Our Team

Layla Kassem PsyD, PhD

Dr. Layla Kassem received her first doctorate degree in 1992 and her second in 2012 from the University of Chicago. She founded Malachite Institute for treatment and training in 2010 in Washington, DC. In 2013 she established an international branch of Malachite, and in 2017 the Institute moved to Bethesda, MD where it now operates with a team of exceptional mental health providers with a range of expertise and specialties.

Dr. Kassem has 28 years of experience in teaching, conducting research, and psychotherapy. Her areas of expertise include, trauma, couple therapy, and group therapy. She has a keen interest in transcultural psychology, understanding resilience, and neuropsychology. She has extensive experience working with Mood Disorders, Post traumatic stress disorder, Schizophrenia, Adjustment disorder, and Personality Disorders. Her therapeutic approaches are always tailored to the unique needs of the individual. Her philosophy and mission were, and continue to be creating an environment where potential is unlocked and dreams are realized.

Dr. Kassem enjoys teaching, traveling, reading, horseback riding and fencing.


Daniel Damian, PhD.

I am a bilingual and bicultural psychotherapist who received my BA from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, Iasi, Romania, and then pursued graduate studies in Psychology at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York, earning an MA and PhD degree in Clinical Psychology.

I provide psychotherapy treatment to a diverse adult population. I have experience treating individuals who had struggled with psychotic symptoms, anxiety, depression, interpersonal/relationship difficulties and adjustment issues. I also work with individuals diagnosed with intellectual disability and autism. My therapeutic approach integrates psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral and Dialectical Behavior Therapy-informed interventions, being tailored to my clients' unique strengths, needs and goals. I am keenly interested in understanding individuals' psychological development in the context of their relationships with significant others and the larger sociocultural environment. By enhancing their insight into current ways of functioning or building specific skills/competencies or strengthening their ability to think about themselves and others in a healthy way, I seek to help my clients to better understand the root cause(s) of their current difficulties, work through specific issues or concerns and ultimately live a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching movies/documentaries, engaging in outdoor activities and spending time with family and friends.

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