Alumni Updates | Heartlink Summer 2010
Graduation Year – 2009
Rachel Zavarella, MA
Starting in July 2010, I am moving to the bay area in California to work at The Creekside School. I will be working toward hours for LPCC and ATR licensure in addition to being trained as a DIR/Floortime therapist. The Creekside School is a private school for children with autism and is holistic and relationship based. It is one of the few schools in the country that utilizes Stanley Greenspan’s DIR/Floortime model. The school was started in 2007 by parents who were disappointed with the lack of alternative programs in the bay area and California as a whole. They wanted professionals to relate to their children first and foremost with respect for who they are rather than the skills they are lacking or negative behaviors they may exhibit. I have never been more grateful for my education at Southwestern. I have the opportunity to work with professionals who are like-minded and dedicated to working with these special children in new and innovative ways. The goal and philosophy at Southwestern, to create change through a shift in consciousness, helped me become prepared to work in a place that is working toward that same end with regard to children with autism. I will undoubtedly reference my education at Southwestern time and time again and I look forward to making a positive change with this very special population!
Graduation Year – 2007
Kate Latimer, MA, LMHC,
is working at Solace Crisis Treatment Center, formerly the Santa Fe Rape Crisis and Trauma Treatment Center, as a Clinical Counselor and Training Services Coordinator where she sees individual clients and provides stress management training for high risk groups such as first responders and active duty military members. She is continuing her training in Psychodrama and Action Methods under the direction of Kate Cook, MA, LPCC, and is working toward national certification with the ASGPP. Kate also still teaches Nia and other fitness classes in and around Santa Fe and has even done a bit of teaching at Southwestern College in recent months.
To find out more about the Solace Crisis Treatment Center:
Laura Lansrud-Lopez, MA, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC
My life has been a whirlwind of activity and growth since graduating from Southwestern College. I continue to live and work in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and this past year I obtained my independent licenses in both counseling and art therapy, completed my training to become a Certified Trauma Specialist with the National Institute of Trauma and Loss in Children, and embarked on the adventure of establishing a small private practice. I have also become more involved with the New Mexico Chapter of the American Art Therapy Association by serving as chapter secretary, and am in the process of laying the foundation for a workbook that combines art therapy and DBT, which I hope ultimately to publish. The most exciting development, however, has been the birth of my second daughter, Luciana, on 5/3/10. She and her two-year-old sister, Sofia, bring a constant flood of joy and light to my life.
Seren Morris, MA, LPCC, ATR-BC,
still lives here in Santa Fe. She is currently an independent contractor to Zia Behavioral Health. She is working as an art therapist and counselor in her Santa Fe office, as well as contracting to TeamBuilders Counseling Services two days per week in their Las Vegas office. She enjoys working with a wide variety of clients, including families, children, and adults. She is also a ceramics artist, and enjoys creating unique, one-of-a-kind coffee & tea mugs with designs inspired by Unconscious and Archetypal material. Beginning this July, she looks forward to teaching a clay class to SWC students in the old AT studio. She is very excited to share her knowledge of basic techniques, as well as her passion for creative expression through clay. She is equally excited to meet more SWC students, whom she often calls “her Southwestern family.”
Graduation Year – 2006
Misty Peterson, MA Counseling
Misty and her family reside in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in beautiful Asheville, NC. Misty will be taking time off over the summer to nurture and explore with her adorable four year old son! In the fall she will return to work as a School Based Therapist, working with elementary aged children in the public schools. Misty combines her talent and interest in art and play therapy to support these kids in addressing the stresses, challenges, and various transitions they are exposed to. Misty’s husband also hopes to be employed in the public school come fall, after recently completing his teacher certification in theatre arts and elementary education.
Susan Boyes, MA
I now live and work in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I have a part-time position providing art therapy for traumatic brain injured adults in a rehabilitation center. I also have a thriving private practice, providing art therapy to TBI clients and others in their own homes, or in my office. I find this work to be richly rewarding. It seems that the years I spent getting to this place included a long history of working with people that had some kind of brain injury. Brain injury may not have been their primary diagnoses, but the signs and symptoms were there. Whether I worked in a psychiatric hospital, women’s prison, outreach for at-risk youth and families, special education program, community mental health center, or methadone maintenance center (yes, I have worked in all of these places!), most of the behaviors and challenges my clients faced point to brain injury. I recently began intensively researching the neurological impact of art making – having to do with neuroplasticity and actual recovery – and I find direct and hopeful correlations. I have my ATR and Board Certification in art therapy.
I remain active locally with art therapists and other healing professionals. I also write and I continue to make art. My new art is two-dimensional, rather than the pottery for which I was so well known when I liked in NM. Just recently I opened an office that is on a bus line, close to the freeway, and handicapped accessible. I love my new office and studio space.
My children, by the way, have all grown up! My 31 year old son, Jesse, is married and living in Brooklyn, NY. My twins live in Spokane (where Liz, also married, manages a bakery) and Hawaii (where Alan teaches history at Kauai Community College.) My husband, Matt Cantillon, recently launched an on-line payroll service called www.go-payroll.com.
I couldn’t be prouder about any of them.
Art Therapy for Creative Renewal
James ‘Max’ Maxwell, MA,
Jack McLeod and I were married December 27, 2004, in the Empress Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. We are moving to Santa Fe August 1, 2010. NEW EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kate Bremer, MA
I live in the magical Texas Hill Country (Blanco) with 3 mustangs and 4 formerly wild burros. I have an online horse products business www.foresthorse.com. I am involved in healing and advocacy with equines and other creatures.
Graduation Year – 2005
Barbara A. DeLuca, MA
Counseling is now living back in her hometown of Highland, New York. She is currently working as a Massage Therapist in Highland and on Long Island while she awaits issue of her New York State Counseling License.
