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Until further notice, all appointments are conducted via video. Contact your location's admin team for more information.

LA JOLLA

La Jolla

858.768.0028
Monday - Thursday | 8AM-7PM
Friday | 8AM-6PM

Acacia La Jolla offers individual, group, and psychiatric services. Located within walking or scootering distance from UC San Diego, near Rock Bottom Brewery. Come into the office to experience a little slice of modern design featuring a plant wall and a free Mind Spa.

Our La Jolla location is accepting appointments via video for all California residents!
Start video therapy or psychiatry now!

Genuine & Supportive
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Acacia is an absolutely amazing place to go for college students. The staff and counselors are all very welcoming, genuine, and supportive. The counseling services deliver specialized care and create a kind environment.
The Office Playlist
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They have a really good office playlist on spotify called "Acacia La Jolla" and as someone who is looking for office-friendly music I appreciate it! 🙂
Therapist Met All Of My Needs
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The Acacia clinic is very close and convenient for UCSD undergraduate and graduate students. Beyond convenience, the office staff are very friendly, kind and even use text-communication for setting up appointments. There's also the option for video conferencing if you can't physically come in. I have felt so much warmth at the clinic (very cool and newly renovated interior), and there's also a tranquility room you can check out. On top of that, there's free tea! and coffee! and water and cool sand to play with in the waiting room! My therapist has met all of my needs and goes above and beyond to provide me with the resources I need to thrive. Surely, this clinic has staff that can meet your specific counseling needs (including couple's counseling). 10 stars if I could!
Convenient
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Cozy, convenient, close to campus 🙂
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La Jolla Team

Acacia providers have experience working with diverse clients in a variety of areas including anxiety, depression, stress management, relationship issues, attention difficulties, eating/body image concerns, identity exploration, trauma, and substance use issues.

Click on a provider to learn more about who they are and their individual specialties.

Soraiya

Soraiya Khamisa

Director | LCSW
delcbo

Delara Taie

Office Manager
Micah Headshot

Micah Caldwell

Therapist | LPCC
jojolj

JoJo Lee

Therapist | LPCC
Tim Veal

Dr. Timothy Veal

Psychiatrist | MD
Bethany Dunnlj

Bethany Dunn

Therapist | LCSW
Aubrie Dodge

Aubrie Dodge

Therapist | LCSW
Courtney Funk

Courtney Funk

Therapist | LCSW
Andrew Scott Photo

Dr. Drew Scott

Psychologist | PhD
keeganw

Keegan Wood

Nurse Practitioner | PMHNP
tahirihljj

Dr. Tahirih Moffett

Psychologist | PsyD
alexlj

Alex Aiello

Therapist | LMFT
amywohlj

Amy Woh

Therapist | LMFT
Blenz Headshot 12.30.19lj

Rebecca Blenz

Therapist | LMFT
chrislj

Hazel Hamann

Therapist | LCSW
Amy Epnerlj

Dr. Amy Epner

Psychologist | PhD
melissa

Melissa Pérez

Therapist | LPCC
IMG_4722 - Tamara Halperin

Dr. Tamara Halperin

Psychologist | PsyD
Nancy Wahlig pic - Nancy Wahlig

Nancy Wahlig

Therapist | LCSW
headshot - Christine Costello (1)

Christine Costello

Therapist | LCSW
Saleh Prodessional Headshot - Michael Saleh

Dr. Michael Saleh

Psychologist | PsyD
Taylor_Valdivia - Taylor Valdivia (1)

Taylor Valdivia

Therapist | LMFT

La Jolla Services

All of our Acacia offices offer individual therapy, couple’s therapy, group therapy, and wellness events. Below are services offered specifically in La Jolla!

La Jolla Rates

At the time of session, you can pay with credit card, cash, or paypal although a credit/debit card is required to be on file.

*We accept Anthem Blue Cross, UCSHIP, Aetna, MHN, Cigna, and Optum insurances. Pricing of services will vary by plan and will be discussed prior to your first session. 

Please note, you are required to provide us with notice of cancellation at least 24 hours in advance. Failure to do so will result in late cancellation or missed appointment fee charge. Coordinate additional billing inquires with your Office Manager prior to your sessions.

Payments using our online service are for completed or ongoing sessions.
Contact your office front desk if you have additional payments you would like to make.

SORAIYA KHAMISA
THEY/THEM/THEIRS | #LCSW81951

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Gender Non-conforming, Culture of Origin & Identity Concerns, Multiculturalism, Life Transitions, Self-Esteem, Foster Care, Relationship Concerns, Anxiety, Depression

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT), Gestalt, Interpersonal, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

about me

Welcome to Acacia Counseling & Wellness, La Jolla! I am honored to be your Director and feel incredibly privileged to serve the communities of La Jolla and San Diego. After spending almost four years helping students achieve their personal and educational goals at the University of California, San Diego, I am grateful to continue working with students in this capacity. My work at UCSD has attuned me to the needs of our students, and I look forward to bringing my knowledge and passion to this role. College represents an exciting and challenging time for many, and students often benefit from support along the way. It is my hope that Acacia will be viewed as a space of support, warmth, openness, and safety to those of you seeking mental health services.

