Joanne Tortorici Luna

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

As a psychotherapist, her orientation is integrative, experiential, and 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 evidance-supported modality, in her practice psychotherapy. Her clinical specialization areas include trauma recovery and post-traumatic growth, first-responder support, balance after war experiences, and navigation of spiritual emergence/emergency. She also serves as staff psychologist 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 a long time interest in the body-mind-spirit approach to self-healing and wellbeing. She is a student of the martial art Taijiquan.

She enjoys the study of  complementary and alternative health practices, and is a Master Reiki Practitioner / Teacher (Usui Shiki Ryoho). She provides no-cost energy healing in a local spiritual setting. 

She frequently serves 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. She provided related services for New York schools then, and for several subsequent years.

In Nicaragua, she has worked as a Counseling Psychologist, University Professor (Universidad Centroamericana, Managua), and 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 mental health practitioner,  trainer, evaluator, and program developer in the war/conflict 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. Her areas of specialty include crisis response, mental health and human rights concerns in situations of armed conflict and widespread disaster.

She has worked for the Long Beach Unified School District as a school counselor, and as Violence Prevention Coordinator. 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.

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 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,

As recognition of her community involvement, she has been awarded the 2004 CSULB Faculty Achievement Award for Community Service, and the (U.S.) President's Volunteer Service Award each year since 2005. 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 Management
  • Children in War
  • Disaster Psychology and Acute Stress Management
  • 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
  • Urban Violence Traumatic Stress - Strategies for Educators and Clinicians

  • 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)
  • 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

  • Trauma-informed equine-partnered psychotherapy
  • Emergency / Disaster Mental Health Services
  • Job satisfaction/compassion fatigue in educators and first responders
  • Writing as healing

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. (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) 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., & 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). 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, 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).

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

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)

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).