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Board of Directors

Mark Nickerson, LICSW  |  President

Mark Nickerson, LICSW, has been an individual and family psychotherapist in Amherst, MA for 30 years. He is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant, HAP trainer, and the EMDRIA Regional Coordinator of Western Massachusetts. He co-founded the Men’s Resource Center of Western MA, a unique organization which developed state-certified domestic violence intervention services. He is director of Parent Education for the Hampshire County Bar Association and has developed award winning innovative programs designed to reduce and resolve interpersonal conflict. He provides trainings with the Veteran’s Education Project. Mark conducts advanced trainings and presentations locally, nationally, and internationally on EMDR topics including treatment for problematic anger, domestic violence, problem behaviors, cultural competency, interventions to address the impact of social stigma and oppression, and the effective use of EMDR protocols.


Ira Dressner, Ph.D., LCSW  |  President-Elect

Ira Dressner, Ph.D., LCSW took Level 1 and 2 EMDR Training with the EMDR Institute in 1997. He was certified in a group with Dr. William Zangwill and became a consultant working with Dr. David Grand. He was involved with the HAP effort after 9/11. He has had an active counseling/psychotherapy career utilizing EMDR therapy; working with people stressed out, victims of domestic violance, sexual abuse, and childhood abuse and anger management. He currently lives in Phoenix with his wife Liana who is also EMDR trained and has a private practice and works in a clinic. He is passionate about EMDR therapy; the results and the clients who have improved lives. Between 2003-2006 he offered an approved EMDRIA course called the Mixed Multitude and EMDR.  

He graduated from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs of Syracuse University with the Masters in Public Administration and a Ph.D. Later on he graduated from New York University with a Masters in Social Work. Believing that good therapists are taught and supervised he attended Washington Square Institute in NYC and was awarded a Certificate in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.


Susan Packwood, LCSW  |  Secretary

Susan Packwood, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in Sugar Land, Texas Susan has worked with adults and children for the last 30 years. She specializes in the treatment of trauma, as well as anxiety disorders, depression, and divorce issues.

Susan was trained in the use of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) in 1997 and is a certified EMDR therapist I She loves EMDR and has seen it change her client’s lives. Susan was trained as a community organizer in graduate school so has always included community volunteer work in her life and in her social work practice.

DaLene Forester, Ph.D., LMFT  |  Secretary-Elect

DaLene Forester, PhD, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Redding, California. She has been in Practice since 1993 and maintains a full time private practice specializing in the treatment of Eating Disorders, Anxiety Disorders and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. DaLene was first trained in EMDR in what was then called Level one (L1) in 1994 and Level two (L2) in 1995. She became an EMDRIA Certified EMDR Therapist in 2000 and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant in 2006. In 2007 DaLene founded the Advanced Education Institute (AEI) where she provides clinical trainings to Mental Health professionals in EMDR as an EMDRIA approved Basic Trainer, Motivational Interviewing, Clinical Supervision, and other relevant topics of interest. DaLene is an EMDRIA Regional Meeting Coordinator and the Chair of the EMDR and Eating Disorders Special Interest Group. In the past DaLene has served on the EMDRIA Standards and Training Committee, presented at the EMDRIA Conference and has volunteered in various capacities since becoming a member of EMDRIA in 1998.


Terry Becker-Fritz, MS, RN, CS  |  Director

Terry Becker-Fritz, MS, RN, CS is an Advanced Practice Nurse specializing in treating young children through adults who have experienced severe and early trauma. She has over 35 years in the mental health field working in most practice settings both as a clinician and director of mental health services. She currently is in full time private practice in the Columbus, Ohio area. She uses EMDR on a daily basis and has done so since her initial training in 1992. Terry has been active in EMDRIA serving as Chair of the Membership Committee for the past 5 years and helped start the Child/Adolescent SIG serving as Executive Chair for 6 years. She has provided many workshops on use of EMDR with children & adolescents at past EMDRIA conferences and consults with professionals seeking their Certification nationwide. Terry has been married to her husband Bill for 28 years and they have a daughter, Kadie, who is in her first year of the PsyD program at Spaulding University in Louisville, KY.


Shannon Brown, MS  |  Director

Shannon Brown holds Professional Counselor and Chemical Dependency Counselor licenses and is in private practice in Conroe, Texas. She is the founder and Director of a faith based organization and is currently working on her PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision with a specialization in Trauma and Crisis. Her current area of focus is dissociative disorders. Shannon was trained in the use of EMDR in 2011 and is currently pursuing her certification. She strongly believes in the freedom that this therapy provides clients and their families. Her hope is to see EMDR practice, research, and support continue to grow.

John "Jac" Carlson, Ph.D.  |  Director

John G. (Jac) Carlson has expertise in stress, trauma, and the therapeutic management of these and related emotional disorders. His undergraduate and graduate education was at the University of Minnesota; his background in clinical psychology includes 20+ years of clinical practice with adults and young children in a university setting and private practice—currently part-time. He is a licensed psychologist in Arizona and Hawaii.

Dr. Carlson, professor emeritus and former coordinator of health psychology at the University of Hawaii, is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research; Research Professor of Medicine at the University of AZ; Chair, CE Committee/member of the Board, Southern AZ Psychological Assn., and author/editor of 150+ papers, books, and research publications, many in the areas of emotion, trauma, anxiety, and stress management.


