6th Annual International Conference on

“Transgenerational Trauma:”

Communal Wounds and Victim Identities

October 12-14, 2017 ~ Amman, Jordan






hursday, October 12


10:00 am – 11:00 am

Greeting, Mission, Overview of Conference Theme and Challenges
Steve Olweean, MA

Community Building Exercise:
Ilene Serlin, PhD, BC-DMT


11:00 am – 12:15 pm

“Nonviolent Communication: A Compassionate Way Of Living And Addressing Conflict”
In a violent world, a violent phase of history, we need to rediscover our natural gifts: compassion, empathy and love. We are social creatures, we communicate (out of each 10 minutes we communicate 7 minutes). But, are we as good as we think? Are we using this major gift properly all the time? Why do we often miscommunicate? Why do conflicts arise? Why do we get violent? Non Violent Communication takes us back to the essentials: we all function to answer our needs; needs are not negative; not linked to others; and they are universal. If we learn to value our needs and those of others through empathy and compassion, we become better communicators and better resolve conflicts because our biases and our fear won’t be leading us anymore; only for love and humanity. Get ready to become Giraffes after this session.

Tanya Awad Ghorra, MBA


~ Lunch Break ~
12:15 – 1:45 pm


1:45 – 3:00 pm

“Community Circles for Addressing Historical Trauma”
Presenter will present a brief review of indigenous circle models (group treatment) used to address communal trauma in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Participants will then utilize basic tenets of these models to experience being in a circle. We will process the group’s experience of being in a circle and discuss some of the challenges in group work with historical trauma.

Myron Eshowsky, M.S



3:15 – 4:30 pm

C-1  “The Experiential Communication Process: Healing the Stereotypes that Wound”
This workshop concerns a “whole person to whole person” approach to healing cultural or religious divides. The approach draws from depth-existential principles of therapeutic practice and stresses experiential skill-building through demonstrations, breakout groups, discussion, and time permitting, a video demonstrating the approach, e.g., see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g92cNF5-Tpw&t=2364s.

Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.

  “Art Therapy: An Innovative Treatment Of Trauma”
A presentation of Art Therapy in Gaza with Mercy Corps Psychosocial Team- followed by an experiential Art Therapy Group. The workshop will describe Art Therapy Groups provided to Mercy Corps Psychosocial Team; its depth, its difficulties and the use of art with a segment of the population that is not only deeply traumatized, but also has to be on call 24/7 to deal with trauma of others.  The experiential workshop will give a taste to intensity of art therapy and its healing qualities.

Shireen Yaish, MA


4:45 – 6:00 pm

Healers In The Middle of Tragedy And Turmoil:
The Necessity Of Self-Care In Catastrophes To Be Able To Care For Others”

Farha Abbasi, MD, Myron Eshowsky, MA, Steve Olweean, MA
Moderator: Tanya Awad Ghorra, MBA


Friday, October 13

10:00 – 11:15 am

“Empowering Refugee Women And Girls Facing Trauma In The Middle East”
Presenting guiding principles for working with women and girl survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in a refugee context. Including an exploration of the main challenges and obstacles faced by social workers in international NGO interventions and programs. In particular, we will look deeper into the effect of trauma on the case management process for survivors of GBV.

Ayat Nashwan, PhD


11:15 am – 12:15 pm

“Practical Applications for Trauma Recovery and Renewal at the Large Scale”

Drawing from Common Bond Institute’s collaborative service model and current programs being implemented in Jordan, examples are offered of integrated, community-based, and local capacity building initiatives and pilot demonstration projects designed to serve large scale trauma recovery needs in regions of turmoil where there are scarce material and skill resources. Examples share a central focus on empowering the service community with the requisite skills and support needed to increasingly become it’s own primary source of healing and renewal.
Steve Olweean, MA,  Myron Eshowsky, MA,  Ayat Nashwan, PhD,  Ayda Alavi, BS


~ Lunch Break ~
12:15 – 2:00 pm


2:00 – 3:15 pm

G-1  “Trauma Therapy with Children”
This workshop will introduce participants to play therapy interventions, since children show more than they can tell as they express their pain and heal from trauma.  Attendees will learn specific techniques for creating safety, expressing feelings, self-calming, and resolving trauma as well as strategies for reducing  symptoms.

