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

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz

Acacia Santa Cruz offers individual, group, and wellness activities. Located within a short bus ride (#15, #16, #19, & #10) from UC Santa Cruz, near Trader Joes and next to Insight Santa Cruz. Come into the office to experience a little slice of modern design featuring a Take & Give wall, study space, and three dynamic spaces to relax before your appointments.

Looking to recommend a friend, colleague, or family member? Everyone in California can access our services!

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.

Santa Cruz 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.

headshot of Kathryn Hawley

Dr. Kate Hawley

Director
EABAFD72-20C5-4E9C-B3BB-459C88567F8B_1_201_a - Paloma George

Paloma George

Administrative Assistant
Professional Picture 1 - Jana Crosby

Jana Crosby

Therapist | LMFT
Portrait of Veronica Tai

Veronica Tai

Therapist | LCSW
Photo of Ami Jester

Ami Jester

Nurse Practitioner | PMHNP
Headshot of brian woods

Brian Woods

Therapist | LMFT
Dr. Penelope Russell, PhD

Dr. Penny Russell

Therapist | PhD
Portrait of Romana Cheang

Romana Cheang

Therapist | LMFT
Photo of woman smiling

Kim Poehler

Therapist | LMFT
hiring now

Positions Available

Join Our Santa Cruz Team!

Santa Cruz Services

All of our Acacia offices offer individual therapy, psychiatry, couples therapy, group therapy, and wellness events. Below are services offered specifically in Santa Cruz!

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.

KATE HAWLEY
SHE/HER/HERS | #PSY32827

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Self-Criticism and Perfectionism, Self Worth and Shame, Interpersonal Boundaries, Life Transitions, Creativity and Self-Expression, Highly Sensitive Persons, Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Stress and Burnout, Women and Leadership/School/Career, Couples Therapy

therapeutic orientation

Strengths-Based, Multiculturally Responsive and Culturally Sensitive Interventions, Mindfulness-Based Interventions, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Compassion Focused, Person-Centered, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.

about me

Welcome, I’m glad you found us! I am honored to be a part of the Acacia Counseling and Wellness Team and to have the opportunity to support you in the process of uncovering your most whole and authentic self.

I know how difficult it can be to feel stuck in a painful place. My goal is to help you feel safe and empowered so that you can connect with what is most true for you, get unstuck, and move toward the life you want. Whether you are navigating transitions, perfectionism, self-worth, anxiety, relationships, creativity blocks, attentional concerns, or high sensitivity to the world, we will work together to find a path toward your goals.

I approach the psychotherapy process from the perspective that you have many more strengths than shortcomings. It’s wonderful that you are taking this step for yourself, and in our work together I will help you uncover what is already “right” with you in addition to helping you address your difficulties. I view our relationship as collaborative - we will work together to find a healing process that best suits you and your unique situation. I also approach our work with respect for and sensitivity to all of your identities, making room for exactly who you are instead of trying to fit you into a box.

If you’re interested in my professional path, I earned my Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology and my M.A. in Counseling Psychology from UC Santa Barbara. I completed my doctoral internship with an emphasis on diversity at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and my postdoctoral fellowship with an emphasis on systemic interventions at UC San Francisco's Faculty and Staff Assistance Program. I have extensive training in and passion for strengths-based psychotherapy approaches and multiculturally responsive treatment.

I am excited to serve the Santa Cruz community. My love of the ocean brought me to Santa Cruz and the space in this town for authentic expression and acceptance has kept me here. In my free time here, I enjoy photography, dance, playing sports, spending time in the sun, and connecting with family and friends.

I’m looking forward to meeting you and beginning our work together.

Paloma George | She/Her/Hers

Administrative Assistant

ABOUT ME

Hi, my name is Paloma George, and I am an administrative assistant at the Santa Cruz office. I grew up in Dallas, Texas, and moved to Santa Cruz to pursue a degree in psychology at UCSC (Go Banana Slugs!). I am incredibly passionate about making mental health services more accessible, and so happy to be a part of this wonderful team.

