Rancho Bernardo Clinicians
The therapists listed below offer both in-person and telehealth (video) psychotherapy at Positive Change Counseling Center
William "Billy" Hale, AMFT
Registered AMFT #127703 (Supervised by Heather Gibson, MFT #97630)
Billy (he/him) is a registered Associate Marriage Family Therapist who is passionate about supporting teens, couples, families, and adult individuals. He strives to create a safe space using warmth, humor, and unconditional positive regard where clients can be their true, authentic selves.
Originally from the Bay Area, Billy completed his undergraduate studies at Tufts University in Boston and worked in finance before shifting life paths and moving to South America. After 5 years working with both non-government organizations and the Colombian public school system, Billy returned to the United States and completed a dual master’s degree in Marriage Family Therapy and School Counseling from St. Mary’s College of California. Billy relocated to Southern California in 2021 and could not be happier to have discovered the paradise of San Diego.
Billy takes a person-centered, non-judgemental approach to meet his clients exactly where they are at. Billy believes that you, the client, are the expert of your experiences. He works alongside you in partnership drawing from Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Solutions Focused, Motivational Interviewing, and Narrative modalities to co-create healing and growth. Billy has extensive experience supporting trauma, anxiety, depression, attachment wounds, and life transitions across a mosaic of populations. He looks forward to working with you!
Yoe Jin Kim, AMFT
Registered AMFT #122826 (Supervised by Janette Valverde, MFT #85853)
Yoe Jin is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who believes in the power of compassion and empathy on the path to healing. Yoe Jin received her Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Bethel Seminary and has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. Yoe Jin understands that the desire to belong and feel connected is universal and strives to honor these tenets in her work with her clients. Yoe Jin is passionate about creating a space where her clients can feel heard and safe to process through the various complexities of life. She also recognizes the importance of understanding the immigrant experience and is passionate about providing services to the AAPI and BIPOC communities.
Yoe Jin comes from the perspective of Internal Family Systems which states that all parts of oneself are welcome and aims to provide opportunities for clients to gain a better understanding of themselves and their parts. Yoe Jin believes in the value of nurturing and re-parenting parts of the self that have been hurt in the past and aims to walk alongside her clients in their journey to wholeness. Yoe Jin is also passionate about trauma therapy and is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing which helps individuals heal from distressing symptoms and present-day triggers caused by traumatic life experiences. Additionally, she has worked in the field of addiction treatment and recovery and utilizes a mixture of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy throughout her sessions in order to help increase her clients’ coping skills.
Yoe Jin is excited to meet her potential clients and build a therapeutic relationship based on mutual trust, respect and honesty. Yoe Jin values cultural competency and inclusivity in her work, and strives to provide client-centered, collaborative services for all.
Janelle Lim, MFT
Janelle Lim (she/her/hers) is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has a passion for helping individuals, couples, and families navigate life's challenges. Janelle is dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment where her clients can explore their concerns and work towards positive change. Whether it's coping with stress, life transitions, addressing self-esteem issues, or navigating cultural difficulties, Janelle is committed to helping clients build resilience and find inner strength.
In her practice, Janelle takes an integrative and person-centered approach, tailoring her
therapeutic techniques to meet the unique needs and goals of each individual or couple. By combining evidence-based practices with a warm, compassionate and non-judgmental attitude, Janelle strives to create a collaborative therapeutic relationship that fosters growth and healing. Janelle’s ultimate objective is to empower her clients to overcome obstacles, improve their relationships, and cultivate a sense of self-awareness. Together, you will work towards unlocking your potential and achieving a more fulfilling and balanced life.
In 2016, Janelle graduated from California State University Fullerton with her Bachelor’s in
Sociology and minor in Child Adolescent Development. Janelle pursued her Master’s degree at University of Southern California for Marriage and Family Therapy. Janelle has experience providing services with non-profit community mental health organizations, school-based systems, and government institutions. Janelle often uses Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative Therapy, and Trauma-Informed principles.
Sarah Kouzi, AMFT
Registered AMFT #126970 (Supervised by Liza Carr, MFT #77128)
Sarah Kouzi is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who is very passionate about serving the community. Especially given her cultural background as the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, she is interested in making mental health services more accessible and catered towards diverse cultural backgrounds. Sarah also speaks Arabic fluently and has experience conducting therapy in Arabic.
