Malini Nagpal – MA, LPCC, R-DMT
Malini obtained her MA in dance/movement therapy in 1998 from University of California, Los Angeles, MA in science in 2005 from California School of Professional Psychology, and in 2012 a PhD specializing in Industrial Organizational Psychology.
Elizabeth Fluck, MA, R-DMT
Elizabeth received her BA in dance from Point Park University. She obtained her MA in dance/movement therapy from University of California, Los Angeles and her MA in Clinical Psychology from Santa Barbara Graduate Institute.
Megan Shaffer – MA, R-DMT
Megan is a dance/movement therapist at Patton State Hospital, a forensic psychiatric hospital in San Bernardino, CA. She obtained her M.A. in clinical counseling with a specialization in dance/movement therapy at Lesley University and holds a B.F.A. in dance performance from California State University. As a dance/movement therapist Megan has worked with children, adolescents, and adults, focusing on crisis and trauma and severe mental illness. She is currently interested in investigating utilizing the creative process and performance as intervention tools to help patients learn about and make sense of their past, heal, and move forward. Megan is working towards her board certification as a dance/movement therapist (BC-DMT), as well as her licensure as a professional clinical counselor (LPCC). Megan is excited to flourish in her first year as a practicing dance/movement therapist.
Chandra Chaikin – MS, LMFT, R-DMT
Chandra Chaikin earned her M.S. in Counseling from California State University, Fullerton and her B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine. She trained in dance therapy with Danielle Fraenkel, Ph.D. via the Alternate Route Dance Therapy Program at Kinections in Rochester, NY. She is a Spanish-speaking Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Chandra has spoken widely on the healing potential of Dance Therapy (having given presentations at Cal Optima, NAMI, the South Bay Therapist Network and in the community through the South Bay Eating Disorder Coalition) and has facilitated dance and movement workshops for people suffering from eating disorders and chronic mental illness, for dual diagnosis adolescents and for survivors of sexual assault. Chandra has interned with Alison Salter, BC-DMT and the Prime Hospital Group, the Victorian Residential Treatment Center for Eating Disorders, Newport Academy and Project RENEW. Chandra is currently in private practice in Redondo Beach, CA and does a weekly DMT group for adults with eating disorders at Center For Discovery, Palos Verdes.
Kiran Easwarachandran (Northern California)
Erin Howe (Southern California) - MA, R-DMT
Erin Howe is a dance/movement therapist at Aurora Behavioral Health Hospital in San Diego, California providing movement therapies for inpatient behavioral health and chemical dependency services for children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. Erin obtained her M.A. in dance/movement therapy and counseling from Columbia College Chicago, IL, and holds a B.A. is psychology with a minor in dance from CSU San Marcos, San Diego, California. Erin currently resides in San Diego, California and is committed to helping spread knowledge about DMT to the San Diego area. She has been spending her time as a guest artist/presenter at CSUSM regarding DMT and wishes to continue leading presentations. Erin looks forward to completing her hours for California state licensure (LPCC) and moving into private practice.
Bobbi McKissick (Southern California) – MA, R-DMT, RYT
Bobbi McKissick received her MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and counseling from Columbia College Chicago. She holds BA degrees in both Dance and Psychology from University of Maryland. She currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA and is working at an in-patient psychiatric center in Long Beach, CA. Bobbi is offering movement therapies, yoga and meditation to adults with severe mental illness. In addition, she teaches adaptive dance classes with children with disabilities through Segerstrom Center for the Arts. She is working towards obtaining her hour requirements for California state licensure (LPCC) and board certification for dance/movement therapy (BC-DMT). She is a 200hr-RYT, with additional trauma-informed yoga training. Bobbi has clinical experience with children with developmental disabilities, geriatrics, adults with mental illness and substance abuse, and adults with traumatic brain injury.
Government Affairs Chair Committee
Deva Connett –BC-DMT, GL-CMA, LPCC
Deva Connett is a board certified dance/movement therapist, certified Laban movement analyst and licensed professional clinical counselor. She graduated from Wittenberg University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minored in theater and dance. After briefly working in business, she returned to school and received her master of arts from Columbia College Chicago in dance/movement therapy and counseling. In Chicago, Deva worked with various populations including clients with traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. At Riveredge Hospital where she worked for 3 years, she helped to create an intensive outpatient program for adolescents and focused her work in the program on utilizing creativity and relationships to help her clients grow, learn, and heal. While in Chicago, Deva danced professionally with Tiffany Lawson Dance until relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. In therapy, Deva utilizes a holistic approach that helps clients connect and integrate the mind and body.
Anna O'Connell –R-DMT, GL-CMA, LPCC Associate
Anna O'Connell moved to CA from Chicago in 2014 and recently moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2018. She is working towards obtaining her BC-DMT as well as her LPCC in the next few years. Anna has various clinical experiences with several types of populations including in-patient and out-patient psychiatric patients with acute mental illness, adolescents, teen mothers, and women with addiction, physically and cognitively developmentally challenged individuals, and geriatric psych. In addition to her R-DMT she holds a graduate certificate in Laban movement analysis. Anna loves the sun and all the wonderful activities that we are fortunate enough to enjoy everyday in CA.
Kristen Crowe - BC-DMT
Julia Rose-Ramo – MA
Maria Ninos - MA, R-DMT, GL-CMA
Maria Ninos obtained her MA in Dance/Movement Therapy and Counseling from Columbia College Chicago, as well as her Certification in Laban Movement Analysis. She received her B.A. in Dance from Loyola Marymount University. She currently resides and works in Long Beach, CA at a College Hospital Cerritos working with clients with acute mental illness. Her passion for mind and body also includes teaching Pilates and yoga classes in Long Beach. When she is not working or advocating for the field of DMT, she is performing and competing in salsa.
Alice Astarita – PhD, MA Candidate
Alice Astarita graduated with a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in August 2015. She holds degrees from Middlebury College (MA) and Wellesley College (BA). While completing the solitary and sedentary act of writing a dissertation, she got involved with her local dance/movement community both as a participant and leader/producer. She remarked the power of movement to transform her mental and physical health and decided to pursue DMT training. Alice is presently on the Alternative Route to licensure. As the student representative, she will focus on facilitating a smooth transition for fellow DMT students by continuing to build the directory of internship sites and supervisor options. When Alice is not hosting a small weekly community movement practice in La Jolla, CA or performing in dance theater pieces around San Diego, you'll find her teaching Italian online or working with Class Action (a non-profit that seeks to raise awareness about classism).
Lisa Manca – MA, LPCC, BC-DMT
Lisa Manca is a licensed professional clinical counselor and certified dance/movement therapist. Lisa provides verbal therapy, dance/movement therapy, or a combination of the two. Lisa believes the mind and body are intimately connected and that movement is an ideal modality for both diagnosing and providing interventions for mental illnesses. Lisa has over eight years experience working with adults, children and seniors. She is currently work as Director of Activities at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in the San Francisco area.