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Shaima Ahammed Thayyilayil, MA, PhD

Associate Faculty, Master of Counselling

As an associate faculty member, I’ve been teaching graduate courses (Family Therapy and Brief Therapies) offered by the Master’s program in Counseling at the City University in Edmonton. Since 2016, I have had the opportunity to teach mixed mode classrooms as well, adding to my experience and skills in different modes of instruction. I earned my PhD in Psychology from the University of Delhi, India and have taught several graduate and undergraduate courses in Psychology and Counseling in my previous positions. My experience and training as a therapist with a focus on trauma complements my teaching, allowing me to bring real-life examples of how therapy can ease human suffering and facilitate healing and resilience.


I seek to understand the intersections of culture, mental health, trauma and the experience of self. Some of my publications reflect these themes and offer implications for counseling theory and practice.

  • Ahammed, S. (2010). Applying Quranic Metaphors in Counseling. International Journal for the Advancement of Counseling. 32(4). 248-255.
  • Al-Darmaki,  F. , Hassane, S.,  Ahammed, S.,  & Seif, A. (2012).  Developing Counselor Education Identity in the United Arab Emirates: Evaluation of an Undergraduate Program United Arab Emirates University. Journal for International Counselor Education, 4, 1-28. Retrieved from
  • Ahammed, S. (2013) The Future of Humanistic Psychology: Towards a Self with Expanded Horizons. The Humanistic Psychologist.41(4)
  • Ahammed, S. and Cherian, I. (2014). Counseling Young Emiratis: The Value of a Dialogical Self Model. Asia Pacific Journal of Counseling and Psychotherapy. 5(2), 1-11
  • Al-Darmaki, F., Dodeen, H., Yaaqeib, S., Ahammed, S., & Jacobson, M. J. (2019). Predictors of Emirati Marital Satisfaction: Contributions of Psychological Health and Family Functioning. Journal of Family Issues, 40(6), 785-804.

I believe that knowledge seeking and learning cannot happen without a trusting relationship between the learner and the instructor. I have learned that such a relationship requires a positive and safe environment to be initiated and established by the instructor. Towards this end, my initial efforts are always directed at creating such a safe environment that fosters learning. My experience has been that true learning or desire for knowledge exploration cannot happen in a rigid, rigorous, overly structured and apprehensive atmosphere. Indeed, the psychological basis of this assumption is very simple. Students learn best when their nervous systems are regulated thereby bringing in the readiness and motivation to be challenged by new information or knowledge.  The learner’s state of mind is thus of great importance to me, as it plays a great role in their ability to engage in critical thinking and in their receptivity to new information.

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