I have spent the past several years working in diverse settings, including non-profit agencies, medical centers, and university campuses. I have worked with clients experiencing anxiety, mood disorders, medical issues (e.g., HIV+ young adults), life transitions, and relationship struggles. My work with persons at various life stages has deeply informed my therapeutic approach, which is direct, authentic, and empowering. At core, I aim to help those I work with identify strengths and learn how to use them. I also recognize the importance of providing culturally sensitive support, and strongly believe in the importance of viewing mental health in a holistic manner to address all areas of wellness. Additionally, I have a special interest in working with members of our LGBQIA+, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming communities, specifically those who may have other racial, cultural, and religious identities. My personal and professional understanding of the struggles that accompany intersecting identities motivates me to become increasingly involved in being both a support to and an advocate for members of this community.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, whether you are merely trying to get through the day or working on being your best self, I hope to have the opportunity to meet you and I look forward to embarking on this journey together!

delara taie | SHe/her/hers

la jolla office manager & lead office manager, support

ABOUT ME

Hello there! My name is Delara (Del) Taie and I am the Office Manager at our La Jolla location. I grew up in the suburbs of Maryland, going back to my birthplace, Tehran, Iran almost every summer since I was three years old. I transferred to University of San Diego in 2016 and there’s no chance of leaving the west coast any time soon. As a recent graduate, I was eager to gain knowledge about the mental health field. With some luck and destined timing, I found Acacia Counseling & Wellness and instantly knew that this is where I was supposed to be. My passion around advocating for mental health and wellness, in addition to my connection with the college population, drives my desire to offer my best in working with the Acacia team and the rest of the community. To know I’m surrounded by individuals both professionally and personally who genuinely care for supporting students through their time of growth is what gets me most excited to come in.

What do you miss most about being a child?

I miss thinking of the possibility that I can one day fly.

Name 3 things on your bucket list

Have my own art show.

Backpack around Europe.

Go bungee jumping off of Verzasca Dam in Switzerland so I can pretend I’m James Bond.

MICAH CALDWELL
HE/HIM/HIS | #LPCC5913

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Racial/Cultural Identity & Issues, Substance Use/Abuse, Addiction, Interpersonal Violence & Trauma, Sexual Abuse, Men’s Issues, Life Transitions, Skill Building, Career & Employment Issues, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Additional Language: Spanish

therapeutic orientation

Person-Centered, Cognitive-Behavioral, Narrative

about me

Hey there! I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with a passion for empowering others to achieve happier, more fulfilling lives. I provide my clients with a nonjudgmental, nurturing environment, while also challenging problem areas to spark positive development.

I originally hail from Milwaukee, WI and moved to San Diego in 2013 with my wife to pursue new opportunities, a warmer climate, and fish tacos. I have two cats (Bill & Loki) and spend my free time playing video games, camping (I’m trying to visit every National Park), and editing film. I received my Masters of Science from Marquette University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in addictions counseling. Since then, I have worked in a variety of mental health settings, serving people from all walks of life. These have included children, adolescents, and adults, individuals with substance addictions, the homeless population, the recently-incarcerated, individuals suffering from severe mental illness, and immigrant refugees seeking asylum in the US.

I have experience and expertise in working with traumatic events, substance abuse/addictions, childhood and adolescent abuse, men’s issues, Latinx/Hispanic/Chicano issues, and cultural identity issues that include working with clients who are monolingual Spanish speakers. I’ve also worked with a wide variety of diagnoses and use evidence-based practices to provide you with the most effective treatment methods.

My goal as a therapist is to make sure you feel understood. I want to help you overcome personal obstacles, address systemic hurdles in your environment, and provide comfort. Therapy should work for YOU. To me, mental health must be treated like physical health. Just like you might with a doctor, it should be normal to get an annual checkup, address specific concerns when they arise and receive ongoing care for chronic issues. If I have the privilege of working with you, my hope is that you learn practical, useful tools that will provide healing and lead to you feeling more complete.

I look forward to meeting you and I applaud you for taking this step!

JOJO LEE|#LPCC5690

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Eating Disorders, Social Anxiety, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Substance Use Disorders, Schizophrenia, Immigrants and Acculturation Issues, Asian/ Asian American Mental Health issues, Life Transitions, Additional Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing

about me

I am a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). In the past several years, I have provided individual and group counseling in a multitude of clinical settings, including psychiatric hospital, partial hospitalization program, intensive outpatient program, and community outpatient clinic. Apart from being a team member at Acacia, I also currently work as a social worker in an intensive outpatient program. All these experiences have enabled me to work with a wide variety of diagnoses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, mood disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I can leverage my expertise in evidence-based practices with a sprinkle of humor to provide guidance on your path toward change.

Growing up in an immigrant family, studying in multiple countries, and working with individuals with diverse background has shaped my lens as a mental health counselor. Life can be messy and it can make you feel “stuck”. I am passionate about helping my clients to work on exploring themselves more fully, building confidence, empowering strengths, and creating a meaningful life by getting “unstuck”. I see therapy as a collaborative project. You take captain seat while I will be your co-pilot along your side. We will practice some hands-on skills before you go up in the sky and cruise through your life journey. My goal as your therapist is to create a safe, nonjudgmental, and supportive environment for you to cultivate positive changes in your life.

In my free time, I enjoy watching my dog running around at dog parks, strolling in San Diego Zoo, trying out all the food vendors at local farmers markets, and being a blanket burrito at home.

