Board and Committees

2018-2020 NAPT Board Member Roles (biographies included below)

President: Nick Mazza
Past President: Geri Chavis
VP & Conference Chair: Barbara Kreisberg
Treasurer & Finance Commitee Chair: Eric Kreuter
Secretary: Connie Banta
Diversity Chair: Alice Thompson
Academic/Institutional Outreach Chair: Nicole Duenow
Public Relations Chair: Alison Johnson
Social Media Chair: Laura Santner
Publications Chair: Karen vanMeenen
Journal of Poetry Therapy Editor: Nick Mazza

Board Members-at-Large
Lorrieann Geyer
Gwyn Knauer 
Michelle Bee

NAPT Liaison to IFBPT: Laura Santner
Awards Committee: Karen vanMeenen (as standing Chair)

IFBPT Liaison to NAPT: Nancy Scherlong

NOTE: Committee members can be drawn from membership and do not need to be Board members.
We encourage your participation!


Nicholas Mazza, PhD is Professor and Dean Emeritus at the Florida State University, College of Social Work. Dr. Mazza holds Florida licenses in psychology, clinical social work, and marriage and family therapy. He is the founding (1987) and current editor of the Journal of Poetry Therapy and author of Poetry Therapy: Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition (2017) He is past vice president and has served continuously on the NAPT Board since 1985. In 1997, Dr. Mazza received the “Pioneer Award” from NAPT.

Geri Chavis, PhD, MA, LP, CPT a long-time NAPT member, has served several terms on the NAPT board, chairing committees on Educational Outreach, By-Laws, Ethics, and Conference. A professor at St. Catherine University and a Mentor/Supervisor of Biblio/Poetry Therapy, Geri has taught many poetry therapy-related courses and has authored three books, the latest entitled Poetry and Story Therapy: The Healing Power of Creative Expression, published in 2011.

barbraBarbara Kreisberg, MS, CPT is currently serving on the NAPT Board as Vice President and Conference Chair. She is a contributing author of The Healing Fountain. She has worked for over 25 years in both Boston and Miami with a variety of inpatient and outpatient populations in the area of mental health using reflective writing and poetry therapy to promote personal growth and wellness. She has presented workshops at NAPT conferences, local universities, hospitals, cancer support groups and other community settings on the healing power of writing reflectively using poetry therapy and journal writing techniques. She currently facilitates ongoing writing groups in Miami.

Eric Kreuter, serves as Treasurer on the Board of the National Association for Poetry Therapy. He has contributed articles to the Journal of Poetry Therapy and has presented at NAPT’s Annual Conferences. Dr. Kreuter is a partner with the accounting and advisory firm of Marks Paneth LLP, providing forensic and litigation support services to a broad range of clientele. He has a doctorate in clinical psychology and has published books and articles on a variety of topics.

Connie Banta, LPC is a clinical therapist in West Virginia’s largest mental health facility, incorporating poetry therapy into her work. She has facilitated an ongoing writing group for adults with a variety of mental health conditions. She has studied poetry therapy for several years with mentor Sherry Reiter. She holds a Masters in Teaching English, an MFA in Writing Poetry, and a Masters in Counseling.

Alice V. Thompson, DMin, CAPF is the Director of Spiritual Care at Calvert Memorial Hospital in Maryland. She is an ordained minister and a graduate of Howard University with a Doctor of Ministry degree. She is a Clinical Member of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and a member of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Dr. Thompson was trained in poetry therapy by trailblazers in the field, Ruth Monser and Ken Gorelick. She incorporates poetry as a clinical sacred intervention, with many populations which include those in recovery, troubled youth, veterans, palliative care, end of life patients and the elderly. She has facilitated groups and provided education regarding the effectiveness of poetry at various institutions such as hospitals, schools, hospices, churches, and extended care facilities. Dr. Thompson has experienced the power of words as a road to freedom and values silence as a doorway to the soul.

Nicole Duenow, MA is a psychotherapist, interfaith spiritual director and healthcare chaplain whose work is grounded in practices of care that are trauma-informed, spiritually-integrated and cross-culturally focused. Her Jüngian-flavored style incorporates methods and modalities that cut across multiple disciplines and fields of study, including neuroscience and behavioral physiology, historical and generational trauma, comparative religions, and the literary expressive arts. An Intermediate-level student of Somatic Experiencing® and on track for certification as a Registered Poetry Therapist, Nicole also holds Master’s degrees in Counseling and Psychological Services and in Theology with a concentration in Spirituality, respectively, along with graduate-level certificates in both Pastoral Ministry and Spiritual Direction. She appreciates poetry therapy for its power, accessibility and unique capacity to give words to complex states of being—to give voice to the voiceless, often for the very first time.

