Joanne Tortorici Luna

Dr. Joanne Tortorici Luna ("Dr. T.") (she/her) is a tenured Professor in the Advanced Studies in Education and Counseling Department and is also an interdisciplinary faculty member for the M.S. program in Emergency Services Administration (EMER).  She is a clinically practicing licensed psychologist (State of California), a first and second responder for disaster mental health, trainer, educator, and researcher. Her teaching and psychotherapeutic approaches are integrative, experiential, and relationship-focused. She is known nationally and internationally for her work with individuals, families, and communities in situations of armed conflict and large-scale disasters.

As a psychotherapist, she is guided by the unique body-mind needs and circumstances of the client. She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and frequently uses this evidence-supported modality in her clinical psychotherapy practice and emergency response. She is also trained in Clinical Hypnosis.  Specialty areas include trauma recovery and post-traumatic growth, first-responder support, balance after war experiences, and navigation of spiritual emergence/emergency. Incorporating animal partners into her practice, she serves as program psychologist/consultant at MACH1 (Move a Child Higher) and MACH2 (Military and Companion Horses). Her work in these horse-partnered therapy programs is informed by current trauma-related brain research, human and horse psychology, and sound psychotherapeutic practices. Dr. Tortorici Luna has an enduring interest in the body-mind-spirit approach to self-healing and wellbeing. She is a registered Dance/Movement Therapist (R-DMT). She is a long-time student of the martial art Taijiquan, and incorporates many Taiji principles into her professional work.

She has frequently served as a consultant and trainer regarding school crisis.  Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Archdiocese of New York and the New York Chancellor asked her assistance for impacted school personnel and crisis teams. She provided related services for New York schools then, and for several subsequent years.

In Nicaragua, during the war and post-war periods, Dr. Tortorici Luna worked as a Clinical Psychologist, University Professor (Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) Managua), and was the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health's Coordinator of Mental Health Services for a large region of the country. She was National Director of a mental health program for Nicaraguan child survivors of the war.

As a United Nations consultant, she has worked as a psychologist,  trainer, evaluator, and program developer in the war/conflict/refugee zones of the Central American countries as well as in South Africa. As a UNICEF advisor, she led the development and implementation of Nicaragua's first Peace Education Program, and the creation of South Africa's first UNICEF Country Programme for Emergency and Long-term Humanitarian Assistance. She was an international advisor to South Africa's Goldstone Commission for the Prevention of Political and Public Violence. Specialty areas include crisis response, mental health and human rights concerns in situations of armed conflict and widespread disasters.

As a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California, she was a Graduate Teaching Assistant and taught multiple doctoral level counseling psychology courses. She carried out a clinical internship at USC-LAC Psychiatric Hospital. She also was employed as a private sector Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.

Dr. Tortorici Luna is a member of the National Trauma Network and EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Programs. She is a Trainer/Member of the Culver City Fire Department's Community Emergency Response Team, and also has served as an American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer. She is a Founding Member/Trainer of the City of Long Beach's Hate Crime Response Team. She helped lead the formation, training, and management of LBUSD's multiagency School Crisis Response Team, as well as the CSULB Volunteer Crisis Resource Team.

As recognition of her community involvement, she has been awarded the 2004 CSULB Faculty Achievement Award for Community Service. Other awards include the (U.S.) President's Volunteer Service Award , received across administrations, for multiple years. She was named 2006 Volunteer of the Year for the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International's (formerly NARHA) Region 11, encompassing California, Nevada, and Hawaii.

Dr. Tortorici Luna is proud to have been one of New York City's first women cab drivers.

  • Trauma and Grief Counseling
  • Disaster Mental Health Issues in Emergency Services Administration
  • Children in War
  • Disaster Psychology and Acute Stress Management
  • Urban Violence Traumatic Stress - Strategies for Educators and Clinicians
  • Child Psychotherapy
  • Child Development and Learning: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (face to face, hybrid, and online)
  • Early and Late Adolescent Development and Learning: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (face to face and online)
  • Group Counseling
  • Orientation to Counseling
  • Counseling Theory
  • Counseling in School Settings
  • Career and Personal Explorations
  • Counseling Field Work
  • Advanced Counseling Field Work

