Institute on Violence, Abuse & Trauma

About IVAT

History and Staff Bios


Please note that our staff email addresses have changed to the email domain Emails are listed under each staff member below. 



The Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) strives to be a comprehensive resource, training and research center dealing with all aspects of violence, abuse and trauma. Through a focus on collaborations with various partnering organizations, IVAT desires to bridge gaps and help improve current systems of care on a local, national, and global levels.

IVAT was founded in July 2006, when the nationally acclaimed Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute (FVSAI) joined Alliant International University. 

The Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute, which is now one of the centers within IVAT, was founded in 1984 in Texas by Robert Geffner, Ph.D. FVSAI was established to address the need for a national resource and training center that focused directly on family violence issues.

In 1991, FVSAI became a non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization to deal with sexual assault issues and gradually expanded its scope to include child, teen, and elder maltreatment. In 1999, FVSAI relocated to San Diego, CA, where it became affiliated with the California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP), which merged with United States International University, becoming Alliant International University. CSPP is now a school within Alliant International University.

IVAT'S Mission is to improve the quality of life for individuals on local, national and international levels by sharing and disseminating vital information, improving collaborations and networking, conducting research and trainings, assisting with direct professional services, program evaluation, and consulting to promote violence-free living.

IVAT's Vision is a world free from violence, abuse, and trauma.


IVAT Staff

Bob Geffner Photo 05-15-06.jpg


Robert Geffner, Ph.D., ABN, ABPP

Robert Geffner is a licensed clinician (Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist in California and a Licensed Psychologist in Texas) and directed a full-service private practice mental health clinic in East Texas for over 15 years prior to relocating to California 15 years ago.

Dr. Geffner has trained mental health professionals, judges, attorneys, and others for over 28 years.

He is President and Founder of a nonprofit international resource and training center (the Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute in Texas and now in California), the Founding President of the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma at Alliant International University, a Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology at Alliant International University in San Diego, and editor of five professional journals (including the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Journal of Family Violence, and the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma; he is also in the process of becoming the editor of the Journal of Child Custody). He has a Diplomate in Clinical Neuropsychology from the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology, and is Board Certified in Couple and Family Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

He has lectured extensively on the subjects of child abuse, domestic violence, trauma, forensic psychology, child custody, expert witness, and diagnostic assessment. Dr. Geffner is a past president of the American Psychological Association Division of Trauma Psychology, and he is currently co-chair of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) and president of the American Academy of Couple & Family Psychology. He has served on numerous state, national, and professional committees and task forces concerning family violence, child abuse, interpersonal violence, family law, child custody, and family psychology.  

Contact Dr. Robert Geffner at

Chief Executive Officer (ceo)

Sandi Capuano Morrison, M.A.

Sandi Capuano Morrison has worked with victims and offenders of interpersonal violence for 24 years in Colorado, Massachusetts and California. She has been with IVAT since 2008. Sandi received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder in Psychology with a focus in Women’s Studies in 1996. Her commitment to domestic violence survivors began after volunteering at a battered women’s shelter as part of a course on Gandhi’s philosophy of ahimsa, nonviolent resistance, and satyagrapha.

Sandi was a victim advocate at Boulder County Safehouse and then Children’s Counselor at Alternatives to Violence domestic violence shelter before moving to Boston in 1998 and graduating from Boston College with her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology in 2000. It was at BC that Sandi became certified as a Batterer Intervention Program Facilitator and assisted with research on the process and efficacy of offender programs. She became the Program Director of the IMPACT Batterer Intervention Program and ran offender groups for 5 years in Boston suburbs.

After moving to San Diego in 2005, Sandi managed the county-wide domestic violence and sexual assault 24-hour hotline and volunteer program and then the city of San Diego’s Rape Crisis Center at the Center for Community Solutions. In that position she was a member of both the San Diego Sexual Assault Response Team and the Sex Offender Management Council and became certified by California’s Office of Emergency Services as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault counselor. She was also a Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) volunteer.

