La Mesa Clinicians
Elizabeth Hardeman-Fikes, MFT
MFT #130525 *Supervised by Sarah Ebert, MFT #77158
Elizabeth Hardeman-Fikes is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who has enjoyed working with children, adolescents, adults, families, and couples. Elizabeth earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Westmont College, and graduated with her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego.
Elizabeth has experience helping those struggling with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, ADHD, grief/loss, adjustment concerns, and trauma. She has received specialized training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and family systems modalities. Elizabeth is passionate about using a holistic approach, taking into account all aspects of the individual’s life (social, relational, emotional, mental, physical, cultural and environmental) that may impact their overall wellness. She is honored to be a part of your journey towards greater life fulfillment.
Andee Schuur, AMFT
Registered AMFT #107184 *Supervised by Sarah Ebert, MFT #77158
Andee is an Associate 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, and adjusting to stressful life situations. 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 has additional training in biofeedback and neurofeedback, and is currently pursuing full certification in both approaches. She looks forward to joining you on your path to healing, growth, and fulfillment.
Sally Gomes, ACSW
Registered ACSW #89256 *Supervised by Sarah Ebert, MFT #77158
Sally is an associate clinical social worker and certified alcohol and drug counselor. She has thirteen years of experience helping individuals to heal from mental health and substance use issues. Sally takes a holistic approach understanding that recovery encompasses aspects of mind, body, and spirit. Sally feels that the road to recovery is unique to each person. She encourages self-empowerment and assists individuals in tapping into their own inner wisdom to create the change they seek. A quote that describes Sally’s sentiment about life’s challenges is “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." ─ Helen Keller.
She believes each person has strengths to overcome challenges that will allow them to lead a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Sally has served in rural and urban areas in Chicago and Kentucky prior to settling in San Diego. She has a Bachelor of Sociology from Western Kentucky University and Master of Social Work from Campbellsville University. She owned a private practice in Kentucky and supervised a mental health program in San Diego. Sally’ has worked with adults, transitional age youth, couples, and families. Her clinical techniques include mindfulness, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma informed care, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She takes a systems approach and supports familial involvement in the treatment process.
Sally looks forward to providing an environment for healing, self-actualization, and where you can be your authentic self.
Natalie Coates, AMFT
Registered AMFT # 108143 *Supervised by Megan "Meggie" Zanger, LPCC #5688
Natalie is a bilingual Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who has over 5 years of clinical experience with teens, adults, couples, and families struggling with many different life challenges such as anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and relational conflict. Through her clinical experience, she has grown passionate in working alongside couples to facilitate healthy interactions and satisfying relationships by using Emotionally Focused, Satir Experiential, and Cognitive Behavioral techniques.
Her warm, strength-based, and humorous approach stems from the belief that we are given the opportunity to heal from past wounds through safe and nurturing relationships. This is why it is important for her to build an authentic connection with clients.
Natalie received her Bachelors degree in Clinical Psychology in 2013 in Guatemala and got her degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2018 at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania.
Jennifer Haggerty, MFT
Jennifer (or Jen) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 8 years of experience working with children struggling with intense and frequent emotional and behavioral problems. Jennifer has a broad range of clinical experience working with children in the following areas: disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders, depressive disorders, trauma and stressor-related disorders, and anxiety disorders. Jennifer works with clients and their families to process trauma, promote healthy communication, and strengthen the family unit. Jennifer also has experience running groups that focused on social skills, coping skills, anger management, and emotion regulation.
Jennifer utilizes a strength-based approach and offers a safe and non-judgmental space. She works closely with her clients to develop realistic and achievable goals as she wants her clients to be successful. Jennifer’s experience working in a residential program has allowed her to support children and family’s mental health treatment in a variety of capacities, further deepening her understanding of the complexities and vulnerabilities involved in mental health care. Jennifer has received training in CBT, Trauma-Focused CBT, Motivational Interviewing, Play Therapy, and DBT. She also incorporates other modalities such as Solution Focused, Client Centered, and Art-Based therapeutic interventions. Jennifer provides trauma-informed and culturally competent therapeutic services, takes a creative, understanding approach with all her clients, and supports her clients in deepening their personal exploration.
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University and her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from National University.
Liza Carr, MFT
Liza is a strengths-based, empathic, client-centered therapist with a passion for working with children, adolescents, and transition-aged youth on their journey of self-discovery and developing ways to cope in the world we live in. She has also worked with numerous couples on not only improving the ways in which they communicate with one another, but also working on really trying to understand each other on the deepest levels in order to improve their marriage. Liza has over a decade of experience in mental health 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 graduated with her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Boston College and has worked in community and nonprofit settings for the past ten years before coming to Positive Change. Liza has experience working with the effects of various kinds of trauma and is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). 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.
Karina Desai, LPCC
Karina is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a passion for providing quality services to individuals struggling with mental health concerns. She received a Master’s of Science in Counseling from San Diego State University with an emphasis in Child Development in 2017. Karina’s vision is to ensure a safe therapeutic atmosphere is created for clients and their families to experience their vulnerabilities while sharing the challenges or barriers they may be facing. She is experienced in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral, Psychodynamic, and Solution Focused Therapy and strives to help individuals understand and overcome their unhealthy thought processes.
