Michele Coleman, Ph.D., LMFT,
Founder and CEO
Dr. Michele Coleman has worked in the field of foster care and adoption all her life, beginning with personal childhood experiences with informal foster care and formal adoption. These early experiences prepared her for work as a therapist in the field of attachment. As an adult, she has worked full-time as a business manager and has regularly volunteered with troubled youths who were living in group homes. As an adult, she adopted two sisters with emotional needs from the foster care system in Virginia, and then 14 years later she and her partner adopted a son with emotional needs from New Mexico.
At the age of 42, Dr. Coleman went back to school for her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her thesis was titled A Chance for Change: The Role of Trust in Foster Care, and involved in-depth research on ways to help children who have been removed from their home — on ways to help them learn to heal, grow, and adapt to a new family. A graduate of Dr. Dan Siegel’s Interpersonal Neurobiology certification program, Dr. Coleman used this knowledge to develop the model of treatment used for healing attachment issues at Attachment Healing Center, Healing in Resonance. Michele received her PhD in Counselor Education from the University of New Mexico in 2016.
Cody Hedrick, LCSW
I attended school for my master’s degree at New Mexico Highlands University and am now an independently licensed social worker (LCSW). I have always had a passion for helping people, and in attempting to find a passion and way to help people, I became interested in Psychology and the lack of help for the mind, especially those without chronic mental conditions. I realized that everyday people want and need help and there is nothing wrong with that, so I pursued a career that would lead me to help those and other people. Before working for the Attachment Healing Center I worked for the Children, Youth, and Families Department. While this job was extremely rewarding, I wanted to do more. After meeting some of the clinicians at the Attachment Healing Center, I knew this was the place that would allow me to help people the way I had been seeking and thus I applied to join their team. As for my unique style to Attachment Healing I feel I have a special way of bring families together. Through the use of board games and other family activates, I am able to create a different perspective and look at spending time together as a family that is both fun and healing.
Marisol Velasquez de West, LMSW
I am a second generation Mexican American whose family dreamed of a prosperous and secure future for their children. I graduated with a masters degree from New Mexico Highlands in Social Work. I come from a family who values perseverance, hard work and efficiency.
It is from these values I have come to understand their purpose which has served and helped me evolve into my own values of honesty, compassion, being in relationship and last but not least, I value a deep understanding of oneself through personal introspection and experience.
Through my life experiences of being a single mother to a married person with 3 three children, to working with the Children, Youth, and Families Department, being a Certified Nursing Assistant working with the elderly, a Massage Therapist and an Army Reserves Emergency Medical Technician, my values have grown and strengthened. I have several volunteer and internship experiences which contribute to my love for community and traditional healing.
I joined AHC after hearing experiences and witnessing families who had been healed through building and strengthening their attachment bonds. I feel the model at AHC resonates with my belief to work with the whole family system as a means to support the whole person. I believe in the ability of oneself to heal and how we can learn to be vulnerable and trust that those who have come before us, with our own personal spiritual essence and the Divine presence, are here to assist and guide us along our journey.
Terry Morris, Ph.D., LMHC
Dr. Terry Morris has been with the Attachment Healing Center for for a number of years as both a therapist and as part of the management team. He has dedicated most of his career to working with children and their families. He was an award winning inner-city teacher in Chicago and Dallas for 16 years before attaining his counseling degree from the University of New Mexico. He believes that through love, positive interactions, and looking for the good in each other, the world can be a better place for us and our children. Morris earned his PhD in May of 2017 in teacher education at the University of New Mexico and is interested in helping new teachers form close, positive relationships with their students and families. He spends part of his time presenting workshops to teacher groups on the importance of teachers in the lives of children.
Jane McCoy, Operations Supervisor
Jane McCoy came to the Attachment Healing Center in June 2011 with over 20 years of administrative experience in health and mental health administration. In 2011 Jane had recently relocated to the city of Albuquerque after retiring from Riverside County Department of Mental Health in southern California. Jane served the Department of Mental Health for thirteen years and retired as an Administrative Assistant for the Riverside County Mental Health Board. Through her career with the department, she developed many skills designed to serve those with mental health issues in the community. It is Jane’s passion to continue to develop skills that assist individuals, couples, children and their families in seeking the treatment they need and deserve in order to lead productive and meaningful lives.
