Member: Founding Members
Violet Oaklander, PhD.
Violet Oaklander was the author of the books Windows to Our Children: a Gestalt Therapy Approach to Children and Adolescents (now in 17 languages), and Hidden Treasure: A Map to the Child’s Inner Self (now in 7 languages), as well as several journal articles, book chapters, and audio and video recordings on psychotherapeutic work with children. She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, a Master of Arts in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, a Master of Science in Special Education with emotionally disturbed children, and is a certified Gestalt Therapist.
Dr. Oaklander’s unique approach to working with children, which combines Gestalt Therapy theory, philosophy, and practice with a variety of expressive techniques, has won international recognition. She recieved a lifetime achievement award from the Association of Play Therapy, U.S. as well as numerous other awards for her contribution to the mental health field. In February of 2012 she was honored and awarded by the Edna Reiss-Sophie Greenberg Chair at the Reiss-Davis Child Study Center in Los Angeles.
Dr. Oaklander traveled extensively in the United States as well as throughout the world giving training seminars on her approach to working with children and adolescent. For 27 years she conducted a highly successful two-week training program drawing people to California from all over the world. In addition, she was a regular instructor for many years with the extension programs of the University of California campuses in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and San Diego, and the Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Dr. Oaklander grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and lived in Miami; New York City; Denver; Albany; and Long Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Santa Barbara, California. After 21 years in Santa Barbara, Dr. Oaklander moved to Los Angeles to live near her son and daughter-in-law in her retirement. She was married for 26 years to Harold Oaklander, a licensed social worker and Gestalt therapist (deceased). Together, they had three children: Mha Atma S. Khalsa (Arthur), Michael (deceased), and Sara.
Karen Fried, Psy.D., M.F.T.
Karen Fried, Psy.D., M.F.T. is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an Educational Therapist in Santa Monica, California. She has a private practice in Psychotherapy and is Co-Director of the K&M Center. Inc., a learning center providing educational and remedial services. Karen uses the Oaklander Model of Child Therapy in her practice and is the President of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation. She trains child and adolescent therapists in this model in the US and internationally. Trainings, online tools, and many resources can be found at oaklandertraining.org. Karen can be reached at email@example.com.
Marjorie Mapes. LISW, RPT-S
Margie Mapes received her Masters in Social Work from the Ohio State University in 1990 and is a graduate of the three-year post graduate training of the Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio (GICO). Prior to her MSW, Margie co-founded and directed Little Tigers Preschool, which became the springboard of her dedication to the emotional needs of children. She first met Violet in 1981, when Violet came to Columbus to present a weekend workshop and subsequently attended every Violet Oaklander training she could find. August, 1991 was Margie's first intensive summer training with Violet, and she has attended three more since then. You might call her a certified Violet Oaklander groupie!! Margie began clinical supervision with Violet in 1992, and continues supervision with her today.
Margie is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and she is certified by the Association for Play Therapy as a Registered Play Therapist - Supervisor. Currently in private practice with Gestalt Associates in Columbus, Ohio, Margie works with children, adolescents, and their parents. Additionally, she provides the unique "Voice of the Child" in their parenting program, Parenting From Your Heart. She offers training and presentations on the Oaklander Model of play therapy with children and adolescents. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Mortola, Ph.D.
Peter Mortola, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of School and Counseling Psychology at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where he coordinates the School Psychology Program. He teaches classes on lifespan development, group counseling for children, and consultation in the schools. He also leads preventative groups for fifth-grade boys at a local elementary school and is in the process of publishing a book on the subject. Peter has worked closely with Dr. Violet Oaklander over the past ten years, attending nine intensive summer trainings, and is in the process of publishing a book on the Oaklander method of training adults to do therapy with children through the GestaltPress. Peter can be contacted at this email: email@example.com.
Christiane Elsbree, LCSW, ACSW, BCD
Christiane received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California in 1975, and trained with the Gestalt Therapy Institute of Los Angeles from 1978-1984. In 1980, Christiane was a co-founder of the Child and Adolescent Therapy Center in Hermosa Beach, California under the direction of Violet Oaklander. She is the author of three audiotapes for parents and professionals: Healing the Sexually Abused Child, Narcissistic Disturbances in Children and Adolescents, and When Do Children and Adolescents Need Therapy. All are available through Maxsound. Today, Christiane is in private practice in Seattle, working with children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. Her practice encompasses cross-cultural issues, relationships, chronic illnesses, depression and anxiety. In recent years, she has also been passionately immersed in her work with Citizens for Effective Administration of Seattle Education (CEASE), a grassroots not-for-profit corporation that advocates for democracy and the elimination of institutional racism in Seattle Public Schools. She is a firm believer in bringing the I-Thou relationship to educational settings. Christiane can be contacted at this e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claire Mercurio, Ph.D.
