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Darla Lynn Gale, MA, LMFT
Founder, Executive Director

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist  (#92413)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Trained Therapist
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional

Imago Trained Couples Therapist

Darla has a deep desire to provide healing to those who are hurting, to give each individual the resources for positive change, and to help them gain insight and understanding into the world; resulting in a brighter tomorrow. She holds to the belief that you cannot change the past, but you can be strengthened by it. One of her favorite quotes is 'It's okay to look back into the past, just don't stare." Darla graduated from Brandman University and has a Master's Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has also completed the "Faith in Crisis Academy" with a specialized focus on trauma. She has experience working with individuals, adolescents, and children bound by anxiety, depression, obsession compulsion, ADHD, anger, addiction, grief, and codependent behaviors. In addition, she works with couples who are experiencing difficulties with conflict, communication, and unhealthy relational patterns. Darla's therapeutic approach is creative and engaging, as she combines spiritual, mindful, cognitive, and behavioral principles in her process. Darla believes the client-therapist relationship is of the utmost importance and her goal is to lead individuals on a personal journey of awareness while providing them with hope, empathy, and unconditional positive regard. In her spare time she enjoys crafting, kayaking, fishing, boating and road trips with her husband.

Kara Walsh
MA, Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (IMF #94962)
Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (#3228)
Supervised By John Branderhorst, MFT #42823

"Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together" - James Cash Penney

Kara has a passion for being a pillar of support for those in need, whether grief work, anxiety, or looking to change your outlook in life, Kara looks forward to guiding you through the process. When we experience a life stressor, things begin to unravel. Kara is a firm believer in repairing the mind, body, and soul in response to life's curveballs.

Kara has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and a Master's in Counseling Psychology from Saint Mary's College of California. She is versed in family systems, and treatment of children, ranging from working with teens and addiction, teens in the judicial system, children's grief work, divorce, and other familial and children's needs. Kara has also taught anger management classes, parenting classes, and self-esteem for teens. She is also available for stress/anxiety, depression, codependency, grief/loss, abuse, self esteem, substance abuse/use, and postraumatic stress/trauma.



Sarah Whitney
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern #103493
Supervised by John Branderhorst, MFT #42823

Sarah has always had a passion for knowledge and helping others.  Upon entering college, she decided to study child development because of her experience working in a pediatric dental office which spurred her interest in family systems and personal growth. Sarah has a passion for helping people find hope, happiness and ability to cope with adversity in their lives.  In pursuit of that passion, Sarah has received her BS in Child Development, and is currently completing her Masters Degree in Counseling, focus in Marriage, Child, and Family Counseling at California State University, Fresno.

Sarah integrates compatible therapeutic methods to best met the unique needs of her clients. As your counselor, Sarah wants to provide the support you need to grow from your adversity, and find hope and strength within your own heart. As Virginia Satir says, “Life is not what it's supposed to be. It's what it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”


Charise Spencer
Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by John Branderhorst, MFT #42823

Charise has a deep passion for helping others unlock their internal gifts, talents, and abilities while at the same time fostering and developing new ones.  She holds a deep belief that people are stronger than they realize and have gifts and abilities that remain to be uncovered.  These beliefs come not only from her schooling but from her personal experiences overcoming adversity.  Charise is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee who is currently in the last year of her Masters program at Brandman University. Her experience includes working with addiction, depression, anxiety, non-binary gender identity, and the LGBTQ community.  She has worked with individuals from age 4 to age 84. You are the expert on your life and Charise would like to walk with you as a guide on your journey. In walking this journey with you Charise will work with you to identify how to leverage mind, body, and spirit to increase your quality of life. Narrative and CBT based therapies are the approaches that Charise commonly uses in her practice.  She encourages the individuals she works with to feel open to provide feedback regarding the therapeutic process so that it can be tailored to suit the needs of the individual.  In her personal time Charise enjoys the outdoors, the arts, and connecting with friends and family. In addition,  Charise is a mother of two teen boys and a wife of 20 years. Charise also has a degree in Child Development and worked with children from ages 0-13 for over 10 years. 

Jeff Kukral
Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by John Branderhorst, MFT #42823

Jeff believes that while your past certainly has an impact on your life, it is important to look toward the future to create the life you want. His goal is to work alongside you to help you discover your own journey and your future, regardless of your personal history. His approach to therapy focuses on your unique strengths to create solutions for shaping  the life you imagine. 

