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Al Galves

Schizophrenia Can Be Treated Effectively with Psychotherapy: Here's How!

Al Galves is a psychotherapist in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  He is a past Executive Director of the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) and a member of the Board of Directors of MindFreedom International.  He is the author of Harness Your Dark Side: Mastering Jealousy, Rage, Frustration and Other Negative Emotions.


Meet the Presenters!


Applehelen Kirby

Introducing Mindful Movement into Your Clinical Practice

Applehelen Kirby is a native of Las Cruces, NM currently working as a therapist with ANHTC, adjunct professor of Dance at NMSU, instructor/choreographer of dance technique, and 200-hour certified yoga instructor. She earned a BS in Microbiology, MS in Biology, and MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with Minors in Biochemistry, Integrated Behavioral Health, and Dance Education from NMSU. As an artist, researcher, and educator, she has had the opportunity to study and perform both nationally and internationally focusing her most recent work in the areas of contemporary and flamenco/Spanish dance. The combination of these experiences has contributed to her clinical perspective, taking into consideration all factors that contribute to a client’s life narrative including culture, family, and personal experiences as well as incorporation of various techniques in practice such as mindfulness, DBT, CBT, expressive arts, dance movement, and yoga. 

Aretha Amundson

Teen Clients: The First Stage of Therapy

Aretha Amundson is an LPCC from Silver City, NM. She began learning about and using art and play therapies during internship.  Aretha uses talk therapies along with experiential/expressive therapies to create therapeutic relationships with all ages including her teen clients.  Aretha has worked in multiple settings over the years – a early childhood education center, a federally qualified health center, and most recently, developing a family counseling center for an agency specializing in children and family services. Her focus has been on working with children, teens, and families living in rural areas with few services and having a wide variety of issues related to mental health, gender identity, intergenerational trauma, and poverty.  Aretha is a New Mexico Association for Play Therapy board member.

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Athena Huckaby

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT): Myths, Facts, and Treatment Outcomes

Athena R. Huckaby, MPH currently works with Ideal Option as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the State of New Mexico as well as contracting with the Center for Health Innovation as a Certified Academic Detailer on the topics of Chronic Pain Management and Buprenorphine Prescribing for Opiate Use Disorders. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management with a concentration in Maternal, Child, Sexual, and Reproductive Health from the City University of New York School of Public Health. Athena co-founded the Grajeda-Huckaby Low Barrier Housing Fund, which was created to help people with substance use disorders that find themselves in a housing gap. She also convenes a group of New Mexico addiction medicine providers called the MAT Needs Now Group; the group calls attention to policies that are contributing to the overdose epidemic and seeks to change them. Of note, Athena has a particular interest in working with people who use drugs, LGBTQAI individuals, youth, and sex workers. Her professional areas of interest are not incidental to her lived experience.

Gaby Cadena

Blindsided: Uncovering, Understanding & Managing Organizational Culture in Our Field

Gaby Cadena is a professional focused on helping leaders and agencies reach their potential by training on the complexity of organizational culture and leadership growth. With seven years of experience as a licensed drug and alcohol addiction counselor, her understanding of human behavior and transformational change gives her a unique perspective on the field. Her sense of humor and easy-going personality allows her to deliver engaging and educational training and presentations that empower professionals by providing them with tools and helpful information. She publishes weekly articles on Medium and LinkedIn and writes for FairyGodBoss, an online Network Community focused on the development of women in the professional space. Gaby continues her work through ongoing leadership training and involvement in the National Society of Leadership and Success. In addition, Gaby served in the Next Generation council, a sub-committee for the Children's Trust Fund in the state of New Mexico. Gaby took this experience and is now helping leaders and their agencies stand out by promoting a healthy and safe environment in the workplace which in turn delivers quality service for the communities in the state. 


Jordan Kocon

Documentation in Geek Therapy

Jordan Kocon, M.A., a  graduate student at New Mexico University (NMSU), is currently adventuring and tackling mini-quests in pursuing his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Coming from the tundra of St. Paul, Minnesota, adjusting to the mountain and desert climate has opened his eyes to the land of enchantment. Should your path cross with Jordan on the NMSU campus, he will likely be wearing his therapist, instructor, or mental health advocate hat. As the creator and Principal Investigator for CRIT Games Lab, Jordan specializes in bridging the gap between the academic literature and therapeutic environment for clients and students interested in trying out playful and creative therapeutic interventions—such as video game-informed therapy or Dungeon & Dragon Socialization Skills group. In his clinical work,  he employs Dungeons and Dragons to help clients “step into” other roles that they may not feel safe or comfortable attempting in their environment. Using games therapeutically can foster or enhance essential skills like communication, problem-solving, and task management in a playful way instead of the more traditional and often mundane ways of learning and therapy.


Kamini Verma

Fundamentals of Connecting with Children and Families: A Play Therapist’s Perspective

Kamini Verma obtained her Master of Science in Social Work from the University Of Texas School Of Social Work in 2010. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Social Work Board Approved Supervisor in Texas, and a Registered Play Therapist and Supervisor (RPT-S). She has 10+ years of experience working with children, adolescents and their families on topics related to healing from trauma and abuse, crisis intervention, creating home stability, adoption, grief and loss, mindfulness and questions of sexuality. She is Trust Based Relational Intervention ® Certified Educator and completed Level One of Theraplay training. Kamini has offered counseling to children ages 5-17 years in both individual and family sessions, utilizing a variety of treatment modalities, including play therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. During the course of her professional care, Kamini has  worked as an advocate for children in the foster care system, a residential treatment center, a community health clinic, and private practice before most recently returning to her non-profit roots at a local counseling agency that serves all people and has a focus on military families.

