Chair - Dr Micol Ascoli


Dr Micol Ascoli is a cultural psychiatrist and psychotherapist, having completed her education in psychiatry and psychotherapeutic training in Italy. Micol worked as a Consultant Psychiatrist at the Newham Centre for Mental Health between 2004  and 2015 and at the Cultural Consultation service based at Queen Mary's University of London. She has been an Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer at Queen Mary University since 2008 and has been lecturing in Intercultural Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy since 2006. In January 2016, Micol took up the post of Associate Clinical Director for Acute Adult Services in Bedfordshire.

Micol joined the Refugee Therapy Board of the Trustees in 2007 and was elected as the Chair of the Board at the 2013 AGM. Throughout her career Micol has been committed to working in line with human rights and bringing equality to mental health. Her special interests are in Intercultural Psychotherapy and Cultural Psychiatry.

She has been presenting and chairing sessions at several international congresses of Cultural Psychiatry since 2001. She is a member of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry and the Italian Institute of Transcultural Mental Health. In 2012 she chaired the Local Organising Committee of the 3rd World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry, with special themes on resilience.

Vice Chair - Mr Lennox Thomas

Lennox Thomas trained in child development, clinical social work, and child and family psychotherapy at the Marlborough Day Hospital in London and in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the British Association of Psychotherapists. He worked in the Royal London Hospitals group and the London Probation Service for many years before becoming Clinical Director of NAFSIYAT Intercultural Therapy Centre, and Co-Director of the MSc Course in Intercultural Therapy at University College London. He is a consultant psychotherapist at the Refugee Therapy Centre, a training therapist and supervisor. He is a senior member of the British Psychotherapy Foundation, the Association for Family Therapy and the British Psychoanalytic Council. He was elected Honorary Fellow of the United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapy. Influenced by his early work with children and parents in hospitals, Lennox has an interest in attachment and relational psychotherapy.


Dr Aida Alayarian


Aida Alayarian is a Co-Founder of the Refugee Therapy Centre, and has served as CEO, Clinical Director and Company Secretary. 






Former Trustees


Dr Josephine Klein


Josephine Klein is a Co-Founder of the Refugee Therapy Centre. She came to England from Holland with her family in 1940. She went to an English school and won a scholarship to University.

She was a university teacher for 25 years, retiring into private practice as a Psychotherapist in 1974. She is a Fellow of the London Centre for Psychotherapy.

Her publications include The Study of Groups (1952); Working with Groups (1956); Samples of English Cultures (1965); Our Need for Others and its Roots in Infancy (1987); Doubts and Certainties in the Practice of Psychotherapy (1995); and Jacob's Ladder (2003).



Dr John Denford (now deceased)


John Denford was a Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst with experience in general psychiatric and psychotherapeutic hospitals in London and Dunedin, New Zealand. He was an Associate Member of the British Psychoanalytical Association since 1960 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 1980.

John was Medical Director of the Cassel Hospital in Richmond from 1988-1994 and Clinical Co-ordinator of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Torture Victims from 1995-1997. In his early career, he trained as a medical doctor in New Zealand.

His particular interests were in inpatient psychotherapy, group teaching and therapy, psychotherapy in general practice and hospital practice. He has published numerous publications and has several teaching appointments.


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