Meet Our Therapists
Kathryn de Bruin
“Born and raised in South Africa a number of my first milestones were achieved in this beautiful, dynamic country.
Amongst these were completing my schooling, a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work, as well beginning my work experience in a private practice in South Africa’s capital city Pretoria. It was there that I facilitated preventative programmes in schools and practiced child therapy.
Alongside my husband, we moved to Aachen, Germany, for two years, an experience which enabled me to explore the human psyche in terms of environment adjustments and change management. It was after this two year period that my husband and I moved to San Diego, USA. Having lived in various countries, experiencing and working with different ethnic groups, I have become better equipped to relate to and counsel individuals dealing with life changes and challenges.
In 2004, having lived in San Diego for four years, I attained my Masters of Arts at Bethel Seminary, graduating Summa Cum Laude. It was during my training and internship that I was able to work in a variety of settings to gain the experience and expertise required for effective psychotherapy.
I have a passion to empower individuals and families to attain a higher standard of functioning. I am therefore licensed in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist, a registered Play Therapist Supervisor and an Emotionally Focused Therapy Supervisor. I am also passionate about supervising and consulting other professionals who work with children, families and couples. This includes weekly individual and group supervision to trainees and interns of the non-profit Alliant Couple and Family Clinic.
I am a wife and a mother of three children. This experience has enabled me to reflect on the significance of Child Therapy as well as Marital Therapy and given me the life experience necessary to interact with clients and professionals alike, ensuring a meaningful, sustainable connection.”
Bilingual: English & Spanish
“I grew up in a large family in Spain. I was drawn to software and engineering from an early age, I came to the USA for a technical career in satellite communications. I have enjoyed being part of excellent teams designing and creating products that help people communicate. After experiencing personal change and evolution in my own therapy for several years I became fascinated and awed by the power of therapy to help improve people’s lives. I believe every person has an innate inner drive to strive for their own growth and happiness. A supportive, caring attachment figure is a catalyst for such drive to reach a person’s potential. I realized I wanted to be part of that process for other people. I decided to change careers and dedicate my life to therapy. I haven’t regretted that decision ever since. I integrate different therapy models depending on the client’s needs. When working with couples I use mainly Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT), which is a model of therapy that has been validated by research to be especially effective for couples. EFT is based on attachment theory. Partners with a solid emotional bond find safety and security with their partner. Partners securely attached can express their true feelings and be their most authentic self, knowing their relationship is strong enough to withstand temporary disconnections and misunderstandings that happen in every couple. They can repair and heal wounds together leveraging the strong sense of trust built in.
I strive to provide a safe environment that fosters individuals and partners taking risks to express their most vulnerable emotions, to truly hear each other and be fully heard and understood. Clients are supported to reach out to each other for genuine, heartfelt connection, to see in each other’s eyes the love and joy too often couples lose along the way. Everyone longs to feel understood and loved, even in our imperfections and when we make mistakes. I want to help you find attachment security in your relationship, so you too can feel the joy to love and be loved without the constant fear of losing the very connection which you care for the most. I honor each person that walks in to session and meet them where they are. I look forward to meeting you and working with you to achieve your goals.
Living in San Diego is a great base of operations for my hobbies: Hiking, backpacking in the Sierras, woodworking, swimming (in Summer), home improvement, and reading, which I love.”
B.S. in Electrical Engineering – U. Notre Dame
M.S. in Electrical Engineering/Telecommunications – U. Villanova
M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy – Alliant International University
EFT Externship – 2016
EFT Core Skills – 2017
AEDP Immersion Workshop – 2017
Relational Gestalt Practice – 2017
Member of CAMFT
MFT Registered Intern (IMF102684)
Ansley Fraser Curtis
Therapist, New Alternatives, Crisis Action & Connection
Therapist, Pathways Community Services Catalyst Program
Education and Affiliations:
“Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom” -Aristotle
“I grew up in a very creative home which had a hand in inspiring my degree in Art History from SDSU. However, after graduating, I realized that a career in the art world was not relational enough for me. After seeing a Spiritual Director and experiencing the acceptance, understanding and empathy that comes from a therapeutic relationship, I realized that what really brings me fulfillment is the ability to offer those things to others. I attended Bethel Seminary, receiving a Masters in Marital and Family Therapy, so that I could gain the skills and knowledge to have a tangible, positive impact on the lives of others. In therapy, I have a heart for creating inviting spaces where my clients feel safe and affirmed in being where they are – and exploring together the possibilities for growth and healing.
