About Me

Ciao, I’m Ishana.

Pronouns: She/her, they/them

Languages: English, Italian

Specialties: CBT, Mindfulness-based CBT, Expressive Art Therapy, Internal Family Systems (IFS), Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT), Body (Somatic) Psychotherapy, Trauma-informed Therapy, Transpersonal Psychology, discrimination, emotional-processing, anxiety, depression, addiction, codependency, eating disorders, self-esteem

Affiliation: Nederlands Instituut van Psychologen (NIP) Registered Psychologist – Number #236055

  • M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology from Leiden University, Cum Laude

(Master’s Thesis – Suicide Risk in Depression: Longitudinally Investigating the Role of Cognitive Reactivity [in peer-review for publishing in a scientific journal])

  • B.Sc. in International Psychology from Leiden University

(Bachelor’s Thesis – How do Parental Personality Traits Relate to Family Functioning?)

  • A Levels from Dubai College

(Extended Project – The Relationship Between Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Autoimmune Functioning in Adulthood

Trainings

2022 – Currently undergoing: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), Treating Trauma – Master Series (10 CE/CME credits)

2022 – Currently undergoing: National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), Working with Shame (6 CE/CME credits)

2021: Leiden University, Clinical Psychology Practise Internship

2020: Cyntha Gonzales, Creative Response Therapy™Expressive Art Therapy

2020: Kaya Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga Teacher (YAA 200/hr)

2018: Leiden University, Student Coaching for Resident Assistance

Speaker/Facilitator

  • August 2022, August & December 2021: Guest Lecturer at Ayya Nadar Janaki Ammal College – Tamilnadu, India 

I offer lectures on psychological wellbeing to around 150 college students (setting boundaries, active listening & healthy coping mechanisms etc.)

  • July 2021: Retreat Facilitator at ChiaroScuro: Connect & Create – Sciolze, Italy 

A 10-day holistic retreat for artists from around the world, who gathered in Sciolze to create a powerful piece of art together

  • December 2017: Guest Speaker at VSK Duraiswamy Nadar School – Tamilnadu, India

Speaking about & sharing personal experiences on the value of education and empowerment to around 300 girls in a rural area

Other Experiences

Current: Teacher & Trainer at Leiden University for the International Psychology (BSc) courses of:

  • Interpersonal Professional Skills
  • Developmental Psychopathology

Digital Media Consultant at Wellness World – Dubai, U.A.E.

Waitress Shift Leader at Skanna Horeca – Leiden, The Netherlands

Teaching Assistant at Dubai School for Special Needs – Dubai, U.A.E.

Community Service

Educating, empowering & enriching our communities is important to me. We need to support one another.

Current: Weekly Guided Group Meditations, at Rap100 Student Wellbeing Center Leiden

Current: Monthly Proud Vulnerabilities Workshops, at Rap100 Student Wellbeing Center Leiden

Current: Yearly Lectures Advocating for Mental Wellbeing, at Ayya Nadar Janaki Ammal College (India)

Advocate for Women’s Rights at Amnesty International

Who Am I?

I’m Italian, Indian and English. I grew up in Dubai and have been living in the Netherlands for the past 5 years. I’ve made peace with my cultural confusion by allowing it to evolve into appreciation of cultural nuances. It’s in this world of interpersonal nuance that I thrive. Nothing is black or white, because binary structures are restrictive. This is what draws me to therapy – honouring the complexity of being human.

A little more about my background…

  1. Against the Middle Eastern status quo, I was raised by a (brilliant) single mother & our household was interracial. Fun fact: all the major religions are covered when combining my ‘modern’ family
  2. As a kid: I was bright-eyed, quirky, passionate & very curious (some things never change)
  3. I grew up questioning my sexuality in the Middle East (*where being queer is still considered a crime)

I immensely value the freedom of being oneself. Can you tell why?

I’ve put in the hard work in unlearning my shame, and reclaiming my life, by addressing intergenerational cycles of trauma, addiction and eating disorders. It has been the most liberating thing I have done for myself. This is what I share with my clients – empowerment, by letting go of what reduces us.

Therapy is a healing journey that we embark on together. Can you imagine a world where we all listened, cared & held space for one another? I realised early on that the change I wanted to see in the world begins one person at a time. That’s why I am a psychologist – individual healing for collective wellbeing.


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