DR. TIMOTHY VEAL | #124269

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Depression, relationship issues, life transitions/career difficulties, mood & panic disorders, psychotic disorders i.e. bipolar, schizophrenia, personality disorders, substance abuse, PTSD, trauma related disorders, grief & loss

therapeutic orientation

Integrative approach involving components of object relational, cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic/psychoanalytic & motivational interviewing

about me

My name is Dr. Timothy Veal or Dr. Tim for short. As your psychiatrist, my goal is to work with you to achieve a sense of mastery or control over your psychiatric symptoms enabling you to find more joy, meaning and reduce unnecessary suffering. Apart from prescribing medications, I also do therapy and am currently in advanced training in psychoanalysis at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Center. My therapeutic approach is based on a psychodynamic framework which simply put means I seek to understand your psychological motivations and how they are manifesting as your symptoms. I see the use of medications as a small component to treating psychiatric conditions and feel that psychotherapy along with self-introspection in a nonjudgmental setting can produce the most change. As we work together, if medications are needed, I will discuss the risks, benefits, side effects and possible alternatives and whether or not long/short term use of medications would be beneficial.

I am originally from Boston, Massachusetts. I completed my undergraduate training in psychology at Clark University. Before deciding to go to medical school, I spent some time in biomedical research, completing my medical degree in June 2011. After medical school, I relocated to San Diego where I completed my general psychiatry residency with the US Navy. During my Navy service, I was fortunate to work in both the public/private/military sectors where I treated a wide range of patients with a wide range of mental health conditions.

As your doctor, my goal is to be a resource for you on your journey and give you the tools to become who you are and live your best life.

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”- Chinese Proverb

BETHANY DUNN
she/her/hers |#LCSW75068

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

LGBTQIA+, Relationship Concerns, Codependency, Anxiety, Depression, Life Transitions, Mood & Personality Disorders, Couples

therapeutic orientation

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Mindfulness, CBT, Motivational Interviewing

about me

My name is Beth and I am an LCSW, therapist focused on collaborating with you to gain self- understanding and to experience growth. I was born and raised on the East Coast but have also lived in Memphis, New York, and San Francisco. Before becoming a therapist I was a professor of Social and Political Philosophy at Vassar College. Currently I am finishing up a 2 year training program in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at the San Diego Psychoanalytic Center.

I am especially passionate about working with the LGBTQIA+ community and college students and I have extensive experience working with these groups through my time as a therapist at City College San Francisco and FIDM San Diego. As a psychodynamic therapist, my goals in working with you extend beyond relieving symptoms to include helping you have more fulfilling relationships, have a more realistic self-esteem, and face life’s challenges with greater flexibility and freedom. My style is warm and interactive and my focus is on providing a compassionate and judgment free space for you to explore and work through whatever is causing you pain and a feeling of being stuck.

In my spare time I love listening to hip hop music, reading, watching movies, running, yoga, spending time in nature, and exploring different restaurants with family and friends.

AUBRIE DODGE | #LCSW89174

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Depression, Anxiety, Complex and Acute Trauma, PTSD, Life Transitions, Stress Management, Anger Management, Interpersonal Relationship Concerns, Social Anxiety, Self-esteem, Identity Concerns, LGBTQIA+, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Injustice, Family Systems Disruptions

therapeutic orientation

Strengths-Based, Person-Centered, Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused CBT (TF-CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), An Individualized Mental Health Intervention (AIM HI) for Children with ASD, Family Systems & Gestalt

about me

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I have the privilege of holding hope for people going through life’s challenges and working with those individuals who have decided to reach out for support. Whether this is your first time seeking therapy services or you’ve been involved in treatment in the past, college is a huge life transition that deserves the time and space to process all that is happening. Thank you for taking care of yourself by being here!

While my roots are on the East coast, I’ve grown professionally in San Diego since 2016. I enjoy so much about this great city and all that it has to offer. To practice my own self-care, I enjoy spending time outdoors in the sunshine either hiking/camping, going to the beach, practicing yoga or spending time with my fiancé and our two rescue pups. Indoors, I’m a big fan of good food, a funny show, and a solid night’s sleep. I also enjoy traveling both in and outside the country to be with loved ones and to discover new places!

Through a strengths-based, trauma-informed and person-centered therapeutic approach, we will establish realistic and attainable goals together. My clinical experience has afforded me the opportunity to work with a diverse population of individuals and families in a number of cities and settings, including nonprofits, schools, university campuses, hospitals and outpatient clinics. These experiences have all informed my current practice, which takes into consideration a person in their whole environment and all the external factors that contribute to our overall mental health and wellbeing.

My style as a therapist is warm, authentic, and goal-oriented. I believe in the power of human connection and feel that therapy is most effective when a genuine, trusting, and collaborative dynamic exists between myself and the individuals with whom I work. As your therapist, I will meet you wherever you may be on your journey and empower you to take the best next steps towards personal healing and growth. I look forward to meeting you!