In practice, I come from an Emotionally Focused Therapy perspective. I believe that all people were created with the need to know and be known by others. I am passionate about working with clients to help them understand their emotional needs for closeness and connection, how unmet needs cause disconnection, and how more helpful ways of connection are possible. My hope for all my clients is that they would experience connection and healing, and I believe this comes from feeling the safety and freedom to share what is really going on inside. My job as a therapist is to create that sacred space and offer support through the uncharted waters of pain and disconnection.
Being involved in my church community is a love of mine and I have held various leadership and mentor positions over the years. I came to faith later in life and am very familiar with issues that arise in the exploration process when it comes to spirituality. My hope is that, regardless of where my clients are in their faith process or background, they would feel that that piece of them is welcome and honored in therapy.
On a personal note, I live in San Diego with my husband and we love taking advantage of all that this great city has to offer. Adventures outdoors, walks to a coffee shop, and spending some quality time with family and friends are how I keep myself physically, mentally and spiritually tuned up. I also enjoy being creative – dancing, crochet, and (more recently) gardening are my main outlets.
Looking forward to hearing how I can support you on your journey!”
B.A. in Art History – SDSU
M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy – Bethel Seminary
HAP EMDR Training Workshop – Part 1 2014
PREPARE ENRICH Certified
Evolution of Psychotherapy Conference 2013
Christian Association of Psychological Studies (CAPS) 2011 – 2014
Member of CAMFT
Books that have changed me:
Compassion – Henri J.M. Nouwen, Donald P. Mcneill, & Douglas A. Morrison
Wounded Healer – Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Gift of Being Yourself – David Benner
Daring Greatly – Brené Brown
“My professional experience includes helping children and adults overcome anxiety, depression, childhood trauma, and difficult life transitions. I have experience working with children and adolescents of all ages, and specialize in working with “littles” (ages 0-5), as much of my background is in early childhood mental health. My passion is working with individuals who have experienced trauma; supporting children and families in understanding the impact of traumatic experiences and walking hand-in-hand towards healing.
I approach my work with children by viewing them in the context of the whole family, using a family-systems lens to cater to the unique relationships and dynamics within the family and to support the strengthening of those relationships. As my area of interest is early childhood mental health, I strive to promote attachment in child-caregiver relationships, knowing that secure attachment with a caregiver is the foundation to a happy and healthy childhood – and beyond!
In working with families, I utilize a transparent and collaborative approach; YOU are the expert in your child, and therapy works best when we work together as a team to support your child. Similarly, when working with children, I take a child-centered and strengths-based approach, meeting each child with warmth, empathy, and acceptance of their own individual life experience. I believe that children, no matter how young, are deserving of respect and understanding, and I strive to create a safe space for children to heal – and to have fun in the process.
My counseling style is accepting, sincere and validating. I make it a priority to create a safe, inclusive environment for people of all walks of life. I believe in the innate capacity of individuals and families to heal and thrive when given the right compassion, tools, and support. I believe that therapy is for everyone and that every person deserves the opportunity to reach their goals and feel their best.
My approach is informed by several therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF CBT), Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), and Mindfulness-based Interventions.”
