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Board of Directors

Ira Dressner, Ph.D., LCSW  |  President

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.

DaLene Forester, Ph.D., LMFT  |  President-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.


Mark Nickerson, LICSW  |  Past 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, Co-Regional Coordinator of Western Massachusetts, and was 2014 President of the EMDRIA Board of Directors. 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 EMDR trainings locally, nationally, and internationally on topics including treatment for problem behaviors, problematic anger and violence, cultural competency, interventions to dismantle social stigma and oppression, and the effective use of EMDR protocols. He is author of The Wounds Within, an expose on the challenges for war veterans, their families, and our communities. 


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

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.


Terry Becker-Fritz, MS, RN, CS  |  Secretary-Elect

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.


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.


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.  |  Director

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.


Ken Kernagis, MA, LPCC  |  Director

Ken Kernagis, MA., LPCC is counselor with over 20 years of experience doing EMDR Therapy. After assisting students for over 25 years at the community college, Ken "retired" and currently works at Mesa Family Practice in Farmington, New Mexico.  Ken works with teens and adults, primarily utilizing EMDR Therapy with his clients.  He has conducted various workshops and trainings for adults on probation for the past 20 years, and is widely known as a dynamic and "fun" speaker.  Ken has given keynote presentations at regional and national conferences as well as served in leadership roles with the New Mexico Career Development and Academic Advising Associations.  He is a passionate, caring therapist who strongly believes in the healing power of EMDR Therapy and it's infinite future. 


Jorge Torres-Sáenz, Psy.D.  |  Director

Jorge Torres-Sáenz is a licensed clinical and community family psychologist in both the state of Oregon and the state of Washington, where he lives.  He has worked in social services agencies the majority of his 36 years in the field.  The settings have been in outpatient, inpatient, public and private hospitals, research and private practice with all ages of individuals.  He currently works for the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.  As an approved supervisor for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy he also has done consultations, mentoring and supervision of psychotherapists.  As a Motivational Interviewing trainer and certified as an Incredible Years Parent Group leader he enjoys using these skills to assist parents in their journeys with children.  Dr. Torres-Sáenz started working in the trauma field while pursuing his master’s degree in Family Therapy in Houston working with incest and sexual abuse survivors and their families.  He continued this field of work at the doctoral level working with the victim assistance program of the Denver Police dealing mainly with suicides, homicides, rapes and death and was able to complete his doctoral paper on children that witness domestic violence at a time that this area was not thought of as related to trauma.  Upon graduation he participated in a community intervention one year after the Rodney King riots in Compton Watts through Drew University of Medicine & Science.  Currently, his trauma works relates mainly to migrant farm workers many who are disenfranchised immigrants.  Dr. Torres-Sáenz was first trained in EMDR in Mexico in 2002.  As a member of the EMDRIA membership committee for four years, he served briefly as the chair for the Public Practice & Diversity Subcommittee and has also has been a member of the Public Practice and Diversity SIG.  He is currently certified in EMDR and is a consultant in training.  He has been able to bring three HAP trainings to the agency where he works.  Dr. Torres-Sáenz also served on the Washington State Examining Board of Psychology for 10 years.  He looks forward to being part of what will be a bright future for EMDR as an unparalleled type of psychotherapy intervention.


Evelyn Wright, LCSW  |  Director

Evelyn Wright, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in Rolling Hills Estates, California.  She has been in private practice on a full-time basis in 2003 specializing in Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Eating Disorders, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Attachment and Abuse, with an emphasis in child and adolescent therapy.  Upon completing graduate school at the University of Southern California in 1998, she began her career with clinical intervention and play therapy with abused and neglected children at UCLA’s Department of Pediatrics.   Seeking more effective clinical interventions and methods of assisting clients and addressing childhood issues, she became an EMDR Certified Therapist in 2011 and later trained in the EMDR Trauma Recovery/HAP R-TEP Protocol.  In addition to having been a member of the Child/Adolescent SIG and Public Practice and Diversity SIG, Evelyn has also been an active member of the Advocacy Committee.  She is also active in the Association of Play Therapy and Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. She has been a guest lecturer on child development, temperament, cross-cultural and transracial adoption, and behavioral issues.  Evelyn is passionate about assuring that our returning wounded warriors as well as those victimized by crime, abuse, and disasters receive the benefits afforded for transitions in life through EMDR.


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