COURTNEY FUNK
SHE/HER/HERS | #LCSW77231

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Mindfulness, Trauma & PTSD, Life Transitions, Anxiety/Panic Disorders, Codependency, Self Esteem, Depression, Interpersonal Relationships, Stress Management

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, Positive Psychology & Solution Focused Brief Therapy, EMDR (coming soon!)

about me

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who is passionate about wellness and providing individualized approaches to address the whole person. I am excited to be a part of the Acacia team, while continuing in my other role as an emergency room and inpatient hospital social worker. In my free time, I love taking advantage of the beautiful city we live in and being outside with my pup Louie. I enjoy tennis, yoga, traveling and spending time with friends and family. I strive to be a lifelong learner, always reading a book or two and seeking new opportunities to grow my clinical skills.

For the past several years, I worked as an individual and group therapist for young adults experiencing some type of transition in their life. These amazing, resilient individuals, showed me how critical a holistic and personalized approach is for growth. Regardless of a diagnosis or circumstance, we each have a unique set of needs. That’s why we’ll work as a team to utilize strengths, while enhancing skills to address your goals in a safe, supportive environment.

I am in the process of an EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) therapy certification and plan to use this regularly in my practice to attend to trauma. EMDR can also be effective in addressing many of our long held beliefs that can keep an individual feeling ‘stuck’. Wherever you may be in your journey, I look forward to meeting with you and hope to support you in your wellness.

DR. DREW SCOTT| HE/HIM/HIS | #PSY27108

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Couples/Relationships Concerns, Grief/Loss, LGBTQIA identity development, Mood Disorders, Depression, Trauma, Life Transitions, First Generation College Students, Assertive Communication

therapeutic orientation

Humanistic, Person Centered, Strengths Based, Multicultural, Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

about me

Hello and welcome! I look forward to our work together and appreciate you exploring this bio. I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and raised primarily in Williamsburg, Virginia. I am a recent transplant in the San Diego area - my husband is a doctor in the United States Navy. Together we have a young son and a French Bulldog who occupy most of our time. I love to spend time out of doors, hiking, traveling, and trying new cuisine. In terms of professional training, I attended undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park before heading to the west coast for graduate school. I next went to UC Santa Barbara for graduate school with a Masters in Counseling Psychology and finished my Ph.D. in their combined Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology program. My focus was on underrepresented groups in counseling and college students. I finished my doctoral internship at Stanford University's counseling center before returning to the east coast to work at George Washington University. While back in DC I also spent time working at the Director level with the nonprofit Active Minds with the mission of reducing stigma around mental health concerns at colleges and universities. Prior to starting at Acacia, I served as the Director of Counseling Services at Touro University California for four years.

My approach to treatment is to first establish a trusting relationship between client and counselor. From this foundation of trust, we can work together to address issues as they arise. I tend to be person-centered and strengths-based, believing that people can find their own best answers when supported in an environment of warmth, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. I enjoy working with a diverse student population because of the growth potential that can happen at this critical stage of development. Utilizing a collaborative approach I can share what research and practice says might help and you can share what works best for you.

KEEGAN WOOD
HE/HIM/HIS | #PMHNP95006887

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

LGBTQIA+, Anxiety, ADHD, Depression, Bipolar

therapeutic orientation

Mindfulness-Based, Motivational Interviewing, CBT

about me

Keegan Wood is originally from upstate/western NY and started the first 16 years of his career as a professional musician. He then began pivoting towards education and was a tutor for the Princeton review teaching the SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT and specialized in stress reduction for test anxiety. During this time, he conducted an anxiety reduction study for individuals at an HIV wellness center. It was this experience that eventually led to nursing school and the field of psychiatry.

Keegan began his work as a nurse in a psychiatric hospital for the geriatric population. At this facility, Keegan developed his approaches to anxiety and medication management for acute patients and traumatic events. Despite being offered a residency at Harvard, he chose to follow his passion and accepted a position with the Los Angeles LGBT Center where he helped pioneer psychiatric care for the transgender population and instituted a psychiatric program to provide CBT for those with ADHD. After moving to San Diego, Keegan continued to work for community clinics and the homeless to provide care for those that need it most.

When asked why he is excited about working at Acacia, he replied, “I became passionate about helping the collegiate community when I was in education, and now I want to share my passion for mental health. College students are extremely inspiring and are actively creating their futures, but they are also under extreme levels of stress. I think it’s our responsibility to help any way that we can, so that we can all enjoy a future full of mental stability.”

DR. TAHIRIH MOFFETT
she/her/hers | #PSY31268

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Young Adults, Adults, College Mental Health, Anxiety, Depression, Interpersonal Relationship Issues, Breakups, Multicultural & Diversity Issues, Family of Origin Concerns, Women’s Issues, Immigrant & Acculturation Issues, First Generation College Student Concerns, Grief & Bereavement, Life Transition Issues, Trauma, Stress Management

therapeutic orientation

Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Mindfulness & Self-Compassion Based Practices

about me

Greetings! Thank you for stopping by to read and learn a little about me. I’m a multiracial woman of African American, Caucasian and Persian descent. As you can probably imagine, I grew up in an ethnically and culturally diverse environment. I believe this provided life experiences which help me to relate to not only those who hold similar identities as me, but also with people who hold identities different from my own. I have lived in many different cities, some for adventure, and others to attend college. I previously worked as a neonatal intensive care registered nurse caring for ill infants. Although I enjoyed nursing, I knew my heart was really with psychology, so I returned to school to become a psychologist. My pre-doctoral psychology internship at the University of San Diego brought me to sunny San Diego. After that, I completed my postdoctoral residency at University of California, San Diego.

