Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Foundation Trust
Dr. Joseph Spinazzola has devoted his professional career to aiding children, families and adults impacted by complex trauma. A clinical psychologist in private practice, Dr. Spinazzola is an internationally recognized subject matter expert on the topic of complex traumatic stress. His extensive accomplishments span research, publication, organizational consulting, systems change, and training of multidisciplinary professionals and graduate students.
Joseph’s work over the past three decades has been driven by a dual mission:
- to challenge misconceptions about psychiatric diagnoses, moral character and risk behaviors of people struggling amidst or in the aftermath of relational or structural violence, exploitation or neglect; and
- to reroute life trajectories derailed by complex trauma through the design, evaluation and dissemination of innovative, strengths-based therapeutic interventions.
Dr. Spinazzola is the author of many scholarly journal articles, book chapters, treatment manuals and consumer resources on complex trauma. His first book, Treating Adult Survivors of Childhood Emotional Abuse and Neglect, was published by the Guilford Press in November 2018.
As Executive Director of the Foundation Trust, Joseph Spinazzola has been afforded the great privilege and fortune to augment his passionate determination to transform understanding and services for complexly traumatized youth and adults through the foundation’s provision of educational outreach, resource development, and grantmaking for vulnerable individuals, communities and the nonprofit organization.
Kaitlyn Machairas, LICSW, Resource Development & Training Associate for the Foundation Trust
Kaitlyn Machairas dedicates her professional career to ensuring access to
education and effective treatment for diverse populations impacted by complex trauma and the treatment providers caring for them.
As a person with a diverse upbringing herself, Ms. Machairas utilizes lived and professional experience to apply concepts and translate educational tools and treatment interventions to address the cultural and contextual needs of individuals served. With extensive front line work as practicing clinician, supervisor, and professional trainer, Ms. Machairas enhances real-life treatment effectiveness across outpatient, community-based, wraparound, and residential treatment settings for teen mothers; individuals struggling with chronic mental health and addictions; and youth and adults contending with relationship violence or neglect against the background of extreme poverty, discrimination, and social oppression.
Kaitlyn's work is driven by two main professional goals:
- to reframe maladaptive behavioral, emotional, and relational presentations of complex trauma, specifically through generations of families in diverse communities, as patterns of strengths and skills used to survive overwhelming adversity; and
- to improve access and usability of treatment tools for diverse communities impacted by the compounded challenges of personal, environmental, and systemic trauma through advocacy and the creation of client, community, and culturally tailored resources, interventions and education.
As a Resource Development and Training Associate for the Foundation Trust, Kaitlyn Machairas has been given the opportunity to share her passion and perspective by developing resources and providing information related to complex trauma that is accessible to and usable by all individuals.
Jana Pressley, Psy.D, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Senior Training Associate for the Foundation Trust
Dr. Jana Pressley has devoted her professional career to serving vulnerable and marginalized youth, adults, and families impacted by chronic adversity, as well as training and supervising students and professionals in intervention practices that recognize complex trauma as a driving force in treatment.
Through both practice and research, Dr. Pressley has had the opportunity to engage in the stories of individuals who have lived in the intersection of community violence, racial oppression, financial insecurity, and chronic family adversity. Dr. Pressley is passionate about qualitative research that gives voice to the life stories of trauma-impacted individuals and communities, so that such narratives have opportunity to raise societal awareness and shape clinical practice and policy. Throughout her career, Dr. Pressley has developed community-based treatment clinics for uninsured/underinsured individuals and families who were not otherwise able to access psychotherapy, and as part of these clinics, has prioritized evidence-based trauma intervention models with a focus on cultural contextualization of treatment in the communities served. In addition, Dr. Pressley’s professional and personal past experiences have intersected with faith communities, and her work in this sphere has focused on the complexity of spirituality in the lives of trauma survivors – for some as a source of enduring distress or ambivalence in connection with past spiritual trauma, while for others a powerful resource for coping and community.
Jana’s work has been defined throughout her career by two intersecting goals:
- to create access to therapeutic services for under-resourced youth, adults, and families whose access to treatment have been otherwise limited by chronic poverty or systemic oppression; and
- to promote awareness through multidisciplinary education and clinical training that honors the resilience of the human spirit intertwined with survival-based emotional, behavioral, and interpersonal symptoms and patterns associated with developmental trauma.
As a Senior Training Associate for the Foundation Trust, Jana Pressley has been given the privilege of applying her lifelong passion for serving vulnerable youth, adults, and families through trauma-focused, culturally relevant educational outreach and resource development made accessible to the public.
The Foundation Trust
The Foundation Trust is a private operating foundation serving Greater Boston. It was established to “fill the gaps” by supporting the important work of small to medium-sized nonprofit organizations through a unique combination of philanthropy, grantmaking, educational resource development and training.
The Foundation Trust concentrates on improving understanding and services for client populations across three priority tracks:
- Youth and adults impacted by complex trauma;
- High-risk children, youth and communities; and
- adults impacted by chronic mental illness, cognitive decline or degenerative conditions.
A fourth track supports efforts to advance inclusivity in the arts.
Founded by Dante Dieso (1918 -2017) in 2016, the Foundation Trust is guided by a vision to help children, adults and families overcome adversity and disadvantage and be afforded resources that promote recovery and advancement.
The Foundation Trust is anchored by an impassioned mission to assist those who have encountered disproportionate hardship, including those who have been denied equal opportunities because of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical impairment or other target of discrimination or social oppression. To learn more about the Foundation Trust and its important work, visit: https://foundationtrust.org.
Please visit the resources section of this website for downloadable articles and other resources on complex trauma, as well as links to books, videos and webinars. For inquiries about the topics and resources included in this website, or to correspond with its developers, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org