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Dr Myriam Malhame

Dr. Myriam El Khoury-Malhame is an assistant professor of psychology and currently the program lead in the department of social and education sciences at LAU.

She strongly advocates the bi-directional connections between biology and psychology. She has combined both approaches in her trainings as a cognitive neuroscientist and a clinical psychologist.

Her research interests include bio-psychological basis of stress, trauma and anxiety disorders. She investigates emotional, cognitive and attention bias, fear conditioning and sleep alterations. Recently, she focuses on positive psychology including resilience, gratitude and post-traumatic growth in addition to integrating spirituality to the cognitive behavioral affective triad of mental and physical health.

She has received major grants with her team to implement practices promoting emotional intelligence in public schools in Lebanon.

She earned her PhD in Neurosciences in 2011 from AixMarseille II University in France working on the brain basis of psychotherapy in treating trauma and anxiety.

She is a clinical psychologist certified in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and CBT (cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and has worked in private practice with outpatient adults suffering emotional distress (PTSD, depression, addiction) for 10 years. She also works on providing psychological support in medical settings and collaborates with health care providers to better implement active listening and stress/pain management tools for patients suffering for e.g. from cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer, etc…

She actively promotes the use of simple empirically based stress management techniques in daily healthy functioning including exercising, tapping, cardiac coherence.

A long-time member of the Girl Scout movement, Dr. El Khoury-Melhame has kept the wondering spirit of exploring the Lebanese hidden gems. She particularly appreciates scuba-diving, snowboarding and globetrotting.

Can the Phoenix still rise? A closer look into how resilience works in times of accumulating traumas in Lebanon

Mental distress and decreased functionality are highly prevalent after collective traumas. Yet, resilience and growth are also post-traumatic trademarks. Little is known however about the overall impact of accumulating chronic mass traumas on our inherent capacity to rebound after adversity. We aim to introduce a few studies including young adults from Lebanon, at multiple time points during the additive unprecedented traumas for the past couple years, ranging from socio-political unrest, to the COVID-pandemic, the economic melt-down and the apocalyptic Beirut port explosion. We will talk about the population in general and subgroups such as health-care providers or Red Cross first aid responders. We will highlight novel methodologies factoring explicit and implicit responses to differentiate superficial and their hard-wired attitudes that subsequently influence behavior. We will also illustrate how pooling demographic data helps cluster people’s experiences after a collective trauma. This entails for instance moving beyond individual factors classically assessed for psychopathology and considered vulnerability or protective factors to include environmental, social and economic factor as well as cultural and spiritual ones.

We argue that early intervention in communities suffering collective atrocities should reinforce recovery elements such as spirituality and social support. Unmeasured safety needs, uncertainties about the future and job security should be monitored for their role in maintaining psychological distress. This might on one hand facilitate targeted outreach towards at-risk subgroups. On the other, this might incentivize leadership to bolster resilience and collective growth in unstable environments that could be viewed as malleable.

Dr Myriam Malhame
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