In my work with clients, I seek to provide a safe, warm, collaborative and inclusive space. I believe this is important to help you feel comfortable sharing and processing your concerns and worries so that you can make sense of them and better manage them. I am passionate about supporting clients who are struggling with marginalized identities. I’m deeply concerned about social justice issues and how they may impact one’s suffering. I approach my work with a holistic lens, integrating identities. I also integrate cognitive behavioral, mindfulness and self-compassion skills into therapy.

I love SoCal weather. So much so, that I often go to the beach to relax, nap, and bask in the sun. I also enjoy reading novels, including fiction and history. I consider myself a lifelong learner which is why historical books tend to captivate me. I am a lover of dancing and karaoke nights. I like spending time, joking around, and laughing with my family and friends. I hope to meet you soon and begin working together!

alexa aiello
she/her/hers| #LMFT114691

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder,Depression, Anxiety, LGBTQIA+, Life Transition

therapeutic orientation

Client centered, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Motivational Interviewing

about me

Hi! I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, born and raised here in Southern California. As a therapist, I strive to create an environment in which people feel supported in addressing difficult topics and pursuing growth at a pace that is comfortable for them. Most of my experience comes from working with adolescents and young adults experiencing challenges including hearing or seeing things others don’t, unusual fears or thoughts, difficulty adjusting to life transitions, family stress, substance use, and more.

I received my B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science from UCLA, after which I attended the University of San Diego to earn my M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have learned a lot over the years which has helped me guide clients through tough times, and what I find consistently in my work with others is that the inner strength and skills clients possess are what really help them achieve their goals. I’m there to help you find that strength (:

Self-care for me includes many different things. I love cooking, trying new restaurants, boxing, spending time with friends and family, and exploring what San Diego has to offer.

amy woh
she/her/hers| #lmft98301

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Mindfulness, Grief & Loss, Social Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, Family & Relationship Issues, Women’s Issues, Body Image Issues

therapeutic orientation

CBT, Trauma-Focused/Informed, Psychodynamic, Solution-Focused, Client-Centered, Mindfulness

about me

UCSD Class of 2009, Master’s in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. Worked with children and teens on “Skid Row” in Los Angeles. Worked with clients at end-of-life phase and most recently, private practice with adults and children.

I enjoy going on family outings in San Diego, exercising for mind/body benefits and practicing minimalism by researching how to desire less stuff.

One of my unrealized wishes is to be a contestant on Nailed It! the baking show (and hopefully win)!

Rebecca Blenz
she/her/hers|#LMFT114479

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Anger Management, Couples/Interpersonal Relationships, Mindfulness, Additional Language: German.

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive-Behavioral, Systems, Strength-based

about me

Welcome! I am very excited about the opportunity to accompany you on your personal journey toward greater wellness and fulfillment. The college years are a time of incredible growth and change, and can be both exhilarating and challenging. My goal is to support you in discovering your unique innate strengths and values so that you feel empowered to move your life in the direction you want.

Since receiving my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University, I have worked in a variety of settings to serve people with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, psychosis, homelessness, substance abuse, grief, and trauma. I have experience providing therapy to individuals, couples, and groups, with clients ranging in age from 15 to 80. I am very excited to work with a culturally diverse college population, including LGBTQ+ clients. Whether you wish to focus on the stressors and challenges specific to student life or address longer-standing mental health concerns, our sessions will be tailored to your individual needs. In addition to providing a warm, empathetic, trauma-informed presence, I incorporate evidence- based approaches such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, ACT, and mindfulness techniques to help you gain insight, learn coping skills, and increase resilience.

I am originally from the East Coast, and have spent extensive time abroad, including a summer in Mexico, two years in Portugal, and seven years in Germany. I love being outdoors, and some of my favorite pursuits include singing, hiking, camping, climbing, reading, crosswords, and spending time with my immediate family (which consists of a husband, a son, and two cats), as well as extended family and friends.

hazel/Christopher Hamann
they/HE/them/their|#LCSW93274

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Transgender, Gender Diverse, Nonbinary, Asexual, Identity Development, Sexuality & Intimacy, Racial & Cultural Identity Concerns, Trauma, Life Transitions, Size and Body-positive, Interpersonal Relationships, Intersectionality, Anxiety, Depression, Family of Origin Issues, Diverse Relationships
Additional Languages: Spanish.

therapeutic orientation

Psychodynamic, Person-centered, Strengths-based, Motivational Interviewing

about me

My passion lies in working with LGBTQIA+ communities. For the past 5 years, I have worked predominantly with LGBTQIA+ clients in schools, community mental health, and healthcare settings. As a queer, trans, and Latinx therapist, I know the importance of having a therapist who can understand and honor your intersecting identities. It’s my hope that through our work, you will find new pathways to freedom, growth, and balance.

Originally from Peru, I grew up mostly in Miami, FL and moved to San Diego after a decade in the Pacific Northwest. I have a BA in Women/Gender Studies and received my Master of Social Work from Smith College. I’m trained as a relational psychodynamic therapist and view our clinical relationship as a crucial starting point of healing. I use LGBTQ+-affirming and trauma-informed approaches with the aim of creating a safe space for you to share your experiences. I am also kink-aware, sex-positive, and use body positive approaches in my practice.

In my free time, I love being near the ocean, bicycling, spending time with my cat, and discovering new sights with my partner and friends.

