Saliha Bava

  • Associate Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy
Dr. Bava

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Saliha Bava, Ph.D. LMFT is an Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY. She was a Board Member of the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) and is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. In her NYC-based private practice, she sees couples and coaches therapists in business and clinical practices. Her focus on performative methodologies, dialogue as socially just and hyperlinked identities is part of academic activism where she questions the dominant discourses of research methodology, social justice, and identity. She also specializes in trauma, cross-cultural relationships, digital life, teaching/learning, and leadership. For 20+ years, she has consulted, designed, and implemented performance/play-based and dialogic processes within organizational, community, family, learning, and research systems. She is currently researching how people play. She lives in NYC with her partner and bonus son.

  • Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders, Stanford Graduate School of Business-Center for Social Innovation
  • Ph.D. Human Development, Virginia Tech
  • M.S. Social Work with focus on Children and Families, Tata Institute of Social Sciences


Dr. Bava runs a Relational Play Lab for the Mercy College students to experience applied research in relational practices.

The mission of the lab is to explore and implement relational play as a generative creative resource for individuals, couples, and organizations. Relational play is the relationally creative process of trial and error by which we co-create the self, the other, and the world around us. Our inquiry is focused on exploring and expanding our understanding of these everyday already occurring experimental processes of relating within the context of coupling, leading, team building, teaching, and researching.

  • Psyn 244: Social Psychology
  • Psyn 620: Systemic Approaches to Counseling Families & Individuals
  • Psyn 640: Practicum I
  • Psyn 641: Practicum II
  • Psyn 653: Family Systems Assessment
  • Psyn 654: Psychopathology
  • Psyn 657: Contemporary Family Therapy
  • Psyn 665: Professional Issues & Ethics
  • Psyn 710: Capstone Seminar


  • Bava, S. & McNamee, S. (2019). Imagining Relationally Crafted Justice: A Pluralist Stance. Contemporary Justice Review 22:3, 290-306 DOI:10.1080/10282580.2019.1644174
  • Bava, S., Coffey, E., Weingarten, K., & Becker, C. (2010). Lessons in Collaboration, Four Years Post-Katrina. Family Process, 49(4), 543-558.
  • Bava, S., Burchard, C., Ichihashi, K., Irani, A., & Zunker, C. (2002). Conversing and Constructing Spirituality in a Postmodern Training Context. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 13 (3/4).
  • Bava, S., Levin, S., & Tinaz, D. (2002). A Polyvocal Response to Trauma in a Postmodern Learning Community. Journal of Systematic Therapies, 21(2): 104-113.


  • Bava, S. & Greene, M. (2018). The Relational Book for Parenting. NY: ThinkPlayPartners.


  • Bava, S. (2020). Play Creates Well-being: The Contingency and the Creativity of Human Interaction. In S. McNamee, M. Gergen, C. Camargo-Borges & E. Rasera (eds).  The Sage Handbook of Social Constructionist Practice. Sage
  • Bava, S. (2019). Responsive Supervision: Playing with Risk-Taking and Hyperlinked Identities. In L. L. Charlés  & T. Nelson (eds). Family Therapy Supervision In Extraordinary Settings: Illustrations of Systemic Approaches in Everyday Clinical Work. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Bava, S. & Greene, M. (2019). Un-gendering Couple’s Collaboration. In D. Whitney et al (Eds). Thriving Women Thriving World. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publications.
  • Bava, S. Chaveste, R., & Molina, P. (2018). Collaborative-Dialogic Practices: A Socially Just Orientation. In C. Audet and D. Pare (Eds.), Social Justice and Counseling. NY: Routledge.
  • Bava, S. (2017). Creativity in Couple and Family Therapy. In J. L . Lebow, A. L. Chambers, & D. Breunlin (Eds.), Encyclopedia of couple and family therapy. New York: Springer. Available at:
  • Bava, S.  2016   Making of a Spiritual/Religious Hyperlinked Identity. In Duane R. Bidwell (ed.), Spirituality, Social Construction and Relational Processes  Taos Institute Publications, Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  978-1-938552-49-6 
  • Co-author  2015   Exploring how Context Matters in Addressing the Impact of Armed Conflict In B. Hamber & E. Gallagher (Eds.), Psychosocial Perspectives on Peacebuilding  Springer, NY.
  • Saliha Bava  2014   Performative Practices, Performative Relationships—in and as Emergent Research. In Gail Simon and Alex Chard (eds.), Systemic Inquiry: Innovation in Reflexive Practice Research  Everything is Connected Press, UK.
  • Co-author  2012   Implementing Collective Approaches in Mass Trauma and Loss in Western Contexts. In K. M. Gow, and M. J. Celinski. (eds.). Mass Trauma: Impact and Recovery Issues  Nova Science Publishers, NY.
  • The first John Shotter Award, in recognition and promotion of the humanizing aspect of everyday life. Presented by the International Certificate of Collaborative-Dialogic Practices Network, Brno, June 2019


  • Teaching Excellence Award (Full-time), 2016, Mercy College, New York, NY


  • Faculty Fellow, 2015-16, Mercy College, New York, NY


  • Outstanding Contribution to The Taos Institute Award by Taos Institute, May 2, 2015


  • Award for Exceptional Leadership and Service for the City of Houston and to the Citizens of the City of New Orleans by City of Houston's Disaster Mental Health Crisis Response Team, July 17, 2006


  • Nominated for Dissertation Award, College Level, Virginia Tech, 2000


  • Awarded P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship, August, 1996-July,1997; August, 1997-July, 1998