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La Mesa Clinicians

The therapists listed below offer both in-person and telehealth (video) psychotherapy at Positive Change Counseling Center

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Madeline "Maddie" Weerts, AMFT

Registered AMFT #136368  (Supervised by Karina Desai, LPCC #8751)

Maddie (she/her/hers) is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who feels grateful to
support individuals, partners, and families on their growth journeys. She works with clients to create a space where they can feel comfortable to reflect, cry, laugh, think – be authentically themselves.


Maddie has worked extensively with adolescents and adults facing anxiety and depression,
negative body image and eating disorders, substance use, and other co-occurring struggles. She is passionate about guiding clients through trauma, loss, and grief, because no one should have to navigate it alone. She is experienced in providing care to families during times of crisis and change, helping to improve communication patterns and strengthen connection. Maddie honors each client’s personal background and life experiences to provide therapy that is informed, sensitive, and individualized.


Maddie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Spanish Language Studies at UC San Diego, and her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of San Diego (she is a proud San Diegan!). She practices an integrated therapy approach, and feels a particular connection to the philosophies of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Narrative Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Maddie believes that each person writes their own story, and has the power to choose the dialogue and direction of that story. Maddie wants clients to feel safe, seen, and compassionately challenged to reach their goals.

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Maxine DeFank, APCC

Registered APCC #12390  (Supervised by Karina Desai, LPCC #8751)

Maxine (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor whose primary approaches are Person Centered Therapy (PCT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). While she primarily uses PCT and ACT, Maxine’s overall approach is Eclectic as she integrates appropriate interventions from multiple modalities depending on the needs of the client. Maxine is passionate about meeting clients where they are, working collaboratively to lessen emotional distress, and empowering clients to enhance their quality of life. Prior to becoming a counselor, Maxine was a dedicated Victim Advocate who specialized in working with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and with families who became bereaved due to homicide. She believes healing from trauma is possible and is honored to join survivors in their recovery process.


Throughout school and employment, Maxine has worked in various settings including outpatient, inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient levels of care. Maxine has a strong background in serving clients in the Military struggling with co-occurring disorders and survivors of Military Sexual Trauma. Maxine also has a strong background in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depressive Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Dissociative Disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dual Diagnosis, Substance Use/Abuse/Dependence, and Adjustment Disorders. She is passionate about approaching each client with cultural humility and sensitivity and understands that each person’s lived experiences within their cultural context varies. Maxine enjoys working with adolescents, teenagers, transition age youth, adults, couples, and families. Maxine also enjoys working with the LGBTQIA+ population and members of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Maxine has a Bachelor’s Degree in History (2018) from Arizona State University and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (2022) from Adams State University.

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Marti Curiel, AMFT

Registered AMFT #135796   (Supervised by Janette Valverde, MFT #85853)

Marti Curiel (she/her/hers) is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who graduated from Alliant International University. Marti's passion is driven by the desire to alter the perception that society has about therapy. She is aware and constantly learning that culture, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and citizenship status all have an impact on how we choose to present ourselves to the world, she enjoys working with varied populations.

 

Marti has experience working with children ages 5-18, and parents on parent-child relationships. Marti has worked with diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, grief, families impacted by severe trauma, self-esteem, life transitions, as well as many other diagnoses and life challenges. Marti practices client-centered approaches utilizing modalities such as Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma- Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play Therapy as well as integrating a mind-body awareness approach.

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Jenna Elmone, MFT

MFT #139113

Jenna is a Marriage and Family Therapist who is passionate about helping teens and adults find balance in their lives. This is often done through self-discovery, skill development, and boundary setting. She believes that people are doing the best they can, within their capacity, and there is always room for growth and development. Life brings many stresses and people often struggle to cope. This is the essence of the human condition. Jenna specializes in supporting clients to overcome patterns engrained in early life that are no longer serving them in their present, and working toward a meaningful life they are proud of. She believes in the power of healing in relationships and enjoys working with couples and families to improve communication, overcome past hurt, and adjust to changes in dynamics.