Carrie Cherep, MA, LCPC  |  Director

Carrie Cherep, MA, LCPC is a dynamic speaker, writer, and executive director of the Hope Enrichment Center, PC.She has more than 17 years of clinical experience in community mental health centers, hospitals, and private practice. In 2004, she founded the Hope Enrichment Center with the mission to promote personal strength and purpose to ensure each person have a positive impact on the world.

Carrie is an active member of the ACA, APA, ICA, EMDRIA, IMHCA, and a Gottman Certified Educator. She is a certified EMDR clinician and has utilized EMDR in her daily therapy practice since 2004. She has worked with children, teens, adults, groups and families. Carrie is an innovative therapist that constantly searches for new forms of research based, effective treatments in order to ensure that her clients achieve optimal well-being. She is multifaceted and global in her approach to allow each individual to achieve their therapeutic and personal goals.


James Cole, Ed.D.  |  Director

Jim Cole is a licensed psychologist in Washington State. He has a private practice in the rural college town of Ellensburg. He has worked as an elementary school teacher, a school counselor, and a university professor. In 1990 he took an early retirement from the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he was the Director of the Health and Counseling Center and teaching graduate classes in the Psychology Department. Since then he has had a part time private practice as a psychologist and worked doing training to increase the understanding of prejudicial behavior and working to reduce prejudicial behavior by doing workshops around the nation on the topic. Jim finished his level II training with Francine Shapiro in 1997 and he has since become an EMDRIA approved consultant and a Humanitarian Assistance Program consultant. Jim has been chairman of the EMDRIA membership committee. He has presented at both EMDRIA and EMDR Canada Conferences and recently became Regional Coordinator for Central Washington State.


Diane DesPlantes, LCSW  |  Director

Diane DesPlantes, LCSW is Principal Consultant and President of S.U.R.G.E., Inc. She received her graduate degree from Hunter College Graduate School of Social Work, and has her private practice in New Jersey. She is a Master Trainer and the lead curriculum designer on Cultural Competency for The New Jersey Department of Children and Families. She has specialized in cultural humility since 1996 and has consulted independently for several years. She has served as a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at national conferences. As a member of EMDRIA, she is the Chairperson for the SIG Public Practice and Diversity. She also sits on the Membership Committee of EMDRIA.


Dean Dickerson, Ph.D., A.A.E.T.S.

Dean Dickerson, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in Davis, California. He has a full time private practice, facilitates 5 EMDR consultation groups and manages Psychological Resource Associates, a group of 10 clinicians. He trained in EMDR with Francine Shapiro in 1976, joined EMDRIA in 1979; became an EMDRIA Certified Therapist in 2002 and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant in 2004. He served on the EMDRIA Standards and Training Committee for three years. Dean is dedicated to integrating neurobiology and the developmental theories of Erikson, Piaget and Kohlberg into the clinical practice of EMDR. Most recently he produced a set of 4 DVD training modules for the EMDRIA Regional Group Lending Library on the integration of EMDR, neurobiology and Erikson’s Psychosocial Model. His wife, Susan, is an EMDR trained LCSW. His daughter Lauren is a veterinarian in Northern CA and his son Michael is a Psy.D. student at the Wright Institute in Berkeley.


Brenda Rohren, MA, MFS, LIMHP, LADC, MAC  |  Director

Brenda Rohren is the President of Behavioral Health Resources, LLC in Lincoln, Nebraska. Services include management consulting and outpatient treatment for co-occurring disorders. Brenda is a licensed mental health and substance abuse professional who has worked in the behavioral health field for 30 years (all levels of care from outpatient to inpatient.) Because of her commitment to the practice and advancement of EMDR, she was active on several EMDRIA committees until her election to the Board. This includes Chair of the Membership Committee and Chair of the Public Practice & Diversity Subcommittee.

Career achievements include as a Collaborating Investigator for the DSM-5 Field Trials in Routine Clinical Practice (2011-2012), an ASAM Field Reviewer for the 2013 Patient Placement Criteria (2012-2013), and Research Associate for the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences; 1988-1989). Brenda is an experienced surveyor for an international accreditation organization (CARF) and has conducted surveys in the United States and Canada, to include at VA facilities. Brenda is a military veteran (U.S. Navy). Her last duty station was in the Pentagon (Surface Warfare Division, OP-32). Her husband is a retired LCDR (Navy) and her daughter is also a Navy veteran.


Kate Wheeler, Ph.D., APRN, FAAN  |  Advisory Director

Kate Wheeler is a professor of nursing at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut.  She has practiced as an advanced practice psychiatric nurse specializing in trauma for the past 25 years. She is board certified as a Clinical Specialist in Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing and a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.  She has additional certifications in EMDR, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, and hypnosis.  Kate has served on EMDRIA’s Research and Conference Committees and is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of EMDR Practice and Research. She is the author of an award-winning book, Psychotherapy for the Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse, which is based on Adaptive Information Processing as a framework for psychotherapy practice.  She has also received awards from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association for Excellence in Practice and Excellence in Education.  Kate is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a Distinguished Alumni of Cornell University-New York Hospital School of Nursing where she received her BSN. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in nursing from New York University.

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