In my free time, I love playing guitar, hearing local bands play, and hiking through beautiful California!

What movie or book impacted you significantly? Why?

The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith had a massive impact on me, as it was the first book I ever read that centered around LGBTQ characters.

If you had to build a planet, what would you name it?

Planet Blondie (named after my favorite band)

Jana Crosby
She/her/hers | #LMFT122477

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Eating Disorders, Body Focused Repetitive Behaviors, Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety, Existential Anxiety, Fears and Phobias, Perfectionism, Self Esteem, Compulsive Behaviors, Chronic Guilt/Shame Issues, Grief and Loss, Life Transitions, Self Discovery

therapeutic orientation

Psychodynamic, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), Comprehensive Behavioral Model (ComB), Somatic Therapy

about me

Do you feel stressed, insecure, or ashamed, constantly battling with intrusive thoughts or impulses that you may not even entirely believe, but still can't seem to let go of? Are you feeling stuck in the trap of perfectionism, feeling alone with the depth of emotion you feel, confused about sense of self or life direction, or wondering why your relationships don't feel as fulfilling as you'd like? If so, we might be a good match to explore potential therapy together.

It is certainly vulnerable and often new to seek out therapy or try therapy with someone new. It’s okay and natural to be nervous. I want you to know that when you reach out or share difficult things, I see you as both courageous and human. As a fellow human, I feel honored to be part of your journey and witness your growth. In therapy with me you will be accepted with all of your feelings and thoughts no matter how big or uncomfortable or how you feel about the fact that they are there. And as for intrusive thoughts, let's just say I know how big those can grow and how significantly they can not match up with what you truly believe or what you value in life. I want you to know that there is nothing I haven't heard or would pass judgement on when it comes to that. I get it! We don't pick our intrusive thoughts but together we can work to reduce their impact on your life and get you back in the drivers seat of your story.

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing primarily in the treatment of anxiety disorders, eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder but also have a broad range of experience and am happy to help if you find yourself relating with what I have written here. My main goal as your therapist is to help you decrease shame and isolation regarding your emotional experience and help you to feel less fear around uncertainty and change and growth. I will be an active ally in uncovering and working through the root of your challenges with you as well as empowering you to make impactful changes in your life. My approach is warm, empathetic, and direct. You will benefit most from working with me if you enjoy deep personal growth and exploration, are a deep feeler, and are ready and motivated to take actions and try new things in and outside of the therapy space. If the action part makes you nervous its totally okay. Please know that you lead the direction and goals of therapy and I will meet you wherever you are including finding a pace that works best for you. I believe in your capacity to fully heal and live a fulfilled meaningful life!

I will share a few things about me and my interests in case you are curious about how I show up outside of the therapy space. I value a good balance between quality time spent with my closest people, exploration and adventure, rest and recharge time, and ongoing learning including professional and personal development. My hobbies vary but generally include a mix of causal and competitive pool swimming, restorative yoga and meditation, listening to good audio books often while walking outside or getting chores out of the way, a bit of professional blogging, home remodel and decor projects, and taking in new experiences, often through short road trips with friends or trips to the east coast where I grew up. I am generally pretty open as long as it is benefitting your growth and healing so feel free to ask questions, let me know what is working, what isn't working, and anything in between! I welcome that!

Thank you for reading and I look forward to the potential of working with you in the future!

VERONICA TAI
They/Them/Theirs,
She/Her/Hers| #LCSW 84872

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Depression, BIPOC & LGBTQIA+ Identity Concerns, Asian/Asian American Mental Health, Relationship Issues, Family of Origin concerns, Life Transitions, Complex Trauma + PTSD, Self-Esteem, Self-Harm, Substance Use, Anger Management

therapeutic orientation

Person-Centered, Insight-Oriented (Psychodynamic), Mindfulness & Self-Compassion Practice, Culturally Sensitive and Multiculturalism, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI)

about me

Welcome, it is a privilege to be part of your journey!

