Isha Be-Shela - Psychotherapy Service
The Center for Women's Health Studies and Promotion at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has established a women's counseling service that is the first of its kind in the Negev and is the only such counseling service in Israel that is affiliated with a research center in an academic setting. While the emphasis is on providing psychotherapy to women, we use this same feminist lens to provide high quality treatment to men and members of the LGBT community.
The service is called Isha Be-Shela, a Hebrew term meaning "a woman in her own right" or "a woman in a place of her own ". This term encapsulates the program's aim to provide the kind of mental health care that will empower the women of the Negev.
Background research conducted by the Center has shown that all the publicly funded mental health clinics in the region have waiting lists up to a yearlong, and that many women do not have access to discrete and professional psychotherapeutic care. Our service focuses on treatment issues not currently covered by organizational options in the Negev – the transition to motherhood, coping with chronic illness, healthy aging, grief and trauma, women's identity, sexuality, anxiety, and depression. The Center for Women's Health Studies and Promotion collaborates with agencies in the region that currently provide treatment options for specific mental health-related issues, such as domestic violence and post-traumatic stress disorder. Now in its seventh year, the professional staff is of the highest caliber and we have established ourselves as a vital force for the promotion of mental health in the Negev. We accept both men and women as clients over a wide range of psychological and adjustment issues and have both women and men on staff
Our service aims to:
• Provide excellent culturally-sensitive therapy using a variety of evidence-based methods for women
of the Negev
• Offer opportunities to train graduate students
• Develop research programs that will incorporate Ph.D. students
• Upgrade the professional skills of mental health professionals in the Negev by running symposia
and training courses and by hosting first-rate mental health practitioners and researchers from
around the world.around the world.
Treatment options provided in Isha Be-Shela include: cognitive behavioral therapy; crisis intervention; interpersonal, family, group, and individual therapies including creative arts, narrative therapy, and long-term integrative therapy, with an emphasis on evidence-based practice. Services are provided at a relatively low cost, significantly less than charged in the private sector. Groups are offered particularly in conjunction with outside funding sources. Clients pay for psychotherapy according to a sliding scale that takes into account their income. The psychotherapy carried out in the program is evaluated using clinical and/or social science research methodologies of program evaluation.
Prof. Julie Cwikel, founder and director of the Center for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion at Ben-Gurion University, is a clinical social worker trained in psychiatric social work, and a social epidemiologist who has worked extensively in the areas of health, mental health, and social issues among women, children, and families. She has directed a number of community projects, supervises the psychotherapists, provides therapy for selected clients and gives community lectures on Isha Be-Shela.
Dr. Dorit Segal-Engelchin is the co-director of the Center for Women’s Health Studies and Promotion and the Chair of the Spitzer Department of Social Work at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. She is a social worker who has worked extensively with mothers and families of children at-risk. One of her major research areas is diverse family structures, with particular focus on women's choices about family formation and child rearing and their impact on mother’s well-being.
Ms. Noah Sitton, the clinical director of Isha Be-Shela, is a trained psychotherapist. She conducts the intake interviews and is involved in training and supervision.
Ms. Ruth Sitton is the senior supervisor of the psychotherapists in Isha Be-Shela. She is a senior clinical psychologist with expertise in working with children and families, and has many years of experience as a senior supervisor of practitioners in the mental health field.
Ms. Kineret Grably, administrative coordinator of the center.