Meet Our Faculty & Administration

Our faculty & administration consists of therapists with a wide range of specialties, licenses, and experience. Faculty members teach courses and supervise our student therapists. 

At DFI, our student therapists are a mix of graduate students in their final year of school and post-graduate students who are licensed or working towards licensure. These students see clients, take courses, and attend rigorous supervision in the pursuit of becoming the best therapist possible and receiving their certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy. All of our student therapists are supervised by the highest quality supervisors and are eager to serve the Denver community.

The DFI Administration

Emily Dorn

Executive Director

Emily has been involved in the DFI community since 2015 as a student, Board member, Board chair, and currently as the Executive Director. Prior to entering the field of mental health, Emily spent 12 years in public education and nonprofit leadership as a special education and general education teacher, administrator, and systems leader. Most recently, Emily led the External Relations team for Rocky Mountain Prep, a growing network of elementary schools in Denver and Aurora. After graduating from DFI, Emily opened a private practice and joined the PASS Center as a therapist specializing in attachment and post-adoptive support for families. Emily holds a master’s degree from Loyola Marymount University and a certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Denver Family Institute.

The best way to spend a day: Traveling, adventuring, or exploring with no particular agenda or destination

Ayla Ault

Director of Student Services

Ayla is a Licensed Social Worker and holistic relationship therapist in private practice, who graduated from Denver Family Institute in 2021 and the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work in 2020. Prior to working in mental health, Ayla served in a rich variety of leadership and administrative roles in the federal government, where she worked for 11 years, and received a  Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lauren Hall

Intern Manager

Lauren is a Licensed Professional Counselor Candidate with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s in Clinical Counseling. She had a decade-long career in the mortgage operations industry before changing professional paths and now works in the mental health services field in both clinical and administrative capacities. Lauren is passionate about narrative therapy, efficient processes, and collaborative teamwork. She finds fulfillment in bringing her skills and experience to help deliver accessible therapeutic services to the community. In her spare time she enjoys camping, kayaking, live music and good beer.

August Tousignant-Stanton

Program Director

August (they/them) is a DFI alum having graduated in 2012. They supervise at DFI, and is proud to be the Program Director. August holds an MSW from the University of Denver. They have over 10 years of experience in the field, including community mental health, work at the Denver County Jail, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado. They are the owner and therapist of their private practice “Affirming Psychotherapy LLC,” and contracts with Children’s Hospital of Colorado in the non-epileptic seizure clinic.

Why I love DFI: Students receive a therapeutic education that goes the extra mile! Students present live and taped cases to supervisors, and work in a creative space to explore different facets of marriage and family therapy. I love how our students, faculty, and staff think of therapy experimentally. This creates such an innovative and insightful environment!

Gwen Bonilla

Clinic & Internship Director

Gwen graduated from DFI in 2019. She is so proud to continue to be a part of the community as the Internship and Clinic Director. In addition to her work at DFI, Gwen works as a clinician with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She specializes in narrative and experiential therapies and developed a model for therapy, Touching Stories, specifically designed for people with moderate to severe developmental disabilities. When not working or telling stories, Gwen loves cooking, camping, hiking, and traveling.

One book I recommend: As a narrative therapist, I have to recommend The Uses of Enchantment, by Bruno Bettelheim.

The DFI Core Faculty

Michael Lopez-Jensen

Supervisor, Professor, Core Faculty, Teaching Consultant

I was raised in the Chicago suburbs and attended college in upstate New York. I moved to Colorado in 1992 to teach elementary school.

When I realized that parent teacher conferences were my favorite part of teaching, I left the classroom to get a Masters in Social Work with a specialty in direct practice with couples and families. I graduated from the DFI certification program in 2002 and returned to join the faculty in 2004. Clients, supervisees & students tell me they appreciate my creativity, warmth and authenticity. My professional specialties include addiction, blended families, adolescence, parenting, and supporting couples impacted by infidelity. I enjoy creative writing; public speaking; travel; and laughter.

A book I would recommend: One book I would recommend is Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth.

Rebecca Moravec

DFI Core Faculty, Instructor and Supervisor

Becca Moravec is passionate about self-growth & healthy connection. She works with Individuals, Couples, and Families in her private group practice, Full Bloom Counseling.

Becca teaches Self of the Therapist at DFI, where she gets to journey with students as they get to know themselves on a deep level so that they may intentionally use the best tool they have (their own self) in the therapy room. She is a narrative enneagram enthusiast, an avid reader, and a dedicated learner.

Favorite spot in Denver: The York Street Denver Botanic Gardens!

Emily O'Rourke-Mills

Core Faculty

Emily O’Rourke-Mills is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She received her BA from the University of Colorado, and her MA from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Emily has been in mental health care for 15 years, beginning as a sexual assault hotline volunteer during her sophomore year in college, and most recently serving as the Clinical Director for a dual diagnosis residential treatment program. She currently sees clients with a group practice in Denver, and teaches at the University of Denver, as well as DFI. Her career has focused on working with diverse, complex populations and bringing the concerns of historically marginalized populations to the center of her work. Emily’s work with clients is warm, curious and infused with humor and respect for the honor of hearing the stories of her clients. In addition to clinical work, Emily is a nationally recognized speaker, having given lectures on trauma informed care, LGBT affirmative treatment and human development. Emily is a Colorado native, having recently returned after a 10 year California adventure. She loves reading at coffee shops, and rediscovering Denver with her wife, and their pug, Eleanor Roosevelt.

