Tayyab Rashid, Ph.D.
Division President

Dr. Tayyab Rashid is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Health & Wellness Centre, and an associate faculty at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). For past fifteen years, Dr. Rashid has been applying positive clinical psychology with individuals experiencing complex mental health issues including psychosis, complex trauma, grief, borderline personality disorder and severe depression.  Dr. Rashid has also worked with individuals surviving severe trauma, including survivors of 9/11 attacks, the Asian Tsunami and refugee families.

Dr. Rashid’s work has been published in academic journals, included in text books of psychiatry and psychotherapy. His book Positive Psychotherapy along with Martin Seligman, is considered the most comprehensive in the field. Dr. Rashid has trained mental professionals internationally and has recently won Outstanding Practitioner Award from the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and Chancellor Award from the University of Toronto. Currently Dr. Rashid is implementing Strengths-Based Resilience & Flourish – two award-winning initiatives, with vulnerable young adults.


Michaella Baker, M.P.H. Candidate
Communications Team & Special Projects

Michaella Baker is the Student Representative for the International Positive Psychology Association Clinical Division. She is a recent graduate of Yale University, majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health with a certificate in Global Health. Currently, Ms. Baker is studying Social and Behavioral Sciences as a Master of Public Health candidate at the Yale School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the intersection between community mental health and positive psychological approaches to treatment, serious mental illness, and the criminal justice system, and on Medicaid coverage for people with mental illness after the Affordable Care Act was passed. Ms. Baker also worked at the ABC National News Medical Unit, developing skills in health advocacy and communication. She will be focusing on developing an effective communication strategy and assisting with the Clinical Division Newsletter publications.


Jennifer Brownstein, MA, PsyD
Membership Lead

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. 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. 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.


Covadonga Chaves, Ph.D.
Associate Editor

Covadonga Chaves completed a Ph.D. in Experimental Clinical Psychology at Complutense University of Madrid (2013) and holds a Master’s degree in Clinical and Health Psychology (2009). She presented her doctoral dissertation on well-being in children with a life-threatening illness, supervised by Dr. Carmelo Vazquez. As a PhD student, her research interests focused on three areas with potential clinical applications: (1) the study of growth experiences through adversity; (2) the connection between positive emotions and health; and (3) the design of a positive psychotherapy for people with depression. She is currently the Research Director of the Happiness Sciences Institute at Tecmilenio University (Mexico). She works in the development and assessment of a whole-institutional approach (51,000 students, 1,500 administrators, and 4,500 faculty) which embeds the principles of positive psychology into pedagogy and school culture. She has published a number of articles in academic and non-academic journals.


Samuel M.Y. Ho, Ph.D.
Executive Clinical Council

Samuel Ho, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology at the City University of Hong Kong. His primary research interest is in traumatology and resilience, in developing an in-depth knowledge about the factors that facilitate adjustments to life-threatening illnesses (e.g., cancer) and traumatic events (e.g., infectious disease epidemic). As a registered clinical psychologist and a researcher, Dr. Ho has the benefit of conducting basic research to help understand applied problems as well as taking applied issues for exploration in empirical research. As a clinician, he has developed numerous therapy manuals related to his clinical interest. Examples include a grief therapy manual for bereaved adults after the SiChuan earthquake; intervention manuals to facilitate resilience for mothers of children suffering from cerebral palsy, people receiving genetic colon cancer screening, and people recovered from psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Ho serves as an advisor of Government departments and NGOs on both research and clinical practice, and has been collaborating actively with community partners to develop resilient and recovery programs for a variety of people with special needs. Dr. Ho conducts invited training workshops and presentations regularly in Hong Kong, China, Europe, and North America to share his research findings and clinical expertise.


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). 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.


Nicole Mikanik, MAPP
Communication Lead

Nicole Mikanik is a recent graduate of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. Her capstone focuses on the integration of concepts from positive psychology and cognitive-behavioral therapy into a therapeutic framework for depression. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree in psychology from Queen’s University, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in the future. Nicole is passionate about bringing positive psychology into clinical research and practice, and is incredibly excited to be volunteering with IPPA.


Rhea L. Owens, Ph.D.
Executive Clinical Council
Editor, Clinical Applications of Positive Psychology: An International Perspective

Rhea L. Owens, Ph.D., L.P. is an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of North Dakota (UND) and a Licensed Psychologist, with a clinical specialty in the treatment and assessment of children and adolescents. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas. Dr. Owens is the Co-Training Director of the Ph.D. program at UND. Her research interests include the efficacy of positive psychological interventions and the assessment, application, and development of strengths. She is an Editorial Board member for The Counseling Psychologist (TCP) and served as a guest Associate Editor for a special issue on Applications of Positive Psychology for TCP. Dr. Owens, alongside Dr. Jade Bender, created the Students of the International Positive Psychology Association (SIPPA) Division and served as the President-Elect and President. She has been part of the Executive Board of the Section on Positive Psychology (SPP) of the American Psychological Association since 2008 in the roles of Chair, Chair-Elect, Practice Representative, and Student Representative. She is currently the Past Chair of the SPP. 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 SPP, as well as the International Positive Psychology Association Honorable Mention Dissertation Award.


Willow Saloum, Psy.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. 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 is 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, she has co-presented at the 2014 ATSA conference. 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.


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. 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 on 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).


Naghmeh Taghva, Ph.D.

Naghmeh Taghva, Ph.D., 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. Positive Psychology is her main interest and approach in research and professional experience. She has Bachelors in clinical psychology and microbiology and her Master’s and Ph.D. thesis were in the field of Positive Psychology. In 2013 she was selected as the regional student representative of for the 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 the Iranian academic community.

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


Margarita Tarragona, Ph.D.
Executive Clinical Council

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


Orhan Ferhat Yarar, Ph.D.
Executive Clinical Council

Dr. Yarar is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Istanbul Medipol University where he has been acting as the chairperson of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program at the Graduate School of Social Sciences. He completed his Ph.D. studies in Clinical Psychology at the Middle East Technical University, Ankara (2015). He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology (2007) and master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (2011) from the Middle East Technical University, too. His research interests include a wide range of topics that are oriented towards understanding the positive aspects of human experience. Specifically, he has recently been studying human strengths such as psychological growth initiative, curiosity, presence of life meaning, autotelic personality traits and their associations with psychological well-being, and psychopathology. His doctoral dissertation titled “Autotelic Personality: Links with Flow Propensity, Personal Strengths, and Psychopathology,” and current research activities aim at infusing clinical psychology research with a positive psychology approach. His teaching portfolio includes courses titled: “cognitive behavioral therapies,” “positive psychology,” “psychopathology,” “personality theories,” and “research methods.” Recently, he has initiated and has been coordinating a MSc program in clinical psychology with a positive psychology concentration at Istanbul Medipol University.


Airan Yuan
Communications Team 

Airan holds a BSc in Health Promotion from Dalhousie University in Canada. 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 on Positive Psychology. She is 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 for the Clinical Division on the communications team.