Education and Affiliations:
Play Therapy Certificate (in progress), UCSD
Master of Social Work, University of Southern California
Bachelor of Science in Sociology & Psychology, Ohio University
Member of California Society for Clinical Social Work
Member of National Association of Social Workers
Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego:
- Therapist, Chadwick Center for Children & Families, Trauma Counseling Program
- Trauma Therapist, Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic
- Early Childhood Mental Health Counselor, Chadwick Center for Children & Families, KidSTART Clinic
Family Connections Clinician, Jewish Family Service of San Diego
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Child Parent Psychotherapy
Parent Child Interaction Therapy
AIM HI (An Individualized Mental Health Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders)
“After growing up in Northern California, Kimberly, completed her B.S. Psychobiology degree at the University of California, Davis. After a short career in pharmaceutical sales, Kimberly stayed home to raise her children until finishing her M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy at Bethel Seminary, San Diego, graduating Magna Cum Laude. Kimberly worked in the field of alcohol and drug addiction, with families, as a volunteer, and completed her internship with the Center for Grief & Care at San Diego Hospice.
Kimberly has served in various ministries and held leadership positions through her church and integrates biblical principles into her practice with faith-based clients. For non-faith based clients, Kimberly’s clinical training and clinical background provide a safe & calm environment in which to explore even the most troubling issues.
Kimberly is passionate about reconnecting couples in distress, especially after infidelity. Her training in Emotionally Focused Therapy & EMDR, grief counseling, and special clinical training in treating couples after infidelity provide her with a basis in which to understand couples special needs during difficult times.
Personally, Kimberly has been married for 25+ years and with her husband has raised three daughters, who are now adults. She is familiar with and understands the challenges marriages face in raising a family and navigating daily life while staying connected with each other over time.
“I’m hopeful and handy when it comes to matters of the heart. My own heart is for relationships–reflection, restoration & repair. I work with individuals, couples & families to create emotionally safe and enduring connections in your most cherished relationships. It is my honor to be invited into this intimate space with you.” ~Kimberly
University of California, Davis B. S. Psychobiology
Bethel Seminary, San Diego, Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist MFC #80011
Emotionally Focused Therapy: Core Skills, Advanced Core Skills, First Sessions, EFT&Affairs
EMDR: Level 1 & 2 Training
Torn Asunder: Dave Carder, Healing Affairs Workshop
Prepare/Enrich: Certified P/E Facilitator, Pre-Marital Counseling
“I grew up in a small town in Northern California. I was excited to spread my wings and begin life in the “city” as I moved to UC Santa Barbara in 1999 to pursue my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. As a part of this degree, I had the incredible experience of studying abroad at the University of Sydney, Australia, an opportunity that provided me with a more diverse and intensive understanding of human psychology, as well as a personal understanding of the challenges of change and living in an unfamiliar culture.
My intrigue for relational dynamics grew throughout my undergraduate studies, and led me to pursue Marriage and Family Therapy as the emphasis for my graduate degrees. I achieved my Master of Arts degree in 2005 and accredited Doctor of Psychology degree in 2008 at Alliant International University.
Through my education and extended training, I gained an in-depth knowledge of relational systems and I had the opportunity of working with a variety of clients in many different settings, including San Diego Center for Children and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. I have worked extensively with individuals, couples, families, children, and adolescents struggling with issues such as depression, anxiety, anger, trauma, feelings of low self-esteem, relational distress with couples and families, parenting, co-parenting, divorce, childhood behavioral and emotional distress, chronic mental illness, domestic violence, and addictions.
In 2008 I fulfilled my dream of becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I opened my private practice. I specialize in helping couples and families to overcome relational disconnection, to rebuild and strengthen their attachment bonds, and to be more open and responsive with each other. I also specialize in treating individuals, including, children, adolescents, and adults, who are struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, and low self-esteem. My goal as a therapist is to work collaboratively with my clients to enhance quality of life. I provide neutral support, guidance, and relief to develop healthy ways of coping, to expand inner growth, and to restore relational bonds.
I utilize the highly effective methods of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I have consistently experienced success with these techniques in helping clients to recognize and break free from negative thought and interaction patterns, strengthen relationships, and to live a life of greater meaning and success.
