Sifting Through the Ashes: Finding Beauty, Peace, Love, and Strength Through Trauma* offers guidance and hope for trauma survivors and first responders.
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Meet Our Team of Therapists

Darla

Darla Lynn Gale, MA, LMFT
Founder, Executive Director, Author
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (#92413)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Repro
cessing (EMDR) Trained Therapist
Certified Clinical Trauma Professional

Imago Trained Couples Therapist
Certified First Responder Counselor

Darla is a professional therapist who operates her own private practice corporation, offering healing and positive change to those in need. With a deep desire to provide resources and insight, she aims to create a brighter tomorrow for her clients. Darla holds a Master's Degree in Psychology with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brandman University. In addition, she has completed the "First Responder Counselor Training" and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) Training with a specialized focus on trauma. 

With her expertise, she assists individuals dealing with various challenges such as anxiety, depression, addiction, and more. Further, Darla provides counseling for couples facing difficulties in conflict resolution, communication, and healthy relational patterns. Adopting a creative and engaging approach, she combines spiritual, mindful, cognitive, and behavioral principles in her therapeutic process. 

Darla values the client-therapist relationship and strives to guide individuals on a personal journey of awareness, offering hope, empathy, and unconditional positive regard. 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." Outside of work, Darla enjoys reading, writing books, swimming, and embarking on road trips with her husband and their two dogs.


Rachael

Rachael Uchison, MA, APCC
Associate Professional Clinical Counselor #13200
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Rachael is an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor diligently working towards her licensure. With a passion for helping young adults, Rachael has been a valued member of the Heartstrings Counseling team for over 2 years. With 9+ years in the mental health field, she possesses extensive experience working with individuals of all ages, including teenagers, children, and adults. 

Utilizing a person-centered approach, Rachael tailors her counseling techniques and modalities to meet the unique needs of each client. Collaborating closely with clients, she aims to enhance productivity, foster positive emotions, and cultivate a wholesome perspective on life. Having witnessed firsthand the profound impact of mental health challenges, Rachael is committed to empowering her clients to find peace of mind.

Rachael's expertise encompasses a range of areas, including ADHD, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Personality Disorders. Additionally, she boasts a wealth of experience in anxiety, depression, trauma, and family relationships.

With Rachael's professionalism, expertise, and compassionate care, you can trust that she will be a valuable asset in your journey towards well-being.


Dixie

Dixie Ocampo, MA, AMFT
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist  #144715
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Dixie is a compassionate and dedicated Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, holding a BA in Psychology from California State University, Sacramento, and a Master's degree in Psychology from University Massachusetts Global.

Dixie possesses exceptional qualities such as empathy, respect, active listening, and nonjudgmental demeanor. With prior experience working with youth and adolescents at a local high school, she is particularly passionate about helping those struggling with anxiety, low self-esteem, and stress management. In her therapeutic sessions, Dixie creates a safe and trusting environment for clients to express themselves and embark on their healing journey.

When she's not supporting clients, Dixie enjoys traveling, reading books by the beach, hiking, and cherishing quality time with family, friends, and her adorable dog, Mushu.

If you're seeking guidance on your personal journey, Dixie looks forward to providing you with the support you need. She believes that therapy is a collaborative process and strives to empower her clients by helping them cultivate self-awareness, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and build stronger relationships with themselves and others. With Dixie's assistance, you can work towards achieving your goals and living a fulfilling life.


Macey

Macey Howeson

Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” – Carl Rogers

Macey is a Marriage and Family Therapist trainee currently in her final year of her master’s program at the University of San Francisco. She received her bachelor’s degree in Social Science with an emphasis on Psychology and Family Relations and a minor in Family Relations from California State University, Chico. While attending Chico State, she participated in multiple internships on campus geared toward mental health awareness and education.

Macey is passionate about helping others along their journey through growth and self-acceptance. She believes that all people have the capacity for growth and that therapy can be a safe, non-judgmental place to work through life’s challenges. Macey has a passion for working with the LGBTQIA+ community and strongly believes that those in every community deserve to feel seen, heard, and appreciated. Although she generally uses an integrative approach with
clients, she often draws aspects of humanistic therapy and a Gestalt approach in practice.

In her free time, Macey enjoys being with friends, family, and her pets. She also enjoys doing makeup, creating art, and dancing (not well, she would like to add).


Madison

Madison Parikka

Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Madison is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee in the final year of her Counseling Psychology graduate program at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University and proudly identifies as an art school dropout. 