Cleo Cerno, Headstart Coordinator/Billing Assistant
Cleo Cerno received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from New Mexico State University, with a minor in Counseling and Educational Psychology, in May of 2002. During graduate school, Cerno was awarded the Commission on Higher Education Competitive Graduate Fellowship and worked as a Graduate Assistant where she assisted in teaching, advised undergraduate students, and performed various types of research related work. Cerno has always been very passionate about helping people. She feels her passion is fueled by the simple pleasure of knowing she made an impact on the lives of those she has the honor to serve. As a proud Native American woman, she feels her heritage has helped her fully embrace the true spiritual nature of the Attachment Healing Center model and looks forward to guiding parents and their children to build healthy, loving relationships for a long time to come.
Lorena DiGregorio, Director of Human Resources
Bethany Armstrong, In-House Biller/HR Assistant
Kaitlyn Chavez, Front Desk Reception/Office Assistant
Ashley Vigil, LMSW
Ashley Vigil attended New Mexico Highlands University for her Master’s in Clinical Social Work in 2019. Her internships focused on working with children in individual, school, and family settings. She worked in a residential treatment center for the first two years after graduating. In this setting, she conducted milieu, group, individual, and family therapy. She utilized the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics with children aged 8-14. This model focused on regulating children based on their brain development, and helping them work towards healthy attachments with parents. Her trainings have varied from interventions aimed towards regulation to collaborative problem-solving skills with children and families. She is well-versed in trainings regarding active listening skills, empathy, and cultural differences in the mental health field. Ashley is passionate about helping children and families work through trauma and attachment in their healing process. She joined Attachment Healing Center in August 2021, so that she can serve New Mexico children and families.
Caren Waters, LMSW
I graduated from New Mexico Highland University, with my MA in Social Work. I have worked for AHC since November of 2019. I work here because the model works, and I have witnessed it personally with my own clients. I specialize in Trauma work, specifically using the ISTDP or Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy model. This model has worked best for me personally, and I see the changes this work makes in the clients I see, both physically and emotionally. I also use and teach Mindfulness and Heart Math in my practice, so once the time comes for my clients to move on, they have the tools they need to deal with life’s every day stressors. I have been a Reiki Master for 21 years, and I occasionally use Reiki with clients with trauma. Finally, I meditate daily, do yoga and love hiking here in New Mexico. I love art, the symphony and the opera. I have lived here for 31 years and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Carol Felley, LMHC
Carol Felley has long been drawn toward counseling, and completed her graduate work at Wayland University, earning the coveted Outstanding Graduate Student in Counseling Award along the way.
Finding that her own experiences with behaviorism, red tape agencies and non-heart based models didn’t feel true or fit with her own beliefs, Felley decided to follow her heart and ended up on the doorstep of the Attachment Healing Center.
Her special talents include creatively connecting with children and parents, and an ability to find the metaphor in the behavior to see what is underneath it while connecting to it.
Jennifer Rex McNair, LMHC
Jenn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor that received her Master of Arts Degree from New Mexico Highlands University in Clinical Mental Health & School Counseling. Jenn is trained in providing EMDR therapy services for clients. She has worked in multiple out-patient settings and has experience working with children, couples, adults, teens and families. Her goal is to customize the direction and focus of treatment to each client's individual needs. Jenn’s mission is supporting people through their journey in learning new ways to ground themselves and cope with the suffering and various struggles that life brings to every human existence.
Jenn strives to provide a safe therapeutic environment for individuals for them to be able to feel heard, seen and understood for who they are without judgement. Jenn throughout her life has always felt a natural gravitation to supporting and helping others. She has found herself being fascinated by relationships her entire life. Jenn knew at a young age that no matter what she decided to do in life, that it would involve connecting with people & being a healer in some way. Jenn holds a deep passion in her heart for working with children & couples. Jenn brings to the team a lighthearted and positive nature. She believes that within anyone’s personal work any progress is still progress & with one step at a time there is always a way back to the path of healing and growth.
Jessica Heintzleman, LMHC
My name is Jessica Heintzleman, LMHC. I graduated with my masters degree in clinical mental health from UNM in 2018. I came to the Attachment Healing Center because my previous experience in addictions showed me that childhood trauma is often at the root of the pain that leads people on a path that will often lead to more pain. As I continue to learn the “Healing in Resonance Model” I see how deeply our ability to connect in family is connected to our mental health and social relationships. Being able to help children and families heal their pain is a rewarding challenge that I am honored to participate in.
Kari Jacobs, LMSW
Kari Jacobs is a licensed master social worker (LMSW) who started at Attachment Healing Center as an intern in the fall of 2017. Kari attended New Mexico Highlands University for her master’s in Social Work and graduated with her MSW in 2018. Kari was born and raised in Maryland where she graduated with a bachelor’s in Psychology. Kari has always been passionate about helping people, learning more about psychology, and breaking stigmas of mental health services. As a child, Kari was interested in exploring her own feelings and decided to study psychology in college to understand more about herself and others. After exploring different jobs, such as working overnight on a crisis hotline and being a Behavioral Management Specialist, Kari recognized the need to support in a different and more encompassing way. Kari then went into social work with the desire to learn more about systems and became interested in addressing attachment, working with the whole family, and using relationship to help address real healing and empowerment. Kari enjoys incorporating games, art, and other activities into therapy to assist with healing, trauma, and connection.
