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SIPPA (Students of IPPA)

Leadership Team

Leadership Team

The International Positive Psychology Association is so grateful to the following members of the Clinical Division Steering and Launch Committee. These leaders have volunteered their time and expertise over the last two years to develop the division’s inaugural charter and initiatives.

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Willow Saloum, Ph.D.

Willow Saloum, Psy.D. L.P., is a Senior Psychologist- Specialist working for the Department of State Hospitals- Coalinga (DSH- C), in Coalinga, California. More

She has worked with DSH-C since August 2011, when she began her clinical pre-doctoral internship. She is currently a licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of California. She received a doctorate from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University in Clinical Psychology in 2012; her doctoral research interest was on schemas found in adult males with histories of childhood sexual assault. In post-doctoral work she has focused on treatment group program development with members of the DSH-C Sex Offender Treatment Program (SOTP) committee to develop a treatment manual and utilize psychotherapy that encourages strength based treatment within the Risk-Need-Responsivity model of sex offender treatment.

Her interests currently lie in forensic mental health, positive psychology, and innovating ways of bringing those together in a meaningful manner. She provides treatment to offenders who are non- voluntarily sent by the courts to inpatient facilities for treatment after finishing their prison sentences. She has run a positive psychology treatment group, in one form or another, at DSH-C since she was an intern. She has been working on formalizing a treatment manual and milieu interventions for patients within DSH-C. She continues to be very interested in helping patients live the best lives they can, reintegrating into society after they are released, and being able to live a life of meaning and purpose, operating with the belief that everyone has strengths and positive qualities and that it’s our job as clinicians to help each person reach their personal potential.

She had the honor of presenting at the 2013 and 2015 IPPA conferences, as a poster presenter and speaker respectively, additionally has co-presented at the 2014 ATSA conference and has been invited to present at the ATSA conference this fall in Orlando Fl. All of the presentations surrounded the topic of Positive Psychology and forensic mental health. Willow and two of her colleagues have been working diligently on this topic and have gotten very positive feedback from patients, lawyers, evaluators, professionals, and other staff. She is very excited to see what comes from these efforts in the future. She is also in the beginning stages of exploring the vitality of positive psychology in forensic practice on a DSH statewide level.

Willow is an aspiring writer. She and a colleague are currently the process of trying to get a positive psychology forensic mental health treatment manual published. Having finished the written work they are currently in the process of getting the manuscript accepted with a publisher.

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Rhea Owens, Ph.D.
Immediate Past President

Rhea L. Owens, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth and a Licensed Psychologist in Wisconsin. More

She graduated from the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Kansas. Dr. Owens completed her pre-doctoral internship in child clinical psychology at Children’s Mercy Hospitals & Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri and a postdoctoral experience in neuropsychological assessment and child and adolescent therapy at the Achieve Center in Wausau, Wisconsin. Her research interests include: (a) the assessment, development, and use of strengths; (b) the clinical application of positive psychology; and (c) the mental health and well-being of underrepresented, under-served, and economically disadvantaged children and youth. She is currently an Editorial Board member for the Journal of Counseling PsychologyThe Counseling Psychologist, and the Journal of Positive Psychology Wellbeing. She is also the President of the Positive Clinical Psychology Division of the International Positive Psychology Association and the Chair of the Section on Positive Psychology of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Owens received the Shane J. Lopez Award for Professional Contributions in Positive Psychology and the Student Award for Distinguished Contributions in Positive Psychology from the Section on Positive Psychology, as well as the International Positive Psychology Association Honorable Mention Dissertation Award.

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Airan Yuan

Airan holds a BSc Health Promotion from Dalhousie University in Canada. More

During her degree, she completed a few positive psychology related projects. She collaborated with local lead geriatric psychiatrists on the “Fountain of Health” initiative for seniors’ positive mental health. She conducted a study on the well-being of rural physicians and the findings were presented at the 4th World Congress on Positive Psychology. She carried out a project on workplace wellness for healthcare professionals, which was presented at the 5th World Congress. She’s passionate about promoting optimal health and currently works in natural health with essential oils ( One of her biggest accomplishments in life is to have helped a close family member overcome Depression. She now volunteers in the Clinical Division as the communications lead.

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Nicole Mikanik, MAPP
Communication and Community Lead

Member of the Positive Clinical Psychology Leadership Team More

Coming soon

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Jennifer Brownstein, MA, PsyD
Membership Lead, Co-Lead of Peer Consultation Groups

Jennifer Brownstein, MA, PsyD, an alumni of McGill University and William James College is eager to not only be a Membership Lead but also to make a positive change for IPPA’s Positive Clinical Psychology Division. More

As a multilingual individual who grew up in Montreal and lives in Boston, she is drawn to IPPA’s mission of meeting the needs of a diverse population. She currently practices as a clinical psychologist in primary care at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. Her primary interest includes increasing well-being in individual and group therapy settings. She has developed and implemented Positive Psychology groups at several universities and hospitals in the Boston area. Her dissertation included creating a youth resiliency program for McLean Hospital to help adolescents cultivate self-compassion. At the Massachusetts General Hospital, she applied concepts from positive psychology to create a curriculum for chronic pain patients. She is grateful to be part of the Positive Psychology community and wishes to connect and expand the community of like-minded thinkers.

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Philip Streit, Ph.D.
Executive Clinical Council

Dr. Philip Streit is a trained clinical and health psychologist, NLP Master Practitioner, Psychotherapist, Supervisor, and Social and Life Coach. More

He is Head of the Institute and the Academy for Child, Youth and Family (IKJF) e.U. in Graz, Austria, Director of the Institute for Positive Psychology and Mental Coaching, Coordinator for Seligman Europe and a current member of the IPPA Board of Directors. Dr. Streit has been working actively in the field of positive psychology since 2009, specializing in psychological interventions for counseling, coaching and therapy.