Madison takes a collaborative, integrative approach to therapy, prioritizing meeting people where they are in their journey. She celebrates the opportunity to walk with clients toward healing, growth, and well-being. She utilizes a narrative, client-centered framework while also prioritizing the wisdom of how our bodies interact with our mental health. Madison is warm, non-judgmental, and not afraid to get creative and work outside of the box. She has experience working with bereaved folks in a Hospice setting, using the Enneagram as a tool for deeper understanding. She is passionate about working with all types of clients, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, those experiencing life transitions, loss, non-traditional family systems, low self-esteem, and identity challenges. 

In her spare time, Madison enjoys gardening, painting, cooking, being outside, and being of service to her cat (we are just living in their world, you know?).


Amanda M

Amanda McBee

Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Amanda is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee and is finishing her last year at National University. She is an enthusiastic and compassionate individual with a strong passion for supporting others and helping them to strengthen their relationships. Having worked in an elementary school for many years, she has a passion for helping children and parents navigate the demands of these challenging times. Her ultimate goal as a Marriage and Family Trainee is to help individuals foster healthy, loving connections with themselves and those around them. She will create a safe and supportive environment for clients to share their thoughts and emotions openly, establishing a strong therapeutic alliance.

Amanda lives with her husband and Sadie, their rescue dog. Her two daughters are attending college. In her free time, Amanda enjoys being active, exploring the outdoors, reading, and spending time with friends and family.


rose

Rose von Blanck

Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Trainee Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Rose is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee (MFT Trainee) in her final year of graduate school. She is an empathetic individual who is passionate about exploring each individual’s story and collaborating on ways to create healing. She enjoys working with a diverse range of individuals and couples who are searching for coping strategies to get through life and relationship struggles. She believes that most of us have the tools within us to cause those ripples of change and wants to empower her clients of all ages and stages of life to tap into their inner strength and resilience in order to find hope for the future.

She also has a Master's in Education and, having worked as a teacher and in school leadership positions, holds a special place in her heart for children and teens, their families, and the tools they need to get through these developmental years. She has the education, lifetime experiences, cultural sensitivity, and desire to help everyone reach their state of joy.

On a personal note, Rose lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and cavapoo, Luna. Her eldest daughter is currently a Junior in college. In her spare time, she enjoys long walks, writing, and watching comedies because she believes in the adage that laughter is truly the best medicine.


danielle

Danielle Dechavez

Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Danielle Dechavez is a Pepperdine University graduate with a B.A. in Psychology. She is now further pursuing her interest in the field by studying at Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology. She will be getting her M.A. in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy and is expected to obtain licensure after the completion of the program to become an LMFT fall of 2024.

She has experience working closely with neurodivergent children and teens (ages 3-17 years old) who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, speech and language delays, sensory processing disorder, and other conditions that impact brain development, while utilizing a progressive model of Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapy. Her experience involves working in home, school, and clinical settings.

Danielle is open to working with children, teens, adults, couples, and families impacted by depression, anxiety, life transitions, grief, trauma, stress, or relationship issues. While she takes an integrative approach to therapy, she draws techniques primarily from cognitive behavioral therapy and solution-focused brief therapy. Her focus will help you understand the powerful connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors while gaining the tools to challenge negative thinking patterns, develop healthier coping strategies, and make positive changes in your life. Her focus also helps you find solutions, build on your strengths, and discover practical steps to help move forward.

Danielle is dedicated to empowering you on your journey towards personal growth and enhanced well-being. She will create a safe, warm, and welcoming environment where trust will be built, and hope will be encouraged. Throughout the therapeutic process, she ensures that each individual feels heard, valued, and supported.

In her personal life, Danielle values spending time with her friends and family. She loves going to the beach, is a huge animal lover, and enjoys watching reality TV shows.


kwei

Kwei Akuete

Professional Clinical and Counselor Trainee
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Kwei (pronounced Quay) is a Professional Counselor Trainee currently in his final year in Pepperdine University’s Masters in Clinical Psychology program. Prior to changing careers, Kwei was a management consultant for several years after graduating from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Masters in Public Policy) and Northwestern University (BS in Social Policy). He also graduated from the US International University in Nairobi, Kenya, with an Executive MBA degree.   

Through his life journey so far in diverse business and cultural settings, he believes that many of our issues stem from our varying abilities to communicate effectively. This is compounded by the stories we tell ourselves before, during, and after any interaction and the meanings we may inaccurately attribute to them. As a result, we may see the world from altered perspectives that cause us to experience anxiety, depression, and isolation. In the process, our relationships become strained or completely break down due to apathy, neglect, or conflict.

