NVW clinicians are a deeply compassionate and skilled group of professionals. They understand; they care; they are committed to making a difference. All clinicians have Master’s degrees.
Karen House, LPC, Clinical Director
Karen House has rejoined Nonviolence Works as its clinical director, a position she held four years ago before she left NVW for a three-year stint as an embedded counselor with US Special Operations. She has served as a military counselor for a total of ten years. A Special Forces widow, Karen is deeply committed to supporting veterans and has used a variety of therapies to reach those who returned from service with deep trauma. Just prior to returning to NVW, she served three months at Thule Air Base, 800 miles north of the Arctic Circle. With a Master of Arts in counseling and psychology and a minor in adventure/wilderness programming, Karen believes strongly in the power of the natural environment and wilderness challenges to heal trauma. She is also skilled at using CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), MST (Multisystemic Therapy), EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and mindfulness de-escalation techniques. Karen has been the clinical director at San Cristobal Treatment Center, a wilderness-based program for young men with addiction, and the family resource director at Taos Charter School. She also maintained a private counseling practice in Taos for seven years and was instrumental in bringing grant funding for truancy prevention to Taos schools. She is the founder and executive director of The Challenge Group, which provided educational and therapeutic adventures from 1999 to 2012 for people facing significant challenges. She is passionate about whitewater, and has been a rafting guide with New Wave Rafting Company for 20+ years. Karen is a fifth generation New Mexican. She is currently completing a second master’s degree in social work at Western NM University.
Sadie Quintanilla, LMHC, Lead Clinician
Sadie Quintanilla grew up in the beautiful mountains of Taos. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in contemplative psychology, with a minor degree in dance, from Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado. Sadie studied many types of movement, bodywork, and nutrition, and in 2004 she returned to Taos to pursue her passion of becoming a Pilates instructor. She trained in Pilates at Core Dynamics with Michele Larson in Santa Fe. After starting a family,Sadie returned to school to obtain a Masters Degree in Counseling at New Mexico Highlands University. She did her internship at Nonviolence Works and was hired after she graduated in May of 2014. Sadie is a lover of nature and the outdoors, and enjoys winter sports and summer activities. Her passion is keeping the body whole, healthy and happy. She has two sons, Jayden and Bradley.
Marsha Carlson, LCSW, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Marsha Carlson, a master’s level licensed clinical social worker, provides services to students at Taos High School. She has an extensive professional background serving youth, adults, and families in a variety of therapeutic settings. including residential, agency, and school programs. She is particularly experienced in working with adolescents and their families around issues of anger, loss, trauma, self-harm, and drug abuse. Marsha uses therapeutic skills based on her undergraduate degree in art from Mills College.
Amy Dondanville, LMSW, Child and Family Therapist
Amy Dondanville is a child and family therapist certified in Evidence-Based Mental Health Practices with Children. Her clinical treatment integrates Motivational Interviewing and Mindfulness Practice with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She also incorporates art, movement, adventure, and outdoor exploration into her strengths-based approach with young people. Amy earned her Masters of Social Work from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois Chicago and her Bachelors of Science in Human Services at Loyola University Chicago. She spent several years with a national youth hotline, training crisis counselors in solution focused crisis intervention, harm reduction, trauma-informed care, and positive youth development. She has extensive experience working with homeless, street-based, and at-risk young people in Chicago, as well as working in adolescent sexual health. Amy currently coordinates the clinical components of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps’ alternative school program, the Learning Lab, wherein she provides individual, group, and family counseling services to young people grades 6-10 who have not yet found success in the traditional learning environment. Amy is excited to welcome Admiral, a fully trained service dog from Assistance Dogs of the West, into her social work practice.
Gustavo (Gus) Gonzalez, LISW, Clinical Social Worker
Gus Gonzales has worked in social services since 1992, gaining extensive experience in individual and family psychotherapy, specifically in treating the severely emotionally disturbed children and their families. In the ‘90s, he was the therapist of the Children’s Residential Treatment Center’s therapist at Tri-County Community Services and director of outpatient services at Casa de Corazon. He spent 11 years as a clinical behavioral health clinician for the Children Youth and Families Department with the Taos Juvenile Probation and Parole. In 2011 he joined Men Engaged in Nonviolence, the predecessor of Nonviolence Works, where he was a volunteer mentor, a board member, and a clinical director. Gus graduated from the University of New Mexico in January, 1970. In 1993, he obtained a master’s degree in social work from New Mexico Highlands University with a 4.0 GPA. Gus was a board member of Child-Rite Special Needs Adoption agency for 15 years, and he and his wife were state and treatment foster parents from 1984 through 2011. They are also adoptive parents of two, who are now adults: Jeremy, 32, and Amanda, 27. Gus has been a parciante, commissioner and mayor domo for the Acequia de los Sanchez since 1977. He is also an organic gardener in the summers.
Julie Gray, LDS, MSW, Supervising Social Worker
Julie Gray has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work from University of Illinois at Chicago. She has done social work since 1988 in a variety of settings, including child welfare, a hospital, juvenile diversion, adoption, and as a school social worker at Ranchos Elementary School, Taos Middle School, Taos High School and other outlying sites. She has been a licensed social worker since 1992. In 2015 she joined Nonviolence Works where she provides clinical supervision services. In her free time, Julie enjoys traveling, hiking, cooking, reading, spending time outdoors, and time with family and friends. She is an animal lover and has done pet sitting for Taos families. Julie has happily lived in Taos since 2005.
