JoAnn Ponder, Ph.D. - President

JoAnn Ponder, PhD is a psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Austin. She’s serving her 10th year on the ASPP board and her third term as president. She originated the annual ethics workshop, which has become one of ASPP’s most popular and successful events each year. JoAnn completed her training in adult psychoanalysis and child psychotherapy at the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston and Austin, where she currently serves on the faculty. She’s certified as a sandplay practitioner (Jungian-oriented) by Sandplay Therapists of America. She also completed the family/couples therapy program at the International Institute of Object Relations Therapy in Bethesda, and the New Directions writing program at the Washington Psychoanalytic Foundation. Currently, she’s a fellow in the Infant-Parent Mental Health Intervention Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. JoAnn held several offices in the American Psychological Association’s Division of Psychoanalysis (Division 39). She was president of Section III (Women and Gender), representative for Section II (Childhood and Adolescence) to the Division 39 Board of Directors, and conference co-chair for the Division 39 Spring Meeting held in 2009. She recently was elected member-at-large for Section I (psychologist-psychoanalyst practitioners). She’s also a member of the Austin-San Antonio Psychoanalytic Society, and will serve as its representative on the Executive Council at the American Psychoanalytic Association. She has presented papers at national and international psychoanalytic conferences. In 2004, she was awarded the David A. Freedman Candidate Paper’s Prize by the Houston Psychoanalytic Society. Her publications include a journal article about narcissism in the psychoanalytic profession and a book chapter about treating children who lost a parent. Currently, JoAnn is writing a book chapter about adoptive motherhood. 

Joellen Peters - Co-President Elect

Joellen M. Peters, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in south Austin.  Joellen works with children, families, adolescents, and adults from an interpersonal, developmental, and self psychology perspective.  She has a specialization in issues related to adoption, including work with adult adoptees, birth parents, and families going through reunions.  She has presented papers related to adoption on the local, regional, and national level.  After completing her PhD at UT Austin, Joellen participated in a 2 year post-doc, which focused on self psychology.  She has been a member of ASPP since she was in graduate school.  This is her 3rd year on the board and most recently she served as Education Chair. 

Danielle Witchel - Secretary

Danielle Witchel is a Clinical Social Worker who works with young adults, adults, and couples.  She received her Masters from Smith College School for Social Work.  Since graduating, she has provided treatment in clinics, schools, residential facilities, and hospitals in Boston, San Francisco, and Austin.  Upon completing her Masters, she completed a year-long intensive course at The Family Institute of Cambridge in couples and family therapy.  She has been in private practice since 2005 and has participated in numerous consultation groups and study groups since opening her practice.  Danielle believes in the importance of ongoing consultation and study to facilitate meaningful therapeutic work with her clients.  Danielle uses a relational, psychodynamic perspective informed by psychoanalytic thinking to help clients experience relief from their symptoms.  She has recently partnered with Flatwater Foundation to provide care to individuals and families affected by cancer.   Danielle has been a member of ASPP since 2005.  She is also a member of the Austin Group Psychotherapy Society (AGPS) as well as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  She is serving her first term as secretary of ASPP. She is a member of West End Psychological Associates-- a group of independent practitioners.

Michael Donnell - Co-President Elect

Michael Donnell, Psy.D. is a psychologist in private practice in downtown Austin and an adjunct faculty member in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Texas at Austin. Michael works with adolescents, adults and couples from a relational psychoanalytic perspective. His most recent publication, which explored the intersection of age and desire in gay men, was published in the June 2013 issue of Studies in Gender and Sexuality. Prior to his move to Austin, Michael taught and supervised at various graduate schools and training programs in the San Francisco Bay Area; was a staff member at the Mills College Counseling Center, where he led didactic workshops and supervised doctoral-level practicum trainees; and was an executive board member of the Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology. He is an active member of the Division of Psychoanalysis (39) of the American Psychological Association.

Denise Zaborowski - Education Chair

Denise Lemos Zaborowski, PhD, LPC-Supervisor, is a psychoanalytic-oriented psychotherapist in private practice. She conducts individual adult psychotherapy in Portuguese, Spanish and English. During the late 1980’s she received her Advanced Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology- Psychoanalytic Track at PUC/RJ and was a member of the “Freudian Letter of Rio de Janeiro”. In Brazil, she worked in private practice as well as at the Rio de Janeiro State University Hospital. In this academic hospital, she served as researcher, psychotherapist, and supervisor for residents in the Adolescent Unit. In the 1990’s Denise completed her PhD at The Wright Institute at Berkeley, California and her clinical training at WILA, California. This training greatly contributed to her interest in Object Relations. Denise moved to Austin in 2003 and, since then, she has participated in professional activities with ASPP, Austin Travis County Integral Care and several study groups. Denise has recently completed a Fellowship in Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston. She currently serves the ASPP board as Education Chair-Elect 2015/16. Denise likes traveling, watching movies and performances, and being with her family and friends

Sue Fairbanks - Treasurer

Sue Fairbanks, LCSW, is a Board Certified Diplomat in Clinical Social Work and a psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapist in private practice in Austin.  Sue works with adults both young and older, in individual and couples therapy and is available for clinical consultation.  She is currently in her second year of the Fellowship Program in Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston and Austin.  Sue is long time member of the National Association of Social Workers and holds membership in the American Association of Psychoanalytic Clinical Social Workers.  She is a past board member of the Texas Society for Clinical Social Work.  Sue has served, for a number of years, on the Deans Advisory council for the University of Texas, School of Social Work.  In 2007 she established an Endowment for Excellence in the Application of Psychoanalytic Knowledge in Social Work at the UT School of Social Work.  Sue is a long time member of ASPP and is serving her third year as an at large member of the ASPP board.  Sue loves sailing and is a former Commodore of an Austin sailing club.  She is passionate about folk art and loves to travel.

Becky Rockwell - Member-at-Large

Becky Rockwell, LCSW is a Clinical Social Worker who earned her master’s degree from the University of Texas.  She has a private psychotherapy practice near downtown Austin working with individual adult clients. Becky recently completed a two-year “Studies in Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy” program with the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston and Austin.  In addition to her private practice, Becky previously worked for My Healing Place, Austin’s Center for Grief, Loss, and Trauma, for eight years. Her work there included co-facilitating a bereaved spouses support group, coordinating and leading school-based grief support groups for children and supervising volunteer facilitators for support group evenings.


Seja Rachael - Member-at Large

 Seja Rachael, MA, LPC-S is an analytically informed depth psychotherapist who works in private practice with individuals, couples and groups    to generate the process of healing restorative change. Seja’s orientation is strongly influenced by contemporary and relational psychodynamic  theory, Jungian psychology, and attachment based approaches. Relationally dynamic, her work may also engage the creative process through  sandplay, art, meditation, or active imagination. In private practice for over twenty five years, Seja is former president of the Texas Sandplay Society, and has worked closely with Austin in Connection. She presents locally and nationally at Post Graduate Institutes and Professional Associations from her book in progress, Meeting Places: The Elusive Engagement of Memory and Desire.


Lisa Madsen - Education Chair Elect

Lisa Madsen, MD is a psychiatrist in private practice and a Clinical Assistant Professor with the University of Texas A&M Health Sciences Center. Lisa works with adults in psychotherapy and medication management from a relational psychodynamic perspective. Lisa attended medical school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She completed her residency training in psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Lisa was a 2012-2013 Fellow of the American Psychoanalytic Association. She recently completed the two-year Studies in Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program through the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies in Houston and Austin. Lisa has served on the ASPP board since 2014, most recently as Education Chair Elect.

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