Trainer Biographies

Rachel Michaelsen, LCSW is a clinical social worker who has worked in HMOs, public agencies, and private practice as both a mental-health provider and a supervisor for more than twenty years. She has taught courses in DSM-5, clinical supervision, law and ethics, childhood psychopathology, and vicarious traumatization at universities, conferences, and mental-health agencies. She was a Collaborating Clinical Investigator on the DSM-5 field trials and is the Lead Curriculum Developer on DSM-5 for the California Institute for Mental Health (CiMH). She was the closing plenary speaker at a major social-work conference regarding the DSM-5 (900+ participants). In her private practice in Oakland, California she provides clinical supervision and works with adults and couples.Rachel is a diplomat in Comprehensive Energy Psychology, has taught helping professionals to recognize and address vicarious traumatization in a variety of mental health and social services settings over the past 15 years. She has integrated this work with a variety of holistic, energetic and creative interventions including at the 2015 and 2016 conferences of the Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology. 

Lisa Cohen Bennett, Ph.D. has been training foster parents, probation officers, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, teachers and group home staff around the country and in the San Francisco Bay Area for twenty years.  She has worked in a variety of settings with severely emotionally disturbed youth and families including residential treatment, hospitals, juvenile halls, and runaway shelters for over thirty years. Lisa also has a private practice in Lafayette where she specializes in trauma.

Cornelia Gibson, Ed.D. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Life Coach specializing in relationships and careers. She earned a B.A. in Psychology, and both an MA and Ed.D. in Counseling Psychology. When she isn’t working, she enjoys writing and providing counseling and education at Mount Calvary Church in Fairfield, CA.  

Ali Hall, J.D.  has a passion for working with helping professionals, in all fields and contexts, by enhancing their abilities to help their clients make positive and sustained changes through motivational interviewing workshops. Ali spent her undergraduate years at Occidental College and completed graduate studies in organizational behavior at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University as well as her J.D. at the Cornell University School of Law. In her spare time, she does marathon swimming, raising funds for at-risk kids’ charities.

Dedalus Hyde, Ph.D. has worked in the mental health care field for the last 25 years, initially as a counselor with severely emotionally disturbed adolescents, and later as a clinical psychologist specializing in behaviorally disordered children and adolescents, and their families. He founded and directed Horizon House, a transitional-living program for adolescent boys aging out of the foster-care system. He is a founding partner of Bay Area Integrative Psychological Services and San Francisco Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, and his private practice is located in Kentfield, where he works with children, adolescents and adults.

Gabriel Kram has a deep and abiding interest in and practice of mindfulness, emotional self-awareness, and somatics work, and he is committed to training organizations and individuals in these tools to transform quality of life and organizational culture.  Gabriel attended Stanford University as an undergraduate and went on to study neurobiology at Yale University. He is the founder of Applied Mindfulness, Inc., and he previously directed The Mind Body Awareness Project, whose innovative mindfulness-based interventions for incarcerated youth are being scaled into new national models of rehabilitation.  

Jodi Maspaitella, M.A. has a Masters in counseling and has been working with children and families in private and non-profit agency settings since 1993. She has facilitated numerous trainings for biological, foster and adoptive parents and works as an in-home parent coach where she combines her love of teaching with her love of children. Jodi and her husband are both foster and adoptive parents and have had the opportunity to parent children of all ages, from infants through young adults.

Dr. Cherise Northcutt, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experiencing providing behavioral health services to individuals birth through adulthood and their families. Her area of expertise includes working with infants and toddlers and their caregivers.  She is endorsed by the state of California as an Infant-Family and Childhood Mental Health Specialist.  Her clinical work has focused on working with children who have a history of trauma, including medical trauma, trauma due to environmental incidents, and trauma due to maltreatment.  She has spent most of her career working with children in care or at risk for care.  Her years of working with children in care or at risk for care has led to her obtaining training from Dr. Bruce Perry's Child Trauma Academy.  She is currently certified as a trainer in the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics and is enrolled in their mentor program.

Beverly Kyer, M.S. has been a public speaker and educator for more than 33 years with specialties in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; the trauma impact on brain development, behavior and learning in children, youth and adults, and compassion fatigue. Beverly served as the Employee Assistance Program coordinator and the assistant chief of Social Work Services, Bronx N.Y. Veteran's Administration Medical Center. She worked with children and families receiving medical and psychiatric care, and those in juvenile justice and the foster care systems. Beverly is a certified compassion fatigue specialist, and is the founder and CEO of The Kyer Group Corporation, a team of compassionate trauma-informed specialists who help those in the helping professions.