Jenna graduated with a business degree from San Diego State University in 2012 and worked in corporate jobs until going back to school to pursue her passion for helping others. She graduated from National University in 2020 with a Masters in Counseling and has experience in inpatient, outpatient, and school-based mental health settings. She uses Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and other strength-based approaches to support clients on their journey toward balance and wellness.

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"Rachel" (Yi Ling Lam Bowman) Benson, AMFT

Registered AMFT #131996   (Supervised by Janette Valverde, MFT #85853)

Rachel is a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT). She received her Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and specialized in Marriage and Family Therapy with Distinction. She is originally from Hong Kong, and she speaks several languages, including Cantonese and Mandarin. 

 

Rachel believes every person is unique, and she also understands how difficult it is for clients to deal with emotional issues such as separation, divorce, and death. She has partnered with students who experienced depression, anxiety, "imposter syndrome", social anxiety, stress, grief, self-esteem issues, and academic and employment challenges. 

 

Rachel has worked in various school districts with diverse populations and has hosted many workshops, such as those on time management, love languages, parenting, and self-care-related topics. Rachel enjoys working with individuals and their families through different challenges of life. She is passionately working with members of the following populations: single parents, young children, teenagers, young adults, college students (international students, adult re-entry students), and military families. 

 

Rachel is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brainspotting, sand tray and sand play therapy, Gottman Couples Therapy, and Play Therapy with young children. She leans toward person-centered and integrated therapy, such as Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Somatic Therapy, Art and Music therapy, and mindfulness practice. She was fortunate to learn about sand tray therapy from the World Association of Sand Therapy Professionals. She believes that using an integrated therapy approach and evidenced-based interventions can help her clients reach their highest potential and achieve their goals. 

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Keziyah Mack, APCC, AMFT

Registered APCC #14085 & AMFT #139446   (Supervised by Janette Valverde, MFT #85853)

Keziyah Mack is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and an Associate Clinical Counselor. She has experience working with children, adolescents and their families working through a wide range of general and extreme life stressors. As a Navy Veteran, Keziyah also has a passion for working with active duty and veterans alike to assist in processing current and previous experiences while serving our country.

Keziyah attended National University with both her undergraduate in psychology and dual Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and Clinical Counseling.  With a passion for representation and psychoeducation regarding the importance of mental health and the impact of therapeutic practices, Keziyah has interest in working with BIPOC populations. Navigating the world through the lens as a POC, veteran, and woman, Keziyah would like to be a sense of support for those who lack representation, and who would like to feel seen and heard.

 

Keziyah uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Client Centered Therapeutic practices to help her clients reach their unique goals. She cares deeply about building a connection with her clients through rapport building, her empathic nature, and integrating various modalities catered to each client in regard to healing. Keziyah is committed to her work as a therapist, offering a safe space to explore thoughts and emotions while providing evidence-based practices and support. She dedicates unique therapeutic approaches to each client, because she understands that no one fits into the same mold. Keziyah looks forward to becoming a part of your journey in healing. 

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Faith Reeves-Austin, APCC

Registered APCC #10004  (Supervised by Liza Carr, MFT #77128)

Faith (she/her/hers) is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor with experience and passion for supporting children, adolescents, and adults through major life stressors and general mental health journeys. As a black queer woman, Faith's special interests are in serving marginalized communities by providing culturally competent and LGBTQ+ affirming care to all ages and walks of life. Faith recognizes the importance of creating a safe therapeutic space where clients feel empowered to show up as their authentic selves every day. She strives to create such a space, by being genuine and utilizing a client-centered and humanistic approach to treatment. Faith practices under the belief that each client has just as much knowledge and expertise to bring to treatment as she does, and therefore works to make her services as collaborative as possible.

 

Faith went to San Francisco State University where she obtained her Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Critical Social Thought. Her 4 year experience in the city spiked her passion to engage in work that honors the intersectionality of every client, and addresses systemic oppressions that contribute to the state of mental health in our country. Faith then went to San Diego State University, where she received a Masters in Child and Family Development with an emphasis in early childhood mental health. Here she was taught the importance of working with our youth in order to address mental health concerns at a young age and equip children with the understanding and tools they need to cope with their thoughts and feelings through life's changes.