Alison Johnson is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a registered poetry therapist. She works on the psychiatric liaison service at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, MN, providing medication management and group and individual therapy to people hospitalized for medical concerns. She is a surveyor for the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and has an undergraduate degree in nursing, a master’s degree in business administration and a doctoral degree in nursing practice, specializing is behavioral health.

Laura Santner, LCSW, PTR is acting Social Media Chair. She graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in psychology, minoring in creative writing. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, graduate from the Master’s program at New York University. She received her Certification in Poetry Therapy and became a Registered Poetry Therapist. She has led numerous workshops at the NAPT conference in addition to the Creative Righting Center. She has been a clinical social worker and has incorporated poetry therapy in her work since 2006. She has given presentations and lectures at her work place in addition to having an article published in the Journal of Social Psychology.

Karen (“ren”) vanMeenen, MA, MA, CAPF is NAPT Publications Chair, Museletter Editor and Book Review Editor for the Journal of Poetry Therapy. She is a full-time Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology, where she teaches classes in Writing, Creative Writing, Literature, and Contemporary Art. She is the longtime Editor of the media arts journal Afterimage as well as the Director of Special Projects at the literary center Writers & Books, where she organizes large community reading programs such as If All of Rochester Read the Same Book…. and the Debut Novel Series.

Lorrieann Geyer, MA is an English teacher at a private therapeutic school, where she has been employed for six years. During this time Lorrieann created “Poetry Café” and “Poetry Purge” where students are able to share their poetry. She has been accessing students socially, emotionally, and academically with literature in the classroom and as an enrichment activity. Lorrieann completed an A.A.S in Liberal Arts from County College of Morris (1996), a B.A. in English Literature with Honors from The College of St. Elizabeth (2006), and a M.A. in Special Education from Kean University (2016). Through Rutgers University, Lorrieann completed multiple teaching certifications. She is very committed to teaching students with learning differences and is personally invested in the area of Special Education.

Gwyn Knauer has lived in New York, the Ozarks region of Missouri, and is currently located in Los Angeles. She has a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University in New York, and has taught English in Guatemala, Peru, Morocco, and Thailand. She co-translated The Kehai of Tea Ceremony, a memoir by Japanese artist Satsuki Chigusa, into English, and has worked for national and international nonprofit organizations, most recently The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, a train station remodeled into a poetry center above the Hudson River. She has also performed in bluegrass bands, taken photographs for tv series on CBS, and volunteered as a Writing Mentor for an inmate through The Prison Arts Coalition. Now, she writes visual descriptions of images for blind students and helps create audio captions for students who are deaf. She has participated in Poetry Therapy workshops in Arizona, North Carolina, and Colorado.

Michelle Bee is a psychotherapist, author, poet, and developer of Systems of Ease. Over the past decade, she has been teaching and providing mental health services in the Los Angeles area. She advocates for the healing arts, poetry therapy, neurodiversity, and EFT (tapping). She specializes in processing complex trauma, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, poetry therapy, motivational psychology, energy psychology, somatic practices, and spiritual psychology. She is the Chair of the Los Angeles CAMFT Expressive Arts Committee. In her poetry book, Searching for SHE, Michelle shares her personal walk as a multi-ethnic female. She uses the art of poetry to explore culture, race, romance, sexuality, and spirituality. To learn more about Michelle Bee you can visit her website

Standing Committees

Academic/Institutional Outreach Committee makes recommendations to the Board about the development and implementation of the educational outreach of the Association and its membership. This committee generates and maintains an annotated list of academic and non-academic resources related to poetry/bibliotherapy/expressive writing.

Conference Committee plans and implements the annual NAPT conference, and engages in long-range conference planning.

Diversity Committee expands both the diversity of membership, as well as that of conference attendees. This committee is dedicated to promoting the involvement, within the Association membership, of practitioners and/or professionals of diverse ethnic, gender identity, sexual orientation, linguistic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.

Finance Committee oversees and reviews the funds of the Association and presents a proposed budget for approval at the annual meeting of the Board.

Membership Committee makes recommendations regarding membership procedures and focuses on recruitment, retention, marketing, and member services — in support of NAPT’s vision of cultivating poetry therapy throughout the world.

Public Relations Committee develops communications as deemed desirable for the general public, which explain the role, purpose, and objectives of the  Association.  The Committee’s responsibility is to increase public awareness and acceptance of poetry therapy and related forms of expressive writing.

Social Media Committee posts and monitors materials and responds to or fields inquires emerging from various social media sites and platforms relevant to poetry/bibliotherapy/expressive writing.

Publications Committee oversees the publication of the NAPT e-newsletter, The Museletter, and coordinates any other publications that the Board initiates.

Current Ad Hoc Committees include Nominating Committee, By-Laws Committee, Awards Committee and Website Revision Committee