workshop 1-2




Workshop 1, 27/5 14:30-15:30

Ahmed Abu-Twahina (Palestine) and Michaela Fried (Austria)

No Place to be a child in Gaza: Combating the impact of trauma using NVR

Palestinian children in Gaza have lived through three devastating wars within six years (2008-2014), resulting in extreme and chronic trauma. According to one recently conducted study 75% of sampled children exhibited traumatic symptoms ranging from one PTSD cluster to full syndrome. In a reality where there is no safe physical place, nor time, to heal from trauma, violence remains the only coping mechanism for both children and adults. What can NVR mean in an environment immersed in despair and suffering, where chronic violence and continuous trauma are the only certainty, where Old Authority is irreparably shattered, and where religious fanaticism is the only available refuge? In this workshop we summarize our ongoing collaborative effort to adapt the concepts and tools of NVR to Palestinian culture under conditions of continuous trauma and siege, based on joint consultation work in schools, hospitals and NGOs in Gaza.



Dr. Ahmed Abu-Tawahina, PhD., Gaza, Palestine

Clinical psychologist, human rights and peace activist. Past director of Gaza Community Mental Health Program, and currently chairman of Gaza Dignity- a human rights and mental health organization. Dr. Abu-Tawahina‘s practice is devoted to coping with trauma given the extraordinarily difficult circumstances of life in Gaza. He has extensive experience in building government and NGO social welfare and well-being capacities. He publishes extensively on issues of peace, civil society, human rights and mental health. Dr. Abu-Tawahina received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Ain Shams University, Cairo, and has received further training and supervision in Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, USA, Holland, Canada and Israel. He is also graduate of the Leadership and Good Governance in the Palestinian Authority Executive Training Program of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Dr. Michaela Fried, M.D., Seitenstetten, Austria

Dr. Fried is a child- and adolescent psychiatrist and psychotherapist, specializing in NVR case management for acute and complex crisis situations, as well as trauma therapy, sexual abuse and borderline states, general parent counselling, and psychiatric and medical practice in her own office. Dr. Fried is contractual partner of the Institut für Neue Autorität in Austria (INA), and helps assimilate NVR Methodologies as supervisor and coach in several schools and foster homes in Austria. Formerly, Dr. Fried worked as a senior psychiatrist in the child- and adolescent department of the Mauer Mental Health center in lower Austria and is now employed in an outpatient department at PSD Eisenstadt/Burgenland. In parallel to her psychiatric and therapeutic practices she has been involved in social projects in Europe and abroad, including voluntary humanitarian work in the UK, former Yugolslavia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Gaza. She is a graduate of the University of Vienna and has completed her Post-doctoral fellowship at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Her medical areas of expertise are psychiatry and paediatrics. She is also a certified psychotherapist and trauma therapist and has completed Haim Omer’s basic and advanced training courses.



Workshop 2, 27/5 12:45-14:00

Eliane Wiebenga en Hans Bom – Netherlands - Lorentzhuis


Impasses in treatments: creating space with concepts of Non Violent Resistance and Connecting Authority


Impasses and treatments are demanding for professionals. Not only parents and supporters, but also teams and professionals can feel powerless and desperate. Frequently the people involved tend to get stuck in escalation processes. What can we as a therapist do in situations like this? What are realistic goals? It can be wise to ask for a consultation.

In the process of consultation it is important to reflect on which philosophy, which concepts, which instruments and skills are helpful? The more complex the case and the more severe the impasse the more important it is to stay close to the experiences en phenomenological scenes. How do people do, act, think, move, feel and react in specific situations. We explore the impasses in terms of distance and closeness over time. We are sensitive for the struggle of people with their experienced lack of influence. We see the interactional patterns and the broader context. We use basic concepts of Non Violent Resistance and Connecting Authority and their systemic impact, which appeared to be also very useful in impasses, such as: deescalating, seeking for support, presence/contact and resistance/boundaries, embedded in an attitude of ‘illusion of control’. We look for small but significant changes in the mind-set or behaviour of the people by acknowledging the pain and the efforts they made and by exploring their own resources and possibilities for seeing or doing things different instead of focusing on the problem and what ‘the other should do different’. It might give them new perspectives and the strength to continue, they might feel less desperate or realize why not continue to intervene in the same way.


We will show in an experiential way the course of a consultation-process in which participants can see and feel the development from impasse to ‘movement’ and recovery of strength.

We take a real case from our own practise as starting point and follow the process of a consultation. Participants of the workshop will get the opportunity to experience in the role of clients or professionals how a conversation can evolve and what is the effect on them.


Drs. Eliane Wiebenga; psychotherapist/family therapist

Dr. Hans Bom; psychologist/family therapist

Lorentzhuis; centre for systemic therapy, education and consultation

Haarlem; The Netherlands



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