cptsd foundation

Staff & Volunteers


We are grateful for the amazing staff and volunteers who dedicate their time and talents to helping CPTSD Foundation provide the best trauma-informed support for our members, readers, and website visitors.

Some of our team prefer to not have their picture online, and/or not be listed on our website. We respect their privacy, and fully acknowledge their unwavering support for CPTSD research, trauma-recovery, and their dedication to survivors.

Call Leaders

These amazing professionals are here to help support and encourage you on your healing journey.

sabra cain - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Sabra Cain, LMSW

Healing Book Club, Daily Recovery Support

Sabra joined CPTSD Foundation in 2017, and started the Healing Book Club in 2018. In addition, researches future resources for the CPTSD Foundation to use.

Sabra received her LMSW in 2021 and is an outpatient therapist working with a wide range of ages and trauma experiences. She enjoys helping others work through their own healing journey by embracing their strengths and capacity to heal.

rhonda firestar - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Rhonda Firestar

Weekly Creative Group, Daily Recovery Support

Rhonda has been with CPTSD Foundation, first as a member of our programs, and throughout her healing journey in recent years, she is now certified in Peer Support and helps lead the Daily Recovery Support calls, as well as pioneering the Weekly Creative Group, which launched in the fall of 2021.

ashni shah - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Ashni Shah

Daily Recovery Support, Membership Assistant, Project Coordinator


Ashni is a certified and qualified counseling psychologist and complex childhood trauma recovery therapist. She is also an ICF (International Coach Federation) certified Life Coach and Positive Psychology Coach. Having a lived experience of childhood complex trauma and narcissistic abuse, she deeply understands the major and minor struggles of trauma survivors. Offering a safe, compassionate, supportive, and non-judgmental space along with providing research-based effective intervention, techniques, and resources to adult victims of trauma and abuse, adds value and meaning to my personal and professional life.


Ashni has a special inclination towards Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and Inner Child Healing Modality as an integrated approach towards healing the wounds of attachment trauma. She thoroughly enjoys reading non-fiction literature on psychology, finance, and trauma recovery. In addition, she likes dancing, singing, and creative art forms.


Ashni is on a journey to move towards Thriving from just Surviving as a highly sensitive person and an empowered empath. “What I admire most about my work is that I get to walk alongside beautiful people in individual and group settings on their own journey of healing, recovering, and thriving.”
mindy levine - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Mindy Levine

Trauma-Informed Yoga Facilitator

Mindy holds a Masters in Education and has been a student of yoga for over 20 years and teaching since 2008.

Yoga was a path for her. It helped her notice what it felt like to move and live inside her body.

She is trained as a crisis counselor and received her certification as a TCTSY-F (Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator). In addition, Mindy has studied Polyvagal Theory with Deb Dana and has taken part in a heart-based training in relational neuroscience for healing trauma with Bonnie Badenoch. She recently published an article for Voices Against Torture, an International Journal on Human Rights.

Mindy also faciliates trauma informed yoga for groups, one-on-one, co-direct yoga teacher trainings as well as teach trauma information modules for various yoga schools. 

Mindy also shares, “My bio could also read: Mindy Levine, disrupting harm to make space for non-harm and advocating for the right of others to do the same.”

Call Leader: Foster

Daily Recovery Support

Foster has been on her own personal healing journey since 2014. Her  recovery reached much deeper levels as a direct result of joining the CPTSDF community in 2020.

She is grateful for the opportunity to share her experience, strength, & hope when leading calls on inner child healing & narcissistic abuse healing.

She is passionate about treating all creatures with kindness. As an educator, she is able to lovingly & fiercely advocate for children.

Call Leader: Shravani Bojja, CTRC

Daily Recovery Support, UK Recovery Support


Shravani is a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and a CPTSD survivor. Apart from CPTSD Foundation, she facilitates support groups for Perinatal and Postpartum, Parents of color, is a peer mentor and volunteers with her county’s domestic and sex violence services. Intergenerational, childhood, narcissistic and cultural traumas are some of the niches which she is particularly interested in.


Lawyer by profession, she believes that survivors are warriors full of resilience. She loves to hear their stories and would love to write a book some day on her own life. She is a mom of two teenage boys. Apart from studying for her certifications, she loves reading fiction novels, gardening, taking walks, traveling and nature photography.


jacky whelan - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Jacky Whelan

UK Recovery Support

Jacky Whelan is a reiki master and teacher based in London . She primarily leads the Recovery Support calls for the UK, which meet at 8pm London (3pm eastern).

After suffering from chronic anxiety and depression she now shines her light on others. She is passionate about helping to heal others through reiki healing techniques. Her classes are always personnally designed per session to suit the clients current needs. Learn more about Jacky on her website.

adam friedman - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Adam Friedman

Meditation Facilitator

Adam worked as an advertising copywriter before transitioning to a career in social services.  He has since worked for organizations that help the homeless, people returning from incarceration, domestic violence survivors, individuals on welfare and military veterans. 