 

Since graduating, Faith has worked in many areas of the mental health field including non-profit organizations, school districts, residential facilities, and community colleges. She has served clients struggling with depression, anxiety, family conflict, identity development, and radical self-acceptance.

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Angel-Lynna Tran, AMFT

Registered AMFT #127234 (Supervised by Liza Carr, MFT #77128)

Angel-Lynna (she/her/hers) is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist whose passion is to change the narrative that society has placed on therapy by practicing from a modern lens. She enjoys working with diverse populations, recognizing that culture, sexuality, socioeconomic, and citizenship status all play a role in how we choose to show up in the world. With her experience being a Vietnamese-American and child of immigrants, Angel-Lynna is particularly interested in working with the Asian-American community by exploring cultural identity and intergenerational trauma. She does that by learning more about the unique experiences that have shaped who they are and work with them towards who they want to become. It is important for Angel-Lynna to see the client as they see themselves and provide treatment that aligns with their values and strengths. She prides herself in having a client-centered approach where she will create a safe therapeutic space and allow the client to be the guide while she is there to walk alongside and support the journey towards healing. 

 

Angel-Lynna graduated from San Diego State University with both her undergraduate in psychology and Masters in Counseling degrees. She has experience working with BIPOC communities, children, adolescents, young adults, parents, and families. Some topics of therapy include but are not limited to: anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, abuse, homelessness, grief, identity exploration, and life transitions.

 

With that, Angel-Lynna utilizes a variety of different evidence-based approaches that come from Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused therapy (SFT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing, and mindfulness practices. Each approach will be tailored specifically to the client and their needs, but one thing that remains the same is being trauma-informed and culturally responsive. Angel-Lynna is looking forward to being a part of the positive changes you hope to see in your life

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Andee Schuur, MFT

MFT #130740

Andee is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience and passion for working with children, adults, and families with anxiety, depression, ADHD, stress management, trauma, grief/loss, chronic illness, and life transition issues. Andee’s special interest lies in working with young children and their families to address behavioral concerns, anxiety, ADHD, adjusting to stressful life situations, and offering Biofeedback therapy. She uses a strengths-based and collaborative approach to help clients identify realistic goals to make meaningful and positive changes in their lives. Andee brings warmth, empathy, and humor to the therapeutic relationship, and values the connection between client and therapist as an integral factor in healing. 

 

Andee’s background is in integrated primary care, and she has experienced how a holistic approach focusing on the mind-body connection has benefited her clients’ mental health and healing. Andee believes in the importance of taking into account each facet of an individual’s life, including their mental, emotional, and physical health, as well as the social, environmental, cultural, and societal factors that impact their health. Andee emphasizes collaborating with primary care physicians, psychiatrists, and other supports when appropriate in order to best support clients’ overall health and well-being.

 

Andee received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from UCLA and her Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. She tailors her therapeutic approach to each individual or family, and draws upon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Narrative Therapy, Play Therapy, and mindfulness approaches to create personalized treatment plans. Andee is additionally trained in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback, She looks forward to joining you on your path to healing, growth, and fulfillment. 

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Cassie Weinhold, MFT

MFT #139716

Cassie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who understands that the therapeutic relationship is essential for one to reflect, explore and heal themselves within the therapeutic space. By utilizing mindfulness skills, breathwork and behavioral activation, Cassie creates a safe place to help you navigate the mind/body connection to make more mindful decisions in your life. She uses evidence-based approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Family Systems Theories while integrating holistic and strength-based principles to facilitate change.

 

Cassie obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and went on to receive her Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology, specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has implemented her approach in an array of settings including inpatient psychiatric hospital, outpatient services, individual/group work and in-home services. Her clinical interests include working with individuals, couples/families and children and strives to work alongside you in the ebbs and flows of life's uncertainties, challenges and accomplishments.

