The Traumatic Stress Institute fosters the transformation of organizations and service systems to trauma-informed care (TIC) through the delivery of whole-system consultation, professional training, coaching, and research.

Faculty Trainers

Pat WilcoxPatricia Wilcox, LCSW, is the Vice President of Strategic Development at Klingberg Family Centers in New Britain, Connecticut and also part of the Traumatic Stress Institute team. Her career in child and family treatment has included the state child welfare system, the Superior Court, private practice, and Newington Children’s Hospital Day Treatment. At Klingberg she was a clinician and the Clinical Director before obtaining her current position in 2005. She specializes in treatment of traumatized children and their families and has presented extensively on this topic. She is the creator of the Restorative Approach, a trauma and relationship-based approach to congregate care treatment of children, and its companion book, Trauma-Informed Treatment: the Restorative Approach.  She has presented at NASW, the International Conference on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma; The American Association of Children’s Residential Centers; the Alliance for Children and Families; The Child Welfare League of America; and the Black Administrators on Child Welfare.


Steve Brown, Psy.D., is the Director of the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers. A clinical psychologist, he is a primary architect of TSI’s internationally-recognized whole-system change process to trauma-informed care. He is a co-creator, with Dr. Courtney Baker, of the Attitudes Related to Trauma-Informed Care (ARTIC) Scale, one of the first psychometric measures of TIC. He trains professionals nationally on psychological trauma and trauma-informed care.  In addition to being a psychologist, he is a long time sexuality educator/trainer and author of Streetwise to Sex-Wise: Sexuality Education for High Risk Youth, a sexuality education curricula used internationally by agencies and schools serving high risk youth.


Mary Jo Harwood, LSW, DNCCM, is a Program Coordinator for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers. A significant part of her 30 years as a licensed social worker has been spent supporting the recovery of individuals and communities post-traumatic incidents. She has provided trauma-informed leadership to victim service organizations, mental health providers, and served in the capacity of a therapist, EMDR practitioner, crisis responder, and trainer. Mary Jo directed the Dialogue and Resolution Center, a division of the Center for Victims in Pittsburgh, PA providing training and coaching that addressed building conflict-competent teams in organizations. She is a member of Mediators Beyond Borders International and has worked in Liberia and South Sudan and consulted with teams in Northern Nigeria and Kenya to address the intersection of trauma and peace-building through the application of conflict and trauma-sensitive programming.


Juwana N. Hall MSW, LSW is a Program Coordinator of the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers, where she is a trainer and consultant to agencies who are looking to enhance and adopt trauma informed care practices. She has worked in the social services field for over 15 years, with 7 of those years working with domestic violence survivors and families. She is an Alumni of University of Cincinnati, College of Mt. St. Joseph, and Cincinnati State. Juwana is an action-oriented leader with a passion for program and community development, advocacy, and performance improvement. She believes one of her life’s purposes is to empower and positively impact the lives of the individuals she comes in contact with. Her favorite saying—and a motto she lives by—is Strong Alone, Powerful Together. 


JohnEngel is a Program Coordinator for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers, where he serves as a faculty trainer and consultant for client agencies adopting whole system change to trauma-informed care.  John also facilitates strategic change initiatives and product development for TSI, including the development and launch of the Online ARTIC Scale.  Additionally, John has been piloting mindfulness in the workplace, including design and delivery of a national training webinar entitled Mindfulness in the Workplace:  Practices for Sustaining Trauma-Informed Care, design and facilitation of a day-long virtual training event, Mindfulness:  The Inner Work of Racial Healing and Trauma-Informed Care, and a Monthly RC Mindfulness pilot in 2021. Since 2011, John has written a monthly column, The Fatherhood Journey, for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, with a mission of promoting public and private conversations about fatherhood.


Laurie Anne Pearlman, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and independent trauma consultant based in Massachusetts, and is an internationally-renowned expert in the field of psychological trauma. She is co-author of the Risking Connection curriculum and also co-author of Trauma and the Therapist: Countertransference and Vicarious Traumatization in Psychotherapy with Incest Survivors, one of the seminal books about counter-transference in the trauma field. Her most recent book is Treating Traumatic Bereavement. She is a fellow of the Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association and chairs its Fellows committee; co-founder and past president of the Trauma Research, Education, and Training, Institute; and co-founder and former co-director of the Traumatic Stress Institute/Center for Adult & Adolescent Psychotherapy. She has received awards for her clinical and scientific contributions from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) and the Connecticut Psychological Association; for her work in media and trauma from ISTSS; and for contributions to professional practice from the American Psychological Association, Trauma Division. For over a decade, she collaborated with Professor Ervin Staub on promoting trauma recovery and preventing violence in east Africa.