Sandi serves on the Executive Committee of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV) and is also a board member of Stop the Silence, Stop Child Sexual Abuse Inc. 

Sandi is committed to empowerment-based, survivor-informed programs & processes as well as offender accountability. She has interests in Restorative Justice, Holistic Healing, Cultural Competency, Human Rights and Social Justice.

Contact Sandi Capuano-Morrison at
psmith3 picture.jpg


Patricia Smith

Originally from the West Coast, Patricia is glad to be back.  Over sixteen years ago, she joined in the service provider role almost by accident, but realized it was meant to be.  Since coming into this field, she has never looked at a day and thought “why am I here?”  As a survivor of 18 years of domestic violence, she can’t imagine not doing this work.    

Patricia has over 16 years of experience in direct and indirect service in programs regarding violence against women.  She has been a direct service provider, as well as in a supervisory capacity in residential programs, to include emergency shelter and transitional living facilities.  She has extensive experience in handling crisis and has forever been a problem solver, both personally and professionally. 

She has worked serving adult & children’s needs, sexual violence victims, and served in an outreach capacity.  She has been a presenter for a number of years, to diverse audiences on a variety of topics regarding violence against women on a state, as well as national level.  She has presented to professionals such as law enforcement, medical providers, attorneys, and social workers.  
Patricia has worked with incarcerated women and teens, both male and female.  She has started programs from the ground up, such as the Adopt-A-Family for the Holidays program which is in its 14th successful year;  assisted in the first in the Big Bend of Florida area Spanish speaking support group, and International Thanksgiving just to name a few. 

She has served as the Battered /Formerly Battered Women’s Caucus Chair – Florida, and the Women of Color Caucus Chair as an agency Chair in Tallahassee, Florida.
This work is important to me so that my children and grandchildren will have a better chance in having a life without violence.

Contact Patricia Smith at


Angela Schwab

Angela comes to IVAT after an 18 year nursing career where she worked in a variety of settings as a Licensed Vocational Nurse before receiving her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from California State University San Marcos in 2010. While in nursing school, Angela gained a passion for non-profit organizational work as Legislative Director and President of the California Nursing Student Association. After graduation in 2010 she spent one term as Membership Director on the board of the American Nurses Association\California where she truly developed a love for community outreach.

Angela is part of IVAT’s Self-Care Subcommittee for both our Hawaii and San Diego Summits. As a nurse she saw firsthand the toll lack of self-care can take on individuals; particularly those working on the front lines of patient care. In 2015, she created an information website for those interested in self-care and became a Registered Yoga Teacher. She continues to learn and spread the word about the importance of caring for oneself through her yoga practice and website.

Contact Angela Schwab at

NPEIV, Summit and Bookstore Assistant

IVAT, Summits Assistant


Clinical and Forensic Staff


Clinical Director

Morgan Shaw, Psy.D.

Dr. Shaw is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist. She currently oversees the Professional Clinical and Forensic Services department at IVAT as the Clinical Director where she manages the training program and provides clinical supervision to the pre-doctoral interns and post-doctoral fellows on staff. Dr. Shaw also provides trauma-informed therapeutic services to a variety of child, adolescent, and adult clients. She specializes in working with individuals who have a history of child abuse. She also assists in serving clients who are involved in criminal, family, and civil cases involving a broad range of forensic issues. She conducts evaluations within the criminal, civil, and family courts and is also on the county approved provider list for juvenile probation evaluations. Dr. Shaw provides trainings both locally and nationally on a wide variety of topics including the effects of trauma on children. She has further experience in forensic interviewing, biofeedback training, applied behavior analysis, and crisis intervention.  Dr. Shaw also serves as an Assistant Editor for five professional journals, including the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse; Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma; Journal of Child Custody; Journal of Family Violence; and Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma.  

Contact Morgan Shaw at

post-doctoral fellow

Gimel Rogers, Psy.D.

