Washington Mental Health Counselors Association

Washington Mental Health Counselors Association (WMHCA) is the professional organization working exclusively to meet the needs of Licensed Mental Health Counselors in Washington State.

WMHCA is chartered through the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), our national professional organization.

Our mission is to promote quality mental health counseling services, maintain a viable and distinct professional identity, and influence public policy consistent with our professional ethics and values.

WMHCA performs its mission by working with other professional organizations, the state legislature, state regulatory agencies, insurance companies and consumers to promote quality in mental health counseling practices.  We maintain standing committees whose focus is to safeguard and advocate for Licensed Mental Health Counselors and their clients.

WMHCA in principle and in practice recognizes that all individuals have the right to be accepted for their unique and authentic self. WMHCA seeks diverse membership with respect and honor of the unique human spirit and without discrimination of gender identity, race, age, ethnicity, disability, or socioeconomic status. WMHCA is committed to non-discriminating practices and to the prevention of harassment in all forms, verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological that infringe on the freedom for all people to be who they are.

The Purpose of WMHCA:

  • Promote and maintain the profession of mental health counseling by stressing high levels of ethical and professional practice
  • Promote legislation and administrative rules that recognize and advance the profession of mental health counseling.
  • Foster cooperation among mental health providers to improve care and services to clients.
  • Position the profession favorably in the healthcare market through marketing and education.
  • Encourage the next generation of mental health counselors by supporting the transition from graduate school to professional life.
  • Provide advocacy with insurance companies for contract language that protects licensed mental health counselors and their clients.
  • Provide educational programs that enhance knowledge and promote continuing professional growth.
  • Provide opportunities for connection and networking among its members for professional development.

Disclaimer: WMHCA does not endorse products or services, including products and services advertised in its publications or on its website, unless explicitly so stated in the advertisement itself.  Nor does WMHCA endorse opinions or confirm authenticity of statements contained in material submitted for publication.  And also, the selection of a venue by WMHCA to hold meetings or host workshops reflects only the suitability of the facility for that purpose, nothing more.

WMHCA Values

  1. Focus on the relationship; therapeutic alliance as primary
  2. Personal developmental/self-awareness
  3. Multiculturalism/diversity
  4. Holistic focus for both clients and counselor striving towards personal growth
  5. Ethical practice
  6. Social justice/empowerment
  7. Reduce suffering

Jenny White, Interim President, President-Elect

Jenny is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and meets criteria to provide clinical supervision in the state of WA. She is currently in private practice in Vancouver, WA. Jenny grew up moving around with her family in the US Air Force and is proud to be a member of multi-generational military family.

She has worked in a variety of settings since completing her Masters in Counseling at the University of Colorado, including residential youth; outpatient agencies in Colorado and Washington; and developed and managed a counseling program at a homeless shelter in Pierce County before returning to Vancouver. Jenny has a background in substance use counseling, early childhood education, and EMDR.

Jenny’s passions and areas of expertise are grief, trauma, and supporting families who have made the decision to foster or adopt. She is also passionate about working with new clinicians in the field. It is this desire to support and grow new professionals in the field that has brought Jenny to the WMHCA board. It was within her own search for support and training in best practices, advocacy of the profession and collaboration with other professionals that Jenny found WHMCA. Through her work on the board Jenny looks forward to opportunities to support the profession, grow as a professional and educate others.


Tim Griswold, Treasurer

Tim Griswold is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling at Northwestern University. He is interning at Therapy Associates of Tacoma. Tim graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and has worked for over two decades in the high-tech industry-leading and mentoring individuals through career and personal challenges.


Gay Niven, Board Secretary

I am an HR professional, specializing in leadership development. My graduate degrees are in organizational development and in family systems counseling. I believe we bring our family systems into our work settings and team dynamics, and have found the family system perspective valuable in my organizational work. I regularly reflect on my internship: working with individuals and couples as a therapist-in-training that opened my eyes to the challenges people face daily that impact our performance at work, in life and with our families.


I believe the more support we can give people to get through mental health challenges, and build self-efficacy, that teams, communities and families are strengthened. I'm thrilled to be part of Washington Mental Health Counselors Association and contribute to the work the organization is doing to build quality access to behavioral health resources and influence public policy consistent with our ethics and values. I think my perspective helps bring a systems view to the organizational work we do to support practitioners, open access and advance OneAMHCA.


Dominique Avery, PhD, NCC, LPC (ID), LMHC (WA), Legislative Chair

Dominique Avery is core faculty in the Counseling Department at Saybrook University.  She teaches at both the Masters and PhD levels with a focus on culturally responsive counseling and counselor education, crisis and trauma interventions, child and adolescent counseling, psychopathology and diagnosis, and quantitative research.  She has extensive scholarship and presentation experience including topics in White counselor antiracist accountability, crisis and trauma education, licensure portability, and mixed methods research. Dominique’s past service on boards includes a position as the founding secretary of Idaho Association of LGBT Issues in Counseling, the Interstate Licensing Agreement Committee for the Rocky Mountain region, and the Institutional Review Board for research at Saybrook University.

She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with experience in EMDR counseling with adult survivors of child-hood sexual abuse and working with refugee children and families by bringing play-based therapy into their homes. Prior to becoming a counselor, Dominique spent a decade working with children and adolescents in shelter home settings, wilderness therapy in the deserts of Idaho, and forest schools in the woodlands of England.