Mary Beth Harwood, LMHC
Mary Beth started as an intern at the Attachment Healing Center and has been with the agency since the Fall of 2017. She graduated with her counseling degree at the University of New Mexico in Mental Health Counseling Spring 2017. Mary Beth really enjoys working with adolescents and couples, and has always been fascinated with the relationships between people. She believes strongly in the connection between people and how healing that connection can be. Mary Beth was drawn to attachment work without even realizing it, when writing and researching about attachment theory in her college thesis paper. She has seen the power of attachments between people and how much it can affect people through their lifetime and throughout all of their relationships. Mary Beth feels drawn to help heal people’s attachments so they can feel empowered and confident in who they are. Mary Beth is also currently working on developing her skills with trauma counseling and sand tray therapy to help clients when their trauma arises.
Paul Bugyi, LMSW
I am originally from Buffalo, NY, and spent many years living on Long Island teaching Sociology at various colleges there. In 2014, I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from Stony Brook University, conducting research on the links between childhood family experiences and chronic illness. In my research, I realized that early childhood trauma made chronic illness extremely difficult for these individuals, and I wanted to use my expertise to provide support to this population. In 2018 I moved to New Mexico to pursue my Masters in Social Work at New Mexico State University, and received my degree in 2020. I interned at Attachment Healing Center for the 2019-2020 year and loved my experience here so much that I decided to stay and be a clinician. I like gaming, reading, and making pottery. I love the food, landscape and people here in New Mexico.
Persis Mehta, LPCC
Persis went to school at New Mexico Highlands University in Rio Rancho. There she graduated with Honors in Professional Counseling. Persis has worked with children for her entire adult life. Before becoming a therapist, Persis was a Preschool/Pre-K teacher for the Albuquerque area for several years. Persis has always wanted to work with children and families in a therapeutic setting. She volunteered at Agora Crisis Center for 2 ½ years as a way of giving back to her community. While in her master’s program, Persis interned with AHC for 9 months before becoming a permanent member of the team. Through interning with AHC, she brought a very unique outlook to building rapport with children. She understood that each child is unique but that the one thing they have in common is the need to be heard, loved, and validated. Persis decided to join AHC after learning how important attachment is in our daily life. Persis brings a bubbly positive energy to AHC and we are happy to have her on board. She received her independent license in 2019.
Philip Casady, LMSW
Hello! My name is Philip Casady, and I usually go by Phil. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and started my journey in New Mexico at UNM where I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. After I graduated from UNM, I worked within education field as a math interventionist/educational assistant. Throughout my time in education, I noticed an increasing importance within the connections and relationships shared with students, parents, teachers, and the community. I observed through positive relationship and positive connection, my students succeeded and were able to carry positive relationship throughout their student careers. My direction in life changed when I began to see how powerful relationship and connection can be for others. I decided to go back to school for a Master of Social Work degree in order to expand my horizons on how to help others in other ways. I discovered through my masters program at New Mexico Highlands University, a multitude of approaches and ways to support others through difficult times. I had my first job at another agency, but I felt I could be doing more to support families in need, and decided to seek further opportunities to help provide positive relationships and connections in families and in the community. I found myself at the Attachment Healing Center and I felt connected to the model and approach in more ways than one. I am a positive person with calm attitude, who enjoys seeking out the goodness around us and having fun doing so. I also thoroughly enjoy cultivating and scanning for positives within others and working with families to bring out strengths and empowerment in connection.
Aaron Bower, LPCC
Evan Hughes, LMHC
James (JP) Turpen, LPCC
Mary Jo Baird, LMHC
Rebecca Maestas, LMSW
Teil Plont, LMSW
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE TEAMChastity LeBlanc, FPPSS
Chasity is a certified family parent peer support specialist. She works with families encouraging them in the model of the Attachment Healing Center, bringing her lived experienced in raising two children with attachment issues with her. She also works alongside of families advocating for them in schools, Juvenile Justice, and CPS. Chasity can help you acquire services for additional therapies such as ABA, early intervention, speech and language development.
Proudly serving Bernalillo County, Sandoval County, Valencia County, and the East Mountains. Our HeadStart program is offered in Valencia County. We train and support the Jicarilla Apache Nation in Dulce.