As part of the positive psychological platform, Seligman Europe, Dr. Streit organized symposia, lectures and seminars on positive psychology.  In 2011, he developed training for Applied Positive Psychology in German-speaking countries in collaboration with Prof. Martin Seligman and the University of Pennsylvania (USA)

That same year he founded the Institute for Positive Psychology and Mental Coaching in Graz, where he regularly conducts workshops and holds regular seminars entitled:  “Positive Psychology – practice-oriented concepts and interventions for school psychologists and school psychologists “and “Applied Positive Psychology – Positive Leadership.”

His current research includes a project of the Institute for Positive Psychology and Mental Coaching in cooperation with the Department of geriatric psychiatry at the Landesnervenklinik Sigmund Freud in Graz about wellbeing “A positive psychological intervention program for depressed people over 65 years.” He has also  recently embarked on a project to develop the German version of Positive Psychotherapy Inventory (Rashid, 2013) and the PERMA profiler (Kern, 2012).

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Dacia Oberhelman
Resource Representative

Dacia is currently a third-year doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of North Dakota. More

She received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa.

Her research interests include the promotion of positive psychology, resilience, well-being across the life-span, positive sexuality, and the intersection of these related to PTSD.

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Amanda Willyard
Student Representative

Amanda Willyard is a first year Counseling Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of North Dakota. More

Amanda also received her M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a community mental health emphasis from the University of North Dakota. Related to positive psychology, Amanda’s research interests include strengths, well-being, and mentorship with first-generation college students.

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Margarita Tarragona, Ph.D.
Executive Clinical Council, Co-Lead of Peer Consultation Group

Margarita Tarragona is a psychologist who specializes in coaching and psychotherapy. More

She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago. She has been the director of the Instituto de Ciencias de la Felicidad Tecmilenio in Mexico, created the  Diploma in Positive Psychology at the Universidad Iberoamericana and is on the faculty of the Certificate in Positive Psychology  (CIPP) program for Latin America. She co-founded and teaches in Grupo Campos Elíseos, a training institute for psychotherapists.

In her work as a clinician and coach, Margarita incorporates scientific findings on human flourishing from positive psychology, with collaborative and narrative ways of working with clients to generate dialogue, expand their life stories and discover new possibilities. Margarita is on the advisory  board of directors of IPPA, is the president of the Mexican Positive Psychology Society (SMPP) and is a global representative of IPEN, the International Positive Education Network. She publishes regularly, both in academic journals and books, and in popular media.

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James E. Maddux, Ph.D.
Associate Editor, Clinical Applications of Positive Psychology: An International Perspective.

James E. Maddux, Ph.D., is University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology and Senior Scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University (Fairfax, VA). More

He is the former Editor of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology and former director of the clinical psychology doctoral program at George Mason University. He is the co-editor (with Barbara Winstead) of Psychopathology: Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding (now in its 4th edition) and editor of the forthcoming Social Psychological Foundations of Well-being and Life Satisfaction. Maddux is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Divisions of General, Clinical, and Health Psychology and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.  For the past several years his professional activities have included giving lectures, teaching graduate students, and organizing workshops on evidence-based clinical interventions in Europe and South America. He is also a Visiting Professor at Klaipeda University in Lithuania.

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Naghmeh Taghva, Ph.D.

Naghmeh Taghva, P.hD., works as a lecturer and psychotherapist at Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS) where she is a main educational designer and trainer in “personal growth program” for medical students. More

Positive Psychology is her main interest and approach in research and professional experience. She has Bachelors in clinical psychology and microbiology and her Master and Ph.D. thesis were in the field of Positive Psychology. In 2013 she had been selected as the regional student representative of International Positive Psychology Association (SIPPA) in Iran. After this recognition, she has started a series of introduction sessions at psychology departments of renowned universities in Iran to promote this approach among Iranian academic community.

She has practiced positive psychology approach as the head of group training for high functioning autistic children and a group therapist for those fighting with cancer. In addition, She is the supervisor of a well-being project at Tehran ministry of Education and the head of psychology part of mental health project in oil and rail industry. She has also conducted a series of TV programs to introduce positive psychology in a comprehensible manner for public. She has published and presented numerous papers in prominent conferences, three of them were in 7th European Conference on Positive Psychology (Amsterdam), 28th International Congress of Applied psychology (Paris), and 3rd Canadian Conference on Positive Psychology (Niagara).

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Tayyab Rashid, Ph.D.

Dr. Rashid is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Health & Wellness Centre, and an associate faculty in the graduate psychological clinical science program at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), Canada. More

He is also an adjunct faculty at the Executive Master’s Program in Positive Leadership at the IE University, Spain.

Dr. Rashid developed and validated Positive Psychotherapy (PPT) with Dr. Martin Seligman at the Positive Psychology Centre, University of Pennsylvania and published several PPT studies with clients experiencing depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, borderline personality symptoms and psychosis.  Also trained in Hath Yoga and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Dr. Rashid has trained mental health professionals and educators internationally in positive psychology interventions and strengths-based resilience skills.

Dr. Rashid is current co-chair of Campus Mental Health, a Canadian initiative, and also directs award-winning program Flourish ( at UTSC.  Dr. Rashid, consults with several non-profit organizations and has worked with 9/11 families, Asian tsunami survivors and refugee families. Author of numerous scholarly papers, and book chapters, Dr. Rashid’s work has been featured in Wall Street JournalPsychology Today, Macleans’ magazine, TEDx and at the Canadian Broadcasting.

For the past two years, Dr. Rashid has served as the Chair of IPPA’s Positive Clinical Psychology Division’s Steering Committee and served as the lead author on the division charter.