Liza Carr  | Positive Change Counseling Center

Liza Carr, MFT
Clinical Supervisor, Senior Clinician

MFT #77128 *Not currently accepting new clients*

Liza is a strengths-based, empathic, client-centered therapist with a passion for working with adolescents and transition-aged youth on their journey of self discovery and developing ways to cope in the world we live in.  She has over fifteen years of experience in the field which ranges from treating those with anxiety and mood disorders, as well as victims of various kinds of trauma and their families, to those that struggle with drugs and alcohol to cope with life’s stressors.  Liza’s mission as a therapist is to empower others to create their happiest and most fulfilling lives by confronting any challenges that they face and implementing the healthiest ways to manage their stress.  

 

Liza earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA in Sociology in 1999 and went on to work in administrative support positions with a law firm, and then for the Veterans Medical Research Foundation before deciding to go back to school to become a therapist in 2004.  

 

Liza graduated with her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Boston College in 2006 and worked in community settings for ten years, primarily focused on working with children, adolescents, and their families who have system involvement (Child Welfare System or Juvenile Justice System.)   For the past 5 years, Liza has dedicated her work solely to serving clients at PCCC and recently stepped into the role of Clinical Supervisor for the La Mesa office.  

 

Liza’s therapeutic approach is very individualized to each client, but generally focuses on strengths-based and solution-focused interventions to empower clients toward their own positive changes.  She has a particular interest in serving clients from the LGBTQIA+ community and addressing the myriad of struggles that they encounter in our world today.

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Sarah Ebert, MFT, Senior Clinician

MFT #77158 *Not Currently Accepting New Clients*

Sarah is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who believes in helping others to recognize and utilize their strengths to support them in creating positive changes in their lives.  She seeks to empower clients through a client centered approach and works collaboratively with individuals to achieve their personal goals.  She supports clients experiencing anxiety, depression, relationship issues, stress management, self esteem, and those with trauma-related disorders.  

 

Sarah received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from National University in La Jolla, California.  She has been working as a therapist since 2008 in various settings including schools, the police department, and non-profit community based agencies.  She has training in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy, Play Therapy and EMDR.

Jennifer Lundy-Aquerre  | Positive Change Counseling Center

Jennifer Lundy-Aguerre, MFT

MFT #42025   *Not Currently Accepting New Clients*

Jennifer specializes in treating adults with a variety of anxiety and depressive disorders. She will work with you to address past trauma, decrease work-related stress and teach you skills to help get "unstuck" with challenges you may be facing. She also does a great deal of work with couples and families to address common relationship concerns, such as: communication, conflict resolution, trust, intimacy issues and financial concerns. Relationship therapy focuses on providing couples with skills to help increase trust, gain intimacy and strengthen their overall relationship. 

One of Jennifer's passions includes working with expectant and new parents on their journey as they work toward creating a special space for the newest member of their family.  As an advocate for parents, Jennifer believes in the importance of understanding your rights during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond in providing the care you feel is best for you and your family. Jennifer is a Certified Facilitator for Gottman’s “Bringing Baby Home” curriculum.

Jennifer received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Iowa in 2000 and a Masters of Arts from the University of San Diego in Marital and Family Therapy in 2002.  Jennifer founded Positive Change Counseling Center in 2006 and with over 15 years of experience she continues to provide effective treatment to her clients. She has worked as a Research Therapist at the Veteran's Medical Research Foundation in La Jolla providing evidence-based Prolonged Exposure therapy to U.S soldiers returning home from combat who are challenged by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from combat and other traumatic events. Success rates are high in minimizing and eliminating issues such as increased fear, depressed mood, flashbacks, and poor concentration related to traumatic events including physical violence, sexual and combat trauma. Jennifer's background also includes human relations and diversity trainings, supporting survivors of domestic violence, providing in-home services for at-risk youth, facilitating anxiety support groups and providing residential treatment for adults with chronic mental illness and addiction.

Stressed Woman

Psychotherapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families

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