Faculty Trainers Emeritus
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.
Patricia 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 the 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.
John Engel 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, a day-long virtual training event, Mindfulness: The Inner Work of Racial Healing and Trauma-Informed Care, and a Monthly RC Mindfulness program for trauma treaters. 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.
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, a trauma-sensitive yoga studio and training center, and enjoys blending her skill sets to help students manage stress, anxiety, and depression.
Mike Healey, Ph.D., is the Clinical Manager of the Forensic Complex Care Team for the Yukon Government in Canada. He also is owner and principal consultant for MJH Clinical & Consulting Services. During his career, Mike has worked in a variety of roles in residential treatment centers and group home services. In addition to his current role in administration, he has been a front-line worker, special education teacher, and a milieu clinician. As an administrator, he has a particular interest in developing capacity for complex behavioral health systems to move toward TIC and in 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.
Alesia Starks, LMFT is a Practitioner Faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary, a Faculty Trainer for the Traumatic Stress Institute. She received her Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Oaks College with a concentration in the African American Family. Alesia has over 13 years of clinical experience, specializing in multidisciplinary assessment, clinical supervision, and curriculum development. Formerly the Clinical Trainer and Coordinator at Hillsides in Pasadena, California, Alesia also held the position of Interim Program Manager for Outpatient and School-Based Programs during her tenure there. She has also been a DBT Therapist and Skills Group Instructor at The Village Counseling and Wellness and a guest lecturer at California State University, Los Angeles School of Psychology. She has designed and taught workshops in such topics as: Domestic Violence, Drug Awareness, Clinical Conceptualization, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Historical Trauma, and Mental Health First Aid.
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 developing mental health-informed spiritual practices. However, her largest sources of joy are playing with her children and going on family adventures.
Angie Doi, MSCP, is 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, LMFT, is the Clinical Coordinator for Klingberg Family Center’s Therapeutic Foster Care and Permanency Placement Services Program. She has been a valued member of the Klingberg Family Center staff for 19 years, and has been an RC Trainer since 2013. Aminah has a combined experience in community services, 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 living 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 Klingberg. Aminah received her social work degree from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.
Sabrina Demsky-Cameron, MSW, LCSW, is the Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Ädelbrook, Inc. Sabrina joined the Ädelbrook team in September of 2009, and in her thirteen years with the agency she has helped usher in a change of served population to working with children and young adults with Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Sabrina has presented on topics including Social Welfare Programs & Policies in the United States, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Traumatic Reactions and Symptom Management, The Diagnosis and Treatment of Reactive Attachment Disorder, The Implementation of TF-CBT with Low-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, given a Keynote Address on Strength and Resiliency. In September 2019, Sabrina was named “40 Under 40” in the Hartford Business Journal. In addition to her role within Ädelbrook, Sabrina has been teaching at Southern Connecticut State University since 2017 and will be graduating with a Doctorate in Social Work in May 2022. She lives in Middletown, CT with her husband and three children.
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 LGBTQIA community.
Kristi Glotzbach, MSW, LCSW, has over 25 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 Chief Clinical Officer for Family Ark Jeffersonville, Indiana. She oversees their outpatient behavioral health center and transitional living program for women who are struggling with substance use disorder.
Kristi is passionate about the prevention of childhood trauma, early screening, and intervention for children who have experienced trauma or intergenerational substance use and abuse. Her focus is on working with the whole family towards healing, and on reunification in cases of separation. To that end, Kristi holds a number of board and coordination roles within Clark County’s family court and service systems to increase cooperation, alignment, and efficacy between programs. She is also an advisory board member for the Center for Promoting Recovery and Resilience at the Kent School of Social Work.
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 School Clinician in the Raymond Hill School at Klingberg Family Centers. She has been a Risking Connections Trainer for the past 7 years, much of that during her time with Keystone Human Services in CT. 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.
Mary 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 Brickman, 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.