Favorite spot in Colorado: I have so many favorite spots in Colorado that it’s hard to choose just one! I love spending time in Grand County, but there’s nowhere on earth that I’d rather be than Folsom Field on a Saturday during football season.

Etta Skoch

(AAMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Certificate)

Etta is a Licensed Clinical Social worker and a DFI alum who believes deeply in the power of relationships. She received received a Masters of Social Work from the University of Denver in the Family Systems Concentration, completed the AAMFT approved post-graduate certificate in Couples and Family Therapy from the Denver Family Institute and is working towards a Sex Therapy Certificate. 

When she is not supporting her incredible clients in her private practice here in Denver, she is loving up on her two babies, partner and two giant breed pups. Etta thrives from the energy her many roles as a daughter, sister, mother, partner, healer, connector, supervisor, friend, and adventurer provide her.

Amanda Trujillo

(LMFT, RPT-S and AAMFT Approved Supervisor)
Core Faculty, Supervisor, Instructor and Capstone Director

Amanda Trujillo is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor with over 18 years of experience providing counseling for couples, children, and their families in a variety of settings.

Amanda earned her BA in Psychology from the University of Denver and her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego. Amanda is heavily trained in several evidenced based attachment theories, including Emotionally Focused Therapy and Theraplay. Additionally, Amanda has experience with helping families through trauma, both in couples and family work (EFT, Theraplay and TF-CBT) and public responses (Traumatic Stress Management and Psychological First Aid). Amanda currently has a private practice in Lakewood, CO, and enjoys bringing her knowledge of Emotionally Focused Therapy, play therapy, trauma informed therapy and family systems therapy to both her clinical work and to her supervision. In addition to Amanda’s professional roles, she also loves spending time with her husband and three children.

The best way to spend a day: I would love to spend a day at Navajo Lake water skiing.

Simone Verrone

Core Faculty

Simone is a Licensed Professional Counselor, with a B.S. in Clinical Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Counseling, with a Post-graduate Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the DFI.

She trained with Dr. Karyn Purvis in TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), becoming an approved TBRI practitioner, and she has also trained with Dr. Daniel Hughes in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP). She is a Certified EMDR Therapist, with advanced specializations in EMDR Therapy with Children & Complex Trauma through the AGATE Institute.

Favorite spot in Colorado: Chavez Beaver Brook Trail, Genessee

The DFI Affiliate Faculty

Sarah Brill, LCSW, EMDR Certified
Faculty Member, Supervisor, Teacher

Born in California and raised in Colorado, I love both the energy of the city and tranquility of the mountains. I’m a people-person at heart, and even the most seemingly chance story never ceases to captivate and inspire me.

For this reason, I was drawn to pre-medical studies in my undergraduate education at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where I earned my B.A. After living in Los Angeles for a few informative years, I proudly earned my Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Denver and my Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Denver Family Institute. I’ve worked at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Denver, and in various educational settings — providing me with a broad range of experience in the therapy and medical fields. I’ve also gained experience in the criminal justice system working with individuals transitioning from prison to parole, conducting both individual and group therapy sessions.In my experience working with children, adolescents, and adults, I’ve recognized that my specialties surround helping people to discover their authentic passions and paths, as well as helping to facilitate genuine communication between couples and families. Certified in EMDR, I also specialize in trauma work.

Dr. Neil Cannon, PhD, LMFT
AASECT Certified Sex Therapist & Supervisor

Dr. Neil Cannon has been actively involved with DFI since 2006; first as a student, followed by 12 years on the faculty, and now Board service since 2018. Neil continues to love to guest lecture at DFI. 

Neil is nationally known as one of the leading sex therapists in the country and has authored numerous publications. Neil is in private practice in Denver. Neil has also been an instructor at The University of Michigan School of Social Work, Sexual Health Certificate Program since 2015. Neil is a volunteer with the Red Cross and serves on the Mental Health Disaster Team. Neil is the Colorado Section Leader for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors & Therapists (AASECT). Neil also serves AASECT nationally as Bylaws Chair and Ethics Chair. Before going back to school to become a sex therapist, Neil was the Board Chair & CEO of Aspen Marketing Group and was honored to be named Board Chair Emeritus.

Why I love DFI: DFI is more than an MFT school, and more than a community mental health clinic. DFI is a place where the best and brightest graduate and postgraduate students come to learn how to be clinically competent therapists with the utmost of ethical integrity. Our student therapists care deeply about their clients and they truly do save lives. I love DFI for the positive impact we have on people’s lives, each and every day.

Grace Edstrom, LCSW
Faculty Member

A native of Boulder, Colorado, Grace Edstrom earned her Masters in Social Work from the University of Denver and her Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Denver Family Institute. 