Adam has meditated regularly since the 1990’s, gone on many silent meditation retreats and has taught meditation in New York City jails; at nonprofits including a drug treatment center and homeless shelter; to therapists and to other individuals interested in the benefits of meditation.
athena petersen - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Naima Mokhtar

UK Recovery Support

Call Leader

Naima is an integrative pyschotherapistand a relationship counsellor, as well as a cultural activist dedicated to fostering global unity through education, as a consultant, empowerment as a coach, and empathy as a decent human being.

She is also a facilitator for Nia; a quirky, non-impact fitness, dance technique.

In addition to leading calls for UK Recovery Support, Naima is active in our online groups, and provides recorded content in our members library.

Learn more about Naima on LinkedIn and her website.

sean mills - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Sean Mills

UK Recovery Support

Call Leader

My initial study into complex trauma and understanding myself started with an interest in psychology and the human mind and why people think the way they do, that lead me into starting meditation and then learning about eastern religions, after 10 years of study and meditation I started to learn about energy medicine and holistic therapy.

I’m a certified Reiki master and theta practitioner. My intention with my teaching style is to connect the dots of wisdom with our spiritual selves while understanding our body to mind connection; how trauma can be healed, and hope can be restored, bringing clarity and new power for the journey ahead.

athena petersen - cptsd foundation

Call Leader: Athena Petersen

Daily Recovery Support, UK Recovery Support

Executive Director, CPTSD Foundation

Athena is an author, speaker, and advocate working in the field of Complex Trauma Recovery.

With a deep passion for helping those who have been impacted by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), she and her staff of dedicated volunteers reach thousands of survivors weekly in over 180 countries.

This foundation is her life’s work.

She’s proud to work in tandem with expert practitioners and treatment centers, offering daily touchpoints to anyone currently in trauma therapy or who wants a safe place to come, feel heard, and validated between therapy appointments.

With 3 published books, Athena speaks publicly every week and firmly believes compassion is a priceless gift we can all give.

She also leads Daily Recovery Support Calls, and the Monday livestreams on YouTube.

Trauma-Informed Blog

In addition to the over 100 (and growing) number of guest writers who regularly contribute to our blog, these amazing individuals create and edit the content you see each week.

shirley davis - cptsd foundation

Chief Staff Writer: Shirley Davis

Shirley is a freelance writer, public speaker and grant writer who loves life, and hopes to help others to do so as well. Shirley lives with a severe mental health condition known as dissociative identity disorder but has made huge strides forward through many years of hard work and the help of a wonderful therapist. Her philosophy in life has become that life is not just an empty journey to simply survive and then die, rather it is a wonderful adventure to savor and enjoy.

paul michael - cptsd foundation

Blog Editor: Paul Michael Marinello

Paul Michael Marinello serves as a writer and blog editor for CPTSD Foundation. Previous to this role he managed North American Corporate Communications at MSL, a top ten public relations firm where he also served on the board for Diversity & Inclusion for a staff of 80,000. Paul Michael grew up in New York and attended SUNY Farmingdale before starting a ten-year career at Columbia University. He also served as Secretary and Records Management Officer for the Millwood Fire District, appointed annually by an elected board of fire commissioners from 2008 – 2017.

Social Media Team

These wonderful volunteers and staffers bring you the trauma-informed content each week on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linked In.

Facebook: Poppy

Poppy is part of the research team and social media team. She does a tremendous job of curating trauma healing related content for the foundation website, newsletter, and Facebook Page. She is also the Lead Moderator of the #CPTSDchat Monday Broadcasts on YouTube. In addition, she is the lead moderator and admin for the CPTSD Community Safe Support Group

Her talent for creating inspirational meme’s and GIFs is well known in the survivor community circles.

Linked In: Leslie Rochelle

Leslie is certified as a Trauma Recovery Coach on the initial level and is planning to become an Advanced Level Coach. She is a trauma survivor who specializes in working with survivors of cult abuse and teaches life/trauma management for this demographic.

Also, Leslie is a Certified Aromatherapist, Licensed Esthetician, Massage Therapist and she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Psychology. 

Twitter, Instagram, and Content Creation: Mark Babatunde

Mark is a writer and aspiring foodie. He is learning to outgrow his anxieties and live each day with gratitude. In addition to overseeing the Twitter and Instagram accounts, he and his team provide a vital roll in many behind the scenes daily operations with the content provided to our members and on the website.

He leads a team of content creation and social media experts who focus on providing daily, trauma-informed content for both social media and our Daily Encouraging Text program.

His bucket list includes; jet skiing across the Atlantic and setting a world record for the longest text message. He is also a wannabe singer, a civil engineer and the biggest fan of, The Simpsons.


These wonderful professionals help in developing trauma-informed content for future programs

cyndi bennett - cptsd foundation

Workplace Mental Health: Cyndi Bennett

Program Development: Occupational Mental Health
Cyndi is the owner of Cyndi Bennett Consulting. “I am a trauma survivor with 20+ years in the Financial sector of corporate America, and I understand the challenges survivors face in trying to build their careers while overcoming the long-term effects of childhood trauma.
As a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach, I am dedicated to helping survivors overcome the effects of trauma on their career and professional goals. I will provide my clients with the essential tools to utilize their individual interests, talent, and passions to find professional and personal fulfillment.”
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