Florence Meira, LISW, LCSW Supervising Social Worker
Florence Meira is a clinical social worker with federal programs in the Taos Municipal Schools. She has a passion for the people of New Mexico. She is especially concerned with children and families exposed to traumatic events and uses many therapeutic approaches to help them, including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic work, and solution-focused therapies. She has an MA degree in community organizing and administrative practices and a BA degree in social work from Highlands University. She also has an associate degree in human services from the University of New Mexico-Taos. Florence loves to read and to spend time outdoors, hiking, motorcycle riding, and snow sports. She is passionate about her family, which includes two grown children, both dental hygienists, and two grandsons, who bring her happiness and allow her to do her work restoring families in Taos.
Stephen (Steve) Moser, LMHC, MFA
Steve Moser has been committed to working with children and their families. His specialties are borderline personality, attachment disorder/concerns, and issues of abuse and neglect. He looks forward to continued work at NVW serving the youth and their families to further enhance the community of Taos as he continues on his journey towards independent licensure.
Rima Ralff, LMHC
Rima Ralff joined the NVW team in 2014, as a therapist and also assisted in furthering NVW’s supervised visitation program. She has an extensive background in the arts, including visual art, music, and dance, and she values the creative process within the realm of counseling. Rima draws on her background of meditation and mindfulness to support clients on their paths toward increased self-awareness, healing, and self-actualization. Working with couples and families, as well as individuals, she utilizes the theory of Nonviolent Communication to enhance interpersonal relations. Currently, Rima is pursuing specialization in the burgeoning field of Infant Mental Health, in which she works with the parent/caregiver-child dyad with children birth to five years of age. Rima received her master’s degree in counseling from New Mexico Highlands University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the former College of Santa Fe.
Marcella Skogen, LAMFT, Lead Therapist, Familia y Mundo
Marcella Skogen is lead therapist in the Familia y Mundo therapeutic after-school program where she facilitates counseling groups and provides individual counseling. A former Denver resident, she visited Taos for 25 years before moving here permanently with her husband in July 2016. She brings 20 years of therapy experience in both residential and day treatment settings in the Denver area. At a psychiatric treatment facility (Exempla West Pines) in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, Marcella developed ropes courses and trained leadership teams for business and non-profit organizations, as well as provided experiential group therapy with adolescents, adults and geriatrics in acute psychiatric care units. Most recently, she was a mental health therapist for youth aged 6 to 21 with intellectual disabilities and behavior disorders at a facility school (Serenity Education and Day Treatment) in Aurora, Colorado. Marcella incorporates yoga, art, meditation, music and team building initiatives into her work. She holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver.
Lisa Stern, LMHC, Social Worker
Lisa Stern specializes in working with children with PTSD, ADHD, and anxiety disorders, and with incarcerated youth. She grew up on Long Island and in the Finger Lakes region of New York, and has lived in Taos since 1973. In her early career, she was a midwife and a preschool teacher. She worked at Case de Corazon in various capacities after interning there for six months. In 2007 Lisa went back to school with the intention of becoming a teacher, but a human services course changed her career goal to therapist. She graduated from the University of New Mexico/Taos in 2010 and Southwestern College in 2012. Lisa first came to Nonviolence Works in 2010 to help run therapy groups at Chrysalis, and returned to intern at NVW in 2012. She took off a year to work with developmentally disabled adults, and then came back to NVW in 2013. Lisa is an avid swimmer, reader of fiction, gardener (who makes a yummy tomato sauce), and a professional photographer. Her daughter, Tequa, lives in Chimayo. Her son Jed passed away in 2012, from cancer. She has four grandchildren, aged 12 – 28.
Anne Karsian, LMSW, Social Worker
Anne Karsian joined Nonviolence Works in October 2017 as a social worker. She serves as a liaison with the schools, as well as providing individual counseling. Anne earned a Master of Social Work from Portland (Oregon) State University, an MS in Forest Ecology from the University of Montana, and a BA in Anthropology from Macalester College in St. Paul Minnesota. Before earning her Master’s degree in social work, Anne spent several years as an archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service in Montana on the Recreation Staff for the Jemez Ranger District in New Mexico. Anne brings to NVW a broad experience in the health care field. This includes providing patient-centered discharge planning in an acute hospital setting and serving at-risk families at an integrated medical and behavioral health clinic. She has been a client advocate for adults with mental illnesses and worked with intimate partner violence groups and support groups for female survivors. Anne is trained in using the SBIRT (screen, brief intervention, referral to treatment) approach to addressing unhealthy substance use. She is also a certified pet partner team (she owns four dogs) and plans to incorporate animal-assisted therapy into her practice. Anne and her husband have two daughters. Their older daughter was born with severe cerebral palsy. Caring for her special needs child spurred Anne to return to school to earn a degree in social work so that she could use her life experience to help others.
Paula Solfest, Clinical Therapist Intern. Paula Solfest joined the Nonviolence Works staff in September 2017 as a clinical therapist in training. She has a broad background in Rogerian client-centered therapy, art therapy, solution based theory and somatic work. Raised in Northern California, Paula is in the final year of her master’s program at Southwestern College. Currently, she serves as a therapist at NVW’s Familia Y Mundo, the Dream Tree Project, Taos Day School, and Taos High School. Outside of work, Paula spends her time on outdoor recreational activities.