Karen Saakvitne, Ph.D., (pronounced Sock-quit-knee) is a clinical psychologist and former clinical director of the Traumatic Stress Institute in South Windsor CT where, with Laurie Anne Pearlman, she wrote the two original books on Vicarious Traumatization (Trauma and the Therapist, and Transforming the Pain).  She is the lead author of Risking Connection and the author of the original teaching manual for that curriculum, Relational Teaching, Experiential Learning, and of a parenting resource handbook written for survivor parents and available online, Support for Survivor Parents. With Laurie Anne Pearlman, she is the recipient of the APA Division of  Trauma Psychology 2008 award for Outstanding Contributions to the Clinical Practice of Trauma Psychology.   She has a private practice of psychotherapy and clinical consultation in Northampton,  MA.


Jodie Tingle-Willis, LCSW, has over 20 years of experience collaborating with children and families impacted by trauma in residential treatment settings as a clinician and director of programs. Tingle-Willis received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Spalding University, and her Master of Science in Social Work with a specialization in School Social Work from the University of Louisville. Today, she consults with social service agencies that desire a greater awareness of, and success in supporting their employees in the area of Vicarious Traumatization. She is also the owner of Supreme Peace Yoga in Louisville, KY, and enjoys blending her skill sets to help students manage stress, anxiety, and depression.



Mike Healey, Ph.D., is the Manager of Children’s Assessment and Treatment Services for the Yukon Government in Canada. He has worked in a variety of residential treatment centers and group home services.  His career has afforded him experience as a front-line worker, special education teacher, milieu clinician, and administrator.  As an administrator, he has a particular interest in developing complex behavioral health systems in a favorable direction towards TIC and providing leadership to facilitate organizational culture change.  Mike’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks was focused on evaluating outcomes related to Risking Connection. He is a board-certified expert in traumatic stress and also teaches a variety of undergraduate psychology classes.


Angie Doi, MSCP, is the Director of  the Institute for Training and Evaluation at Child & Family Service in Hawaii. She has 24 years of experience working with children and families including time with domestic violence, shelter, and transitional housing programs; child abuse and neglect services; alternative education for youth; and the Employee Assistance Program.  She has over 20 years of experience in leadership and training, providing training both within her agency and in the community in Trauma-Informed Care with the Risking Connection program, Results Based Accountability™ (RBA), and Domestic Violence.  She is also trained in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and works as an Employee Assistance Counselor.


Aminah Ali, LMSW, is the Clinical Coordinator for Klingberg Family Center’s TFC and PPSP programs.  She has been a valued member of the Klingberg Family Center staff for almost 18 years, and has been an RC training for 6 of those years. Aminah has a combined 19 years of experience in community service, the child welfare system, home based therapy, and as a 3-5-7 clinician. She has committed her career to helping youth tell their stories and fill in the blanks on their journey to full and integrated lives. As co-chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Awareness & Sensitivity (IDEAS) committee, she is a Diversity Trainer and promotes an inclusive and culturally informed culture at KFC. Aminah received her social work degree from the University Of Connecticut School Of Social Work. 


Beck Whipple is the Suicide Prevention Coordinator within the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. Prior to this position, he had fifteen years of experience in social services, promoting the healing of youth who have experienced complex trauma. Beck is a trainer of the following nationally recognized programs and curricula: Risking Connection, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), Safe Crisis Management, and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer). He conducts trainings nationally and throughout Kentucky focusing on providing education and advocacy regarding suicide prevention, trauma, de-escalation and gender identity.

Beck enjoys his fur baby, Benson, as well as golfing, physical exercise and dancing. He is originally from Kansas, where he spent a lot of his childhood on a farm with his family. He is extremely passionate about creating safe spaces for the LGBT community.