Claire Mercurio, Ph.D. received her B.A. with High Honors in Psychology from the University of Michigan in 1984 and her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern California in 1991. During her internship with Community Counseling Service/Pacific Center she was exposed to Violet's book, "Windows to our Children." Shortly after becoming a licensed psychologist and having her first child, Claire moved to Santa Barbara, where unbeknownst to her (at that time), Violet lived! Claire has a private practice specializing in children and adolescents. She was an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University for six years, and supervised interns at Family Service Agency. She is currently supervising an intern at "New Beginnings." Violet's methods have continuously been the driving force behind what Claire teaches and practices. Claire can be contacted at this email: email@example.com.
Fabienne Kuenzli, Ph.D. , LMFT
Fabienne Kuenzli, Ph.D. , LMFT, is a Swiss clinical psychologist located between Lausanne and Geneva in Switzerland. She is a licensed Psychologist and Psychotherapist in Switzerland and a Licensed Marriage, Family Child and Couple Therapist in California. She is currently in private practice. She has an extensive expertise in teaching at several Universities, in Switzerland, in the USA, and Europeans countries. Fabienne Kuenzli has published a series of articles and 2 books, both in French and in English. She has been trained with the Gestalt Institute of Los Angeles and in the field of Family Therapy. She had the privilege to be trained with Michael White , David Epston, Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, Harlene Anderson ,Tom Andersen, Robert and Rita Resnick, and Violet Oaklander. She has been trained in clinical hypnosis since 2001 with the Milton Erickson Institute in Phoenix. She has worked in Switzerland as the clinical director in a shelter for women and their children under the influence of domestic violence. She has worked in California and Texas in non -profit organizations as a clinical supervisor and as a family therapist for children and teenagers with multiple trauma, in precarious part of the city. She has trained numerous practitioners, nurses, social worker, educators, psychiatrists and psychologists to address and respond to the dynamics of violence in their occurring context. In 2006, she created, along with her husband, André Kuenzli the Institute of Reflexive Practices (IRP, www.reflexivepractices.com. She is a founding member of the Violet Oaklander Solomon Institute (vsof.org). She has specific interest and training with violence, trauma, insomnia, anxiety and work with children. She has practiced as a psychologist since 1991. She is responsible along with one of her student for the French translation of “Windows to our children, Fenêtres sur les enfants, 2014, L’Exprimerie, Bruxelles.) She has actively expanded the work of Violet Oaklander in the French speaking community.contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Felicia Carroll, M.Ed, MA.
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist and Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor is in private practice in Solvang, California. She is the Founder-Director of the West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents, LLC www.westcoastinstitute.us Felicia is a master’s graduate of the University of Oklahoma and University of California at Santa Barbara with credentials in educational psychology, child development, and counseling psychology. She was a classroom teacher for 12 years and on the staff at Esalen Institute/Gazebo School prior to becoming a therapist. Felicia teaches at Gestalt institutes in Europe, Latin America, and throughout Asia in addition to offering training programs in the United States. Her international experience as a trainer has been in Germany, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Georgia, Poland, Morocco, Italy, Brazil, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and China. She is often a guest lecturer at conferences on child psychotherapy and play therapy. She has published several chapters and articles about Gestalt therapy with children and on topics related to Gestalt theory and practice including serving as the guest editor for a special edition of the International Journal of Gestalt Therapy on Gestalt therapy with children and adolescents, which was published in fall 2010. Her most recent (2019) article, Gestalt Play Therapy, was included in a special edition of the APT (Association for Play Therapy) Magazine, which recognized nine seminal theories in play therapy. She is the invited author of the Foreword to the book, Play Therapy in Asia (2019), Siu and Pon (Eds). As Director of the West Coast Institute LLC, Felicia established a certification program which encourages clinicians to deepen their knowledge and experience with Gestalt Therapy in general with a specialization in therapy with children and adolescents. At present there are over twenty international clinicians who have completed the certification program. Her full resume is available on the website: www.westcoastinstitute.us
Doug Honeyman, Psy.D.
Doug Honeyman, a California licensed Psychologist, was awarded an M.S. in Clinical Psychology in 1977 from Cal State University Bakersfield and his Doctor of Psychology, Psy.D. from Ryokan College in 2002. Doug works in English and Spanish both in private practice and at Clinicas Del Camino Real, a non-profit corporation with many clinics in and around Ventura County, where he sees adult, adolescent, and child clients. His training and association with Violet Oaklander and Gestalt is very evident in his approach to children and parents. Dr. Honeyman’s approach is further informed by Existential/Spiritual, Relational Psychoanalytic, Jungian, and, enthusiastically, Integral Theory. Doug agrees with the importance of treating people as whole beings – body, mind, and spirit - who are strongly influenced by their individual, social, and larger contexts. He is a founding member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation. Doug can be contacted at this email: email@example.com.