Dr. Rogers is a post-doctoral fellow. She earned her doctorate from Pepperdine University has provided trauma focused care with clients from the Children of the Night Program, incarcerated youth at Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, and an array of therapeutic interventions with emphasis on cognitive behavioral therapy to inmates at FCI Terminal Island. Dr. Gimel Rogers is passionate about working with survivors of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse within their recovery process. Currently she is an adjunct professor at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, where she teaches masters level adult and child and adolescent psychopathology and clinical theories of child development courses. She is also a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT). She has publications in the areas of culture, coping, and trauma. Dr. Gimel Rogers dedicates her time and energy to individuals across the world, living by Yasmeen Graham’s quote, “She was very stern and firm.  She pushed me, and I didn’t like it for a long time. But now I push myself, because I know that my limits are more than I thought they were.” Through Fearless Individuals Resistant to Entrapment (F.I.R.E.) and its brand One Temple Fitness, Dr. Rogers wants to continue to push people to break through their chains and understand that there's no limit to becoming their best selves through her thought provoking and relatable approach!

Contact Gimel Rogers at

pre doctoral interns & international interns

Tony Canarelli, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in the fourth year of the Psy.D program at Alliant/California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego.  He is currently training at two practicum sites: he provides individual and group therapy at IVAT, working largely with the homeless population.  He also provides support to the institution’s work with expert testimony and anticipates administering forensic assessments in the near future.  Mr. Canarelli also provides individual and group therapy as well as administering and interpreting diagnostic assessment batteries at Veterans’ Village, San Diego to the members of the homeless veteran population.  He has previously worked with individuals in recovery from substance use disorder, as well as clients coping with chronic pain.  Mr. Canarelli’s research interests include current work on his dissertation, An Analysis of MMPI-2 Scores among Job-Seeking OEF/OIF Veterans. He is also part of a team of fellow Alliant trainees who have proposed a research presentation titled Analysis of Correlated Scores Among Assessment Instruments in the Convicted Murderer Population.  The team plan to present their findings at two events in March, 2017; The IVAT 14th Annual Hawaii Training Summit, and Society of Personality Assessment Annual Convention. 

Contact Tony Canarelli at

 Jennifer Guerrero, M.A., is a 4th year graduate student at Alliant International University/ California School of Professional Psychology, working on her PhD in Clinical Psychology. Prior to that, Jennifer received her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. She is currently a psychology trainee at the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma. Her graduate clinical training focuses on working with adult populations in forensic, inpatient, and outpatient settings. Her clinical work focuses on providing psychoeducation groups that utilize cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy; along with providing long-term and short-term individual therapy. Her research experience consists of understanding the functions of self-inflicted injury, specifically implicit cognitions of shame and self-punishment; false-memories; and using a bilingual after school programs to assist child who have limited language proficiency.

Contact Jennifer Guerrero at

Rachel Malin, M.A., is a 4th year student at Alliant International University/California School of Professional Psychology, working on her PsyD in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Forensics. Prior to that, Ms. Malin secured her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University in Encino, California.  She is currently a psychology trainee at IVAT/PCFS and a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist at a Crisis Center. Her clinical training focuses on working with the adult forensic and persistently mentally ill populations in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  

Contact Rachel Malin at

Loïc Welch-Mongeau, M.S. is an international intern. Loïc joined the IVAT team as part of his responsibilies required to complete his Masters’ forensic, clinical, and research internships. He is originally from Montreal Canada, but completed the first year of his Masters of Science in forensic psychology at Maastricht University (Netherlands). The curriculum focused on criminality and the judicial process. The program included many hours of forensic training in risk assessment tools, risk formulation, and introduction to various therapeutic techniques. Looking to the future, Loïc is planning on continuing his academic and professional development in the field of forensics.

Contact Loïc Welch-Mongeau at

Family Violence & Sexual Assault Institute Board Members

President - Robert Geffner, PhD, ABN, ABPP
Secretary/Treasurer - Krystel Edmonds-Biglow, Psy.D
Board Member - Teri Schroeder, LCSW