Dr. Amy Epner
she/her/hers|#PSY18455

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Addictive Behaviors, Anxiety, Body Image, Career Issues, Chronic Illness, Depression, Eating Disorders, Hoarding, Life Transitions, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Parenting, Self-Esteem, Stress Management, Time Management, Weight Management, Women’s Issues

therapeutic orientation

Biopsychosocial Approach, Client-Centered, Cognitive-Behavioral (CBT), Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Positive Psychology, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT)

about me

Welcome to Acacia! I am privileged and excited to be a part of your therapeutic journey to wellness.

My path to a career as a psychologist has been a bit unconventional. With a plan to pursue a career in veterinary medicine, I completed my undergraduate studies in biology and communications at Cornell University. Yet, after a series of events in my own life, I decided I really wanted to work directly with people. I have always loved animals, but for me there is something extremely powerful and fulfilling about being able to listen to and help others. I decided to follow my heart and went on to earn my masters in psychology at Brandeis University and my doctorate in clinical health psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego.

My passion lies in helping young adults confront challenges and focus on the strengths in their lives. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to hone my therapeutic skills in a variety of clinical settings. Whether supporting individuals with HIV at the Center, advocating for students with challenges at Springall Academy, helping clients with disordered eating at The Center for Eating and Weight Disorders at SDSU, or assisting those with addictive behaviors at Practical Recovery, I have always strived to create a warm, open, supportive, safe, and inclusive environment.

When I am not at Acacia, I spend time volunteering with summer camps to help enhance the health and wellness practices for campers and staff. In my free time, I enjoy engaging in physical activity, completing sudoku and crossword puzzles, savoring chocolate, and most importantly, spending invaluable time with my husband, children, and rescue dog.

MELISSA PÉREZ
SHE/HER/HERS | #LPCC7799

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

LGBTQIA+, Latin@/X Mental Health, Grief and Bereavement, Identity Development and Exploration, Multiculturalism and Social Justice, Family & Relationship Issues, Life Transitions, Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, Stress management, Self-Esteem

Additional Languages: Spanish

therapeutic orientation

Eclectic, Person-Centered, Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused, Strength-Based, Play Therapy

about me

Hello! My name is Melissa and I am a Bilingual (Spanish and English) Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. I have lived in San Diego most of my life. I grew up with the border town experience of traveling back and forth between San Diego and Tijuana. I received my B.A. in Critical Gender Studies, and Spanish Literature from UC San Diego. I graduated from SDSU’s Community Based Block (CBB) Program with a Master’s in Counseling, with a concentration in multicultural counseling.

As a Queer Bisexual Xicana, I believe in the importance of creating inclusive, supportive, and identity affirming healing spaces. As a therapist, I provide a genuine and warm approach. I want to create a therapeutic space where you can feel heard, accepted, and understood. I see you, the client, as the expert in your life and experiences. During our work together, you are allowing me the privilege of walking alongside you on your journey.

In my free time, I enjoy gardening and caring for butterflies during their life cycles in my garden, and spending quality time with my dog, my family, and friends.

Dr. Tamara Halperin
she/her/hers | #Psy30575

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Child and Adolescent, Young Adults, Anxiety, Anger, Behavioral Issues, Oppositional Defiance, Coping Skills, Emotional Disturbance, Family Conflicts, Multicultural/Diversity Issues, Life Transitions, Parenting, Self Esteem, Child Abuse, Trauma and PTSD

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), Trauma Focused/Informed (TF-CBT), Gradual Exposure, Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Multi-culturally Informed Interventions, Skills from Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Strength-Based, Play Therapy

about me

Hi! My name is Dr. Tamara Halperin and I am a licensed clinical psychologist at Acacia. I moved to San Diego in 2013 to complete my doctorate at Alliant International University, and have since made San Diego my home.

Whether you are seeking guidance through the transition into adulthood and your independence, or are struggling with managing past stressors, you have already demonstrated incredible strength in reaching out for support. I am so glad that you are here!

I utilize a cognitive behavioral, integrative approach to therapy, with a trauma informed lens and an emphasis on evidence based therapies. It is of utmost importance to me to practice cultural humility in the care I provide. In therapy we will work together to explore the impact past experiences have on your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships. Through this process, we will build upon the resiliency you already possess in order to create meaningful change.

I believe that finding a therapist who is the "right fit" for you is key to a successful therapeutic process. My treatment approach is warm, authentic, and collaborative, specifically tailored to creating a safe non-judgmental atmosphere. I'm excited to join you on this journey to navigate this chapter in your life!

NANCY WAHLIG
SHE/HER/HERS | #LCSW16959

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Trauma & PTSD, Rape/Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, Grief, Infertility, Adoption Issues, Depression, Anxiety, Stress Management

therapeutic orientation

Trauma Focused, Cognitive Behavioral, Person-Centered, Prolonged Exposure Therapy

about me

I realized that I wanted to work with individuals who had experienced trauma when I initially volunteered at a grassroots rape crisis center in Guam. This grew into a paid position as a staff member and then Director at the Palo Alto Rape Crisis Center. Not only did we provide 24 hour crisis services to individuals and the community, but we also worked at the state level to change and improve policies and procedures. I then moved to San Diego where I worked at UCSD with the sexual assault resource center.

