Affiliated member of the WPA – World Psychiatric Association

Abstract Levy, Arnon; Levy, Jonathan; Hriesh-Awawdi, Heba

Neuroscience and psychology for intergroup conflict resolution – Lessons from the Palestinian-Isreali conflict and neuroscience  researches  on Empathy under conflict

Fromm described the escape from freedom as the human inclination to destructive behaviors, to conformism and to submission to authoritarianism. These conceptions were in contrast to the enlightment period’s aspiration that human’s free spirit and free will lead to world peace and the progress of humanity. Seemingly, Positive psychology and happiness studies are the fields in which psychological science can mostly contribute to promoting peace and cooperation between individuals and societies as described in Seligman’s vision. It is argued that applying knowledge of positive psychology is not enough to create significant behavioral change in individuals and societies (Critiques at the WCPP2015). Most human behaviors are carried out following assimilation of experiences that create new neuronal patterns in the brain. The neuronal patterns generate what Kahneman called fast thinking and does not undergo processing in conscious awareness. Fast thinking is created in the basic command system of survival operating within the brain to enhance survival in nature. It is discussed how In human cultures, which are symbolic environments, the survival command system generates fright fight and flight reactions and consequently anxiety, depression, rage, aggression  and other non-adaptive responses for symbolic hazards in daily situations. Applying knowledge of “positivity” does not assimilate it into the rapid thinking system that controls spontaneous behaviors. The field of Dynamic Positive Coaching Psychology that we present offers, by the use of psychotherapy approaches, and coaching psychology techniques, ways to overcome the barriers created by the individual as a result of non-adaptive learning. Learning “positivity” is carried out in the brain in the command system that Panksepp described as “seeking”, responsible for reward, curiosity, interest and expectations, while the Attachment system responsible for social bonding and parenting. In the lecture we describe how overcoming barriers and  creating synchronization between the brain command systems allows rewiring of the brain in these systems and the assimilation of desired and positive feelings and behaviors.

Prof. Arnon Levy is a clinical psychologist and psycho-anthropologist. He is the founder and academic director of Dynamic Positive Coaching Psychology Institute (DPCP formerly CPA) that work in partnership with Professional Development Foundation to develop knowledge teach and supervise MA and PhD studies leading to degrees of Middlesex and Canterbury Universities in coaching psychology. He works in partnership with Monarch School of Management for Graduate Studies in Switzerland and at present prepare a EU program of joint doctoral program with the participation of several European universities. Prof. Levy studied psychology and philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He continued to a Diploma of Advanced Specialized Studies (DESS)  in clinical psychology at the Sorbonne (Universite $ene Descartes).He obtained his PhD. in psycho-anthropology at the School of High Studies in Social Sciences( EHESS) in Paris. Prof. Levy  founded and was the academic director of the coaching psychology study program, one of the first worldwide,  at Tel Aviv University and later at Bar Illan University. Levy is the founder and chair of IACP Israel Association for Dynamic Positive Coaching Psychology and is a past president of the Israel Association for Psychotherapy. Levy is a vice president in ISCP International Society for Coaching Psychology. Among Levy’s publications are the books (in Hebrew)  “Prometheus Molds – towards an evolutionary psychology of the self” and “Beyond the empty glass – Ideas and Images from the Psychological Clinic and Beyond” and the digital book ” Norman and the incredible exploration into the mindful Brain” (In  Hebrew, to appear soon in English)


Building an empathic brain in times of conflict – the neuroscience of intergroup conflicts

What are the advantages of implementing neuroscience in the study of intergroup conflicts? In Study 1 (published), Israeli and Palestinian adolescents’ brain response to the suffering of each other was assessed in MEG. In Study 2 (published), we assessed the impact of prolonged exposure to intergroup conflict on the neural developmental of empathy. In Study 3 (unpublished), Israeli and Palestinian adolescents were randomly assigned to participate either in a dialog-based peace intervention or not (i.e., the control group). Participants’ brain response to implicit associations was assessed right before and several months after the intervention using MEG. Study 1 revealed a neural ingroup bias between the two sides of the conflict, and Study 2 revealed that exposure to intergroup conflict has an indirect impact on the neural development of empathy. Study 3 showed that the neural signature marking implicit negative associations was strongly reduced following the intervention. These findings highlight the added value that neuroimaging can provide to study intergroup conflicts and offer hope for assessing and improving intergroup interventions.

Dr. Jonathan (Yoni) Levy
Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University, Finland.
Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology, Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), Israel.


Remodeling by Coaching psychology the  value system within the young Arabic population in Israel

The Arabic population in Israel is responsible to 45% of homicide incidents in Israel despite the fact that  Arabs constitute only 20% of the whole Israeli population.  An analysis of the causes of violence would indicate that the disintegration of the values system of Arab society: the decline of collective values that characterize traditional cultures, such as: group belonging, authority of the elder, extended family ahead the small family. These values had been replaced by sense of inferiority and individuality, making the social bond weak, which is a fertile ground for the scourge of violence to grow.

The disintegration of the value system results from universal (globalization) and local (deculturation) causes. This disintegration coincides with a state of low collective self-esteem at the public level: the low appreciation of the Ethnic group by the society, and the individual level: the individual’s low appreciation of his group.

The value crisis had been aggravated by  a clash between the interests of the State of Israel, which defines itself as a Jewish national state, and the interests of Arab society as an aboriginal minority with its own characteristics and national dimension. In my research I found a significant improvement of the self esteem and a more correlated value system among the research population which contribute to better interpersonal relations.

Heba Hriesh-Awawdi

Kfar-Cana 1693000—POB 1009.
Cellphone 052-5778886.



  • PhD studies in Educational Counseling, Middlesex University England.
  • 2007-2009: Master of educational counseling, the Israeli Extension of University of Derby- England.
  • 2004-2006: Teaching certificate, Oranim college- Haifa
  • 1999-2001: first degree in social sciences and multidisciplinary program, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Certification studies

  • 2011-2013: Educational Trainer and coaching, Keriat Motsken Pisga.

Practices and experience in the counseling field

  • 2019: educational counselor and civics teacher in High-School, Kfar- Cana
  • 2008-2010: Director of the Organization “Sanad” for women empowerment in Nazareth.
  • 2006-2010: Administrative coordinator in “El Maaly” Junior high in Kfar Cana
  • 2002:  Research assistant, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem

Work and contribution to the community

  • 2007-20018: Has written a number of articles about education and social values.
  • 2007-2018: Has given many lectures about education and social values in many villages and countries around the country.
  • 2015: Translated a card set about values to Arabic language.
  • 2010: Has written and published “Yamoon Yosameh”, a children’s  book about tolerance and forgiveness
  • 2012: have written and published “Timoor and Kanza Allak”, a children’s book about time management.
  • 1997-1998: co-hosted a TV show with Audi Sigal
  • 1996: Camp Counselor for young children.


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