Kristi Glotzbach, MSW, LCSW, has over 23 years working with child-welfare involved children and their families, in both residential and community settings. Her primary focus has been on working with adolescent females who have experienced multiple adverse childhood experiences, resulting in disrupted placements and little success in achieving permanency. While working in residential treatment, she helped create a specialized program to help stabilize this population, increase continuity of care, and help these youth work towards permanency.  Kristi is currently the Treatment Director for the Family Ark Behavioral Health Center in Jeffersonville, Indiana. She sits on the Executive Board of the Clark/Floyd County System of care, a coordinated network hoping to help at-risk youth with behavioral challenges connect to needed resources. In addition, she is an advisory board member for the Center for Promoting Recovery and Resilience at the Kent School of Social Work. She is passionate about the prevention of childhood trauma, early screening and intervention for children who have experienced trauma, and working with the whole family towards healing.


Alesia Starks, LMFT is a Clinical Trainer and Coordinator with over 15 years of experience in community mental health in Southern California.  Alesia received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from San Jose State University, and her Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Oaks College with a concentration in the African American Family.  Her experience includes a variety of in-home services with families experiencing recent and/or active trauma.  In addition to Risking Connections, Alesia is also a trainer for Mental Health First Aid and Child Adolescents Needs and Strengths.  Alesia bring a variety of life experiences to her trauma informed work including an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice and marginal work with law enforcement.  Having grown up in the Silicon Valley, Alesia recognizes the need for trauma informed practices in corporate and business settings and is working with her current community-based agency to implement trauma informed practices.  Alesia is passionate about helping communities heal from trans-generational trauma.  She focuses this passion on helping faith-based communities increase their mental health awareness and develop mental health informed spiritual practices.  However, she receives the most joy playing with her children and going on family adventures.


Joey Keahiolalo, MSW, is the Chief Program Officer at Child & Family Service (CFS) in Hawaii. Having over 18 years social service experience, Joey guides Statewide Program Leadership and their staff to successfully support the needs of Hawaii’s communities. Joey oversees programs such as Caring for Keiki (Children); Healing from Trauma; Empowering Youth; and Honoring Kupuna (Seniors). These program areas cover an expansive array of programming across the State of Hawaii to serve all of Hawaii’s people. Joey has also played a key role in developing the Risking Connection® – Hawaii Model, which is a culturally adapted trauma-informed curriculum used by providers throughout the State of Hawaii. She has been training providers, students, and community members in trauma-informed care for over 8 years.


Brenda Bryant, LMSW, has been working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in behavioral health for the past 20 years primarily in direct care, and program and staff development. Brenda is currently a therapist at the Child and Adolescent Trauma Services Program for Klingberg Family Services and a School Clinician in the Raymond Hill School. Brenda has been a Risking Connections Trainer for the past 7 years for Key Human Services in CT and in 2020, she became a Risking Connection Faculty Trainer for the Traumatic Stress Institute, specializing in training and consultation to IDD organizations. From 2018 to 2020 Brenda served on the Connecticut chapter of NASW Board of Directors and advocated for increased public education about equity and opportunity for individuals with disabilities. 


PortraitSimple_ElovichMD 1-26-16Mary Dineen-Elovich, LCSW, is the Executive Director of Intentions Counseling and Clinical Training Center in Farmington, CT. Mary’s area of clinical specialty is attachment and the impact trauma has on developing brain architecture, early childhood physical/sexual abuse, grandparents as parents, and clinical supervision. Mary works in partnership with Love 146 to provide advanced professional development and clinical supervision. Mary has trained internationally with Risking Connection, as well as developing and conducting training on ACES, Resilience, Early Childhood Attachment, Impact of Trauma on Developing Brain Architecture, The Holding Environment of Clinical Supervision and Intersectionality in the Clinical Setting. Mary is a “Circle of Security Parenting” Educator and a founding member of the Attachment Network of Connecticut and Attachment Innovators of CT. Mary began her career as a kindergarten teacher before raising her three daughters with her husband, David in West Hartford. After 11 years at Klingberg Family Centers as a clinical therapist and Program Coordinator of the Child Abuse Treatment Services Program, Mary left in October 2017 to enter into private practice. Mary has returned to her love of teaching as Adjunct Faculty at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, CT. She continues to partner with Klingberg Family Centers and will always consider KFC and RC as her professional family and home.


