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Dr Laila Atshan


Based in Ramallah, Laila a free-lance psychosocial consultant and work with international, regional, and local organizations across all development and humanitarian sectors to deliver team building, mediation, conflict-management, and stress-management services, leading and mentoring mental health teams in contexts of political and domestic violence and transitional states in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. Laila worked in the US and Europe before returning to Palestine in 1990 to establish a still-ongoing program with the YMCA for Palestinians wounded in the first Intifada. Her freelance work since 1996 has spanned Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.

Laila's work focuses on children, adolescents, and women, as well as senior professionals across development sectors who work with these groups. She has over 25 years of hands-on experience of psychosocial program management, training, counselling, policy development and mentoring of mental health practitioners. She leads and directs other mental health professionals to improve their counselling skills and build effective ways of functioning as mental health teams using team building and stress management workshops.


Laila works with senior professionals in the justice, social protection, and education sectors, including judges, social workers, and educators, to sensitize them to the needs and aspirations of their direct beneficiaries, particularly women and children. By helping teams to set their own goals, encouraging an open expression of their own ideas, listening attentively, providing, and asking for feedback, and resolving and negotiating differences, individuals begin to practice self-help, and to develop different ways of working with limited resources.


Laila is an inspirational speaker and communicator, drawing on her experience of working with the most marginalized communities in the Middle East region, to communicate across cultures in a conference setting. She is a skilled interviewer and focus group facilitator. She holds a BSc in psychology, a master’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard.

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