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A branch of the American Counseling Association


Get to know your FACES Leadership

Jane Simmons, LMHCPresident

  • Professional Counselor, Clinical Supervisor, Advocate, and Leader
  • Doctoral Candidate, PhD Counselor Education and Supervision (ABD)
  • Consultant and mentor for professional counselors
  • Honorary clinical instructor for Walden University in 2020
  • Owner of Peaceful Mind Therapy of Florida with 10 years experience in private practice counseling children, adults, couples and families
  • Qualified Supervisor of Registered Interns in Florida
  • Specializing in holistic therapy for anxiety and trauma

Growing up in Rhode Island, Jane has always enjoyed helping others through her love of music and teaching. She and her family moved to Naples in 2000 where she began her journey in psychology and mental health counseling. She is a certified professional in Gottman couples counseling, DBT, hypnotherapy, and Rapid Resolution Therapy for trauma. Jane has served on the Skills Mentoring Committee for Walden University in 2020 and is a past board member for the Gulf Coast Mental Health Association. She is a member of Chi Sigma Iota, Honor Society since 2011. Jane is completing her doctoral degree in the next few months and writing her dissertation "Mental health counselor integration of complementary and alternative approaches for anxiety disorders". After graduation, Jane would like to be a counselor educator at a university and grow stronger in her supervisory role with counselors in training. She is passionate and motivated in helping counselors in training grow to be the best version of themselves and become exemplary additions to the profession. You can find out more about her and her counseling skills on her website:

Lotes Nelson, Ph.D., LCMHC, ACS, NCCPresident-Elect

Dr. Lotes Nelson is a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Clinical Faculty at Southern New Hampshire University. Dr. Nelson is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, a Board Approved Clinical Supervisor, and a National Certified Counselor.  She is also an award recipient of the prestigious National Board for Certified Counselors Doctoral Minority Fellowship.  Dr. Nelson enjoys her clinical work as a counselor educator and supervisor and as a private practitioner. She is enthusiastic about serving the underserved and marginalized populations. She has a particular interest in working with immigrants and refugees who are adjusting to life in the mainstream and other trauma and crises work. She works in various areas of adolescent and adult mental health. 

You will often find Dr. Nelson at professional speaking engagements to share her zeal for the profession and help influence social change and advocate for justice domestically and internationally. She is committed to continuing to strengthen her professional identity; therefore, maintains her professional memberships in the following associations:

American Counseling Association (ACA), Member

Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES), past Chair of the ACES Anti-Racist Pedagogy Task Force

Association for Creativity in Counseling (ACC), Board of Trustee, Conference Planning Committee Member

Association for Humanistic Counseling (AHC), Co-Chair of the Conference Planning Committee

Chi Sigma Iota (CSI)

Florida Counseling Association (FCA), past Executive Board Member

National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), NBCC Foundation Mentor, NBCC Ethics Advisory Council

Southern Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (SACES)

Lourdes Araujo, Ed.D., LMHC - Past President

Dr. Araujo is a bilingual licensed mental health counselor who specializes in the treatment of trauma, mood disorders with the children, adolescents, teens, adults, and the senior population. Pedagogically and clinically, Dr. Araujo operates from a humanistic-constructivist perspective. Her research interests relate to trauma, education, and online learning, including diversity and multiculturalism. She has contributed as a student researcher in a published human trafficking publication. Dr. Araujo’s training includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Victim-Centered Approach for Trauma and, Holistic Mindfulness approaches in counseling and community mental health settings, both in individual and group format. She uses trauma-focused and mindfulness therapeutic techniques when working with issues ranging from domestic violence, sexual assault, sex exploitation, human trafficking, and sexual abuse of children and adults to empower them to regain control of their lives and acquire success.

 Dr. Danna Demezier, LMHC - Treasurer

Dr. Danna Demezier is an Assistant Professor in Counseling at Barry University and joined the Counseling program in 2021. Dr. Demezier holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Florida. She also has a MS in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health Counseling from Albizu University and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Demezier is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Florida and a National Certified Counselor. Dr. Demezier's professional research includes culturally responsive interventions for diverse ethnic populations to improve mental health utilization and culturally competent supervision in counselors and counselors-in-training. She is currently a member of numerous professional organizations including the American Counseling Association, Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development, Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Chi Sigma Iota, Counselors for Social Justice, Florida Counseling Association, Florida Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, Florida Mental Health Counselors Association, and National Association for Holmes Scholars Alumni.