Marianne Marlow, LMHC, CFDW, Board Member mariannemarlow@hotmail.com

Marianne is past president of the board for WMHCA, a Certified Daring Way Facilitator, and the managing director of a local networking organization for women, eWomen Network. As a public and industry presenter, she extends her expertise by teaching personal and professional resiliency. As a skilled therapist with over 20 years experience, she supervises and professionally develops coaches and therapists.

Karen King, MS, LMHC, Board Member

Karen King is a psychotherapist and the CEO of King Health Associates, an Integrated Wellness Center in Bellingham, Washington. Before her life as an entrepreneur and practice manager, she practiced counseling in a variety of settings, and has found that her studies in dance, Tibetan Buddhism and the study of consciousness greatly inform her work with clients as well as the management of her business . Her primary passions include being absorbed in the incredibly rich and unfolding field of psychology, advising and consulting with counselors as they build their practices and helping clients gain insight and compassion towards themselves as they heal. She is an Enneagram 7, an MBTI ENFP and her Instagram stream is filled with cats, books and lots of sky.

Robyn Hansen, Board Member

Robyn is finishing her master’s degree in counseling at the University of Puget Sound. She attended St. Martin’s University for her undergraduate degree in psychology. At SMU, Robyn served as Senator of non-traditional students, acting as a formal representative for this population by working on their behalf and advocating for their interests. Additionally, Robyn served as a liaison to represent the views and concerns of all non-traditional students. Following graduation, Robyn gained valuable experience working as a 1:1 Special Education Paraeducator for youth on the Autism Spectrum.

Robyn is a counseling intern at Greater Lakes Mental Health, working with the Adult Outpatient/Brief Therapy team, where she provides case management and psychotherapy skills to various individual clients. In addition, working from a collaborative strengths-based approach, Robyn provided counseling services to both undergraduate and graduate students from Seattle University and the University of Puget Sound during her practicum experience.

Robyn’s future professional goals include running a private mental health practice where she hopes to specialize in eating disorders and trauma. Additionally, her love of education and learning has inspired her interest in teaching at the undergraduate level one day. In addition to WMHCA, she is a member of the American Counseling Association, ACLU, American Psychological Association, Phi Kappa Phi, and Psi Chi Honor Societies. Robyn enjoys spending time with her family, practicing mindfulness and meditation, and reading in her free time.

Debiruth Stanford, LMHC, Board Member

Debiruth Stanford is Chief Firewalker of Next Steps Coaching and Psychotherapy in Bellevue, Washington. Her specialty is “getting past stuck,” and she is passionate about helping people manage difficult life transitions, put purpose and values first in life, and create fulfilling lives with great relationships.

She focuses on working with adults as individuals, in couples, thruples, and more, and in a variety of arrangements that include extended, 'chosen,' and alternative family structures.

Debiruth maintains active membership in a variety of professional and community organizations, including the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), Washington Mental Health Counselor's Association (WMHCA), Daring Way Pacific Northwest Region, and Seattle Women’s Chorus / Seattle Choruses. Currently, she is a board member for WMHCA and active in determining the ‘new normal’ for the Chorus.


Pamela Raphael, Board Member

I received my undergraduate degree in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University and my Masters in Applied Behavioral Science from Bastyr University. I specialize in one-on-one support of adults who are recovering from relational trauma, narcissistic relationship abuse and bullying. I have specialized training in Workplace bullying and have developed my practice around helping people affected by this all too common behavior. At the legislative level, I advocate to raise awareness of workplace bullying and make workplaces healthier for employees and employers. Workplace bullying is abuse and it should be illegal but it isn’t. Greater protections are needed to protect both employees and employers.

Jonobie Ford, Graduate Student Representative

Jonobie is pursuing a MA in Mental Health Counseling at Saybrook University. Previously, she received a MS in Computer Science and worked for 21 years in high-tech companies as a people manager, career coach, technical writer, and program manager.

Karen Langer M.Ed, LMHC, President Emeritus,  AMHCA Western Region Director

Past President Emeritus;. President of WMHCA for 8 years and then on the AMHCA board from 2007-2014 (Western Region Director 2007-11; President-Elect 2011-12; President 2012-13; Past President 2014).

Shannon Thompson MA LMHC CMHS,  Executive Director shannon@wmhca.org

Shannon is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) and a child and adolescent mental health specialist (CMHS).  Shannon graduated from Argosy University with a Master's in Mental Health Counseling in 2006.  She spent many years in community mental health before opening a private practice in 2013.  Her career has primarily been focused on serving children, adolescents, and their families.  Shannon has been part of the WMCHA board since 2016.  She joined originally as a volunteer and was the workshop chair.  In 2018 she became the Education and Advocacy Director and more recently has been promoted to Executive Director of the WMHCA board. 

Sara Oppler, Business Operations Director  sara@wmhca.org

Sara Oppler has 10+ years of Human Resources experience in a wide variety of organizations, primarily non-profits.  She previously worked at a Community Mental Health Center.  Sara resides in Kirkland with her husband and two young children and serves as the Chair of the City of Kirkland Salary Commission.