I value connection, inner reflection, honesty, collaboration, social justice and anti-racism, and creating a life of balance and authenticity. My therapy office is a warm and understanding space where you can explore your truth and be fully YOU without reservations.

Your story is unique to you and therapy is an opportunity to (re)discover, reflect on, and reclaim all the strengths that are intrinsically within you and your communities.

In therapy we will work together to explore how your past experiences relate to your thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships. I use different therapeutic approaches based on what you need and focus on cultivating self-compassion, self-understanding, courage and strength, and inner peace.

My Path: I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and and have been providing psychotherapy since 2014. I graduated with a Masters in Social Work from USC in 2015 and have a Bachelors in Psychology and Social Behavior. I am a BIPOC who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. I love to bake and explore new dessert recipes. I am also a pet-parent to an incredibly puppy-like cat named Latte that you might see lounging in the background!

AMI JESTER
SHE/HER/HERS| #PMHNP-BC95018058

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

LGBTQIA+, Transgender Health, Medication Management

therapeutic orientation

Cognitive Behavioral, Humanist, Feminist

about me

I am a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner from Kansas City, Missouri and trained for my nursing and advanced practice degrees at the University of Missouri – Columbia. For my doctoral project, I focused on improving LGBTQ patients’ experiences in healthcare settings and am passionate about raising the bar in LGBTQ health. I have been a psychiatric nurse for 7 years including time exploring the country as a travel nurse. I discovered that West Coast truly is best coast and I am so happy to join the Acacia Santa Cruz team.

I hope to partner with you to help you be successful in school, work, relationships, and as a person who will always be learning and growing. I respect your unique experience in the world and understand how the intersectionality of multiple identities affects it. The beautiful thing about mental health treatment is that it looks different for each person depending on your goals, and I can’t wait to meet you and discover how we can work on them together.

My hobbies include taking my dog to the beach and watching women's soccer. I can't wait to root for the Slugs!

brian woods
#LMFT33858

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Relationship between cognition, behavior and change. Expressive Arts and Recreation Therapy. Anxiety and Stress management. Transitions in relationships and stages of life.

therapeutic orientation

Primarily Constructivism, Narrative and Social Justice Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Implementation of Wraparound service model.

about me

I’m excited to join the Acacia team’s effort to provide you an environment that is safe and helpful as you explore what life throws your way, finding your path to the healthiest and happiest you. Should I be your therapist, you will see I’m dedicated to helping you navigate your life experiences and relationships in a way which feels manageable, less lonely, and improves your ability to feel how you deserve to feel.

I approach the therapy experience as one of significance, consequence, opportunity. People usually reach out for mental health services seeking a change in their lives, how they feel. I passionately work toward helping clients better understand themselves, what is troubling them and how to use what they learn to gain more agency over their lives. I’ll arrive at therapy sessions with presence, curiosity, a caring heart and soul.

Some of my professional formative experiences include working with a wide range of ages within the foster care system and children’s behavioral health system. I’ve been a clinician in forensic, inpatient and outpatient environments. These experiences helped me develop a more full-spectrum perspective of acute mental health challenges, especially when they go unaddressed. I’ve also gained inspiration observing the resilience in people who have faced persistent and significant mental health challenges. I try to carry forward their courage and fortitude as I do my best to support clients.

When not holding the role of therapist I can be found growing food to eat, then trying my hand as chef. I approach the kitchen as I do an art studio or therapeutic process; curious, hopeful and creative. Adventure is important. Mountain biking, surfing, paddle boarding, trail running and hiking are all part of how I balance my life and develop confidence.

