GPALA Board of Directors:

 Vanessa Spooner, President

Vanessa is a Licensed Psychologist in private practice in Beverly Hills and Los Feliz. Dr. Spooner completed her doctoral studies at the George Washington University in Washington, DC and moved to Los Angeles in 2009 to finish her training at the Wright Institute. She specializes in anxiety, eating disorders, and group therapy. In addition to her role as current president, Vanessa serves as the representative to Affiliate Societies Assembly of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA).

 Eddie Hunt, President-Elect

Eddie Hunt is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California (MFC53544). He earned a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Providence College in 1996, and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2010. He is currently immersed in EMDR training and working toward certification as a Group Therapist by the International Board for Certification of Group Psychotherapists.

In 2010, he began his private practice internship under the supervision of Andrew Susskind. He also trained at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Southern California Counseling Center, and the Center for Healthy Sex. He is the President-Elect and past Treasurer of the Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles and a member of AGPA and CAMFT. In 2014, he completed the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Certificate Program at the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies.

Prior to graduate school, he worked in the entertainment industry for 10 years, which affords him the ability to empathize with the challenges and struggles particular to that business.


Eleanor Moreh, Secretary

Eleanor is a Psychological Assistant in private practice in Beverly Hills and works with individuals, couples and groups.  Dr. Moreh received her training at the Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills where she co-led a mixed adult process group under the supervision of Dr. Carla Derhy-Snijders.

Cori Rosenthal, Treasurer

Cori Rosenthal is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern in private practice at the Center for Relational Healing under Marnie Breecker, and at the Women’s Clinic and Family Counseling Center.  She specializes in working with eating disorders, anxiety, depression and partners of sex addicts. She is trained in the Trauma Resiliency Model and as a mindful eating teacher.  Cori upon techniques from Cognitive Behavior, Gestalt, Psychodynamic therapies, as well as mindfulness and mindful self-compassion in her work with adolescents, individuals and groups.

Chanda_LamChanda Lam, Membership Chair

Chanda Lam is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist in private practice in Beverly Hills and Larchmont. She received an M.A. in Psychology from Antioch University. Chanda specializes in individual and couples therapy and although extensively trained psychodynamically, she customizes other modalities and relational approaches to suit the needs of her clients. She is a certified hypnotherapist, and utilizes the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) providing relaxation techniques to reduce stress, improve focus and strengthen her clients’ coping skills.


Eran Solomon, Curriculum Chair

Eran is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and a Registered Drama Therapist in private practice in Westwood working under the supervision of Elaine Schulman, PhD. Eran received his M.A in Expressive Therapies from Lesley university, Cambridge MA (The Israeli extension). He has over 10 years of experience and training including his post Grad certificates in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy from the Wright Institute Los Angeles (WILA), a certificate specializing in eating disorders from the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS) and a Group Psychotherapy certificate from Tel Aviv University in Israel. Eran continues to work psychodynamically in private practice with youth, adults and couples. He also specializes in group therapy from a psychodynamic and drama therapy perspective. Link to Eran’s page on Psychology Today

Maria Gray, Outreach Chair

Maria is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Los Angeles providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups.  Maria combines a relational style with mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral techniques, and her meditation and yoga practice informs her work.  Maria is a certified NARM (somatic psychotherapy) practitioner. She has a specific focus on addiction and is particularly interested in how our society uses “busy”– sometimes in the form of technology overuse and over-scheduling. Maria’s own experience in the corporate world has influenced her work in this area and the revitalization of GPALA’s Outreach Task Force. The goal of the task force is to connect with the therapeutic community, create visibility and establish ongoing relationships with organizations that are interested in learning more about the benefits of group therapy.

William Whitney, Newsletter Editor/Chair

William is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist at La Vie Counseling Center where he sees individuals, couples, families, and runs a regular short-term process group. Dr. Whitney also serves as assistant professor of psychology at Azusa Pacific University and is adjunct professor of theology at Fuller Seminary. He holds a PhD and an MFT from Fuller Seminary, and an MSt from the University of Oxford.

Michael Frank, Parliamentarian

Michael is a psychotherapist in private practice in Encino, a Certified Group Psychotherapist, a Life Fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, and Clinical Supervisor and Coordinator of the Group Therapy Program at the Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills. He has been leading therapy groups in his practice since 1984 and is an Institute Group leader at the AGPA Annual Conference. Michael has been the Practicum Coordinator for the Wagner Human Services Training Program at the University of Judaism, a clinical supervisor for the San Fernando Valley Counseling Center and the Antioch University Los Angeles Counseling Center, and is visiting faculty in group therapy at the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. He supervises group therapists who are working towards becoming certified and teaches the Principles of Group Therapy course through GPALA every year. He is a past president of the Los Angeles Group Psychotherapy Society (now GPALA), and is a recipient of the AGPA Affiliate Societies Assembly Award and the LAGPS award for outstanding contribution to the advancement of group psychotherapy.

Rena Pollak, Events Chair

Rena is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Group Psychotherapist in private practice in Encino.  She received an M.A. in Psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute.  Her specialities include stagnation, grief, and low self-esteem.  She works with all ages.  Rena received extensive training in group therapy from the GPALA and the American Group Psychotherapy Association.  Rena has greatly enjoyed serving on the board of GPALA for the past year.


Marvin Kaphan, Historian

Marvin, an Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work and a Certified Group Psychotherapist. He has engaged in the full-time private practice of psychotherapy since 1960. For almost all that time he has been an enthusiastic advocate of group psychotherapy, and has maintained six on-going groups in addition to a full schedule of individual sessions.  His writings have been published in many journals including the American Journal of Psychiatry and the American Journal of Psychotherapy, and include two chapters in the acclaimed book, 101 interventions in Group Psychotherapy. Marvin also holds an MFT license from the state of California, is a Licentiate Member of the Royal Society of Health of Great Britain, and was President of the Group Psychotherapy Association of Southern California for two successive terms.