In 2018, Sarah graduated from UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical psychology, where she was involved in some research in anxiety and eating disorder labs. Sarah then completed her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at San Diego State University in 2021. Since then, Sarah has worked with children, adolescents, young adults, parents, and families in various therapeutic contexts, including domestic violence, abuse, mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, family conflicts, parenting challenges and life transitions.
Sarah views mental health struggles via relationships: our relationships with ourselves, our families, our social circles, our cultural worlds, and our contexts. She believes that relationships have an impact on the stories we tell about ourselves and the identities we create from them, all of which impact our well-being. Sarah takes a collaborative and client-centered approach in therapy, where she enjoys working with clients to help them sort out the pieces, support them through the struggle, and help them find their own strength and resiliency to lift themselves up. Sarah views her clients as experts of their own lives, and herself as a collaborator, like a supportive co-pilot on the journey. She takes her client’s lead and supports them in whatever way they believe to be helpful. She works with their strengths, while also gently offering tools and strategies. Sarah’s therapeutic approach is informed by Narrative therapy, Solution-Focused therapy, trauma informed practices, and mindfulness strategies.
Marissa Massimini, AMFT
Registered AMFT #133705 (Supervised by Cara McDowell, MFT #43358)
Marissa is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who obtained her Masters in
Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University. She has a particular passion
for working with adult individuals and couples, as well as those that are within the
military service community. She maintains a framework of attachment and Family
Systems Theory when working with clients, that emphasizes the human need for
connection and relationships. Marissa maintains a foundation of cultural sensitivity that
welcomes individuals of all faith, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation backgrounds.
She has gained experience working with children, teens, families, and couples in a
variety of settings, including outpatient, intensive-outpatient and partial-hospitalization
Marissa integrates a variety of modalities into her practice, including:
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical
Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Marissa
has gained additional EFT training through the EFT Externship, which provides
exceptional tools and perspectives based on a highly effective and research-based
approach to individual, couples and family therapy.
Marissa utilizes a client-centered and collaborative approach in her work, which
emphasizes that the client’s experience makes them the expert in their life journey. She
believes her major role as a therapist is to walk alongside clients on this journey,
providing tools, techniques and guidance regarding past, present and future
experiences. In order to guide clients effectively, Marissa emphasizes personalizing
treatment to create a safe space to connect with and empower clients to discover their
needs, humanness, and inner strength as they work towards greater fulfillment.
Yasamin Fani, MFT
Licensed MFT #141347
Yas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has had experience working with children ages 4-12, adolescents, adults, and families in both an educational and therapeutic setting for six years. She is trilingual in English, Persian and Spanish. Yas is originally from Shiraz, Iran and immigrated to the United States in 2004 with her family. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2014 and moved to Mexico City as an English instructor for three years. It was in the classroom where she realized she wanted to be a therapist more than an educator as she primarily focused on integrating mental health awareness into her students’ curricula.
In 2018 she returned to San Diego to pursue a professional degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at San Diego State University in order to participate in community healing across cultural and linguistic lines. Yas understands the importance of cultural sensitivity and open-mindedness. Because cultures adapt and change, she is invested in helping you examine the impact of cultural, social, and political forces in your own life/family dynamics.
Yas has worked across various therapeutic settings such as school-based, non-profit outpatient programs, community-based and private practice. Through her experience, she has provided therapy to clients who have endured traumas, abuse, mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, relationship issues, parenting challenges and life transitions. As a therapist, Yas aspires to create a safe, nurturing and collaborative space for you and/or your family, so you may feel valued, heard, and able to show up authentically as yourself.
Kelly Pacheco-Gagner, APCC
Registered APCC #5939 (Supervised by Jennifer Haggerty, MFT #99313)
Kelly is an Associate Clinical Counselor and a San Diego native who adventured around living in different states before returning home to California to become a counselor. She completed her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine in Psychology and Social Behavior, and her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. Kelly prefers to create a specialized treatment approach to work with each person holistically to address their mental and behavioral health which creates valuable opportunities for growth in individual, couples and family therapy.
Kelly utilizes an eclectic methodology to provide mental/behavioral health counseling through the art of trauma-informed and empathetic relationship building, information gathering, goal setting and treatment planning. She will incorporate integrative aspects of Cognitive Behavioral, Solution Focused, Dialectical Behavioral, Adlerian and Existential theories and their interventions. Kelly has experience working with individuals from a vast variety of multicultural backgrounds including those from indigenous cultures, individuals suffering from PTSD, substance abuse, victims of abuse, eating disorders, co-occurring disorders, life stage transitions or many others in residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient patient settings.