Penny RUSSELL
SHE/HER/HERS | #PSY23737

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Child/Adolescent, Coping Skills, Depression, Domestic Violence, Emotional Disturbance, Family Conflict, Grief, Life Transitions, Stress, Suicidal Ideation, Teen Violence, Trauma and PTSD

therapeutic orientation

Attachment-based, Forensic Psychology, Humanistic, Mindfulness-based, Motivational Interviewing, Play Therapy, Psychodynamic, Trauma Focused

about me

Hello! I am very excited to be joining Acacia as they are providing a much-needed service and are doing so in a way that truly values the individuality of both the clients and the therapists. I initially discovered Acacia when I was looking for new career opportunities and again when searching for counseling services for a specialized student population at UC Berkeley.

I received my B.A. from UCSB and my M.A. and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. I did my internship at Mills College in Oakland and worked for the County of Alameda for over 25 years. I have worked with all age groups and people of various cultural backgrounds in several different settings.

I feel grateful to be in this profession and it is always an honor to have people share their experiences and challenges with me. I meet each client where they are and work collaboratively to discover what kinds of supports and interventions work best for them.

Outside of work, I love reading, music, walking/hiking, and yoga. In non-Covid times, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family and traveling.

Romana Cheang
she/her/hers | #LMFT105883

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Depression, Stress & Burnout, Asian & Asian American Mental Health, Child/Adolescent issues, Adjustment & Phase of Life issues, Immigrant issues, Communication, Relationship issues.
Additional Language: Cantonese

therapeutic orientation

Person-Centered, Strength-based, Emotionally-Focused, Cognitive-behavioral Therapy

about me

Aloha! I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in the state of California. I was raised in Oahu, Hawaii and had been living in Southern California for the past 10 years. I completed a M.S. in Counseling from Loma Linda University and a B.A. in Psychology from University of Hawaii. With spare time, I enjoy film photography and print making. I’m someone who is willing to dirty a new pair of sneakers for that everlasting shot. I’m attracted to the colors Blue & Green because they represent an endless sky, the deep blue ocean and a sunlit meadow.

I would describe my therapy style as strength-based, collaborative, and explaining things with countless metaphors. Working together, I want to spend more time getting to know you as a person and uncover “tangled up” things in life. In addition, assist you in gaining insight and learning coping/calming strategies so you can live a more exciting, fulfilling life.

I was taught that we each carry an “invisible backpack” filled with hardships and personal trauma incurred in life. These growing difficulties results in a heavier and heavier backpack that becomes unbearable one day. My role as your therapist is to help “unpack and detangle” so you can rest those shoulders and train your mental muscles. Sometimes life doesn’t get easier and so we will strengthen our emotional endurance. And your adventure continues.

KIM POEHLER
SHE/HER/HERS | #LMFT82967

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Eating Disorders, Perfectionism, Self Esteem/Self Worth, Life Transitions, Depression, Anxiety

therapeutic orientation

Person Centered, Family Systems, Motivational Interviewing, Exposure Response Prevention, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally Focused, Body Positive/HAES aligned

about me

Hello and welcome to Acacia Reach! Seeking support is such a courageous first step towards caring for your emotional wellbeing! I am eager and honored to be a part of this journey with you.

As a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist, I have post graduate training and education solely focused on the treatment of eating disorders. I worked as a therapist and director of an eating disorder residential treatment facility for several years as well as in private practice focused on college students, specifically athletes with disordered eating concerns. My approach is warm and direct. I believe that the strength of the therapist-client relationship is key to accomplishing therapeutic goals and I focus on creating a safe and validating environment.

Outside of the therapeutic room, I enjoy spending time with family and watching my daughter experience the world, traveling, yoga, reading, and nerding out on Harry Potter and Game of Thrones.

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.

STUDY room

Come relax and study in our study space. Intended to offer you workspace, you can reserve to study before an exam. There is enough room for six people in the room if you need to bring along a few study buddies.

Check in with the front desk to reserve the room.

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!