I grew up on the East coast and graduated from Old Dominion University with a BS and a MPA and then graduated from San Diego State University with my Master in Social Work.

I love being outdoors, whether to run, mountain bike, hike or just to enjoy the beauty of San Diego. Recently, I have been challenging myself to be more like my dog. My dog will walk to the backyard, flop on the ground, roll over on her back, wiggle her body back and forth, exhale a huge sigh and then rest there with joy. She reminds me to be in the moment and to find pleasure in the simple things, although I’m not quite ready to flop on the ground.

CHRISTINE COSTELLO
SHE/Her/HERS | #LCSW94836

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, Life Transitions, Self Esteem, Social Anxiety, Stress, Trauma and PTSD, Women's Issues

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive Behavioral, Cognitive Processing, Compassion Focused, Culturally Sensitive, Dialectical, Mindfulness-Based, Person-Centered, Strength-Based, Trauma-Focused

about me

Hello and welcome! I’m Christine, and though I earned my Bachelors in North Carolina and my Masters in Los Angeles, I’ve been a happy San Diegan since 2017. As a California Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I take a strengths-based and client-centered approach to the therapeutic work I do with individuals. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people in schools and community centers as well as in outpatient, intensive outpatient, and partial hospitalization levels of care. These valued experiences have informed my current practice, allowing me to take a holistic view of who my clients are as well as the context that they’re coming from. I utilize evidence based practices to address the individualized issues that my clients face to aid them in making steps towards their personal goals and overall wellness.

My goal as a therapist is to meet my clients precisely where they’re at, and to meet them with understanding, warmth and compassion. In therapy I aim to create a collaborative and accepting space from which clients can reflect on their lives and solidify coping skills that create some real change. With a background as a registered yoga teacher, I am passionate about utilizing mindfulness and self compassion to address self-criticism and alleviate suffering. I am also committed to assisting trauma survivors in moving towards a place of healing.

In my free time, I love reading, hiking, perusing farmer’s markets, practicing yoga and spending time with my two beloved cats Honey and Biscuit (as well as my human friends!)

DR. Michael Saleh
HE/HIM/HIS | #PSY31879

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Mood, anxiety, and trauma and stressor-related disorders, addiction and substance use, sport and performance (exams, presentations, musical performances, etc.) psychology, stress and anger management, relationship issues, crisis intervention, group therapy.

therapeutic orientation

Dialectical (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), Mindfulness-Based (MBCT), Strength-Based and Positive Psychology, Motivational Interviewing, Sport and Performance Psychology, Cognitive Processing (CPT) for Trauma, Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

about me

Hi Everyone! Thank you for checking out my bio! I was born and raised in San Diego, CA where I attended the nearby La Jolla Country Day School. As a local, it is an honor to have the opportunity to promote the mental and physical wellbeing of students from all cultural backgrounds who have the potential to make or have already made remarkable contributions to the San Diego community.

To promote your wellbeing, I focus first on providing a safe, respectful, and non-judgmental space to help us develop a therapeutic relationship grounded in compassion and trust. I use humanistic and strengths-based approaches to treatment to discuss issues and concerns before introducing you to widely trusted evidence-based treatments to address them.

I built a clinical foundation at Alliant International University’s Los Angeles campus where I earned my doctoral degree in clinical psychology with a focus in health psychology. The majority of my training took place at organizations that treat individuals with moderate to severe mental illnesses. I was exposed to people and situations that put my skills to the test while having the opportunity to learn about a breadth of psychiatric and substance use disorders and how they uniquely affect people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Witnessing people’s recovery in these settings, despite significant past and current adversity in their histories, has been highly inspiring and valuable to me. My goal is to bring this same level of commitment and hope I offered to former clients’ recoveries to you.

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and my French bulldog whether it’s on a hike, at the beach, or in my local park. I maintain an active lifestyle that consists of playing soccer multiple times per week, working on my golf game, and doing strength training. Playing competitive sports throughout my formative years and into college piqued my interest in Sport and Performance Psychology. I learned that these principles can be applied not only to athletic performances, but to your performance in other areas of college life like exams, presentations, musical performances, and on-campus student group events/meetings. I also enjoy engaging in online mindfulness courses and practices to ensure I am attending to my own emotional and spiritual health.

I look forward to working with you to help you meet your mental health goals by supporting you in finding your path to healing and realizing your authentic self.

TAYLOR VALDIVIA
SHE/HER/HERS | #LMFT122016

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Psychosis, Suicidal Ideation, Mood Disorders, Anxiety, Couples Therapy, Relationship Issues, Multiculturalism and Racial Identity, Family Conflict, School Issues, Trauma, and PTSD

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative Therapy, Family/Marital Therapy

about me

Hi and Welcome to Acacia! My name is Taylor and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am a native San Diegan, born and raised in Chula Vista. I am half Mexican and half Filipino, getting the best of both worlds from the culture, the passion, the people and of course…the food! My upbringing has allowed me to share and celebrate different cultural aspects that have given me a strong sense of self-esteem and open-mindedness to diversity. My goal is to build bridges and connect diverse communities with opportunities, support and guidance. I hope to promote a sense of community, equity and empowerment; giving clients the opportunity to thrive in all that they aspire to be.

I am privileged and honored to be along this journey with you! I strive to create an environment that is warm, supportive and authentic; fostering a space where you are the author of your own story. My goal as a therapist is to make sure your voice is heard, affirmed and understood.

