA  (see Opening session)

~ Saturday, October 14 ~


J-1   Beatrice Schlee, PhD
has a PhD in political science and is initiator of the bodymemory project,
She became aware of how profoundly conflict permeates society during the field research during her PhD thesis in International Politics on the long lasting effects of the Spanish civil war 60 years after it ended. She then directed the office of a German political foundation in Zimbabwe for three years to support democracy. Returning to research, she concentrated on the political immobility and apathy of Zimbabwean citizens. Findings from social psychology, neuroscience, and embodiment theory broadened her perspective. Currently, she is using body work based on the methodology Body-Mind Centering® with refugees, migrants and Germans in German refugee camps to deepen her knowledge on the bodily imprint of conflict and war.
Email:    Web:


J-2   Peter Breen, MSW LCSW  (see I)


ROUNDTABLE – K    11:30 am – 12:45 pm

Ilene Serlin, PhD

Shireen Yaesh, MA  (see C-2)

Nimo Patel
From an Ivy League education to Wall street to fame and fortune as a MTV Rap star, at some point along Nimo’s journey he realized that we was walking a path of suffering and that the only path to light was through selfless service to others and his own internal purification. For the past 7 and half years Nimo has been serving and working with the underprivileged communities in the Gandhi Ashram in India. Most recently Nimo has reconnected to his roots of music and is offering this gift of love, peace and oneness through his songs: an offering he calls “Empty Hands Music.” Nimo chose the title ‘Empty Hands’, because of the profound wisdom we all can gain when we understand this deeper truth: that we arrive on this planet empty handed and we will all soon leave empty handed. So then, how and in what spirit do we want to spend the time in between?
Email:    Web:

Moderator:  Steve Olweean, MA  (see Opening session)


ROUNDTABLE – L   2:30 – 3:45 pm

Myron Eshowsky, MA    (see B)
Tanya Awad Ghorra, MBA
   (see A)
Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.   (see C-1)
Moderator:  Steve Olweean, MA  (see Opening session)