Niveen Rizkalla

Niveen Rizkalla

Niveen Rizkalla

Visiting Scholar

Niveen Rizkalla, Ph.D., is an international visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

Dr. Rizkalla holds a BA in Psychology and English Literature from Ben-Gurion University; BSW, MSW and PhD. in Social Work from Tel-Aviv University; and certificates in Couple and Family Therapy and Group Facilitation. Five years prior to her arrival in Berkeley, Dr. Rizkalla served as the volunteer coordinator at the Haifa Rape Crisis Center and the director of the Haifa Ministry of Health's Mobile Clinic, where she treated women, men, and LGBTQ individuals in prostitution; and trained professionals and volunteers on sexual violence. During the past seven years, she has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Mack Center on Mental Health and Social Conflict at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. She studied the Syrian crisis and its implications on the physical and mental health of both refugees and aid workers who assist them. In the past ten years, she has researched and conducted field work with Syrian refugees, Palestinians, torture survivors, and other vulnerable populations in the Middle East Region.

Dr. Rizkalla’s expertise is grounded in years of experience in mental health and well-being. She has also engaged in much implementation, consultation for humanitarian organizations, training and preparation workshops for aid workers on coping with trauma, emotional support and self-care, and other workshops on bridging Western and Middle Eastern social and cultural differences when treating diverse populations, especially the traumatized and underrepresented populations in international contexts. In the past years, she has been providing support to mental health professionals in Jordan, volunteers working with refugees in Greece, staff members in Yemen, and multiple groups in the U.S. who suffered from the wildfires.

Her research interests are at the intersection of trauma and its impact on physical and mental health, intimate relationships, and post-traumatic growth. She particularly focuses on family systems theory as it provides a holistic perspective on the experience, coping, and healing from trauma. One of her projects is called: Impacts on Staff, Volunteers and Students Working with Traumatized Populations in Global Settings (Refugees, Survivors of War and Climate Disasters). Data is collected remotely from organizations located in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Northern America and Latin America. Her most recent project is named: Challenges of Aid-Workers Serving Refugees in Lebanon – Before and During COVID-19. Her work utilizes both qualitative and quantitative research methods. 

Dr. Rizkalla is fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, and has basic proficiency in French. 



Rizkalla, N. & Segal, S. P. (2020). Refugee trauma work: Effects on intimate relationships and vicarious posttraumatic growth. Journal of Affective Disorders, 276, 839–847. 

Rizkalla, N., Arafa, R., Mallat, N. K., Soudi, L., Adi, S., & Segal, S. P. (2020). Women in refuge: Syrian women voicing health sequelae due to war traumatic experiences and displacement challenges. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 129. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2019.109909. 

Rizkalla, N. (2019). Cycles of voiceless silence and silencing. In E. Hertzog & E. Shadmi (Eds.), Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking in Women: Israel’s Blood Money (pp. 89–108). London: Routledge Research in Gender and Society. 

Rizkalla, N. & Segal, S. P. (2019). Trauma during humanitarian work: The effects on intimacy, wellbeing and PTSD-symptoms. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10(1). doi: 10.1080/20008198.2019.1679065. 

Rizkalla, N. & Segal, S. P. (2019). War can harm intimacy: Consequences for refugees who escaped Syria. Journal of Global Health, 9(2), 1–10. doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.020407.

Rizkalla, N. & Segal, S. P. (2018). Wellbeing and growth among Syrian refugees in Jordan. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(2), 213–222. 

Rizkalla, N., Zeevi-Barkai, M., & Segal, S. P. (2017). Rape crisis counseling: Trauma contagion and supervision. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 

Rizkalla, N. & Rahav, G. (2017). Different but mainly similar: Differentiation of the self, couples’ intimacy, individualism-collectivism and marital adjustment     among Palestinian and Jewish married couples in Israel. Society and Welfare [Hebrew], 37(4), 855–884.

Rizkalla, N. & Rahav, G. (2016). Differentiation of the self, couples’ intimacy and marital satisfaction: A similar model for Palestinian and Jewish married    couples in Israel. International Journal of the Jurisprudence of the Family, 7, 1–32. Retrieved from


Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
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