Meet Our Therapists

Kathryn de Bruin profile picture 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.”


Alfonso Espinosa profile picture Alfonso Espinosa

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

Additional Training:

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 profile picture Ansley Fraser Curtis

“I ground and orient my work in attachment theory and with an emotion-focused lens, recognizing that our emotions are often some of our most powerful messages about our needs, desires and how we are experiencing our world. I’m very relationship-oriented and recognize the healing transformative power of relationships, knowing that we heal and grow in the context of relationships with our partners and/or children, with therapists who walk alongside us, and with ourselves. Relationships are the most powerful vehicle of healing. As a practitioner, my style is more eclectic as I pull together common elements of evidenced-based practices (i.e. EFT, TF-CBT, child-centered play therapy, child parent psychotherapy, etc.) to get to the heart of the matter with children and their families in order to help them reconnect to themselves and each other. I specialize in working with children and adolescents, family systems, and in the treatment of trauma.
I absolutely LOVE my work! I would say my favorite aspect is creating connections. I truly enjoy getting to know the children and families I work with and consider it an honor to walk alongside families as they work towards creating stronger connections within themselves and with each other.  Working as a play therapist is also just really enjoyable!
I look forward to meeting & working with you!”


Therapist, Rady Children’s Chadwick Trauma Counseling Program
Therapist, New Alternatives, Crisis Action & Connection
Therapist, Pathways Community Services Catalyst Program

Education and Affiliations:

Play Therapy Certificate (in progress), UCSD
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy, Virginia Tech
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Virginia Tech
CAMFT member
Approved TERM provider through Optum

Additional Training:

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Certified
Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths Certified
September 2018–Present: Child Parent Psychotherapy Learning Collaborative, UCSF’s Chandra Ghosh Ippen, PhD
Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship, Fall 2013

Berenice Leon-Fonseca profile picture Berenice Leon-Fonseca

I once heard someone say, “not everyone needs therapy, but everyone can benefit from it.” I couldn’t agree more. It can be scary to invite someone into your intimate life experiences, but in that, I see great strength. I honor that courage and vulnerability, and I am passionate about providing a safe space for the children and families that I work with.

I was born and raised in Arizona, to Mexican immigrant parents, and was exposed to diversity at a young age. As a result of my upbringing, I have a great understanding of multi-generational cultural differences and the struggles that come from being bicultural and bilingual (Spanish language). Marriage eventually brought me to sunny San Diego, California over 17 years ago, which has provided me with a great deal of experience in working with a diverse population. Over the span of 15 plus years, I worked as a Paralegal at the Office of the Family Law Facilitator, with the San Diego Superior Court, South County Division, where I helped parents and guardians navigate through their legal matters. Such experience has afforded me the opportunity to understand the process and the impact that the Family Court system can have on individuals and families. Ultimately, I was moved to pursue a career in mental health to help empower people to move beyond their current realities and past challenges, and toward a deeper sense of personal freedom and self-understanding.

Because I believe in creating healthy emotional connections, I work within an Emotionally Focused Therapy lens to help support my clients on their journey towards healing and wholeness. It is a joy and a privilege to do the work that I do!

I look forward to meeting and working with you!

Therapeutic Specialties:

Children ages 2-18, with anxiety, depression, and mood disorders

Families; Adult children and parents, and families navigating through family separation



Faith-based Counseling

Education & Affiliations:

M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy from Bethel University – Seminary San Diego.

B.A. in Sociology from the University of San Diego

A.S. Paralegal Studies Cuyamaca College

AAMFT member

ICEFFT member

Additional Training:

Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship, Winter 2020

Erica Thompson profile picture Erica Thompson

“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.”


BA in Psychology & Business Communications – Assumption College
MA in Counseling Psychology – Assumption College

Additional Training:

Concentration in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the Aaron T. Beck Institute for Cognitive Studies at Assumption College
IFS Level 1 and additional trainings, PA for Level 1 Training – Center for Self Leadership
EMDR Level 1 & 2 – EMDR Institute
AF-EMDR Level 1, 2, 3 – Parnell Institute
CAMFT Member
Parnell Institute Member
San Diego Trauma Response Network (TRN) Member

Estee Huff profile picture Estee Huff

“Knowing Yourself is the Beginning of all Wisdom” -Aristotle

I work hard to provide a safe and supportive environment for my clients. Either as an individual or a couple I encourage them to move beyond that which causes anxiety, fear, or stress. We will work together to go beyond conflicts of the past and present in order to grow. It begins with the will to change and the willingness to be open. Don’t hesitate to take this adventure into a deeper knowing for greater wisdom.

Gene Rosales Vivo profile picture Gene Rosales Vivo

“In therapy, I believe in the importance of building connections, resilience and hope with every client or family system. I was born in the Philippines and grew up in a culture, which valued family, hospitality, industriousness and joy. In my professional experience, I have had the pleasure to work with a diversity of clients and families. I always believed that I am meant to meet every client and/or family, who I work with in order to walk the therapeutic path with them and be the agent of change in their current stressors or challenges.