  • Ph.D.- Counseling Psychology , University of Southern California , 1988
  • M.A. - Dance / Movement Therapy , University of California, Los Angeles , 1986
  • B.A. - Physical Education , California State University, Los Angeles , 1980

  • Licensed Psychologist, State of California
  • Registered Dance / Movement Therapist (R-DMT)
  • EMDR Trained (EMDRIA)
  • Clinical Hypnosis Trained (ASCH)
  • Spiritual Emergence Coach®  (IMHU)
  • Qualified Instructor, Institute of HeartMath
  • Approved Instructor, International Critical Incident Stress Foundation
  • Board Certified, School Crisis Response (American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress)
  • Pupil Personnel Services Credential, (inactive), State of California

Johnson, K., & Tortorici Luna, J. (2011).  Working toward resilience: A retrospective report of actions taken in support of a New York school crisis team following 9/11. Journal of emergency mental health 9/11 Commemorative Issue, 13, 81-90.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2009; reprinted 2014). The horse, my healer and guide. Reflections.  Narratives of professional helping, 15, 20-23.

Tortorici Luna, J., Rittenhouse, J., & Dupuis, C. (2009) Help for the healer. Strides, 15, 34-35.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2008). A response to Paul R. Kimmel. PsycCRITIQUES, (53) 3.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2007)  Collaboratively assessing and stabilizing schools after large-scale terrorist attacks, Focus on terrorism, Hauppaugue, New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2007).  Arlington West:  The things we carry.  In Annis, M., Palecek, M. & Trettien, W. (Eds.). Cost of freedom. The anthology of peace and activism.  Berthoud, CO:  Howling Dog Press, 36-37.

 Tortorici Luna, J. (2007).  At what cost?  Psychological fallout from the "War on Terrorism."  Book review, American Psychological Association Review of Books, PsycCRITIQUES (52), 33, Article online at

Tortorici Luna, J. (2006). Essay in Chapter 8 Keeping it together when you're falling apart, 119-122. In Johnson, K., After the storm, Alameda, CA: Hunter House, Inc.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2006) Trauma and Children: The Road Back. Book review, American Psychological Association Review of Books, PsycCRITIQUES (51), 36, Article online at

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2006). CERT training - disaster psychology (DVD). (Technical expert contributor).

Tortorici Luna, J. (2005). School Violence: An ecological view. PsycCRITIQUES (50.) 10.1037/05158011. 

Tortorici Luna, J., & Johnson, K. (2004) Adapting critical incident stress management to the schools: A multi-agency approach. Journal of School Violence, (3), 4, 59-76.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2003). (Contributor, Unit 7 - Disaster Psychology). Community emergency response team instructor guide. Washington, DC: Department of Homeland Security (Federal Emergency Management Institute, Emergency Management Institute, National Fire Academy).

Tortorici Luna, J. (2003, June). Volunteer brigade. Campus Safety Journal. 11: (6), 2,14.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2003, May). Six step program. Studies of campuses post-September 11 and following school shootings yield six important crisis response recommendations. Campus Safety Journal, 11 (5),16-18.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2003). To seek refuge: The plight of the child. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 4 (1), 101-105.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2002). Helping children learn: The legacy of violence. Leadership, 32 (2), 24-27.

Tortorici Luna, J. (2002). Collaborative assessment and healing in schools after large scale terrorist attacks. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 4 (3), 201-208.

Tortorici Luna, J (2000). The counselor as leader:Critical incident stress management in the Long Beach schools.In D. S. Sandhu & C. B. Aspy (Eds.), Violence in American schools: A practical guide for counselors (pp. 353–369). American Counseling Association.

Tortorici, J.. Hoffman, J., Norman, J.P., & Hilburn, K. (2000). School/Community partnership: CISM for an on-duty death. Long Beach, California. Life Net, 10, 3.

Tortorici, J. (1996). Peace education in Nicaragua. In McCallin, M. (Ed.), The psychological wellbeing of refugee children: Research, practice, and policy issues. (2nd edition). Geneva: International Catholic Child Bureau.

Tortorici, J. (Morales, H., illustrator) (1994). Promoting psychosocial wellbeing in the community. A manual for local personnel. Washington, DC: Pan American Health Organization. (Available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese).

