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.”


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

Aron Pederson profile picture Aron Pederson

“We often believe that the physical or emotional resources that we desire are limited or scarce. We engage in attitudes and behaviors that achieve short-term gains at the cost of lasting satisfaction, contentment, or peace of mind. These patterns of behavior can eventually impede our very ability to recognize or experience what might assist us in moving toward our goals and heartfelt desires. 

Clients who work with me will find an inviting and collaborative environment where they can bring their “whole” self, the “messy” parts included, and engage in a process to better understand their stories and contexts, while receiving practical suggestions to support their experiences both during and outside of therapy sessions. I enjoy working with clients who wish to get unstuck from repetitive, troublesome, or self-defeating patterns of relating to themselves, others, or their world.

Some of the areas that I work with include: Anxiety, Trauma, Adjustment Issues, Grief and Loss, Recovery from Compulsive Sexual Behaviors, Emotional Overwhelm, and Family of Origin Issues. I work with adults, children, teens, and their families. I incorporate a mindfulness-based approach to therapy called Organic Intelligence in my work with high activation, anxiety, depression, and trauma. 

I have a flexible schedule and can offer evening appointment times to help accommodate the scheduling needs of students and working professionals. I have morning, afternoon, and evening appointment availabilities. If you would like to learn more about therapy, please do not hesitate to reach out. I’m also available for a free phone or Zoom initial consultation.”

Contact Me:


Therapist in Private Practice Since Oct 2018

Grief Counselor, Scripps Hospice/The Elizabeth Hospice

Intake Counselor, Aurora Behavioral Healthcare San Diego

Medical Case Manager, San Diego Rescue Mission – Recuperative Care Unit

Registered Behavioral Technician, ACES ABA, Inc.

Education and Affiliations:

M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy from Bethel Seminary, San Diego, CA

B.A. in Psychology with Honors from San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

Member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT)

Additional Training:

Certified Organic Intelligence Practitioner – Level I & II (Expected Q3 2022)

Certified Prepare-Enrich Facilitator

Specialized Training in Play Therapy

Emotionally Focused Family Therapy Training (In progress)

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 end the stigma on mental illness, help empower people to live whole and healthy lives, and engage in meaningful relationships.

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

Heather Pederson profile picture Heather Pederson

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor & Director

Seeking help can potentially feel daunting, exposing, and overwhelming. It can also be our first steps toward repair, healing, and growth. I have found that people are so very strong, courageous, and hard-working, and still need some help when things get hard. I believe therapy can be a unique chance to discover parts of ourselves we forgot about, allow healing for the tender parts, and find new ways of interacting with ourselves and our partners that allow for deeper understanding and connection.

I work with couples and individuals who often struggle with: a feeling of something between angry, sad, and fear that doesn’t have a name, as well as feelings of overwhelm, worry and stress that gets between them and their preferred lives. I seek to create opportunities in therapy to connect more deeply with the truest parts of yourself so that you can then connect more deeply with your purpose, values, and trusted others.

I also really enjoy working with ministries that would like to become more mental health informed and find a link between relational, spiritual, and mental health. I’ve spoken on anxiety, trauma, substance use and addiction, the Enneagram, healthy sexuality and intimacy and other topics.

I am trained in Emotionally-Focused Therapy (Externship with Sue Johnson, Core Skills, additional advanced training for individuals, couples, and families) and am supervised to become a Certified EFT Therapist. I am a Certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator for premarital/pre-engagement therapy.

Therapeutic Interests:

Attachment based with Emotionally Focused Therapy

Trauma-informed therapy

Couples therapy: married, partnered, premarital, pre-engaged, and dating

Individuals: Anxiety, transitions, relational distress, trauma, family of origin, and other needs

Training, Education & Affiliations:

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

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), Member

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Member and provides MFT supervision under AAMFT mentoring

I am available for telehealth or in-person sessions at our Mission Valley and Rancho Bernardo offices on select week days and evenings.

Contact me:

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.

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