Erica Serlin Ph.D

  “Collective And Intergenerational Trauma Integration – Timeless Mystical Wisdom And Modern Psychology”
Introducing the Pocket Project / The effects of collective trauma / Large group shadow work / Timeless wisdom & psychology / Experiential exercise in groups of three / Deepening our self-contact, relational field and contact with ancestral streams / Summary and future large scale group collective trauma work

Nicholas Janni, BA Hons


3:30 – 4:45 pm

H-1  “The Wounds Of History Inside And Out Of The Consulting Room”
This session will initially offer a presentation of both subjective and clinical experience of trans-generational trauma within the context of the Holocaust. Based on Stolorow’s theory of the relational home, participants will be asked to draw or write a symbol representing the first home in their memory. As time permits, a group discussion of what emerges in the exercise, exploring the themes, and reflecting on the personal and professional aspects of working with Transgenerational Trauma. This discussion is aimed at highlighting the skills and attitudes that may facilitate connection with those who present with Trans-generational trauma symptoms.

Maya Jacobs-Wallfisch, UKCP SARSM ARBS

  “Using the Arts to Work with Trauma: KinAesthetic Imagining”
In this workshop, we will learn about theory and research on the use of the arts to work with trauma. We will experience a method called KinAesthetic Imagining, a movement-based creative arts therapy, and explore ways in which KinAesthetic Imagining can be incorporated into your work.

Ilene Serlin, PhD, BC-DMT


5:00 – 6:15 pm

Children, Trauma, And Resilience: Legacies For The Next Generation”

Erica Serlin, PhD, Ayat Nashwan, PhD, Peter Breen, MSW
Moderator: Steve Olweean, MA

Saturday, October 14


10:00 – 11:15 am

J-1  Bodypolitics: The Impact Of Bodywork To Support Democratic Agency”
Our body remembers all experiences of our life. Yet this legacy is mutable. Like neuroplasticity does in the brain new, positive experiences can be inscribed into the memory of our body. I will give a theoretical input into embodiment research and present my own bodymemory work with refugees and locals in German refugee camps.

Beatrice Schlee, PhD

 “Teddy Bear Trauma Reduction Program”
This workshop will address the symptoms of trauma, obvious and not, observable in children of various ages who have lived through repeated traumatic events. There will also be some discuss as to why the Teddy Bear is more than a toy and how the Teddy Bear acts as a therapeutic tool in a variety of ways. Using experiential exercises, participants will better understand the anxiety reducing attributes of a Teddy Bear and how to soothe and support the child’s defense mechanisms.

Peter Breen, MSW LCSW


11:30 am – 12:45 pm

Expressive Arts as Vehicles To Trauma Healing And Recovery”

Ilene Serlin, PhD, Shireen Yaish, MA, Nimo Patel,
Moderator: Steve Olweean, MA


~ Lunch Break ~
12:45 – 2:30 pm


2:30 am – 3:45 pm

Trauma and Healing In The Cultural Context”

Myron Eshowsky, MA, Tanya Awad Ghorra, MBA, Kirk Schneider, Ph.D.
Moderator: Steve Olweean, MA


4:00  – 5:30 pm

Processing the Conference

Opportunity to review what has been accomplished as a learning community over these 3 days; explore possible next steps, action plans, and collaborations for putting learning into practice; gain feedback for future conference planning; and share last comments & observations.



5:30 – 6:00 pm

Presentation of Certificates to Presenters and Participants
Personal sharing and community farewell
Closing community experience


~ Farewell Dinner Party ~
7:30 pm – 10:30 pm
(a final time to break bread together)



Myron Eshowsky,  Tanya Awad Ghorra,  Steve Olweean