André Kuenzli, Dipl. Psych
Mr. André André Kuenzli is a Swiss Psychologist. He has worked for the last 15 years as the Director of a large facility with children (6-25) with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties and has spread and used the concept of Gestalt Therapy in this work. André has a masters from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. Trained as a clinical psychologist in Switzerland. He also is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California where he lived, worked and studied for 12 years. He is a licensed practitioner both in Switzerland and in California. He has a background in Family Therapy and more specifically, Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Collaborative Language System. He is a founding member of the Violet Solomon Institute and has actively spread and diffused the work of Gestalt Therapy and specifically the work of Violet Oaklander. With his beloved spouse, Fabienne, he founded in 2006 their own institute: Institute of Reflexive Practices www.reflexivepractices.com. This institute teaches psychotherapy to psychologists and psychiatrists. He is a licensed practitioner both in Switzerland This institute teaches psychotherapy to psychologists and psychiatrists and other professions (nurses, educators, social worker, teacher,..). He also offers supervision to mental health organizations in Switzerland. He can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Murdock, MFT
Nancy Murdock has her M.S. in Health Science from San Francisco State, and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Santa Barbara. She taught classes in psychotherapy at Antioch for 5 years. Nancy completed Violet's month long training program in the late 1980's, and also trained in Filial Therapy. Nancy has worked in the Psychiatry department at Sansum-Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic for over 20 years, and she also has a private practice.
Christine Orpen, MA. MFT
Christine Orpen is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who practices psychotherapy with children, adolescents, adults and families in Santa Barbara. She has a private practice and also works part-time for the County of Santa Barbara Children's Clinic working in the Center for Therapeutic Education for emotionally disturbed children. She was the designated therapist for the south county Head Start Child/Development Program for seven years.
While practicing as a professional Fine Artist in Santa Barbara, Christine became interested in child psychotherapy when she volunteered as a Family Advocate for CALM (Child Abuse Listening and Mediation). In 1990 she took the position of Executiver Director Pro Tem for a year. In 1994 she graduated with a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. In the same year she also completed a three-year training program at the Santa Barbara Gestalt Training Center.
Christine has completed several trainings with Violet Oaklander, Ph.D. and Felicia Carroll, MFT in the Gestalt Approach to working with Children and Adolescents. She incorporates her own experience with the creative process when using projective modalities with clients. Christine is currently a member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Board of Directors. She can be reached at: email@example.com
Michael Petracca, MFT
Michael Petracca, MFT received his M.Ed. from the UCSB Graduate School of Education Counseling Psychology program and has worked as a therapist in both private and clinical settings, including the County of Santa Barbara Department of Mental Health. He completed advanced training in Gestalt therapy with children and adolescents through the Violet Oaklander Institute and has subsequently made regular presentations at Dr. Oaklander's advanced trainings. Michael is also a full-time faculty member in the Writing Program at UCSB and a writer of memoir, textbooks and novels. He can be contacted at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Helen M. Sherry, Ph.D.
Helen M. Sherry, Ph.D. has been licensed as a Marriage, Family and Child Therapist since 1980, and was part of the original Center for Child and Adolescent Therapy in Hermosa Beach, CA with Violet Oaklander, Ph.D. She completed her doctorate at International College in 1984 with Violet as her mentor teacher. As part of her studies, she worked with Dora Kalff for six months learning Sandplay Therapy in Switzerland, and took coursework at the Jung Institute in Zurich. She then completed the research for her dissertation on Sandplay with Deaf Children while in New Zealand for three months for her wedding to Kiwi Colin Quennell.
In 1997, Helen and Colin moved to Arroyo Grande on the Central Coast of California with their two sons, Colin Edward and Bryan. She was hired by Life Steps Foundation as Children's Services Director at Pasos de Vida, a rehab that reunites mentally ill, chemically dependent women with their children. She continues there part time, while maintaining a full-time private practice and writing for children and teens. Her picture story book to help young children deal with grief, Where Is Heaven, along with excerpts of two of her other children's books, was published in December, 2005, as part of an anthology through Barnes & Noble-- Tales From the Corner, San Luis Obispo, CA: Central Coast Press. Helen is a long-time meditator and is now combining many of the techniques learned with Violet into healing meditation classes in her Arroyo Grande office. Her email address is: email@example.com.