Eleanor Ruckman, M.A. is a registered art therapist and has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2004. She offers workshops on topics including art therapy, mindfulness, trauma, and implementing strength-based approaches in clinical practice. Currently she serves as Director for the California Institute of Integral Studies’ Clinic Without Walls, where graduate students offer psychotherapy free of charge to San Francisco residents in public housing. Eleanor has a B.A. in fine art from University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master’s degree in counseling and art therapy from Notre Dame de Namur University.

Daniel Taube, J.D., Ph.D. earned his J.D. from Villanova University and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Hahnemann University. Daniel is a professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in San Francisco. His areas of professional focus include ethical and legal issues in professional practice, child protection, addictions, and disability and parenting. In addition, he has been in private practice for 23 years and has served on the APA Ethics Appeals Panel for the past 20 years. 

Jean-Paul Eberle, MA, CMT, LMFT has been in the expressive and healing arts for over two decades. Jean-Paul has an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Theater Arts, is a Certified Massage Therapist, and possesses a post-graduate degree in Somatic Counseling Psychology: Body Psychotherapy. Jean-Paul is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with specialization in working somatically with children with acute mental health challenges. Jean-Paul has undergone extensive training at the Hakomi Institute of California in body-oriented mindfulness-based psychotherapy, as well as an ongoing specialization in dance/movement therapy through the Center for Movement Education and Research. With the burgeoning development of the fields of neuroscience, attachment theory, and mindfulness, it is becoming more and more indispensable to have a practical and integrated understanding of the body's role in mental health. Jean-Paul is the founder and sole proprietor of ‘Body Psychology Today’. Body Psychology Today’s mission is to make “The Wisdom of the Body, Accessible to All, Now”.

Natalie Thoreson, M.Ed. Sole proprietor of inVision Consulting, Natalie has designed and facilitated social justice, anti-oppression and liberation training for educators, youth, social workers and community activists for over a decade. Natalie’s passion, talent, and uncanny ability to shape a safe, creative and productive learning environment are evident in her design and facilitation of workshops on oppression, interdependent communities, and supporting inclusive spaces. Natalie's workshops on cultural humility have become an incredibly valuable component of trainings for staff and volunteers at dozens of agencies throughout the state. Natalie challenges participants to think critically about their own backgrounds and biases, and dissects concepts like the culture of oppression, prejudice, and stereotypes in a way that's accessible and just "clicks" for people.  Around a topic that can often leave participants feeling raw and wounded, she instead consistently creates an environment of trust, humor, and fun that inspires and receives rave reviews from our groups.

Natalia Estassi, Psy.D. is a bilingual/multicultural clinician with over 15 years of clinical experience working with families, adults, children, and infants exposed to violence and trauma. Other areas of clinical expertise include: Child-Parent Psychotherapy, CBT, acculturation issues, dual diagnosis, Wrap, anger management, and infant mental health. Trainings and practice include the DC 0-3. (Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood) Her doctorate is in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on family and children from CIIS. Her dissertation focused on self-care practices of therapists in avoiding vicarious traumatization and burnout. She has worked as a Director, Program Manager, and Clinician with several non-profits in the SF Bay Area, in a variety of settings including, community, hospital, school, and residential programs. She managed a national research project to understand and treat the impact of violence on children and their caregivers. Dr. Estassi works at, and is the co-founder of, Wholistic Consulting and group clinical supervision to mental health professionals and child welfare workers seeking licensure.  

Terese Gjernes, Psy.D., is a Licensed Psychologist. She trained and worked for the Infant Parent Program at University of California/San Francisco from 1999 through 2002. She helped found and develop A Better Way’s 0-5 Program and worked as a clinician and supervisor for A Better Way for over 13 years.  She is endorsed by California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health as a Reflective Practice Facilitator II and as an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist.  She is an adjunct faculty member for John F. Kennedy University’s Somatic Specialization in the Holistic Counseling Psychology Program, where she teaches movement therapy.  She has practiced yoga and mindfulness for over 25 years and has been dancing since age 4.