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). In my practice, I pull from different modalities such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral family therapy, play therapy, etc. to assist clients and families in their therapeutic process. I specialize in working with children, adolescents, transitional age youth and families as well as working with clients, who have experienced trauma, commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and/or psychosis. Providing a safe, collaborative, trauma informed care and empathetic space is important for me in my work. The best part of clinical practice is the ability to be part of someone’s journey and watch one’s growth process evolve. I look forward to meeting and working with you!”

Education and Affiliations:

Masters in Marital and Family Therapy, Alliant International University

Bachelors of Science, Kinesiology and Minor in Recreation, San Diego State University

CAMFT Member


Clinical Director, New Alternatives Inc., Kenora Short-term Residential Therapeutic Program (STRTP)

Clinician, New Alternatives Inc., Crisis Action & Connection (CAC)

Clinician, Pathways Community Services, Catalyst Program


Motivational Interviewing

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Training

Trauma Informed Care

California Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths

Hiedi Chan profile picture Hiedi Chan

“I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Registered Art Therapist (ATR). I graduated from Bethel Seminary with a Masters Degree (cum laude) in Marital and Family Therapy. I grew up in Hong Kong and immigrated to the US in 2000. I speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin fluently.
I have experience working with individuals, couples and families on relational and mental health issues in many different settings, including inpatient hospitals, emergency shelters, outpatient clinics and schools. I have also had the privilege to work with our military service members and their families.
My practice focuses on helping clients build strong, intimate and lasting relationships. I love providing pre-marital and marriage enrichment counseling for couples. Helping pre-marital couples form more solid foundations and assisting married couples to enrich their relationships and overcome difficulties, including infidelity, are my passions.
Please contact me to find out how I can be of service to you in your search for a healthier self and more fulfilling relationships.” 
You may be able to qualify for FREE service if you are an individual dealing with gambling problems or are affected by someone who has gambling problems.


Bethel Seminary – Masters of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy
University of California, San Diego – Professional Certificate in Art Therapy

Additional Training:

Emotionally Focused Therapy – Externship and Healing Extra Marital Affairs with EFT
Gottman Method Couple Therapy
Prepare/Enrich Marriage Counseling Certification
EMDR: Level 1 & 2
EMDR with Children
CA Gambling Education and Treatment Services Phase I and II
Trauma Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Jenny West Mehrer profile picture 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
Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy, Alliant International University
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Point Loma Nazarene University
CAMFT member


Therapist, Rady Children’s Outpatient Psychiatry
Therapist, YMCA of San Diego County
Case Manager, Jewish Family Services of San Diego


Jodi Stanley profile picture Jodi Stanley

“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

Additional Training:

EFT Externship

EFT Advanced Core Skills

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy

EMDR: Level 1

CAMFT Member

Kimberly Sandstrom profile picture Kimberly Sandstrom

“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

Additional Training:

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

Kore Busath profile picture Kore Busath

Kore holds a B.A. in English and a minor in Professional Writing for Civic Engagement from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She will graduate with her MA in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University in August 2021. Kore is also working towards her PsyD degree at Alliant with a keen interest in trauma.

Prior to pursuing a career in mental health, Kore worked as a corporate communications advisor, providing strategic counsel to companies in crisis situations such as bankruptcies, sudden management changes, mergers and acquisitions, litigation, and reputational attacks. Kore now applies the skills that she developed in that job to her work helping individuals, couples and families move through periods of transition, challenge, and distress.

Kore believes deeply that all people are capable of change, growth, evolution, and healing when met with compassionate care. She primarily works within the framework of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is pursuing certification in both models. Kore has also been a registered yoga teacher (E-RYT 200) since 2015 and, as such, brings mindfulness and somatic awareness into her work as a therapist.

Mariah McQueen profile picture Mariah McQueen

“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

Additional Training:

HAP EMDR Training Workshop – Part 1 2014
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

Stephanie Mauro profile picture Stephanie Mauro

Born and raised in New York, further shaped by the cultures which envelope Boston, Honolulu, Istanbul, San Francisco, San Diego, and extensive travel throughout S.E. Asia.  Prior to working in the field of mental health, Stephanie was an executive in the technology sector.  Stephanie worked for fortune 500s, mid-sized companies, as well as start-ups.

Stephanie holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the Couple and Family Therapy program at Alliant International University-California School of Professional Psychology.

Stephanie follows the principles and practices of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an evidence-based therapy.  She is focused on helping individuals, couples, and families find their balance together through building trust, repairing injuries, and renewing confidence in the bonds that enable them to face challenges and overcome obstacles and grow and thrive.  Stephanie’s sessions are client-centered and focused on building deep understanding to promote full engagement with purpose.  Stephanie works collaboratively with her clients on their goals while supporting their anchors of strength, values, and relationships.


Masters of Arts, Marriage and Family Therapy, Alliant International University

Bachelors of Arts, Communications and Business, S.U.N.Y Oswego


Secretary, Leadership Board, San Diego Center for EFT

International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Member

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, Member

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Member

Additional Training:

Emotionally Focused Therapy Externship

Trauma-Focused CBT Certificate

Parent-Child Interactive Therapy Certificate

Emotionally Focused Therapy Core Skills