When Psychotherapy Involves a Therapist and a Patient from Different Sides of a Long-Standing Divide: The Case of Palestinians and Israelis

With Shafiq Masalha, PhD & Prof. Ernesto Caffo


25 August 2015  | Psychotherapy is challenging when a therapist and a patient come from different cultures. It is, however, more challenging when their nations are in conflict and war. The case of Palestinians and Israelis is one of such cases. Unfortunately the Palestinians and the Israelis experience wars very often and consistently live in war circumstances.

This lecture, hosted by Prof. James F. Leckman and sponsored by the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine, addressed the potential obstacles that a therapist faces in such settings, and the ways to get over them. It also presented the core dispute between the two peoples, and the way it is experienced in the therapy relationship.

Lecturer: Shafiq Masalha, PhD

Shafiq Masalha is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at the College of Academic Studies in Or-Yehuda (Jerusalem) and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has a long experience in, training and supervising both Palestinian and Israeli clinicians. He has published several articles on the Arab-Jewish encounter in psychotherapy. This encounter involves both cultural and national conflict. Being a Palestinian and Israeli citizen has allowed him to learn and write about the psychological aspects of the Palestinian Israeli long dispute.  

Dr. Masalha has led the ERICE (Empowerment and Resilience for Children Everywhere) initiative for many years. Guided by the belief that children everywhere are to be cherished and that respect for and protection of children is a shared human value, ERICE works to promote human rights, joint action, training and interventional projects focused on children and families affected by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. ERICE brings together child mental health professionals from Israel and Palestine to formulate and accomplish joint projects to enhance the well-being of children and families that neighbor one another in this strife-torn region of the world.

Dr. Masalha is also on the Board for the Hand-in Hand schools that bring together thousands of Jewish and Arab children in six schools and communities throughout Israel.   

Commentator: Prof. Ernesto Caffo, MD

Ernesto Caffo is current President and founder and of SOS Il Telefono Azzurro Onlus and Foundation Child. He is Chair Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency and of the Master’s degree course “Assessment and Intervention in situation of child sex abuse and paedophilia” at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy.
He is currently a board member of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) and of Missing Children Europe. He is also President of Children First Foundation. Professor Caffo committed his life to promote children’s rights both at a national and international level. He is author of several books and articles on child psychiatry, child abuse and children’s rights and provided professional education, training opportunities and knowledge-based interventions in the field.
Professor Caffo is also member of several scientific and international organizations. He served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions. He was President of the European Society for Child and Adolescents Psychiatry.
Setting the Stage for a More Peaceful World through Early Childhood Development

Setting the Stage for a More Peaceful World through Early Childhood Development

25 Aug 2015 | Yale professor, James F. Leckman, MD, PhD, hosts a discussion w intl. notables, Shafiq Masalha, MD (Israel) & Prof. Ernesto Caffo (Italy) to address the transformative power of early childhood development and how it can set the stage for a more peaceful world.