As a proponent of narrative therapy, Kwei seeks to help you delve deeper into the beliefs, meanings, and actions that create your perspective and contribute to your communication style. Kwei strongly believes that challenging these constructs and behaviors can yield valuable insights that yield new meanings, more balanced perspectives, congruency, and peace of mind. The benefits continue with the creation of more helpful communication patterns, and, ultimately, an improvement in the quality of your personal and professional relationships.

When not in school or in session, Kwei enjoys reading biographies, listening to audiobooks, enjoying a good cheeseburger, and playing tennis...but not after having a cheeseburger.


Brittany

Brittany Richards

Professional Clinical and Counselor Trainee 
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Brittany is training to become a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). She is currently a graduate student at Touro University Worldwide.

Brittany’s therapeutic approach is collaborative and strength-based. She will guide and empower you to be the author of your life. Brittany will encompass developmental, spiritual, and behavioral principles to help you reach your goals. She believes that therapy is a process of recognition, healing, and change and that everyone has a unique perspective and journey. Brittany will listen with empathy and compassion and create a safe space of non-judgment.

Brittany is excited to work with individuals, couples, families, and adolescents as they navigate challenges. She wants to help you strengthen and build connecting, healthy, and trusting relationships. She has a passion for helping others resolve conflicts and repair what may be broken.

On a personal note, Brittany is a mom to four amazing children and one super hyper and lovable dog named Blu. She loves to travel with her husband, exercise, explore the outdoors, and cheer her children on as they participate in different activities.


Ryan L

Ryan Listberger

Professional Clinical and Counselor Trainee                                                                                                                                                            Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee                                                                                                                                                                    Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Ryan is a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) Trainee and a Professional Clinical Counselor (PCC) Trainee in his final year of graduate school at the University of Massachusetts Global. Ryan holds an Associate’s degree in Administration of Justice from Folsom Lake College and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with an emphasis in child psychology from Brandman University.

Ryan was in the United States Air Force for six years as a Security Forces Officer and Combat Arms Instructor. He deployed overseas while serving our country. Ryan has a passion for first responders and their families. His experience as a law enforcement officer and weapons instructor has given him insight into understanding trauma, mental health crisis, adaptability, cultural competence, resilience, communication skills, and understanding transition. Ryan understands the stigma for military members, first responders, and their families receiving help in therapy, but he would love to break the stigma.

With a warm and empathetic approach, Ryan creates a safe and nonjudgmental space for clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. He believes in the power of collaboration and works closely with each individual to develop personalized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs and goals. Whether you're struggling with trauma, anxiety, depression, or relationship issues, Ryan is here to support you on your journey toward healing and transformation.

Ryan is married and a father of two girls. He enjoys family time, working out, golfing, and being outdoors. 



IN LOVING MEMORY (February 5, 1964 - December 21, 2020)

Kristen Williams

Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee
Supervised by Darla Gale, LMFT #92413

Kristen Williams is a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee who is passionate about helping others through difficult times in their lives. She is compassionate and caring and strives to convey warmth, acceptance, and empathy to those who are hurting. We all have things in our lives that are difficult to deal with but having someone walk beside you to offer support and guidance is a positive step in helping you reach your goals. Kristen believes everyone has value and a purpose and sees each person as a unique individual who is deserving of respect. This will guide her therapeutic treatment. She is drawn to a holistic and integrative approach that addresses the mind, body, spirit, and social aspects of one's life and prefers to focus on strengths, goals, encouragement, and positive qualities while working on the things that need to be changed.  Therapy is a team effort and a partnership between the counselor and the client. Therefore, a strong, collaborative therapeutic relationship is a top goal for her in helping clients achieve health in their lives.

It is her desire to provide a comfortable, non-judgmental environment with authenticity, patience, and respect so that her clients may discover the tools and resources that they can take with them to use throughout their lives. She has a heart for those suffering from traumas of all kinds and those struggling with substance abuse and addictions. She has experience in relating successfully with people of all ages and backgrounds, including working with at-risk young adults and teens, women, senior adults, and people with chronic health issues and trauma. She has knowledge and experience with anxiety and depression, trauma, ADHD, has a Christian counseling background, and is pursuing a certificate in Addiction Studies. Having been born with a congenital heart defect, she understands medical trauma, chronic health issues, and how Covid-19 and other risk factors are affecting those who are high risk.

Kristen has been married for over 26 years and has a son, a daughter, and a new son-in-law. She loves animals and believes they are wonderful for therapy as well as being great companions. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, gardening, DIY projects, volunteering in various capacities, outdoor activities such as boating, paddleboarding, and hiking and spending time with family and friends.

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