Tortorici, J. (Morales, H., illustrator) (1994). Promoviendo el bienestar psicosocial en la comunidad. Manual para personal de nivel local. Washington, DC: PAHO/WHO.

Tortorici J.M. (Morales, H., illustrator)(1994). Promoting peace and psychosocial well-being in the community. Manual for promoters and supervisors in situations of war and post-war. Managua: Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

Tortorici J.M. ((Morales, H., illustrator) (1994) Promoviendo la paz y el bienestar psicosocial en la comunidad. Manual para promotores y supervisores en situaciones de guerra y post-guerra. Managua: Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

Tortorici, J.M. (1994, February). Informe inicial sobre los resultados de la encuesta 1993 de niños y niñas. Programa MED/UNICEF Educación Para la Paz. Managua, Nicaragua: UNICEF.

Ressler, E.M., Tortorici, J.M., & Marcelino, A. (1993). Children in war. A guide to the provision of services. New York: UNICEF.

Tortorici, J. (1993). Bem estar psicossocial: Estratégias comunitarias. In Violencia, poder, escravidao sexual: mulheres e criancas saoas principais vitimas. Proceedings of the Regional Latin American and Carribean Conference, Service to the Marginalized Woman. Sao Paolo. Brasil: FAISMM BICE.

Tortorici, J.(1993, April). Study of displaced persons in urban areas: Nicaragua. Managua: UNICEF, UNDP

Tortorici J. (1993, April) Study of displaced persons in urban areas: El Salvador. San Salvador: UNICEF, UNDP.

Tortorici J. (1993) War in El Salvador: The child survivor. Metabase. Bibliografía en Red. BEFT-14.02.028260 [Web document]. [2002, December 14].

Tortorici, J. (1993). Primary mental health care for Nicaraguan child victims of war. Eric Document Reproduction Service No. 024626.

Tortorici, J. (1992). Community mental health in three developing countries: Nicaragua, El Salvador, South Africa. Lessons learned and questions raised. In McCallin, M. (Ed). The psychological well-being of refugee children. Research, practice, and policy issues. Geneva: International Catholic Child Bureau.

Moreno de Rivera, A., & Tortorici, J.M. (1992, August). Situación de salud mental comunitária y líneas programáticas de acciones prioritárias en salud mental de la cooperación técnica de la OPS/OMS a los países y áreas de intervención del Proyecto PRODERE en el istmo Céntroamericano. San Salvador: PAHO/WHO.

Interview with J. Tortorici by Audrey Brown (1991, March 22). Hoe om'n siek land gesond te maak. (How to make a sick country well).  Vrye Weekblad, Johannesburg, South Africa, p. 11.

Tortorici, J. (1991). Background paper: Service provision in time of war - Nicaragua. New York: UNICEF.

Tortorici, J.M., and Corea Levy, J. (1990.December). Construyendo un proyecto comunitário-universitário  de salud mental en Nicaragua: La extensión de atención primaria.  Psicología en Nicaragua, 3, 18-24.

Tortorici, J.M. (1990, October). A time for healing. UNICEF Intercom (58), 29, 31.

Tortorici, J.M. (1988). Salud mental. In Guía de emergencia civil.  Granada, Nicaragua. Nicaraguan Ministry of Health.

Doctoral dissertation:

Tortorici Picado, J. (1988, January). The war in El Salvador:  The child as witness, participant, casualty, survivor.  University of Southern California. Dissertation Abstracts International, 49 (4-B), October 1988, pp. 1403.

On 9/11 work:

Lessons from New York:  Large scale crisis response in the schools(Co-presenters K. Johnson, M. Robbins, S. Brown).  Presented at American Counseling Association 2003 Annual Convention, Anaheim, CA, 2003, March. (juried)

One year later:  Lessons learned and 9/11 anniversary actions in NYC schools. (Co-presenter K. Johnson).  Presented at the Seventh World Congress on Stress, Trauma, and Coping, Baltimore, MD, 2003, February. (juried).

Helping the helpers. Post 9/11 healing in NYC schools. (Co-presenters K. Johnson, T. Goudie, M. Robbins). Presented at California Association of School Counselors Conference, Arcadia, CA, 2002, April.  (juried).