Kelly enjoys helping clients by striving to understand their unique process and creating innovative ways to connect with clients enabling them to take initiative for growth and healing towards positive outcomes thus allowing healing to occur at your own pace.
Carly Shaul, MFT
Carly is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in helping teens, adults, couples, and families who struggle with anxiety, communication, intimacy and relationship issues, grief and loss, LGBTQIA+ related difficulties, and more. She understands the vulnerability that comes with seeking support and strives to provide a warm space where clients can be heard and understood without judgment.
She prioritizes catering treatment to match the diverse needs of everyone she works with and enjoys taking an active approach in collaborating with clients when exploring their biggest challenges. Carly has experience utilizing a range of culturally competent and evidence-based methods including Solution-Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative Therapy, Humanistic Techniques, Family Systems Theories, and Compassion-Based Therapy. She also completed Level 1 training in Gottman Therapy and prefers to utilize this method in her work with couples to improve conflict management, strengthen friendships, and create shared meaning within their relationship.
Carly received her Masters of Science degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. She has been described as a therapist that genuinely cares and is committed to providing that same care to you.
Heather Gibson, MFT
Operations Manager, Clinical Supervisor
Heather is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who has experience helping adult individuals who are struggling with Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Adjustment Disorders, trauma, relationship concerns, and life stressors. Heather additionally has a special interest in helping individuals heal through grief and other forms of loss.
Heather earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) in 2010, and her Masters degree in Marriage & Family Therapy at the University of San Diego (USD) in 2014. She completed her internship as a Lead Therapist at the UCSD Family Medicine Collaborative Care Program. She then joined Positive Change Counseling Center after earing her MFT License in 2016.
Heather incorporates techniques from a variety of theoretical models including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Person-Centered Therapy, Behavior Modification, Narrative Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Structural Therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy. In her work, Heather adopts a “bio/psycho/social/spiritual” perspective: seeing all of the parts that make a person whole. Heather welcomes clients of all backgrounds, ethnicities, faiths/belief systems, genders, and sexual orientations to join her in working toward creating meaningful change. Through empowerment and teaching self-efficacy, Heather hopes to join clients on the journey of creating the life they envision for themselves. She aims to not only offer therapy, but also hold a space for healing. She looks forward to meeting you.
Cara McDowell, MFT, Clinical Supervisor
Cara received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1999 and her Masters of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy in 2002, both from the University of San Diego. After graduating she worked in a variety of settings including schools, community non-profit agencies, outpatient hospital programs, community college, and private practice.
Cara’s approach to treating her clients is warm, respectful, responsive, and nurturing. She has a genuine interest in the happiness of her clients. She has experience working with adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups treating a wide variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, parenting, adjustment to life changes/stressors, and relationship/marital issues. Cara utilizes cognitive behavioral techniques, as well as strength based and solution-focused models to help her clients. She tailors treatment techniques and goals to match each client’s needs.
Cara has a passion for working with couples and uses Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) in her treatment. EFT is a structured, research backed, and highly effective approach to couples therapy. Its main premise is to help replace negative cycles the couple has formed over the course of their relationship with new positive cycles to help nurture new bonding interactions. This enables permanent change in the relationship to become a safe and healing place for both partners. Cara also enjoys working with teenage girls. She has a special ability to offer active, authentic, and respectful insight by using direct and non-judgmental feedback. She helps them to take control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors by providing them with the skills and knowledge to make better
Janette Valverde, MFT, Clinical Supervisor
Janette is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has enjoyed working with children, adolescents and families. She has experience working with individuals who present with symptoms and behaviors related to depression, anxiety, trauma, Adjustment Disorder and life stressors. Janette focuses on collaborating and meeting clients where they are in their process to help support them in their journey.
Previously, Janette has worked in various settings as both a clinician and clinical supervisor, ranging from community and residentially based services, foster care, hospitals and acute crisis settings. She uses her past professional experiences to continue to inform her work with clients and looks to create individualized plans.
Janette earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at University of California, Riverside, and her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, MFT at Pepperdine University. Her training in the field has been influenced by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Family Systems, Attachment theories, and Trauma. She is a certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT) with adolescents. Additionally, she enjoys bringing art into sessions as a tool for client’s to express themselves. She uses a strength based approach with a trauma informed lens, to join clients on their journey and process with life.
Psychotherapy for Individuals, Couples, and Families