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 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. 

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 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.

John Engel is the Associate Director for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers. John oversees all aspects of TSI’s training and consultation services, including sales and delivery of the Whole-System Change Model. John supports departmental operations, including strategic planning, organizational development, staffing, and budgeting. Additionally, John has been an advocate for mindfulness in the workplace. He envisioned and implemented Monthly Risking Connection (RC) Mindfulness sessions for our RC community – a natural fit with our RC curriculum – as a method for both helping clients and supporting treaters’ self-care.

In his former roles as Executive Director of MERGE for Equality and author of the column The Fatherhood Journey for the Daily Hampshire Gazette, John worked to promote public and private conversations about fatherhood and gender equality.

Mary Jo Harwood, LSW, DNCCM is a Lead Program Coordinator for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers. A significant part of her 30-plus years as a licensed social worker has been spent supporting the recovery of individuals and communities after 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 is a member of Mediators Beyond Borders International (MBBI). She has worked in Liberia with ex-combatants and in South Sudan with women peacebuilders, and has also consulted with teams in Northern Nigeria and Kenya to address the intersection of trauma and peacebuilding through the application of conflict- and trauma-sensitive programming. She is currently a Facilitator for the MBBI project: “Trauma-informed peacebuilding for mediators and facilitators in Ukraine.”

LaVerne Baker Hotep is a Program Coordinator for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers.  With over 30 years in social service and a special interest in historical and intergenerational trauma, she has co-lead training for various client serving agencies around the country. With members of Mediators Beyond Borders International, LaVerne has co-facilitated trauma response training in Liberia and South Sudan.

Previously, LaVerne served as a Family Development Specialist and Resource Navigator at the Kingsley Association in Pittsburgh, PA, serving Allegheny County’s East Liberty Family Center where she founded and continues to convene Me2 Sister Circle, an international trauma-informed self-care and enrichment group for women.   As former director of community education for the Center for Victims in Pittsburgh, PA, she initiated and convened culturally significant conferences to educate about trauma and its impact in vulnerable communities. 

Tanji L. Donald, M.Ed., is a Program Coordinator for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers. Formerly the Associate Director of Parent Education with the Children’s Trust of Massachusetts, Tanji has 30+ years of experience providing specialized training, technical assistance, and consultation for Massachusetts, national, and federal organizations focused on early childhood, parenting education, substance abuse treatment, and trauma. Her skills include coordinating and executing family support conferences, with expertise in coaching and guiding national and international high-profile speakers, program development, and program start-up.

Tanji has also served as a team leader for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment  (CSAT) to conduct program assessments and provide specialized training to enhance child rearing practices, family, and parenting systems. Her background includes being a former licensed supervisory-level drug and alcohol counselor, certified trauma specialist, and preschool teacher. She is also a Certified Nurturing Program Trainer.

In addition, Tanji is a co-author  of several substance abuse and recovery parenting curricula, numerous articles, and she is nationally recognized for utilizing a strength-based, family-centered approach toward prevention, program planning, and implementation in designing parenting education systems.

Vanessa N. Mayers, MSW, is a Program Coordinator for the Traumatic Stress Institute of Klingberg Family Centers. She brings over two decades of experience in social services and nonprofits as a relationship builder and facilitator, bringing power structures and community members together for the advancement of both.

Previously, Vanessa served as the Director of Education and Conflict Resolution Services at the Center for Victims. In her role, she provided trauma-informed presentations and training to community-based organizations, schools, foundations, faith-based organizations, healthcare professionals, and government agencies. She also managed multiple programs, including the Safety and Supportive Services Program for the Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh, where she worked with management and residents in 14 high-rises and 5 family communities, providing training, crisis intervention, mediation, and victim services through a trauma-informed lens.

Vanessa continues to dedicate time to The Pittsburgh Study, a collective impact initiative collaborating across systems, disciplines, and with community members to promote children’s thriving and racial equity in the region. 

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, DSW, 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 many 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 – nationally and internationally – on topics such as 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 those Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, gave a keynote address on Strength and Resiliency. In September 2019, the Hartford Business Journal included Sabrina in their “40 Under 40” list. In addition to her role within Ädelbrook, Sabrina became a Faculty Trainer with the Traumatic Stress Institute in February 2022 and teaches at Southern Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College.  She lives in Middletown, CT with her husband and three children.

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.

André-Chance Goddard, MAT, brings a colorful background in academia, theatre, health care operations, and education to their role as a TSI Faculty Trainer. Formerly a Senior E-Learning Instructional Designer for Kaiser Permanente Southern California, as an academic André-Chance’s research focuses on culturally-responsive approaches to pedagogy and andragogy to ensure marginalized groups have access to innovative technologies that engage and promote retention. As a JD candidate at Georgetown University (2026), they hope to promote these ideals and the necessity of trauma-informed systems through public policy. 

Rachel Schein, Psy.D., is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Rachel’s clinical work focuses primarily on training and empowering professionals who work with youth to provide exemplary, evidence-based services to others. Rachel works full time at Devereux Massachusetts & Rhode Island, where she oversees diagnostic and assessment services, provides clinical supervision to interns and staff clinicians, and coordinates clinical training. In this role, Rachel provides oversight of clinical services for individuals with both behavioral health and neurodiverse needs.

Additionally, Rachel provides consultation services to organizations on creating inclusive and accessible communities for those with mental health, behavioral, and learning challenges, serves as an adjunct faculty member at several universities, and has been a Risking Connection Trainer since 2015. She is passionate about the benefits of trauma-informed care training. 

Tanya Fritz, CSW, has worked in the human service field for over twenty years. She currently serves as Director of Culture and Professional Development with Black Hills Works (Rapid City, SD), ensuring direct support professionals, leadership, and their teams receive the knowledge and support they need to thrive.

Curiosity, compassion, and personal accountability guide Tanya’s work, as she strives to connect helpers with the tools needed to best serve and support others. One of her greatest joys is watching people have “aha moments” and discover their personal power. Tanya previously served as Advocacy and Prevention Director, overseeing the Children’s Home Child Advocacy Center and directing statewide awareness and education campaigns. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from Colorado State University and is an ACE Interface Master trainer.

Juwana N. Glover, MSW, LSW is COO at Bethany House Services in Cincinnati, OH, an RC agency through the Family Housing Partnership. She has worked in the social services field for over 16 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.

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. 

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 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.