Lynn ThrotmanSecretary (Bio Coming Soon)

George Davy Vera, PhD Member-At-Large

Professor Vera has been a mental health counseling professor, clinical counseling practitioner, pedagogy researcher, and counseling supervisor for over 35 years.  He holds a Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Counselor Education & Supervision (University of Orleans, USA), specializing in mental health & human service counseling. Likewise, he holds a Counseling Psychology M.Sc. (CIPPSV) and a Counseling and Guidance B.Ed. (University of Zulia). At the advanced practitioner and field research levels, Dr. Vera earned a clinical counseling postdoctorate residency diploma (The McFarland Institute, New Orleans, USA) and a human science postdoctorate diploma (The University of Zulia, Venezuela). In addition, he holds various professional counseling licences and credentials, such as the Licence Professional Counselor (LPC), Connecticut, the National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS), Board-Certified TeleMental Health Provider (BC-TMH), TeleMental Health Credential (THTC), and Mental Health Facilitator Master Trainer Credential (MHF-MT). 

Dr. Vera has extensively published in refereed professional journals, presented research papers, facilitated professional development workshops, and gave speeches at national and international counseling and field-related conferences. His professional and research interests included counseling pedagogy innovations, clinical mental health counseling, narrative-reflective clinical supervision, culturally sensitive counseling techniques, innovative intervention strategies, postmodern and emerging approaches to counseling, multilingual counseling practices, counseling leadership, professional certification, program accreditation at national and global levels, and qualitative and mixed research epistemologies and methodologies. Dr. Vera is one of the founders and an active member of The International Society for Policy Research and Evaluation in School-Based Counseling (ISPRESC) and the Latin-American Counseling Network (RELAPRO). Likewise, he is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), American Counseling Supervision (ACES), and the Florida Counseling Association (FCA). 

Reflective, dialogical, and ethical-critical frameworks imprinted Dr. Vera’s counseling, educational and clinical supervision frameworks. Dr. Vera uses holistic-wellness approaches nurtured by transtheoretical and cultural-sensitive counseling in servicing diverse populations: veterans, immigrants, families, adolescents, couples, and families, who are suffering from a range of challenges; Mental Health Issues: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, grief, and loss. Relational Issues: intra-family, parenting, divorce, marital, behavioral, socio-emotional development, and conflicts. Life Transition Issues: educational, learning, vocational, academic performance, career, employment, and retirement matters. 

As an Educator, Dr. Vera follows a reflective-practitioner teaching-learning model; his pedagogy framework is oriented toward the premise that learning counseling implies learning diverse ways of being, thinking, feelings, understanding, intervening, relating, and interacting. He thinks these ways must resonate with the philosophical corpus and highest purposes of counseling and its professional, procedural, methodological, and technical body of knowledge. Dr. Vera’s counseling pedagogy stands by the vision that any classroom, physical or virtual, is a space where diverse cultural beings are interreacted, unique voices are encountered, different learning styles are intertwined, and a symphony of inspired meanings are shared. Consequently, Dr. Vera’s teaching intentionally facilitates students’ engagement, reflective thinking, ethical reasoning and energizes curiosity in a community that encourages self-directed learning, empowers creativity, and stimulates personal growth by long-lasting discoveries emerging from the educational encounters.

Rigaud Desir, LMHC - Graduate Student Representative

Mr. Desir is currently a Doctoral student at Barry University in Counselor Education and Supervision. He holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice and a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Florida International University. Mr. Desir is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of Florida. He is also a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Mr. Desir has worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and Consultant and as a Licensed Clinical Counselor in nonprofit and state agencies. His research interests include Narrative therapy, sexual and gender minority couples and families, supervision from a multicultural perspective, and disability competence among mental health professionals. Mr. Desir is a member of ACA, CSJ, ARCA, FCA, FALGBTIC, and FACES.

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Florida Counseling Association

2750 Taylor Avenue

Suite A-36

Orlando, Florida 32806

Florida Counseling Association is a non-profit organization, branch of the American Counseling Association.

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