Free PDF for New Trauma Healers


Diya Kallivayalil, PhD, is a staff psychologist in the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at the Cambridge Health Alliance and a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Victims of Violence (VOV) Program, specializing in the assessment and treatment of psychological trauma. In addition to her clinical practice, Diya has published in the areas of psychological trauma, feminist therapy, the impact of trauma and migration on mental health in minority and immigrant communities, narrative methods, and cultural and gender socialization and identity in minority communities. Diya is one of the co-authors of the book, The Trauma Recovery Group: A Guide for Practitioners, Michaela Mendelsohn PhD.

The Quote

Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.
Sigmund Freud

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

Diya’s interest in trauma sprung from a larger interest in feminism and exploring the impact of gender-based violence in society. I’ve always been drawn to understand and examine the role that power plays in our world and in relationships.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Diya talks about the effects early in her career of sometimes being too direct with clients around painful topics of suicidality and risk, and her challenge of containing clients when they would become dysregulated for the fear that I might be robbing them of expressing what they needed to express.

Diya’s Why

Diya shares two whys: One has to do with the deep human respect she has for her work and her colleagues. The other has to do with the rich relationships she has built with her patients over time.

Diya’s  Advice

  • Be clear about your motivations for why you are doing this work.
  • As a therapist you have to be able to tolerate a certain amount of risk and a certain amount of helplessness.

Diya’s  Go-To Books

Interview Links

Guy Macpherson, PhD. The Trauma Therapist Live!: Presence
Gil Reyes, PhD

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