Karen Marcus, PsyD
Past President 

I received my Psy.D. from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.  My practice is focused on assisting people through psychotherapy and assessment in dealing with primary psychological problems as they impact one’s life. I work with a varied age population. Specialty interests include trauma, EMDR, and assessment. My hope for WNCPA is that we will continue to be an organization that provides professional support and fellowship for psychologists of WNC as we unite together to meet the needs of the community of WNC.

Dierdre Christy, PhD

It is a pleasure to be serving as your WNCPA President. WNCPA has a long history of providing a sense of community, fellowship, fun, continued learning opportunities for psychologists as well as outreach and collaboration with other professionals. I look forward to continuing our traditions and building new ones as we move forward and respond to the needs of psychologists in WNC. We would love to see WNCPA engagement continue to grow and welcome your involvement and your ideas. Please contact me with your ideas for what you would like to see in WNCPA.

I received B.A. (1980) in Psychology from the University of Denver and both my M.Ed. (1988) and Ph.D. (1993) in School Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My current practice is in Black Mountain where I provide Psychoeducational Evaluation services for children and adolescents working in partnership with families, schools and health care providers. I have worked previously in clinic and hospital settings in Asheville and in the Triangle area.

Dominique Huneycutt, PhD, JD
Past President

I’m in private practice at Southern Highlands Psychological Associates.  I provide evaluations (including psychoeducational, custody and other forensic evaluations) and therapy.  I work with clients of all ages but primarily focus on working with children, adolescents, and families.  Areas of special interest include anxiety, depression, behavior difficulties, and developmental delays/Aspergers; youth who have experienced trauma/abuse; and children and parents in high conflict custody/divorce.  School and training has taken me to New Hampshire, Philadelphia, Ohio, and Virginia.  My husband and I have lived in western North Carolina for 5 years.  My hope for WNCPA is for continued success in fostering collaboration among colleagues and providing support for all of our members and our community.  I hope that we continue strong traditions, add new ones, grow as an organization, and have fun along the way!

Gina Hagar, PhD
Member at Large

gina_hagarDr. Gina Hagar, a bay area native, received her Psy.D from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. She moved to WNC in 2008. Her clinical experience includes work with children, adolescents, families, adults, and the elderly providing psychotherapy, diagnostic assessment, program design and research. She has worked in diverse settings including: forensic, outpatient clinics, schools, and residential centers.

Her current practice, Geripsych Services PLLC, is a team of professionals, which provide mental health services in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and family care homes. Her approach to wellness includes assisting her clients in recognizing and utilizing their personal strengths as well as identifying cognitive and behavioral changes to improve their quality of life. She is also chair of the Smoky Legacy provider group. She and her husband have a 3-year old son. She enjoys spending time with her family and her rescue animals as well as raising chickens.

Irene Matiatos, PhD

I am in private practice in the Asheville area and work with adults and families experiencing verbal, emotional and other types of abuse, PTSD, codependency, and related issues. Working from a mindfulness-based Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) perspective as well as CBT, I am a recent transplant from the NY/NJ area. Please see and for more information. Thank you for visiting our WNCPA pages!

Jerry Coffey, PhDjerry_coffey

Dr. Coffey has provided services for children and their parents in Western North Carolina for over 30 years. He is co-located with Asheville Pediatric Associates as well as with Sylva Clinical – PSYCHOLOGY! where he evaluates and treats children and their parents for behavioral, emotional, and learning problems. He has worked with inner city children in Indianapolis, provided psychological services through school systems in 7 WNC counties, worked in summer programs for emotionally and behaviorally disturbed children, and trained and consulted with numerous schools, day care centers, and child service organizations. He has been married for many years, raised two children, and has loved to camp, hike ride motorcycles, race cars, rock climb, rappel, and canoe.


Rita Right - websiteRita christensen, PhD
NCPA Mountain Representative

Dr. Christensen received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Florida State University in December 2009. While at Florida State, she worked in the alcohol studies laboratory during her undergraduate and graduate studies. She was brought to the Appalachian Mountains by an internship at the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Johnson City, TN. Following graduation, she returned to the VA as a staff psychologist in the residential treatment program, working treating veterans with serious mental illness, homelessness, substance misuse, and trauma. Prior to her career as a psychologist, Rita worked in customer service, accounts receivable, and as the assistant to a general office manager, which provided many of the needed skills to open her own practice in Asheville in 2011. She maintained a solo private practice for three years, serving adults and couples with a wide variety of difficulties. In 2014, Rita moved her practice to the Pisgah Institute for Psychotherapy and Education in Asheville. She currently works with adults 18 years and older as well as couples providing therapy, differential diagnostic testing, and personality testing. An area of specialization is in addictive behaviors and their impact on family systems. Over the years, Dr. Christensen has worked with persons with ingestive and behavioral addictions, trauma and abuse issues, relationship conflicts, mood disorders, and other personal issues. She and her husband, Mark, enjoy golf, gardening, photography, and a wide variety of home-improvement projects.
“I love the mountains of WNC and am surprised at how this geographic barrier continues to impact communications and relationships with the remainder of the state, despite improved technology and transportation. It is critical for psychologists to be kept abreast of issues in our field that impact our ability to practice in a professional and ethical manner as well as to communicate local needs to the state. It is my desire as NCPA Mountain Representative to help bridge that divide, helping local and state psychologists work together to improve and preserve our profession.”


maryellensmMary Ellen Griffin, Ph.D.
Member at Large

Dr. Griffin is a psychologist in private practice in Sylva and Asheville, North Carolina. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University in 1997. She completed her Predoctoral Internship and a Fellowship in Developmental Neuropsychology at The Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Dr. Griffin specializes in psychodynamic psychotherapy with adult individuals and couples; Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction; case consultation with other psychotherapists; psychoanalytic management consulting; and psychoanalytic clinical teaching. She is a past presenter with Appalachian Psychoanalytic Society and former Psychology Department faculty member at Western Carolina University. When not practicing psychoanalytic psychology, she can often be found kayaking various whitewater rivers in the region. For more information, you can contact Dr. Griffin through her web page at: