Clinic Director Nichole Ayres

Clinic Director Nichole Ayres

Nichole Ayres, DSW, LICSW

Clinic Director

Nichole Ayres is the Clinic Director at The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities, located in Lakewood and serving the Tacoma area. Ayres oversees all clinical operations at the Cohen Clinic while following Evidence-based Practice guidelines through treatment. She brings more than eight years of experience to the clinic, with a special focus on the treatment of trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex trauma and anxiety. A military spouse of nearly 10 years, Ayres’ is also a local resident of the area.


Alicia Petitt

Office Manager

Alicia grew up in the Tacoma-area, graduated from Stadium High School and participated in the Navy Junior ROTC program.

She is an active duty military spouse of almost 10 years, and volunteers with her husband’s command in the Ombudsman Program. Serving veterans and their family members is a cause close to her heart.

Alicia has over 8 years’ experience working in healthcare, and recently graduated with an MBA in Healthcare Administration. She is responsible for managing the business side of the clinic’s operations.

Josh Janssen

Josh Janssen

Data Manager

Josh is a medically separated Veteran with 6 years active duty based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He served in Bravo Battery 1/377 FAR 17th Fires BDE as a Cannon Crewmember (13B). He Served two tours overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He was Honorably Discharged in September 2014 and got his Bachelors in Information Technology. He also runs Janssen Technical Consulting in his spare time and loves to spend time with his family in Orting, WA.

Josh is responsible for maintaining the clinic’s electronic health record, assisting with the billing process, and being our all-around tech guru.


James Gibson, LMHCA


James is a retired Army Veteran with 21 years active duty service.  His former duty stations include: Schweinfurt Germany, Ft. Hood Texas, Hohenfels Germany, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Purdue University. James has multiple deployments that include: Bosnia, Kosovo, Republic of Georgia, Romania, Iraq, and Afghanistan.   

Upon retiring from the Army in 2016, James earned his Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Northwest University and began work as a co-occurring disorders specialist.  James is married to his wife of 20 years and has three wonderful daughters.  During his free time, James loves to spend time with family and friends in Lacey, WA.

James is honored to continue to serve our country’s Veterans.


Shawn Durnen

Outreach Manager

Shawn's Innovation in Community Engagement comes from his service in the US Army, deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom with the "Mighty Triple Nickel", 555th Engineer Brigade at Fort Lewis, WA.

He began his military journey in 2005, and has been serving ever since. Though his military career ended in 2010, he has created a career out of serving those who served. He advocates for his brothers and sisters in arms out of love, respect, and a passion to strengthen Veterans and their family members through access to services.

Shawn lives by the motto “Be the difference” because he truly believes it’s not about success vs. failure, Its only about results!

Shawn’s responsibilities include building and maintaining relationships with the clinic’s community partners and referral resources.


Thong (Tom) Pham, LMHC

Lead Clinician

Thong has gone by “Tom” most of his life as it sounds very similar to his name in Vietnamese. Tom has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science from Washington State University. He  received a Master of Arts with an emphasis on community counseling from Washington State University. He started his mental health career at DESC (Downtown Emergency Service Center) in Seattle. Tom also held several positions with Greater Lakes Mental Healthcare before joining the Cohen Clinic.

Tom feels he has been blessed with the opportunity to meet people with different opportunities to help. He is a firm believer in a person’s innate drive to better themselves or their condition. In this process of recovery, everyone needs assistance in making progress at times. He views his role in the mental health setting is to help establish an environment of trust and commitment to this endeavor. Hopefully, this allows a person to feel comfortable in deciding what goals they would like to work towards and how they can progress in a therapeutic setting.


Myriam Mampengu

Case Manager

An experienced Social Worker of many years, Myriam graduated from Seattle Central College in Seattle, Washington with a Bachelor’s of Science in Behavioral Science. Previously, Myriam worked for the Department of Children, Youth and Families as a Child Protective Services Investigator and for Seattle Goodwill as an Employment Specialist. As a student at Highline College, Myriam was employed by Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission as a Case Manager, and earned an Associate of Arts in Human Services.

