Board of Trustees & Management Committee

Outgoing 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.

Mr Lennox Thomas

Lennox Thomas joined the RTC board since its inception in 1999. He 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 with Josephine Klein is a Co-Founder of the Refugee Therapy Centre, and served as CEO, Clinical Director until March 2017. She remains as a Trustee and Company Secretary. 

Aida Alayarian, BSc, MSc, DocSc, PhD, is a chartered consultant clinical psychologist, specialising as a paediatric psychoanalyst and child psychotherapist since 1986, and adult psychoanalytic psychotherapist since 1998. She, with Josephine Klein, is the co-founder  of the Refugee Therapy Centre.


Over three decades, Aida has worked with children, young adults and families in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural settings in the statutory and voluntary sectors. Prior to becoming Clinical Director of the Centre, she worked for seven years at London's Intercultural Therapy Centre, NAFSIYAT, managing children and family referrals, and she was Head of Therapy Services and Chair of the Panel of Foster Carers at the Childcare Co-operative.


She also worked at the Brixton Community Mental Health, South London & Maudsley NHS Trust and at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trusts. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and an A.Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She  sat on the executive board of the UKCP-CPJA as Treasurer for two years and as acting Chair for another two years. She is a member of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP) and has presented and chaired sessions at several international congresses of the WACP since 2006. Since 2012 she has sat as the Chair of the Special Interest Group (SIG) in Psychotherapy of the WACP.


Aida developed, and until 2017, was the Programme Leader of a four year professional training and MA course with the University of East London as well as co-director of the Professional Doctorate in Intercultural Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in partnership with Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).


Aida has published extensively. Her publications have been informed by her work with asylum seekers, refugees, people who have endured torture and other forms of human rights violations. Aida's work was awarded with the Women in Public Life award in 2009; the Centre of Social Justice Award in 2010 and the London Educational Partnership in 2011.


Dr Josephine Klein


Josephine Klein, with Aida Alayaran 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).



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