Currently he is the subject matter expert in suicide prevention for the state of California.  As such, Jeff has certification in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), esuicideTALK, and SafeTALK trainings. When Jeff began working in suicide prevention for California, he realized his true calling was to work in partnership with people who were on a journey to improve their mental health, so he has dedicated the next phase of his life to this goal.  In his spare time, Jeff enjoys working outside with his smoker creating various sausages and bacon.  He also likes to take adventurous day trips with his family. 


Megan Jesus
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Chemical Addiction Specialist (CAS Intern 11844)
Supervised by John Branderhost, MFT #42823

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Megan believes that every person has the potential for greatness. Her goal, as your therapist, is to help you to improve the overall quality of your life by addressing issues you identify needing assistance with. Megan’s passion is to help others understand that though past experiences are a part of our being and help shape who you are as a person; every person is in control of their own future and has the choice and the opportunity to create the future they want for themselves. Our past does not have to define us and we do not have to remain in old patterns of behavior. There is new life, better life and amazing opportunities out there for everyone. Megan has experience working with men and women individually, individuals who have been incarcerated and institutionalized, involved in perinatal substance abuse, couples, children, and families. Her areas of emphasis are substance abuse and addiction,individuals with a history of childhood trauma, domestic violence, grief, infant mental health and attachment, anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues and codependency. Megan is a graduate of National University with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Simpson University.   In her spare time she enjoys hiking with her dog, camping, paddle-boarding, reading and trips to the lake or ocean.


Lisa Atkinson
MA, Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern (IMF #80593)
Supervised by John Branderhorst, MFT #42823

Lisa is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern with Heartstrings Counseling Agency after graduating with her Masters in Psyhology, emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2012 from Brandman University.

Everyone has a story and their story is unique.  Seeking help is a courageous choice.  Everyone goes through challenging times and reaching out for support can change your life.  Therapy can seem like a scary path to take, but Lisa's hope is that when you connect with her that you find yourself comfortable and ready for the journey.  Lisa is passionate about creating and maintaining a safe nurturing environment, especially for youth and yong children.  She believes therapy should be an experience where both client and therapist join to help you reach the goals you have.  Her goal is to encourage you to seek the motivation that will allow you to be your best self.

Im her spare time, you can usually find Lisa with her two tiny pups kayaking...yes, the pups have flotation jackets!  She also enjoys camping, gardening and /or reading.



 Alice Rodriguez
 Marriage and Family Therapist Counselor
 Supervised By John Branderhorst, MFT #42823


Alice is a counselor who is completing the Master’s program at California State University at Sacramento (Counseling) with an emphasis on Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling. Her experience includes working with addiction, depression, anxiety, and trauma.  Most recently, she worked with veterans affected by substance use, mental illness and homelessness. 

Alice wants to help clients to acquire the knowledge and skills that they need to build a strong recovery program, to provide self-care options, and to achieve serenity and joy in their life.

In her personal time, Alice enjoys running half marathons in order to raise charitable donations for non-profit organizations.  She also enjoys spending time and making memories with friends and family.  

Alice possesses two Associate degrees, in both Addiction Science and Addiction Counseling respectively.  In addition to her education and experience with recovery, Alice holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Science degree in Horticulture, and over 30 years of experience in the technology and telecommunication industry.  



Rebecca Garbi
Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern (IMF 81995)
Professional Clinical Counselor-Intern (PCCI 1540)
Supervised by John Branderhorst, MFT #42823

Rebecca is committed to helping people heal and find wholeness in body, mind and spirit. She is an attentive listener who seeks to improve the quality of life of those she counsels by working  with them to achieve their goals. Rebecca received her Masters of Science in Counselor Education from California State University, Sacramento and has extensive training in Attachment-Based Family Therapy and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Furthermore, she has run anger management and social skills groups for at-risk youth in Placer County schools.


Rebecca uses her education and insight to help guide those who are suffering identify alternative solutions to their conflicts. She enables clients to reclaim their future by resolving their current situations and overcoming the challenges of their past. This helps those she works with find their potential so they can face life's stressors and enjoy greater serenity, motivation and personal fulfillment. Her own values of creativity, warm acceptance and service to others inspire her to help clients see the answers within themselves and learn the skills they need to sail through any storm.

 “The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.” ~ Swedish Proverb





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