Karina’s focus is with children and adolescents. Her compassion for working with younger clients is rooted from experience and understanding. Karina has a broad range of clinical experience working with individuals in the following areas: Depression, Special Needs, Anxiety, Behavioral Challenges, Self-Harm Behavior, Anger and Stress Management, Trauma and Abuse, and Self-Image and Self-Esteem issues.
Karina’s approach emphasizes the mutual development of goals for therapy and ongoing evaluation throughout the therapeutic process. She continues to seek growth professionally by constantly updating and improving her skills and knowledge base. Karina is invested in an integrative and dynamic approach to mental health and looks forward to supporting you on your journey!
Joanna Krasnisky, LCSW
Joanna (or Jo) specializes in working with children, teens, and families challenged from anxiety, PTSD, mild to moderate depression, post-natal depression, attachment challenges, substance abuse, identity or transition difficulties, and acute/complex trauma (including generational, systemic, and historical). She also provides individuals and/or couples seeking infant mental health treatment to provide attachment, emotional health, and developmental guidance. Joanna’s spiritual quest guided her to study in India to become a certified yoga teacher. She is passionate about wholistic healing and believes that within a safe environment 'bottom-up' approaches can be a beneficial supplement to traditional talk and or play therapies. (Our bodies hold so much wisdom and can teach us so much. Sometimes our issues can get stuck in our tissues).
Joanna consistently provides an unconditional positive regard, warmth, and authenticity within the therapeutic relationship. She believes that in order for organic and long term healing to take place, a strong therapeutic alliance needs to form and be assessed over the course of treatment. Her framework is culturally humble, trauma-informed, and mindfulness-based. One of Joanna’s core beliefs is that change is only effective is there is a level of autonomy and self-empowerment. You are the expert of your self and your life. Joanna’s clinical training during and after Fordham and the University of Michigan, has been in trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, internal family systems, infant mental health/attachment-based, play-therapy, trauma-conscious yoga method, mindfulness based-substance abuse treatment, and humanistic psychology. Before moving to California, Joanna provided individual, family, and group therapy within community mental health, health, schools, and child welfare systems in NYC and Michigan. She looks forward to meeting you on your path towards healing and wellness.
Victoria Sarmiento, MFT
Victoria Sarmiento is a bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 12 years of experience working with adults, children, adolescents and families with ADHD, Anxiety, High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder, Depression, Trauma and related diagnoses.
Victoria received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Boston University and her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego.
Victoria began her career working for a non-profit organization that serves adult survivors of sexual assault, sexual abuse and domestic violence. After several years she transitioned her career to serving children, youth and their families inside the educational system working for San Diego Unified School District. Over the past four years Victoria has focused on working with adolescents in the high school setting and adolescents with high-functioning Autistm in a specialized school setting. Each work location provided Victoria with an opportunity to work with diverse populations from a variety of socio-economic, religious, sexual orientation, gender identity, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Victoria is often described as a welcoming, kind, attentive and attune therapist. She values the importance of creating a warm and safe environment for individuals to focus on themselves and address the issues that bring them to therapy. She utilizes a strength-based approach and works closely with clients to identify what they do well and help them identify the answers they are looking for from within. Victoria has extensive training and experience utilizing a variety of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT), Prolonged Exposure, Relaxation Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, Play Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Imago Therapy. She is also a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer.
Rachel Day, MFT
Rachel is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who brings warmth, compassion, and humor in her work with clients. She implements a strengths-based approach in helping clients identify what is going well, rather than solely focusing on what is wrong. Rachel knows the issues clients bring into treatment often stem from an earlier time in their lives, and strives to assist her clients in gaining insight and awareness as the first step towards change. She is particularly interested in working with young adults and couples, and specializes in relationship/dating issues. Rachel is also able to provide a Christian perspective for those who are seeking a faith based therapist.
During her clinical training at Azusa Pacific University, much emphasis was placed on the importance of healthy interpersonal relationships and utilizing self-care. Rachel understands the need for both of these in order to have positive self-esteem and a sense of overall peace. Rachel draws freely on her clinical training and experience working in schools, group homes, non-profit community mental health, and private practice settings.
Sarah Ebert, MFT, Lead Clinician
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.
Carol Dawidowicz, MFT
Carol Dawidowicz is passionate about helping people improve their well-being and relationships. She has been working as a therapist with children, teens and adults since 2005. Carol started her counseling career at a non-profit agency serving at risk youth. Carol has over 6 years of experience working with military service members and their families. She supports clients dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, family of origin issues, grief & loss, separation & divorce, issues of identity/self-esteem, and relationship problems. She also works with couples facing a variety of challenges including parenting issues, infidelity, communication difficulties, intimacy problems, conflict and domestic violence.
Carol received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2000. She obtained her graduate degree in Marital and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego in 2006. Since graduation, Carol has continued to further her education and training by participating in programs focused on Gottman Therapy for working with couples, Prolonged Exposure for working with PTSD and multiple anxiety treatment related programs.
Carol values diversity and strives to understand the unique needs of each individual. She helps clients identify their strengths and develop the tools and relationship skills to lead a more productive and satisfying life.
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.
Psychotherapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families