Branch Committee: Seeks and considers petitions for the formation of new national, state, or regional branches of IARTC; makes recommendations to the IARTC Board for formation and/or dissolutions of national, state, or regional branches; promotes cooperation and communication among branches and IARTC; assists branches in coordinating efforts among each other and with IARTC; reviews status of state, national, or regional branches on 5-year intervals.
Dr. Yoon Suh Moh
LPC, CRC, NCC--Chair
Dr. Yoon Suh Moh is an assistant professor in the Community and Trauma Counseling program at Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Moh has earned a doctorate degree in the CACREP-accredited counseling program from the George Washington University in 2018. She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania, certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC), national certified counselor (NCC), and board certified telemental health counselor with professional proficiency in English, Japanese, and Korean. Her love for communication motivated her to learn American Sign Language and about the deaf culture in the United States. She is also currently working toward a certification in neurofeedback (e.g., electroencephalogram [EEG] and qEEG) through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance and practicing in the Greater Philadelphia area. Dr. Moh’s selective research interests involve effects of chronic or toxic stress on mental illness, non-death loss and grief in mental health caregivers, and culturally responsive research mentoring relationships in counselor education.
Dr. Moh is a tireless advocate for minoritized groups of individuals and families such as those who have a disability and accordant functional impairment. Dr. Moh’s leadership and service includes the Association for Adult Development and Aging’s newsletter editor, one of the emerging reviewers for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, American Mental Health Counselors Association’s Neuroscience Science Task Force’s member, the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development’s state division formation committee’s chair, North Atlantic Region Association for Counselor Education and Supervision’s co-editor of the newsletter, and the member of Data and Evaluation Action Team in Healing-Empowerment-Advocacy-Learning-Prevention-Action (HEAL-PA) through the Office of Advocacy and Reform of Pennsylvania Government.
Mr. Jerry Pierson--Vice-Chair
Jerry Pierson is a graduate student pursuing his master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Capella University. He has a bachelor’s in Psychology from Capella and an associate in Human Resources. Jerry is currently a member of the United States Air Force with 21 years of service. He has 9 total combat tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been stationed in South Korea, Italy, and Germany, as well as various locations within the United States. In addition to his position as an evaluator and instructor onboard the E-8C, Jerry has served in various other roles that include individual counseling and care for service members. He is a certified 4 Lenses trainer and Integrated Resiliency Training Assistant. His goal is to become an LPC and continue to serve military veterans and first responders.
Debra Ainbinder, PhD, LPC, BCPC, NCC, ACS
IARTC Treasurer-- Board Liaison
Dr. Ainbinder is Professor of Counseling and Associate Dean at Lynn University in Florida with a specialization in Marriage and Family Counseling, using a scientist/practitioner model of professional development. She served as Co-Principle Investigator for two prevention-focused research studies. She has been active in the field of counseling since 1985, including private practice and agency settings. Her research interests include parent interventions to decrease alcohol use and related consequences, and community programs in narcotics overdose prevention. She is currently working on a Quality Enhacement Plan at Lynn University to integrate local and global research related to the functions of wellness, specifically resiliency.
Yahyah Smadi, M.D.
Yahyah Smadi is a psychiatrist with rich and eventful 17 years of international experience in psychiatry in five countries and clinical mental health counseling. He is a poet and interested in international literature and how speech could have standard physical and biological principles like other human rhythms to enhance communication and empathy between different cultures and races. He is an active coordinator and participant in Community Engagement teams, public awareness-raising campaigns, and many initiatives in those fields.
Dr. Smadi received many awards and accomplishments. For example, from Taif literary club for the initiative of medicine and its relationship with literature (2019), General Directorate of Narcotic Control in Makkah for active participation in training programs in (2018), Taif University, College of Medicine for the outstanding participation in the training of medical students (2017), and Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia for making pilgrimage season successful (2009).
He is a member of many professional societies such as The Syrian Arab Psychiatric Association, The Saudi Commission of Health Specialties, and the American Counseling Association.
Dr. Fariba Ehteshami
My name is Fariba Ehteshami. I was born, studied, and worked as counselor in my birth country Iran. I earned my Ph.D. in the field of Counselor Education and Supervision (CACREP Accredited) from Texas A&M University-Commerce in Summer 2021. Now I am working as an Adjunct Faculty at Adler University and Texas A&M University-Commerce. I have a Ph.D. in the field of Clinical Counseling Psychology (Family and Marriage Therapy) from Science & Research Tehran Azad University. I established my own private counseling Center and provided counseling services for Families, Couples, Children, and Adolescents Trauma with diverse population. I had an incredible opportunity to research in different areas of Trauma especially research on women who were in prison, research on couples in Divorce Court, research on LGBTQ population in Islamic Countries, and research on Individuals’ Love Languages. As the results of these research, I wrote several books and national articles. I have been awarded International Association for Marriage and Family Counseling (IAMFC) 2021 for the Excellence Research in Marriage and Family in Counselor Educator Training. I have also been awarded 2020 Outstanding Doctoral Student Member of the European Branch of the American Counseling Association (EB_ACA). I received Texas A&M University-Commerce Medal of Excellent Counselor Education and Supervision Student in 2017. Currently, I have been honored to work as IAC’s Global Assistant (International Association of Counseling). I have privilege to be member of many American Counseling Association (ACA) divisions and International American Psychology Association (APA).