My clinical experience has given me the opportunity to work with a diverse population of individuals, couples and families in school, outpatient and community-based settings. I have had the privilege of working with different modalities, providing integrated and individualized care to each client’s needs. I make it a priority to meet you where you are at; supporting and challenging you through the different opportunities and hardships you encounter to reach your goals and aspirations.

I am a proud Triton Alumnae! I received my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. Thereafter earned my Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy at the University of San Diego.

I absolutely love spending quality time with my family, friends and loved ones! For self-care, I enjoy finding the perfect cup of coffee, rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco Giants, watching Grey’s Anatomy and going to La Jolla shores to see the waves come alive as the sun sets.

INDIVIDUAL THERAPY

Also known as psychotherapy, talk therapy, or counseling, Acacia individual therapy is a collaborative process between you and your therapist, aiming to understand problems, facilitate change, and improve quality of life.

A staple of every Acacia office, we believe that individual therapy is an incredibly effective process of healing through self-exploration, skills training, and other various forms of change. Ask your therapist how they view the change process. Remember, not every therapist is a good fit and it is important for you to find an Acacia therapist who you feel connects best to your specific needs. If you don't get a good fit, don't fret. You can ask for a change and we will accommodate you!

The therapeutic process can range in length from a few sessions to several years and is appropriate for goals ranging from focused on solving immediate problems to facilitating self-growth and discovery.

Sessions generally last 50 minutes and provide a safe, caring, and confidential space where you can deeply explore the challenges in your lives and, with the help of the therapist, find effective responses and solutions. The process of therapy is largely determined by your individual needs and the nature of each problem but will likely involve exploration of emotions, beliefs, behaviors, internal conflicts, relationships, and both current and past experiences.

Individual therapy can be effective in helping you better understand, manage and express your emotions, learn to deal effectively with stress and anxiety, improve relationships, heal from past traumas, change behaviors that are counterproductive to your goals and values, gain confidence and self-esteem, work through difficult family dynamics, and many other situations. Individual therapy has been shown to be highly effective for many mental health conditions.

MIND SPA

Come relax and meditate in our Mind Spa. Intended to offer you a quiet getaway, you can reserve to study or just rest before or after your session. There is aroma therapy, books on practicing mindfulness, and comfy sitting.

Check in with the front desk to reserve the room.

COUPLES THERAPY

Would you like to explore relationship dynamics and change problematic cycles to improve interactions with others? If so, couples therapy might be just the thing for you! At Acacia, we allow you to decide how you would like to define 'couple'. It does not always have to be romantic in nature and it can be defined in multiple ways (parent-child, roommate-roommate, partner-partner).

In couples therapy, we will help you work through communication issues, loss of connection and intimacy, financial issues, affairs and betrayals, family issues, and more. Acacia therapists will work hard to understand each of you and we will not take sides. Rather, we will explore patterns and try to find healthy alternatives and positive change.

We also understand how life stressors and relationship issues can sometimes make sex a challenge. Sex therapy is used to help couples or individuals reach greater sexual/emotional intimacy and create a satisfactory sex life. Our therapists will work hard to understand your sexual drives, limitations, desires, traumas and more to help you find your sexual peace of mind.

GROUP THERAPY

One of the secret gems of your personal change process could be group therapy. Group therapy is a highly effective and unique form of treatment and is appropriate for many of the same problems as individual therapy. It is well established as an effective treatment for many mental health issues including depression, anxiety, social skills/relationship building, and more!

Groups generally consist of 6-8 people, last 60-75 minutes and are led by a therapist who works to create a safe, collaborative, and confidential environment amongst group members. Groups are effective in helping individuals acquire better-coping skills, find support in their day-to-day difficulties, overcome anxieties about social interactions, explore past traumas, heal from internal feelings of shame and guilt, and modify problematic behaviors. Group members often report feeling relieved that others are going through similar problems and they often enjoy the experience practicing a new identity. For example, do you have problems asserting your needs? Group can be a great space for you to start practicing!

As groups inherently involve the interaction of members, groups are especially effective in helping individuals build, repair, and maintain more effective, supportive relationships with others. At Acacia, we believe in the power of group therapy and have significant experience in effectively running a range of different groups. Finally, in our groups, you can be assured that we will take precautions in not placing you in a group with someone who you might know on a personal level.

Until further notice, all appointments are via video. Contact your office to discuss this further.


All Acacia offices offer video therapy appointments*. Existing clients can discuss with their provider to switch appointments to video as a one-off or ongoing.
*Video service may not be covered by your insurance plan, it's important to know before finalizing your appointment.

VIDEO THERAPY

Video therapy, also known as telehealth or teletherapy, allows you to connect with a therapist without having to travel anywhere.

Similar to services you receive in person, video therapy sessions generally last 50 minutes and provide a safe, caring, and confidential space where you can deeply explore the challenges in your lives and, with the help of the therapist, find effective responses and solutions. The process of therapy is largely determined by your individual needs and the nature of each problem but will likely involve exploration of emotions, beliefs, behaviors, internal conflicts, relationships, and both current and past experiences.

ACACIA REACH

Acacia Reach is our video therapy services that allows everyone access to video services, even when there is no physical Acacia location nearby. Check out the link below to learn more!