Board of Directors

Debra Small, MD

Deborah Small, MD, is a board certified family medicine physician and a member of the faculty at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. Arrowhead Regional Medical Center is affiliated with UC Irvine School of Medicine. Dr. Small currently serves as Associate Program Director for the Department of Family Medicine's residency program. Dr. Small's work encompasses teaching family medicine residents in the ICU, ambulatory medicine, and labor and delivery. Her interest lies in the care of women and children. She played an integral role in establishing the obstetrics curriculum for the residency program and coordinates the ALSO course, a multi-hospital training program. She has played an active role in her community, volunteering for several organizations. She has been a strong advocate for the The Knotts Group Home, a place that cares for "at risk" pregnant teenagers. In addition, Deborah has lectured alongside Elaine Miller-Karas, introducing the neurophysiology of psychosomatic medicine to other professionals at the National conference of Teachers of Family Medicine and at the World Congress of Psychosomatic Medicine. She also volunteered as a training facilitator for Trauma Resliency Model Training in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2007.

Cynthia Costas Cohen, LMFT

Cynthia Costas Cohen is a licensed psychotherapist in Beverly Hills, California. She earned her Masters’ degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Los Angeles during which time she interned at a community mental health clinic and a juvenile detention center.

Cynthia served on the board of The Robert McCormick Boys and Girls Club of Chicago for many years where she worked in fundraising and orchestrating events. She is currently on the board of the My Hero Project, a not-for-profit educational organization that provides children all over the world with an opportunity to use media and video technology to share their stories of the people in their lives that have impacted them. Cynthia assists in the bi-annual film festivals, event planning and fundraising.

Cynthia is known for her expertise in trauma, utilizing many modalities. She studied hypnosis under the tutelage of renowned hypnotherapists Dr. Michael Yapko and Dr. Jeffrey Zeig. She is certified by The American Society of Clinical Hypnosis as well as being a certified EMDR practitioner. Cynthia also co-facilitates trainings for The Trauma Resource Institute that utilizes an integrative mind-body intervention based on somatic therapies.

Her friendship and professional association with lifestyle and fitness expert Jim Karas led to the creation of their book, The 7-Day Energy Surge, a New York Times bestseller.

Brenda Williams, LMFT

Brenda Williams, LMFT, is a psychotherapist in private practice in West Los Angeles, California. Brenda is a TRM Master Trainer as well as an EMDR Consultant. Ms. Williams has a rich background in community involvement in the psychotherapeutic community within the United States. She has been a leading force in the evolvement of the Trauma Resource Institute and participated in their international trips to China. She was instrumental in the first training class of TRM skills at the Veterans' Administration in Los Angeles and was one of the first TRM Consultants in Los Angeles. Ms. Williams is committed to the goals of the Trauma Resource Institute and will bring her community skills to enhance the Trauma Resource Institute's Board of Directors.

Elisabeth Pellegrin, J.D.

Liz Pellegrin, JD, is a bilingual immigration attorney at her own law office in the Bay Area, California.  She earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and she is licensed by the State Bar of California.  She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and the National Immigration Project of the NLG.  She also serves as Co-Chair of the Immigration Committee of the Bay Area Chapter of the NLG.  Liz's work focuses on the humanitarian side of immigration, including family based immigration, visas for victims of crime, and obtaining legal status for those fleeing harm in their home countries.  Liz's clients often struggle with the effects of trauma in their lives, and these struggles are often compounded by the legal process.  Liz is committed to working with her clients to not only navigate the legal system but to also find solutions to her clients' mental health struggles.  

Carol Michelson, PhD

Carol Michelson is a Licensed Psychologist who has maintained a private practice in Claremont, CA for the past 30 years.  Carol is a TRM/CRM Master Trainer and she has participated in training individuals in the United States, China, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  In addition, she was instrumental in bringing TRM/CRM to San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health where she worked as a clinician and supervisor for over 30 years.  Carol has been committed to providing services to the underserved and has received awards from the San Bernardino County Mental Health Commission and from the County Board of Supervisors for the quality of care that she provided.

Carol has a long history of interest in trauma and in cross cultural work.  She served on the board of Project SISTER in the 1970’s and on the National Steering Committee of Women Against Violence against Women in the 1980’s.  She has also conducted research in Peru and in Western Europe. Carol has publications in the area of cross-cultural psychology and was the co-recipient of the Stirling Award from the American Anthropological Association for outstanding research in Culture and Personality Studies.


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