Our Team

Founding Trainers



Janet Comer is a QMHP in Oregon. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Georgia. She moved to California in 2000 and attended Pepperdine University in Los Angeles where she received an MA in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her desire to be a relatable, empathic therapist drew her to The Relational Center where she gained hours and trained until moving to Portland, OR in 2009. Once in Oregon she began work as a QMHP and continues training at the Portland Gestalt Institute. She is currently applying for her intern registration and will gain hours toward licensure in a way allows her to be a part of the growth of Relational Bridges PDX. The vision of RB PDX is based on her long-held desire to offer holistic services that support relational well-being, including nutrition education, access to exercise/activity, and other wellness practices to the entire community.


Penny Timmons, MA, MFTI was born and raised in Montana. She received her BA in History and Political Science from the University of Southern California and holds Master’s degrees in Psychology and Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.  Penny is a graduate of the clinical training program at The Relational Center in Los Angeles where she is a faculty assistant and member of the Board or Directors. As a counselor-in-residence at The Relational Center, she also sees clients with a particular focus on working with adolescents and their families and members of the entertainment industry. Penny has family ties to the Portland area and is passionate about bringing a more holistic, relational-based  approach to wellbeing to the Portland community.



Dan Fink is a technician, counselor, and consultant. During the dot com movement of the nineties he worked as a computer and networking technician in Portland, Oregon. By the turn of the century he was the manager of an information technology department at a large insurance company in Seattle, Washington. Seeking to refocus his career on improving the wellbeing of others, he returned to academia and completed his Bachelors degree in Psychology with a focus on Cognitive Science at UCLA. Incorporating his technology experience with this degree, he went on do cognitive psychology research at UCLA. Striving to put these new skills to work in a community context, he continued his education and earned his Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Applied Community Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. Dan’s desire for social responsibility led him to The Relational Center, where he serves as the Director of Special Projects, including organization development consulting and leadership coaching. Dan’s love of the northwest inspired him to join the Relational Bridges PDX team.


Our Advisers



Mark Fairfield, LCSW, BCD (Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work), is the Executive Director of The Relational Center. He received a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in 1995. He was the former Clinical Director of Common Ground – The Westside HIV Community Center in Santa Monica, California. Mark has 20 years’ experience in direct practice, program development and administration in community mental health, community organizing and public education. He also consults with other non-profit boards and management teams for strategic planning, leadership development and technical assistance. Mark’s work during the AIDS crisis in the 1990s led him to a revelation about the role of interdependency in human health. He observed how social movements, with their strong emphasis on collaborative action and systems-thinking, keep people engaged in a common goal and embedded in dense networks of trust and reciprocity that actually make them healthy. So he dedicated his career to designing communication and organizing strategies that help people build and maintain interdependency, improving the conditions of communities and the relationships that constitute them. He continues to publish in books and journals on the subject of confronting individualism in social services and teaches/trains mental health providers and community organizers internationally.



Carol Swanson is a licensed clinical social worker who has been in private practice in Portland for over thirty years. She provides therapy for individuals and couples.
Her approach as a contemporary gestalt therapist is a creative and collaborative process where with safety and support we make sense together of whatever the problems or challenges the person is confronting in their life. She engages actively with clients and believes dialogue is supported and strengthened through honesty, openness and mutuality.
She co-founded the Portland Gestalt Training Institute twenty years ago and has been a gestalt trainer since then. She has trained therapists in the US, Europe and Australia. She has published numerous journal articles and book chapters.