Staff profiles

Gráinne Parish (née Boyle)

Gráinne Boyle is an Irish qualified Educational Psychologist with a Masters in Educational Psychology from University College Dublin. She is the Director of Psychology Services at Insights Psychology DMCC, Dubai, UAE. She is registered with the Health and Care Professionals Council, UK, and Community Development Authority, Dubai.

Gráinne has been working in the Middle East since 2009 and she is passionate about the delivery of world class psychology services in the UAE and wider gulf region.

Gráinne is an assessment specialist, and she conducts assessments from the early years (developmental assessments), and school based assessments (psycho-educational assessments), right up to assessments for neuro-diverse adults in the workplace.

She believes in education and inclusion as a human right and she enjoys enabling people to realise their own potential and reach for their dreams. She brings fresh eyes, a pragmatic and honest approach to supporting the people in her care.

Her areas of specialization include: Learning difficulties in the mainstream setting, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorders, and language impairments. Gráinne is a trained administrator for the ADOS-II and Griffiths-3.

Dr. Niamh Gavin

Dr. Niamh Gavin is a UK qualified consultant with a Professional Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology (PhD) from University of East London.

Niamh is innovative and passionate in her work with children and families and believes in evidence-based practice in supporting their needs and discovering the learner's potential. She believes in supporting the educational and family system around the child to facilitate change for all and to move forward towards the positive achievement of goals.  

Her areas of specialism include: cognition and learning difficulty assessment, mental health and well-being in schools, building confidence and resiliency support, diagnostic assessment and classroom management support. Niamh is a trained facilitator of the well-being and anxiety programme ‘FRIENDS for Life’ and classroom management programme ‘Incredible Years’, as well as carrying out PhD research in these areas.

Niamh is a registered test user for the ADOS-II and Griffiths-3.

Dr. Niamh is leaving Insights to return to Ireland in November 2019. Her waitlist is full and closed. 

Carmen Barrack

Carmen Barrack is a consultant from Canada specializing in School Psychology. She holds a Bachelor of Education and Master of Counselling degree. Carmen is a board certified psychologist – she is registered with the College of Alberta Psychologists in Canada.

Carmen is a Canadian qualified psychologist that has spent the majority of her career working in International Schools. She has been working in Abu Dhabi for six years and in that time started the Abu Dhabi School Counsellors Network and co-chaired the Abu Dhabi Inclusion Network. Carmen is a passionate advocate for all children, but particularly those most vulnerable. She believes every child is unique with individual strengths and amazing potential. It’s her professional responsibility to help ensure students achieve personal success through accurate psycho-educational assessment and targeted intervention planning.

Carmen’s counselling philosophy is based on positive psychology tenants. She uses a strength-based approach to help empower students with the skills they need to enhance their own well-being. She has been trained in the Mindful Schools curriculum and devised one of UAE’s first school-based Mindfulness research studies. She has also recently become a fully Qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher through the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness. 

Carmen has extensive experience in the assessment of educational needs. She has worked with children with a variety of special education needs and disabilities in mainstream settings.

Carmen is a registered test user for the ADOS-II and Griffiths-3.

Jolene Palmer

Jolene Palmer holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology and has a Bachelor’s degree in Education and Teaching from the North West University in South Africa. Jolene has been working in the UAE for the past 8 years. She is a registered Psychologist with the Community Development Authority, Dubai.

She has worked with children with special educational needs in a wide range of school settings in South Africa, the US and the UAE.  Jolene has a strong belief that all children have the right to an education regardless of what difficulties they may be facing.

Jolene has extensive knowledge as an Early Intervention Specialist. She has worked extensively with children, and families of children who present with general learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties; including dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, ADHD, auditory processing disorder, sensory processing disorder, delayed communication skills, delays in fine and gross motor development, emotional regulation difficulties, behavioural difficulties as well as complex genetic disorders.  Jolene works with older students up to the age of 18 years. She provides children and adolescents with assessment and support in the academic, emotional and social domains. 

Jolene does not only believe in supporting and empowering children with needs but also strongly believes in the importance of supporting and empowering schools, teachers as well as parents / care givers with the right knowledge and understanding to help the children in their care.

Jolene is a registered test user for the ADOS-2 and Griffiths-3.

Jacqui Lawson

Jacqui Lawson holds a Masters Degree in Counselling Psychology and an Honours Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of South Africa. She is qualified as a NLP practitioner, hypnotherapist and Time Line therapist with the American Board of NLP.

Although Jacqui has worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds, her passion is working with children and adolescents. Jacqui uses an integrative approach to counselling; she recognises the individuality of each client and thus tailors therapeutic interventions to specific needs. Jacqui enjoys working with young people holistically, discovering unique strengths and where necessary incorporating support networks from the environment including parents, siblings and teachers.


Jacqui has supported clients with a range of different challenges such as anxiety, ADHD, social communication difficulties, grief and learning difficulties. Having worked extensively in international schools, Jacqui is also able to conduct psychological and educational assessments.


In addition to counselling, Jacqui has also offered staff and parent training on topics such as emotional intelligence for children, behavioural, social and emotional difficulties and functional behaviour assessments. Jacqui has also delivered workshops for young persons aimed at encouraging resiliency by teaching coping skills, self - regulation strategies and mindfulness.


Jacqui’s ultimate goal is to help her clients gain insight and to equip them with the necessary tools, so that they may feel empowered to make their own choices and positive changes.

Cynthia Downey

Cynthia Downey holds a Master’s degree in School Psychology and an additional credential in Counselling Psychology from Azusa Pacific University, California, USA. She has over 18 years of professional practice experience as a Psychologist and she has lived in the UAE since 2018. She is currently a member of the National Association of School Psychologist’s (NASP) and the California Association of School Psychologist’s (CASP).

Cynthia Downey is an accomplished, result-oriented psychologist with an extensive track record of assessing emotional, psychosocial and educationally related difficulties in children of school-going age. She is an expert in designing and evaluating standardized measures in order to assess students from diverse backgrounds. Prior to relocating to the UAE in 2018, Cynthia held a number of practitioner and administrator positions for school districts in California, USA. Throughout her career, Cynthia has maintained ties to academia. This included Adjunct Professor positions at the University of California, Riverside Extension, where she lectured in Assessment, Counselling, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties.


Cynthia has a passion for learning and the application of new methods and instruments to her practice. Cynthia’s achievements have been recognized by the Who’s Who Among American Educators (2006-2007), International Academic Honor Society and Professional Association in Education Phi Beta Theta, and an Academic Fellowship Claremont Graduate University.


Contact Cynthia for counselling, assessment or consultation at Insights Psychology.

Kelly Pugin

Kelly Pugin is a Registered Psychologist from South Africa specializing in Educational Psychology. She holds an Honours Degree (Education with specialisation in school guidance and counselling) and a professional Masters in Educational Psychology. She is a Registered Educational Psychologist and Member of the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Kelly believes that every single person is unique. And every single person faces their own set of challenges in their own unique way. Walking alongside individuals on their life paths, helping them discover, accept, appreciate and respect this uniqueness as well as their own methods of negotiating these paths is a passion and a privilege. The passion to support others is inherent, however, the want to pursue educational psychology was borne of her previous career as a teacher, during which she longed to be better equipped to help students discover and embrace their individual strengths, and to ultimately be able to achieve a sense of joy through personal investment into their own journeys.


She has practiced in the areas of psychoeducational assessment, play therapy, school readiness, individual therapies, and counselling. Kelly is a trained administrator for wide range of diagnostic psychology assessments including WISC-V, WIAT-3, CTOPP-2, BASC-3 and Connors-2.

Dr Haneen Jarrar

Dr Haneen is a Psychologist, Counsellor at Insights Psychology. Dr. Haneen is a CDA licenced psychologist with over elven years of experience helping children and families. Born and raised in Amman, Jordan, Haneen pursed her undergraduate in Psychology at the American University of Beirut and received a scholarship to purse her Masters (MSc) degree at the university of London in ‘Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience’, graduating with honors Haneen was recruited at Great Ormond Street hospital for children – UCL-London, and was granted funding for her PhD project “Language acquisition in children with Autism”.

During the three years pursuing her PhD, Haneen has worked as an ABA program supervisor at stepping stones center Dubai, as well as a regional director, where her role as director was to monitor screening tests, develop therapy plans, supervise speech therapy & occupational therapy planning, and conduct parental advisory sessions. In 2011 Haneen moved back to Amman, Jordan where she set up a clinic “Atfalona” that aims to provide high quality services to children with special needs. Such service included ABA therapy, developmental assessments, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological counselling. Dr Haneen also helped develop special education sections in mainstream schools, train teachers on inclusion strategies, design and plan community-based intervention plans, and spread awareness utilizing workshops for parents.
Back in Dubai Dr. Haneen has over five years of experience in early intervention work, assessing diagnosing and planning early intervention strategies, as well as supporting children with mental health issues such as Anxiety and Depression. Dr. Haneen uses cognitive behavioural techniques and is patient centred in her approach. Dr. Haneen has an is hoping to share her expertise with families and children at Insights. Dr Haneen is a trained administrator for the ADOS-2.

Swimmu Zacharias

Swimmu is the administration assistant at Insights. She is from Kerala, India, and she has an MBA in Human Relations

Swimmu has been living in the UAE since 2014, and she has been working with Insights since August 2018. She is a friendly, approachable member of the Insights team. She works from Sunday to Thursday at the Insights office in Dome Tower, JLT. You can call her or visit reception with any enquiries, and she will always be willing to help.

She deals with new client enquiries, client relations, payments and insurance receipts. Swimmu speaks English, Hindi, Malayalam and Tamil. In her spare time, Swimmu is likes cooking, baking and keeping fit, always with a smile on her face.