Large scale incident management. Lessons learned from NYC, El Cajon, and Montana. (Co-presenters K. Johnson, T. Goudie, M. Robbins). Presented at California Association of School Counselors Conference, Arcadia, CA, 2002, April.  (juried).

Nicaragua/International work: 

Nonviolence and peace psychology in Nicaragua. Presented at 102nd Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA, 1994, August. (juried).

Mental health care in Nicaragua in times of war and post-war/ Children in War. Presented at various community, professional, and university meetings in South Africa: Johannesburg, Soweto, Cape Town, Durban, University of Natal, Durban (now KwaZulu-Natal), Mpumalanga province (formerly Eastern Transvaal), 1990, 1994, 1996.

Keynote speaker, First Unified Social Welfare Conference, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1994.

Mental health care in times of war and post- war; child soldiers. Presented/participant at various international gatherings in Geneva, Switzerland, and New York City, U.S.A., 1992-1994.

Atención primaria en salud mental a los niños victimas de las guerra .Segunda Internacional de Centros, Instituciones e Individuos trabajando an la asistencia a victimas de violencia organizada. "Salud Mental, Represion Politica y Derechos Humanos, San José, Costa Rica., 1989.

Mental health care in Nicaragua: The challenge of reconstruction. Presented at Convention of the World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation.  Barcelona, Spain, 1989, October. (juried).

Mental health care in times of war - Nicaragua. Presented at Naim Foundation Conference, Washington DC, 1989.

Numerous presentations at Nicaraguan Ministry of Health, community, and university gatherings.

On equine-partnered therapies:

Ethics in equine assisted therapy. Presented as part of Ethics Committee Panel, Annual Conference of the Equine Growth and Learning Association, Las Vegas, NV, 2012, March (juried).

Horses as mental health therapy partners: On love, lies, and a fair shake. Presented at the 8th Annual Gathering on Best Practices in Equine-Assisted Learning and Equine-Assisted Mental Health, in Mayer, AZ, 2011, May (juried).

Keeping the horse before the cart. Strategies for implementing ethical EAGALA model practices (co-presenters Hunter, B., Maglio, D., & Mandrell, R.). Presented at Annual Conference of the Equine Growth and Learning Association, Layton, UT, 2011, March.  (juried).

Self-care for the healer:  Occupational satisfaction and stress for equine-partnered instructors and therapists. (Co-authors Rittenhouse, J., & Dupuis, C). Presented at NARHA national conference, Houston, 2005, November (juried).

On disaster response:

Panel presentation. CSU Council for Emergency Managment and Homeland Security. Presented at FEMA Higher Education Conference, Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, 2010, June. (juried).

M.S. Emergency Services Administration Program and the Volunteer Crisis Resource Team (VCRT): A service learning innovation for emergency preparedness and response. (co-author Koval, J.). Presented at the Council for Emergency Management and Homeland Security Summit, Long Beach, CA, 2009, June (invited).

First responder training: Promoting resiliency and self-care. Presented at the 2008 Western Regional Preparedness Conference - Solutions for Emerging Threats, Las Vegas, 2008, July (Invited).

El Cajon school shootings: Lessons learned (co-presenter Johnson, K.). Presented at the Eighth World Congress on Stress, Trauma, and Coping, Baltimore, MD, 2005, February. (juried).

Collaborative strategies for including school safety content in school counselor education.  Poster session presented at Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Conference, Park City, Utah, October, 2002. (juried).