Lynn Stadler, MFT
Lynn Stadler, MA, MFT is a Gestalt psychotherapist and licensed Marriage Family Therapist working in private practice in Santa Barbara, California with children, adolescents, adults, and families. She received her Master of Arts (MA) in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, where she is now adjunct faculty, teaching Psychotherapy with Children & Adolescents. She is a graduate of the Santa Barbara Gestalt Training Center, and she completed intensive training with the Violet Oaklander Institute. Lynn provides workshops, seminars, and Gestalt training for social service agencies, universities and other teaching organizations worldwide — most recently online and in-person for students in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Italy, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Russia/Tomsk, Peru, and Mexico. Lynn is also a member of the International Association for the Advancement of Gestalt Therapy (IAAGT). For training and related questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Ellen Talley, M.A., MFT
Sue Ellen Talley, MFT received her MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in 1994. She worked as an intern and therapist at Children's Institute International, Los Angeles, from 1993 until 1998, specializing in the treatment of at risk children and adolescents. She also received advanced training from the Gestalt Training Institute of Los Angeles (GTILA) and the Violet Oaklander Institute. Sue is currently in private practice in Agoura Hills, CA, working with children, adolescents and their families. She and her husband, Steve, have raised five children together. Sue is the former Secretary of the Board of GTILA, a founding member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation, and is President of the Board of Directors. She can be reached at this e-mail address: email@example.com.
Sandy Volk, M.A., LMFT
Sandy Volk received her MA in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Through the Violet Oaklander Institute, she completed an intensive training program in a Gestalt Therapy Approach with Children and Adolescents, participated in a follow-up advanced training, and attended other presentations by Dr. Violet Oaklander. Sandy completed a number of trainings with Hospice of San Luis Obispo County, including: In-home Volunteer, Adult, Child and Family Bereavement, School Crisis Response Connect Training, and Trauma Training. She was a Counselor and Counseling Program Coordinator from 1996 to 2003 and a trainer and Coordinator of Hospice of San Luis Obispo County’s Community Crisis Response Team. Sandy received certification for a Sexual Assault Counselor presented by the Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center of San Luis Obispo County. She provided on-site counseling at the California Conservation Corps, San Luis Obispo. Sandy is a founding member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation and member of the Board of Directors. Sand Volk can be contacted at this e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Weiser, Ph.D.
Dr. Lee Weiser is a licensed clinical psychologist who holds a BS in Child Development, an MA in Human Behavior, and a PhD degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology. She has specialized training in expressive therapies and spent many years working with children, adolescents and their families in school settings and in private practice. She has studied with James Hillman, Marion Woodman and Violet Oaklander and is a founding member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation. She is currently a full-time clinical faculty member of the Antioch University PsyD department in Santa Barbara where she teaches courses in Human Development, Multicultural Psychology, and Family Therapy and supervises the clinical work of doctoral trainees. She has also taught graduate level courses at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Pacifica Graduate Institute. She can be contacted at: email@example.com.
Patric White, Ph.D.
Patric White completed his MSW degree from the University of Missouri and his Ph.D. in Psychology from International University. Patric has been in advanced training in Gestalt Therapy for many years in Los Angeles. He also has completed various trainings with Violet Oaklander and been supervised by her in Gestalt Child Psychotherapy. Currently Patric is in private practice in Hermosa Beach, California, specializing in child and adolescent and family therapy. He also consults for various school districts on the treatment of emotionally disturbed children. Patric conducts individual supervision for Interns in various clinical disciplines focusing on Child/Adolescent issues. As a founding member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation, Patric is passionate about issues involving children's welfare in our cultural context. He can be reached by email at Wpatrcwhit@aol.com.
Judith Yeager, MFT, A.T.R.
Judith Yeager is the founder of the Gestalt Therapy Institute of Las Vegas. She is a graduate of the Santa Barbara Gestalt Training Center's three year training program and has trained extensively with Dr. Violet Oaklander. Judith served as adjunct faculty in the Counseling/Educational Psychology department at the University of Nevada Las Vegas for 14 years and has supervised Creative Arts interns for Lesley College, College of Notre Dame, and Antioch. She currently maintains a private practice that includes working with children, adolescents, and adults, supervision of MFT interns & art therapy interns, and training programs in Gestalt therapy and Art therapy. Judith is a founding member of the Violet Soloman Oaklander Foundation. Juith can be contacted at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Martha Oaklander and Mha Atma Khalsa, DC
Mha Atma Khalsa is Violet’s son. He lives in Los Angeles and works as a chiropractor. His wife, Violet’s daughter-in-law, Martha Oaklander, is a founding member of the Violet Solomon Oaklander Foundation and is Secretary of the Board of Directors. She serves on the board as a representative of Violet’s family. Marthacan be contacted at this e-mail: email@example.com. Mha Atnacan be contacted at this e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Oaklander, Violet’s daughter, lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband, Monte Allen. Sara is the business development manager for the Interaction institute for Social Change. Monte is a retired development professional. Their son, Michael Allen, is a licensed clinical social worker; Michael’s grandmother enjoys knowing she inspired his career choice. Sara can be contacted at: email@example.com