Rebecca Desautels, LCSW, is in private practice in Canton, CT working with children, adolescents, and adults.  Rebecca previously worked for Klingberg Family Centers for nearly 11 years. Her roles were clinician, program coordinator, and lead program coordinator for their adolescent Level II Group Homes, serving adolescents and families struggling with significant trauma and intergenerational trauma. Rebecca has been an RC faculty trainer since 2014 and has trained in numerous states throughout the US.  Rebecca received her degree in social work from Columbia University School of Social Work.


Elizabeth Vermilyea, Ph.D., is an independent consultant specializing in traumatic stress consultation, training and program development. Previously, Elizabeth served as the training director and trauma specialist at The Sidran Institute. She has also worked in the Sheppard Pratt Health System, Trauma Disorders Service Line in Baltimore, MD and the Master’s & Johnson Sexual Trauma Program in New Orleans, LA. Elizabeth has created and delivered traumatic stress education programs and consultation to audiences including: child and adult mental health, public and private school systems, sexual assault and domestic violence settings, providers working with the homeless, corrections, developmental disabilities agencies, crime victim’s assistance agencies, and substance abuse programs across the US and in Canada. Ms. Vermilyea is the author of Growing Beyond Survival: A Self-Help Tool Kit for Managing Symptoms of Traumatic Stress. She is also one of the authors of Risking Connection in Faith Communities. Ms. Vermilyea has served as faculty for the University of Maryland Trauma Certificate Program and is an Illuminations Facilitator. She consults on trauma related matters with school-based mental health programs, faith-based trauma support programs and other service providers seeking to increase their knowledge and expertise in the support of trauma victims and survivors.


Alisha McLean is a Risking Connection Faculty Trainer and Program Development and Training Coordinator at Yukon Government, Residential Services in Yukon, Canada. She has been delivering Risking Connection curriculum since 2015 and continues to see the ongoing positive impacts of a Trauma Informed Care approach across the whole system. In her spare time, Alisha loves exploring the beauty of the vast Yukon wilderness. 



Michelle Kenefick, LCSW, SEP, is the owner and founder of Sound Counseling Center, LLC, a private practice with locations in Essex and Middletown, CT.  She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner.  Michelle worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years prior to opening a private practice in 2010.  Her practice includes working with trauma survivors utilizing Somatic Experiencing, supporting helping professionals and First Responders address and prevent vicarious trauma, and working with couples utilizing EFT, an attachment-based intervention designed for couples. Additionally, Michelle facilitates a wide range of workshops and retreats. Her background includes working in adult/child psychiatry, with children and families in crisis, with high-risk adolescents and adults, and in program development, including evidence-based programs specifically within juvenile justice.  Michelle is the President of the CT Chapter of NASW and is a professor of Advanced Clinical Practice and Addictions at Fordham University.


Marissa Lammlin, LCSW, is a School Social Worker in the Newington, CT Public School District. She is the former Clinical Coordinator at Raymond Hill School of Klingberg Family Centers, a therapeutically-oriented school serving students K-12. In her 13 years at Klingberg, Marissa also served as a Program Coordinator for Residential Services and as a psychotherapist on the former Adolescent Girls Unit. She received her social work degree from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.



Aaron Radden, LMFT, is a Program Director for Community Health Resource’s Grant House Therapeutic Group home in Coventry, CT. He is also a therapist for Cultivating Change Counseling Services. Aaron is a former clinician at Klingberg Family Centers’ CATS Program, which serves youth and families who have experienced abuse and neglect. He received his Marriage and Family Therapy degree from Central Connecticut State University in 2016.



Jordanna L’Esperance, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical and school psychologist in Massachusetts.  Dr. LEsperance has worked with children, adolescents and families in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, residential care and outpatient clinics. She has specialized in working with children and adolescents who have experienced complex trauma, and she has extensive experience with psychological assessment, crisis management, special education regulations, consultation and individual and group therapy.  Dr. L’Esperance also teaches undergraduate courses in all areas of psychology.


MarjMarji Vitali, Psy.D., is in private practice in Canton, CT. She is the former Clinical Director of the Bridge Family Center and has over 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and families. She holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her work experience includes a focus on trauma treatment in outpatient clinics, and she also both established and was the Program Director of a therapeutic group home for girls involved in the juvenile justice system.  She is an adjunct faculty member at the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology at the University of Hartford and has also served on the Connecticut Coalition Against Human Trafficking.