My personal priorities and goals include the further development of society and human life. I believe that research study will enable us to support growth and improvements in our society, and in the world. It is also important to me to continue teaching and research in the areas of Neuropsychology, Trauma, Mental Issues, and apply this knowledge in the field of Counseling Education and Supervision. In my lifetime, I believe it is possible to achieve a reduction in occurrences of Trauma and Violence on an international scale.
Sophie Lake Oswin, PHD, ACS, LPC, NCC, BC-TMH
Dr. Sophie Lake Oswin is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of a private practice: Journey to Equanimity Counseling and Consulting, LLC in Atlanta, GA. She is a National Certified Counselor, Approved Clinical Supervisor, and Board Certified-TeleMental Health Provider. Dr. Oswin received her PhD from Walden University in Counselor Education and Supervision in 2023. She provides individual counseling for adults as well as ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for those in recovery from trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Dr. Sophie is passionate about training the next generation of counselors through mentorship, education, advocacy, and research. Her current research efforts are focused on psychedelic assisted psychotherapies for trauma and depression, suicide prevention training of master’s level counselors, the role of AI/VR/AR in the treatment of mental health problems, and professional ethics in counseling. Previous to her work in private practice, she worked in a crisis stabilization unit treating clients with chronic and severe mental disorders.
Sithandazile Hope Msimanga, Ph. D.
I am a Counsellor Educator and Supervisor having graduated with a doctoral degree from the Executive Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES) in 2008 at the Duquesne University in Pittsburgh PA. Following this qualification, I worked for three years as a student Counsellor at the University of Botswana (UB) Careers and Counseling Centre. I offered counselling services to student with varied life concerns as well as paying special attention to those struggling with mental illnesses. I worked as well with immediate family caregivers to these students to support them in their caregiving endeavours.
In 2011, I moved to teaching in Counselling at the Department of Educational Foundations in UB until I retired in 2018. I taught courses in counselling for both undergraduate and graduate students and offered clinical supervision during their practicum and internship field experiences. I have had an opportunity and a scholarship from the UB to undertake a sabbatical leave at the Indiana University in Bloomington where I benchmarked on the current student clinical supervision approaches from June – Dec 2017. These insights continue to guide our clinical supervision endeavours back here in Botswana after completing my sabbatical leave.
I hold a Master’s degree in Psychiatric/Mental Nursing from the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane Australia attained in the year 2000. Prior to this qualification, I worked with students with personal life concerns as well as problems with mental ill-health struggling from the year 1994. I provided emotional support, and psycho education to family care givers on the disease process and importance of medication compliance for their mentally ill relative.
I am a Nurse Educator following my first degree in Nursing Education at the University of Botswana from 1983-1986. I taught in Foundations of Nursing as well as psychiatric/mental health from the years 1986-1994. As a Registered nurse, I worked shortly in Athlone (general) Hospital in medical wards providing general care; and maternity wards assisting pregnant mothers during delivery as well as educating them on the care of their new-born babies from 1977-1978.
I worked in the Lobatse Mental Hospital from 1978-1994 offering general care and activities of daily living to the mentally ill, led group psychotherapy for both patients and caregivers; followed up patients in the most remote places of Botswana to refill medications, review progress as well as support and offer psycho education to family caregivers.
Outside the academic circles I served as the President of the Botswana Counselling Association (BCA) in the years 2010-2012, and hosted the first International Counselling Conference in Botswana. I have presented papers in conferences locally, regionally and internationally on issues of counselling, counselor supervision and the traditional approaches to care in grief, trauma and bereavement in Botswana.
I have worked as a volunteered for over 15 years with the Botswana Family Welfare Association (BOFWA) which then focussed on youth sexual and reproductive health from 2002-2016. BOFWA is an affiliate of the International Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Other organizations that I offered services as a volunteer are the Botswana Red Cross briefly and the Humana People to People (HPP) organisation for over 14 years (2002-2016). HPP is an organisation that teaches and supports people of Botswana to know their HIV status and on the need to take and comply with Anti Retro Viral (ARV) therapy. I have also volunteered at the International conference on HIV & AIDS in Durban South Africa in 2016. As a doctoral student I volunteered at the Association for Counselor Educators and supervisors (ACES) in Pittsburgh in 2006, and also for the ACA conference in 2007.
Currently, I am the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Just Hope Foundation-Counseling and Consultancy Trust (JHFCCT), a Non-Governmental Organization offering counselling in grief and trauma for widows, widowers, and the young people in Botswana. The JHFCCT has been recognised and funded by the Government of Botswana through the National Aids and Health Promotion Agency (NAHPA) for all its work for over ten years offering service to people of Botswana on pro bono terms when they could pay for such services. The JHFCCT is currently offering services to underserved populations in Maun and surrounding areas facilitated by this funding.
I am currently teaching in counselling at the University of Botswana on a post - retirement contract until September 2024.