She works with individuals, couples, and teens, and practices therapy through a strength-based and attachment lens. Grace is passionate about being a therapist because she believes that human relationships are “what it’s all about.” She knows that when we feel seen, safe, and supported by the important people in our lives, we become braver, more authentic, and better able to be fully ourselves. Becoming a part of the DFI community was this incredible experience of finding my professional family. It gave me the skills, confidence, experience, and mentorship to discover my most authentic self as a clinician, and was the spring board from which every aspect of my career jumped off. I am proud of the work DFI does, how it serves both its students and the community, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the ways in which DFI shaped my life.

Misti Klarenbeck-McKenna, LCSW, LMFT, ICEEFT Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist and Supervisor
Supervisor and Faculty Member

I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota but I’ve been in Colorado longer than anywhere else so this is home. 

I moved from county social services work into private practice and my practice is focused on Emotionally Focused therapy and providing supervision. I take a ballet class any time I can fit it in and I love to travel with my family.

Why I love DFI: DFI is my professional family. I began my family therapy journey here over 20 years ago and love this community of dedicated MFTs who constantly strive for excellence and then apply it to meeting an important need in the Denver area. DFI changes peoples’ lives, from our clients to our students to our faculty and board. It is inspiring and I feel honored to be a part of it.

Kirsten Kunkle, LMFT, LPC
Faculty Member

Bio coming soon!

Margaret Elliott Nelson, MA, LPC, AAMFT Clinical Member

Maggie (she/her) is a DFI alum and a licensed professional counselor. She has over 10 years of experience in the field and owns her own practice, Elliott Counseling Services, where she focuses on helping couples and individuals navigate the joys and challenges of the relationships in their lives.

Kerry Stutzman, MSW, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor 
Supervisor, Alumna, Board Chair 2012 – 2017, Tenant

Kerry thinks of herself as a Parentologist. She studies parenting, practices parenting on her six kids, teaches parenting and works with parents in her private practice.

Her private practice office is at DFI South where she works with individuals, couples and families. In the summer of 2019, she conducted a research project about parent-teen relationships and is passionate about working with parents of teens. Kerry is a Denver native who marvels every day at how amazing the Rocky Mountains are, She loves to cycle, sail, go on picnics and have family dinners. I couldn’t pick just one. You can pick whichever you choose. Her favorite place in Colorado is Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp near Pike’s Peak where she has been a camper, counselor and director, and where her extended family goes for holidays to sled and play broomball. Website is

Why I love DFI: Because DFI provides high-quality, experiential training for therapists who think about the whole family system and look for strengths first.

Heather Tousignant-Stanton, LCSW, LMFT

Heather is a DFI alum having graduated in 2012. She teaches and supervises at DFI, and is proud to be the Program Director. Heather holds an MSW from the University of Denver.

She has over 10 years of experience in the field, including community mental health, work at the Denver County Jail, and the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado. She is the owner and therapist of her private practice “Affirming Psychotherapy LLC,” and volunteers at Belly Bliss, an agency that supports pregnant and new parents.

Why I love DFI: Students receive a therapeutic education that goes the extra mile! Students present live and taped cases to supervisors, and work in a creative space to explore different facets of marriage and family therapy. I love how our students, faculty, and staff think of therapy experimentally. This creates such an innovative and insightful environment!

Susan Terkhorn, (MA, NCC, LMFT), Tenant Representative (South Office)
DFI Core/Senior Faculty, Clinical Supervisor, Instructor, & Supervision Consultant

Susan is a licensed marriage and family therapist and sex and relationship therapist in private practice. As a proud alumni of both Denver Family Institute and the University of Northern Colorado she is also excited to support future couple and family therapists.

Additionally, she is currently a group facilitator for the WINGS foundation. Prior to her work in the field of mental health, Susan received an MA in Art History from NYU and worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was a jewelry designer, a restaurant owner and am the mother to three amazing children.

Why I love DFI: DFI is a special place because it allowed me to shine, to be authentically me and to feel accepted! I truly became the person and therapist I am today through the nurturing and supportive DFI community.

Darin Wallis, (PhD, LCSW, LMFT, CACIII, AAMFT Clinical Fellow & Approved Supervisor) 
DFI Core/Senior Faculty, Clinical Supervisor, Instructor, & Supervision Consultant

Dr. Wallis is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work and an Affiliate Faculty at Regis University in their Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy program. 

Darin teaches and is a clinical supervisor at Denver Family Institute where he is currently a Core Faculty Member, consulting on clinical supervision, and formerly the Interim Executive Director. He received his MSW from Colorado State University, his post-graduate certificate in Marriage & Family Therapy from Denver Family Institute, and his PhD in Social Work from the University of Denver. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT), a Certified Addictions Counselor III (CACIII), an American Association of Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT) Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor. Darin is the Past President of the Colorado Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, is the Past Chair of the Council of Division Presidents for AAMFT, and a Past Director on the National Board of AAMFT. Dr. Wallis is the owner of the Colorado Center for Couples & Family Therapy. Darin is also part of the group practice at Denver Family Therapy Center. Dr. Wallis is also one of the founding members of the Colorado Center for Applied Systemic Thinking (CoCAST), which trains therapists on systemic / relational therapies and supervision.