John Peloian, Conference Chair

John is licensed clinical psychologist (PSY27345) providing individual, couples and group psychotherapy in a private practice setting in West Los Angeles, Ca.  John currently runs two mixed-gender, adult process groups.  He received his M.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, and a Doctorate of Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He completed his training at the Saturday Center for Psychotherapy in Santa Monica, Ca.  In addition to group therapy, his areas of interest include cultural identity, addiction, and the creative process.


Ashley_GraberAshley Graber, Social Chair

Ashley is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern in Private Practice at The Center for Mindful Living in West LA under the supervision of Dr. Stefanie Goldstein. In addition to her private practice and group work, Ashley has been training in Mindfulness and Meditation for many years and is a certified teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Connecting Adolescents to Learning Mindfulness (CALM) for Tweens & Teens and is presently seeking certification at Mindful Schools.  She is also a Grief Specialist and trained in Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM). Ashley combines mindfulness and meditation practices with traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral techniques in her individual psychotherapy work with adults, kids, and adolescents. Ashley teaches Mindfulness and Meditation individually and in groups to kids, adolescents and families at The Center for Mindful Living and teaches at The Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) in Santa Monica, and The Stephen S. Wise School in Bel Air.  Additionally, Ashley runs a mindfulness-based process group for women ages 25-55.

Lindsay Kenny, Administrator

Lindsay has a background in Advertising, Media and Marketing.  After taking a break from her career to stay at home with her children Mason and Ryder, she decided to rejoin the workforce part time.  Her role as GPALA administrator was the perfect fit – allowing her to work part time and still be home for her kids.   She joined GPALA in 2013 as staff administrator and is a valuable contributor to our marketing efforts. Lindsay has also expanded her role to include managing our website.  GPALA is very fortunate to have Lindsay as part of our team!

Legacy Advisory Board:

Elaine Leader, PhD, BCD, CGP, FAGPA

Elaine received her MSW from UCLA in 1970 and her PhD from The Sanville Institute in 1981 where she has been Clinical Consulting Faculty. She was Coordinator of the Adolescent Group Psychotherapy Training in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from 1972-1994.   Dr. Leader is Co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Young People/TEEN LINE ( since 1980 and has been in private practice in Los Angeles since 1970.   Dr. Leader regularly conducts trainings on Adolescent Group Psychotherapy and is also a consultant to law enforcement, adolescent-serving agencies and the media.

Elinor Dunn-Grayer, MSW, PhD, BCD, CGP

Ellie earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health Administration from the University of Michigan in 1954, and went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from UCLA in 1958 and her PhD from the Sanville Institute (formerly Calif. Institute for Clinical Social Work). Ellie served as faculty at the Sanville Institute and served on the Board of Directors of the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA).  She currently has her private practice of consultation in Sherman Oaks and joins our team of instructors every year to teach the highly popular Principles of Group Therapy course through GPALA. Come and learn from Ellie at our next Principles course!

Irwin Schultz, MD, PhD, FAGPA



Marvin Kaphan, LCSW, CGP, FAGPA

(See Marvin’s bio above in the GPALA Board of Directors)

Tanya Moradians, MSW, PhD, CGP

Lissa Lankin, LCSW

Lissa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with private practice locations in Marina Del Rey and Northridge.  She received her MSW from UCLA in 1989 and has been leading adult therapy groups for approximately 20 years.  Lissa has also supervised parallel group therapy programs for children. She has specialized in trauma, anxiety as well as life stage and childhood issues. Lissa currently works with adults, children and adolescents in both individual, couple, and family treatment as well as group treatment.  In addition to her current Legacy Advisory Board position at GPALA, Lissa served as an ongoing member of the Board of Directors for The Los Angeles Group Psychotherapy Society and the Chair of the Continuing Education Committee for many years.  She was also a member of the Training Institute.

Ken Unmacht, PsyD, FIPA

Ken is a psychoanalyst who has been in private practice in Brentwood since 1981. He received his JD degree in Law from USC, MA in Psychology from Cal State Northridge and his PsyD from Los Angeles Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies (LAISPS).  He specializes in psychoanalytic psychotherapy for individuals and groups and has been affiliated with LAISPS since 1998, teaching principles of psychoanalytic group therapy in their extension division. Dr. Unmacht has also been a member of the Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles (previously LAGPS) silence 1983.  He has facilitated psychotherapy groups for separated and divorced men and women, drug addicted veterans (Brentwood VA Hospital), individuals suffering from PTSD, and individuals with depression.

Miguel Ramirez, MSW

Miguel received his MSW from UCLA in 1972. He has extensive experience running both adolescent and multi-family groups for the Los Angeles County Probation Department for the Girls’ Family Treatment Program from 1973-1975.  He has done clinical training for NIMH to the Nicaraguan government post earthquake disaster in 1974. He co-led an Adolescent group with Dr. Elaine Leader as part of the Adolescent Group Psychotherapy Training program in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center from 1978-1992.   Miguel is also a Co-founder of the Center for the Study of Young People/TEEN LINE ( since 1980 and and continues to provide clinical back for this program.  He also had extensive group experience in the Adult Outpatient Department with young adults, the chronically ill and for the Partial Hospitalization program at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Thalians Community Mental Health Clinic from 1975 thru 2012. Miguel has also participated as a mitigation expert for California death penalty cases since 1991to the present. He has done private practice and provided supervision and consultation while at the Thalians Community Mental Health Clinic,