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Iran Dissemination Activities 2023

Seyed Ali Kolahdouzan, Iran

Could you please tell us a little about you and your background?
I was born and raised in Iran. When I was nineteen years old, I immigrated to the United States to live and continue my education. There, I have received my bachelor's degrees in "Biological Sciences" and "English Literature" from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and then I've got my master degree in "Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities" from Towson University. When I returned back home, I continued my study in psychology and I've got my Ph.D. in Psychology from University of Isfahan, Iran. Currently, I am a faculty member in the psychology of health department at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

How did you become interested in CBS?
During my Ph.D., I became familiar with ACT and I fall in love with it. I wanted to learn ACT first handed, so as a sabbatical leave, I went to University of Nevada for one semester to be trained and work under the supervision of Dr. Steven C. Hayes. There, I attended many Ph.D. classes and I got a chance to learn about other forms of therapies in CBS. As I returned back home, I became a member of the ACBS Persian chapter and five years later, I became the president of the chapter. So, for the last eight years, ACT and CBS were part of my main focuses in my academic fields.

Could you tell us about your research and application interests?
My Ph.D. thesis was "Designing two therapeutic packages based on ACT and Abrahamic Religions to evaluate the effect of death anxiety on psychological health and quality of life of cancer patients." My main research and clinical interest is on palliative care and end-of-life care psychotherapy. I am also interested in spiritual care & health, logotherapy, existential psychotherapy and psychology of death. Currently, I am the head of the behavioral research center at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences.

Could you tell us about your experience at the World Conference this year?
If I want to say it in a simple sentence, I shall say, "it was an absolute pleasure and an amazing gift for me." I had this opportunity to get in touch with many great CBS scholars, scientists, researchers and psychotherapists, and relearned and evolved my ACT and other CBS knowledge. I attended a two-day workshops on "Trauma" by Robyn Walser. It was a pure pleasure and amazingly informative. Then, I spent a couple of days swimming in an ocean of amazing subjects and topics related to CBS. Especially, I found many interesting topics on "palliative care," "end-of-life" and "death and dying." It was really good. Moreover, finding new connections and networks during the World Conference was another thing that made me so grateful.

Was there anything that stood out to you about the CBS community?
Participating in the conference was very beneficiary for me. I got updated from various new research topics and innovations in the field of psychology and learned new methods and concepts of different psychotherapies in CBS. The great attitude and welcoming culture of the CBS community was truly beautiful. I am so glad to be part of such an outstanding warm culture.

What did you take back from your experience that has been helpful to you?
Even though none of prominent CBS and ACT founders have ever been in Iran, Iran has one of the highest number of publication of ACT articles in the world. There are so many people in Iran who want to learn about ACT and CBS from the main sources, but they simply do not have the opportunity to act upon. When I got a chance to participate in the World Conference, I tried to pass on my experiences and knowledge to the Iranian academics who were so eager to be updated from ACT and CBS. I can proudly say that in the World Conference, I was the representative of at least several thousand Iranian people who passionately love to learn about ACT and CBS. I tried to pass my experiences in the workshops, classes, webinars and seminars that I participated all over the countries. All of my students really appreciated the rich contents that they have been introduced to.

Do you have anything else that you would like to share with the community? 
I know I am asking too much, but if each year, at least one Iranian can have this opportunity to participate in the world conference, I think that would elevate the knowledge and understanding of so many Iranians who missed to be part of this amazing culture and community. In the Persian chapter, we would like to expand the CBS into the public forum and show general public how they can benefit from ACT and CBS in their daily lives. So, we need to learn new methods and protocols of teaching and therapy, so we can pass these knowledge as best as possible. We hope the CBS community helps us to reach this goal. 

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