Personally, I am equally passionate about being a wife and mother of two young children. Through these life experiences, I have gained an understanding of the joys and struggles that accompany marriage and parenthood, which has supported my ability to empathize with the challenges my clients endure.”
BA in Psychology – UC Santa Barbara
MA in Marriage & Family Therapy – Alliant International University
PsyD in Marriage & Family Therapy – Alliant International University
EFT Advanced Core Skills
Emotionally Focused Family Therapy
EMDR: Level 1
“I’m a firm believer in that everyone deserves therapy. We all deserve time when we are truly seen, supported, and validated. Many of us like to think we can handle things on our own. Maybe we were told by people in our lives “suck it up” or “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” The fact of the matter is that life gets messy sometimes and we can’t do it alone. I want to help you navigate what life is bringing your way.
I grew up in Massachusetts, where I received my Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Assumption College in 2006. In my years of counseling experience, I’ve working in variety of treatment settings, including community mental health, outpatient programs supporting individuals with both mental health and substance misuse disorders, and higher education. Prior to moving to California, I spent over six years working at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as both a counselor and later Associate Director of the Student Development & Counseling Center. There my responsibilities included counseling college students and overseeing all outreach and prevention education (substance abuse, suicide and sexual assault prevention). I had the privelege of working on two grants. SAMSHA’s Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention Grant and the DOJ Office of Violence Against Women Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, and Stalking both allowed me to take part in trainings with national experts and to develop programs that support students. In my clinical work, I’ve seen amazing healing happen with clients especially using EMDR and IFS. I made the decision to go in to private practice so that I would be able to support individuals without the limitations of academic or program schedules and insurance driven time restraints. Sometimes the therapeutic work an individual wants and needs to do may take weeks or months, and sometimes that person has more long term goals.
I’m passionate about supporting survivors of trauma and attachment wounds. These events can leave us questioning our value, lovability, and safety. We try the best way we know how to move forward. Sometimes we find adaptive ways to cope. Sometimes the way we cope causes us additional struggles (ie substance misuse, other compulsive behaviors, unhealthy relationships). Together we can find a healthier way to live. Healing these early wounds allows us to gain confidence and to find meaningful connections.
Massachusetts will always have a special place in my heart, but I’m happy to call San Diego my home. I enjoy being able to sit outside and relax with my husband and sweet pups year round. Some of my hobbies include exercise, dining out, going to movies, and listening to live music. I look forward to learning about you and the work we can accomplish together.”
Jenny West Mehrer
“During my senior year of high school I was assigned a project to research careers I was interested in. At that time I had two areas of interest: psychology and physical therapy. Both were disciplines where I got to help people but in very different ways. I entered into college on a path to pursue Kinesiology and to become a Physical Therapist. My path changed after completing an introductory psychology class my first semester of college. I discovered that I love listening to others, thinking about their issues, and teaming with them to enhance their journey of life. I have been passionate about learning and understanding people, relationships and society’s impact on others ever since.
In graduate school I was placed at Rady Children’s Hospital for my training. I gained invaluable experience and training while working there. This lead me to become a school based therapist for the YMCA of San Diego, where I was able to see how the school environment impacts child and family functioning. I returned to Rady Children’s to work in the Chadwick Center and Outpatient Psychiatry, receiving training in working with trauma, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and mindfulness
I have lived in San Diego for the past 12 years. I am a wife and a new mom. This allows me understand some of challenges that come along with marriage, merging families and parenthood. I enjoy spending time at the beach, going on walks with our dog, baking and practicing yoga.”
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #91003
Education and Affiliations:
Play Therapy Certificate (in progress), UCSD
DBT and Eating Disorders, UCSD
Certified in PREPARE-ENRICH
Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy, Alliant International University
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Point Loma Nazarene University
Therapist, Rady Children’s Outpatient Psychiatry
Therapist, YMCA of San Diego County
Case Manager, Jewish Family Services of San Diego