Being back in my hometown of Highland, New York in the Hudson Valley, has made me aware of just how much healing happened while away in Santa Fe and parts beyond in the 16 years I have been gone. The decision to relocate was in the works for a long time and the final impetus was my dad going into an extended care facility. The journey back has not been easy but I continue to appreciate the rich experiences of my life and my desire to serve others.
Marika Richards, MA Art Therapy ’05
I’m currently working as a traveling counselor providing support for military and their families. This year has taken me to Germany, several spots stateside, and now Guam! As for where I’m living I’d have to say, out of suitcases!
Lorrie Ogren MA LPCC, 05 is working for “Circle of Life” Family Services under Eight Northern Indian Pueblos, in Espanola and Albuquerque. She is working with Native American children and their families on the Pueblos, in homes and schools doing art and play therapy.
Tod Dicecco ’05 , MA, LPCC, lives and works in Santa Fe. He is in private practice specializing in children and family therapy dealing with co-parenting issues. Tod is a potter who makes micaceous clay pottery used for cooking. He also makes traditional Plains Pipes for ceremonial use. Married to Alum Niccole Toral.
Graduation Year – 2003
Niccole Toral , MA, LPCC,
is the Social Services Director for Tesuque Pueblo. She is member of Local Collaborative 18, serving the eight northern Indian Pueblos and is an appointed member of Governor Richardson’s Behavioral Health Planning Council for Native Americans. She co-facilitates Vision Quests with Carol Parker and facilitates indigenous healing practices for individuals and groups. Married to Alum Tod Dicecco.
Graduation Year – 1997
Lilla Oakes Khalsa (Siri Simran Kaur Khalsa), MA
Because of my teachers at Southwestern College and my love of serving I have managed to work as a psychotherapist and art therapist since my graduation from Southwestern and Norwich University. I have spent the past 16+ years working with all kinds of populations. Many of my years were spent with youth at risk. Presently I am working in private practice and my clientele are traumatic brain injury, substance abuse and family therapy. I love the work I do and am always learning. Thank you so much for the excellent education.
Graduation Year – 1994
John Seniff, MA
After working for a few years as a high school family therapist in New York State, at present I am living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. I am continuing my studies and practice as a Zen Priest. Am just now in the process of forming a Buddhist practice group in Jacksonville and do see some people privately. I have two books out on amazon called Beyond Religion and Awakening Mind; Travels with my Self. My Zen teacher (Rev. Seikan Hasegawa) and I are also attempting to establish Zen lecture and discussion groups around the country or beyond for those wishing to engage in this study and sponsorship.
Robert Levithan, MA
My newest project: I have begun a year-long column on ADVOCATE.COM titled THE NEW 60. It began on my 59th birthday in April and addresses aging as a man, a gay man, as a long-term survivor of HIV and issues in our aging population such as internalized ageism and healthy vs. unhealthy vanity. I continue my private practice in NYC and my work at Friends In Deed, The Crisis Center for Life-Threatening Illness.
photo caption: The blond is Sophie, a former Guide-Dog for The Blind, my canine assistant.
Graduation Year – 1985
Rick Cotroneo, MA Counseling
This June marks 25 years since my graduation from the Southwestern College of Life Sciences (SCLS, as it was known at the time). Reflection was a critical skill that was fostered during my education and it seems that this 25 year anniversary offers an interesting opportunity to look back at the last 25 years and share it with the Southwestern community.
Within one month of graduation I found myself at a traditional Sun Dance in Colorado and this opened a series of visionary experiences that have deeply transformed my life and opened an important door for my service to the world. I’ve been dancing in intensive vision quest dances for 23 years now. This summer we will conduct our 13th 4-day vision quest Sun-Moon Dance here on the land where I live in upstate New York.
During this time I have had the opportunity, with my wife and partner Elisa, to grow a loving community called the House of Mica Peace Chamber (a non-profit organization) that includes several hundred people that come to ceremony from around the corner and around the world. We hold monthly sweat lodges, monthly Fire Ceremonies for Peace, an annual Mid-winter Drumming Vision Quest and we host traditional wisdom keepers from many different traditions (Vedanta, Tibetan Buddhist, Indigenous North and South America, Toltec and others) to share their teachings.
My education at SCLS provided a strong spiritual foundation and placed me on the path of healing and self-understanding that made my future work possible. It also helped me learn about service to community and leadership and these lessons have been really important as my wife and I have worked to foster a loving and open community. Sounds like a full time job doesn’t it?
Well, on a professional level, I have spent the last 20 years working in the field of HIV/AIDS, first as a professional trainer for social workers and counselors. For the last 15 years I have served as the as director of a unit that oversees HIV/AIDS training for the New York State Department of Health. I am proud to say that my unit trains approximately 10,000 health and human services providers each year on issues related HIV, hepatitis, STDs, case management, behavior change, risk reduction and dozens of related topics.
For the last 8 years I have also served as director of a national viral hepatitis training and technical assistance program. During this time I have had the opportunity to present on my work at national HIV and hepatitis conferences and have offered more than 18 oral presentations, conducted 8 poster sessions, had two articles published in professional journals and received three Commissioner of Health Recognition Awards.
So, Dr. Nolan, share that with the accreditation committee! On the home front, I’ve been blessed with a loving partner and two children (Jay, 22 and Anna, 16) in whose hands I fully trust the future of the planet. Every day I give thanks for being blessed with wonderful teachers in my life – the priest at the Catholic Church where I grew up; Robert Waterman and Katherine Ninos at Southwest; Beautiful Painted Arrow who shared with me the gift of sacred dance; Dungse Rigdzin Dorje Rinpoche for the Vajra Verses and most of all, Yug Purush Mahamandeleshwar Swami Paramanand Giri Maharaj, my loving guru.