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Katia Denisse McEvoy-Holguin

Engaging the Latina Immigrant Mother: Implications for Clinical Practice

Katia McEvoy-Holguin was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was fifteen. As an immigrant, Katia not only understands the unique challenges we face as a community, but she also appreciates the uniqueness of our stories and how they bring us strength and resilience. The pursuit of stories attracted Katia to the field of psychology and counseling. Now, as a first-year student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at NMSU, she hopes to use her community’s innate inner knowledge to bring change to systems that do not serve us. 

Kim Knox

Teaming Up: A Panel Discussion

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Kourtney Vaillancourt

The Ethics of Collaborative Supervision

Laura Lopez

Ethics in the Workplace

Laura Lopez is a therapist who graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Master's degree in Educational Psychology in Community Counseling and her undergraduate was also from the University of Texas at El Paso with a triple major in Psychology, Criminal Justice and Philosophy with a minor in religious studies. Ms. Lopez has an agency in El Paso, Texas, Alcohol and Drug Educational Services who specializes in Criminal Justice therapy and educational classes in DWI/DUI, drug offenders and repeat offenders. She has worked in prison settings by setting up therapeutic communities in El Paso (Sanchez Unit) and Houston, Texas (YMAC, Peden and WHO-A). She also works with FMCSA-DOT as a Substance Abuse Profession (SAP) and has had her license in chemical dependency since 1999, she also holds various licensures and certifications working with the criminal justice system. 

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Lisa McVann

Teaming Up: A Panel Discussion

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Lisa Peterson

Teaming Up: A Panel Discussion


Maria Laquerre-Diego

Welcome to the Dark Side: Using Villains and Bad Guys in Therapy

A self-described geek, Maria Laquerre-Diego is a CEO and Owner who is committed to increasing access to mental health services and breaking down the stigma surrounding therapy services. In addition to supporting mental health providers, Maria takes an active role in addressing the continued stigma of mental health services through the use of pop culture – everything from movies and television shows to superheroes and Disney characters. Maria has spoken about mental health at several local events, has served as an officer on professional boards and has provided training to clinicians all over the country while maintaining her and her family’s roots as Aggies! Maria is always happy to talk about Star Wars, Marvel and mental health and can be contacted through her practice website

Marrina Alvarez

Be the "STAR" of Your Own Story: Play Based Interventions

Marrina enjoys working with children, adolescents, and families on a range of issues. Marrina is pursuing her play therapy credentials and enjoy using these techniques in therapy. Marrina approaches therapy from many different perspectives, but mainly using, person-centered therapy; meaning she uses a non-authoritative approach that allows her clients to take more of a lead in discussions so that, in the process, they will discover their own solutions.

Marrina's goal is to provide everyone with a safe and non-judgmental environment for her clients and their family’s needs. Her passion is to help individuals and families reach their goals and make positive changes in their lives. 

Marrina was born and raised in Tatum, NM. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice and her Master's degree in Clinical Counseling from Eastern New Mexico University.  


MelindaJoy Pattison

It's All About Self Care: Relaxation Therapy and Guided Meditation

A native of New Mexico; MelindaJoy is a Psychotherapist, in private practice, having graduated with her Masters of Counseling from Southwestern College, in Santa Fe. She specializes in creating healthy relationships with clients using the modalities of Interpersonal Neurobiology, Harm Reduction, Body Mind Centering and Creative Arts, as appropriate. MelindaJoy has varied experience as a workshop presenter, speaker and teacher for over twenty years. 

Merranda Marin

The Ethics of Colaborative Supervision

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Michelle L. Manning

If You're Not Being Confronted By Your Clients, You're Doing It Wrong: Successfully Managing Tension in Your Counseling Sessions

Michelle L. Manning is an Albuquerque therapist who happily works in a tiny office with no aspiration to be anything other than a happy therapist in a tiny office. She loves her work almost more than her family. But loves her family more when they don’t complain about her work.

Sarah Ramos

Engaging the Latina Immigrant Mother: Implications for Clinical Practice

Dr. Sarah Ramos is currently the training clinic director for the department of Counseling and Educational Psychology and co-director of clinical training for the counseling psychology doctoral program. She received her PhD in Counseling Psychology from New Mexico State University where she received specialized training in Spanish for mental health professionals. She is a licensed psychologist in both Nevada and New Mexico. Dr. Ramos has extensive experience providing clinical services to the Latinx Spanish-speaking community, in both rural and urban settings.  She engages in clinical work through systemic and liberation frameworks to promote health and healing. Her research interests are two-fold: (1) centering the lived experiences of Latinas in higher education and (2) bilingual clinical mental health training.  

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Zachary Dehler Egan

Documentation in Geek Therapy

Zac is a Licensed Master Social Worker with his graduate degree from Western New Mexico University. While there, his focus was on clinical social work and he received a certificate in school social work. Zac's passion in therapy is using unconventional interventions – such as video games, outdoor adventure therapy, horticulture therapy, tabletop role playing games (such as Dungeons & Dragons), and board games – alongside conventional intervention techniques. Zac currently holds a certificate in mindfulness therapy and is working on certifications in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Zac may be a “padawan” therapist, but he has been active in local communities since high school, starting with independent community organizing and eventually founding a local non-profit. The populations that he has the most experience working with are preteens, teenagers, and adults in both group and individual settings. Zac aims to provide a holistic and humanistic service to his clients utilizing an integrative therapeutic approach.

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