Myriam has the passion to see people excel in life, succeed and live in the fullness of their life potential. She believes that connecting people with necessary resources available to them will allow and help them to lead a well-balanced and resilient life.

Myriam’s main purpose is to connect clients with the resources and referrals they require to meet their individual needs.


Cheryl Keller


Cheryl grew up in Tacoma and attended Lincoln High School. Shortly after graduating, she married her high school sweetheart who then joined The US Coast Guard. They were stationed at Neah Bay where they lived for 9 months, and then transferred to Long Beach, CA. After 3 years, they ended up back in Seattle where she remained for the next 20 years. She recently moved back to the Tacoma area, to be near family.

Cheryl has worked at the front desk in the medical environment for many years and enjoys helping people with the medical process, making them feel welcomed and valued from their first step in the door. She feels very passionate about serving our veterans and providing them with the services they need after protecting our country.

Cheryl’s main goal is to provide the best service to our clients.


Jennifer Fama, LMHC


Jennifer Fama is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) at the Cohen Clinic at Valley Cities.  Jennifer graduated from Capella University with a Master’s of Science in Mental Health Counseling and Bachelors of Arts in Clinical Psychology with Temple University of Philadelphia. 

Previously Jennifer worked in a community mental health agency providing biopsychosocial intake assessments and outpatient therapy for individuals diagnosed with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness.  She takes pride in providing a safe space for individuals to find meaning and significance in their past or current experiences in order to inspire hope for the future while emphasizing each individual’s ability to recognize and build on current strengths.

Specialty trainings include: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), and solution-focused brief therapy.


Amanda Nicholson, LMHCA

Intake Coordinator

Amanda is originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She has a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on Psychology, Social Work and Criminology from Arkansas State University. She obtained her Master of Art in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Amanda completed her practicum at Starry Organization in Killeen, Texas and completed her Internship at Bayview Recovery in Tacoma, Washington. As an active duty military spouse herself, Amanda is honored to have the opportunity to work with veterans and their families.

Amanda is responsible for assessing all new referrals for eligibility and suitability for care within our clinic.

Amanda Allie

Amanda Allie


Amanda’s interest in helping people learn and thrive in life has been lifelong. 

She loves working with veterans and their families, the LGBTQ community, and women of all ages. She specializes in helping trauma survivors and people of all ages find healing and empowerment. 

Amanda earned a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from The Evergreen State College and a Master of Arts in counseling psychology from Saint Martin’s University in 2009.  Shortly thereafter, she joined the Army and served on active duty for four years, including one tour to Afghanistan. She has been in the Army Reserve since 2014.  

She worked with service members returning to the civilian workforce for several years as a career and financial counselor in the Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program. Her most recent experience includes providing counseling to active duty service members and their families as a Military and Family Life Counselor (MFLC) on JBLM.

Kristina Rundell.jpg

Kristina Rundell


Kristina is a veteran and a family member of several military veterans. She served 15 months in Iraq during OIF 06-08 and was honorably discharged completing a four-year term in 2009. Afterwards, she went to school while also being an active-duty military spouse. 

Kristina earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and Social Sciences from Central Washington University. Later, she graduated from Brandman University with a Master of Arts degree in Psychology emphasizing Marriage and Family Therapy.

  Previous to her role at the Cohen Clinic at Valley Cities, she worked as a supervisor for a community mental health agency providing supervision for others in the field.  She also provided therapy and case management for individuals with severe mental health and co-occurring substance use disorder.  

Kristina finds it rewarding to help others build skills and effectively use them in their daily living. She is a trauma-focused clinician, helping others learn how to overcome their traumatic experiences and move into being a survivor.  Her goal is to help others find their way in life, as well as overcome obstacles which keep them stuck in a cycle that continues to hinder them from living their lives to the fullest.