  • University Panel on Professional Responsibility 2012 – 2013; 2013 – 2014; 2015-2017; 2017-2019; 2020-2021; 2021-2022; 2022-2023
  • CED Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Committee,  2016-2019; 2018-2019 (Chair); 2021-2023
  • University Task Force to Support Faculty and Staff Basic Needs and Health 2022-2023
  • University and department search committees, various
  • Student Affairs Committee, 2017-2019; Scholarships; 2017- 2023
  • CED Representative to the California Faculty Association, 2010 – present
  • ASEC Grade Appeals, 2017-2023; (Chair 2022)
  • Award of Assigned Time for Exceptional Service to Students, Academic Senate, 2015-2016
  • ASEC Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Committee, 2011 - 2013
  • ASEC Professional Review Committee, 2012 –
  • Faculty sponsor, Circle K Club 2012 - present
  • Faculty Hearing Panel , 2010 – 2012
  • University Emergency Preparedness Committee, 2010-2012
  • Key role in creation of Emergency Services Administration M.S. Degree Program and Curricula
  • Program Coordinator, Educational Psychology Program, 2007-2008
  • Co-Trainer and Team Coordinator, CSULB Volunteer Crisis Resource Team, 2001 – 
  • Mentor, CSULB Partners for Success, 2001 - 2017
  • Veffie Milstead Jones Research Award, 2012
  • Center for Community Engagement Curriculum Development Award, 2009
  • Keynote speaker,  Model United Nations , 2010
  • Scholarly and Creative Activities Award 2002; 2005; 2009
  • University Faculty Achievement Award - Community Service 2004
  • Chair, Campus Climate Committee, 2001 - 2003
  • Chair, EDPAC Curriculum Committee  2002 – 2003 (Recorder; Chair)
  • Member, Phi Delta Beta, International Honor Society
  • Co-chair,Counseling Reform Launch Initiative, Long Beach Education Partnership (1998 – 2002).
  • Chair, Safe Schools Safe Communites Committee (2000 -- 2003).
  • Research Committee, Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association
  • Ethics Committee, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainer 2002 - present (Certificate of Recognition Culver City City Council and Culver City Fire Department)
  • MACH1 Move a Child Higher Therapeutic Horsemanship (2004 -   ) 
  • (U.S.)President's Volunteer Service Award 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • Volunteer of the Year Award, Region 11 North American Riding for the Handicapped Association 2006
  • Led creation of  CSULB Volunteer Crisis Resource Team.  Elected Chair 2002 - 2005.  Ongoing Organizational and Training Leadership Responsibilities.
  • International Educational Committee (Subcommittee of EP Committee (2000 - 2002). (Responsibilities:  Curriculum interest group: Africa subcommittee.  Wrote Draft Proposal on university closures in situations of armed conflict.  Presented to Academic Senate, where it passed).
  • American Educational Research Association (2004 - 2006).  International Relations Committee.
  • University of Southern California - Advisory Committee to School Counseling Program,University of Southern California.  Chaired by Dr. Robert Cash.
  • American Counseling Association Inter-professional International Collaboration Committee (2000 - 2002).  Responsibilities:  Led creation of international listserv; leadership role in development of international directory; collaboration with Latin American counseling professionals.
  • American Counseling Association Spokesperson on Violence (1998 -  ).
  • Community School District 2 (Lower Manhattan) (2001-2004). Responsibilities:  Advisor for  9/11 Recovery.
  • City of Long Beach Human Relations Division – Hate Crime Response Team(2000 -2004). Responsibilities:  Founding member and Trainer.
  • National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency (2000-2002). Responsibilities:  Board Member.
  • Long Beach Unified School District Consultant (2000-2003). 
  • School Counseling Advisory Committee, Los Angeles Office of Education (2001).
  • Violence Prevention Coordinator, Long Beach Unified School District, 1998-2000.
  • Los Angeles County Office of Education (1998 - 2000). Violence Prevention Consultant.
  • Advisor/Project Director, Peace Colors Project (received California State Attorney General’s Safe Schools Award, 1998), 1996-2000.
  • Mercy Corps (2002 - 2004).  Advisor.
  • UK Department of Education and Employment on Critical Incident Management in Education (2001). Advisor.
  • International ten-member critical incident stress management e-advisory/support team for Fiji, (2000-2005)
  • Chair, College of Education Safe Schools Safe Communitees Committee (2000-2002).
  • CED liaison for Whitney High School Counselor Recruitment (2000-2002).
  • CED representative, Education Trust - Counseling (1999).
  • Participant, Professional Educator Faculty Engagement in California School to Career Grant (1999-2001).
  • Advisory Board member, National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency (1996-2000)
  • Advisor, School-Community Violence Prevention Grant (awarded by State Attorney General (1996-2000).
  • Consultant, Long Beach Unified School District -School Crisis Response Team (2000-2002).


Numerous individual student advisements, thesis and project committees, and thesis chair in ASEC department and in Emergency Services Administration M.S. degree program, School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management.