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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.

Our Santa Cruz 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.

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.

IMG_1668rachelfader

Dr. Rachel Fader

Director | PsyD
Processed with VSCO with t1 preset

Alex Pappas

Therapist | LMFT
Dean Khambattasc

Dean Khambatta

Therapist | AMFT
jennifersc

Jennifer Chowaniec

Therapist | LMFT
marksc

Dr. Mark Kutcher

Psychiatrist | MD
staci 2

Dr. Staci Graham

Psychologist | PsyD
Professional Picture 1 - Jana Crosby

Jana Crosby

Therapist | LMFT
Yeymy Lopez Santa Cruz

Yeymy Lopez

Therapist | LMFT
20210604_131151 (1) - Veronica Tai

Veronica Tai

Therapist | LCSW
Coming Soon! (1)

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!

Santa Cruz 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.

DR. RACHEL FADER
SHe/her/hers | #PSY31429

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Attachment & Relationships, LGBTQ+ Issues, Bisexual Identity, Trauma & PTSD, Identity Development, Grief & Loss, Polyamory & Non-Monogamy, Depression, Stress Management, Self-Esteem & Self-Worth, Spirituality, Life Transitions, Group Therapy

therapeutic orientation

Psychodynamic, Relational, Social Justice, Feminist, Narrative, Neuropsychological

about me

Welcome to Acacia Santa Cruz! I am honored to be part of such a remarkable team. As a proud former Banana Slug, I am overjoyed to return to Santa Cruz and grow my roots in a place that is so special to me. As a queer therapist firmly rooted in a framework of cultural humility, I have a passion for serving the LGBTQ+ community and culturally diverse groups, and am thrilled to bring my wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the student population at UCSC.

I have spent the past several years working in diverse settings including LGBTQ+ centers, university and high school campuses, and non-profit agencies. These experiences have positioned me well to serve students and staff from very diverse backgrounds as they adjust to university life.

As a clinician and a director, my approach is authentic, collaborative, and supportive. You may have heard of a “blank slate” - that’s not me! I focus on cultivating genuine and meaningful relationships with each and every person with whom I work. I am committed to providing an environment of safety, trust, and warmth so I can best support each client and colleague in meeting their personal and professional goals. In my clinical work, I seek to understand each individual’s unique circumstances and cultural context in order to create a therapy experience that is uniquely tailored to each person. I most enjoy supporting my clients in exploring and making meaning of their past experiences in order to have a more fulfilling present and future. The demands of college life can often feel overwhelming, and can activate our deepest wounds and insecurities. With that in mind, I strive to empower my clients by drawing on their own personal strengths and resources, with the goal of facilitating lasting healing and growth. I look forward to working with you!

ALEXANDRA PAPPAS | SHE/HERS | #LMFT112180

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Trauma, Physical/Sexual/Emotional Abuse, Attachment & Family of Origin Issues, Adoption/Foster Care, Religious Issues, Depression and Suicidal Ideation, Interpersonal Skills, Substance Use

therapeutic orientation

Family Systems, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Mind/Body Mindfulness, Psychodynamic, EMDR, Narrative Therapy, Developmental Psychology, Art Therapy, Group Therapy

about me

I believe that pursuing a path of healing through therapy takes courage and bravery, so welcome! My journey to this helping profession began from a passion for people, a belief in hope, and faith in the power of human connection. I was raised on the Monterey Peninsula and completed my undergraduate studies at San Diego State University. I moved up to the Bay Area for grad school and found myself settling in Santa Cruz. 

My professional experiences have been with children, teens, young adults, and families seeking to overcome trauma, attachment disruptions, relational dissatisfaction, and other mental health concerns impacting their functioning. I have worked for various non-profits supporting behavioral and emotional needs of the community. I am consistently honored by the privilege to witness vulnerability in the lives of my clients as they pursue healing and wholeness. I am a firm believer that healing happens in relationships, and that wholeness is the best way to embrace life!

  My goal is to help my clients discover authenticity and belonging through unconditional positive regard and connection. I especially love working with young adults and being able to walk alongside people as they navigate an exciting, yet challenging, life stage. I take a client-centered approach to all my work and believe in holistic healing, integrating mind and body in order to achieve greater wellness. The majority of my experience has been with trauma and coping with the secondary effects of depression, anxiety, and relational difficulties. No matter what the concern, I use compassion and openness as I journey with my clients to uncover a better quality of life, big or small!

DEAN KHAMBATTA | #AMFT11311

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

LGBTQ+ Counseling, Gender Diversity, Sex Positive, Kink Aware, Substance Use, PTSD/Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Acute Mental Health, Multiculturalism, Self-Esteem

therapeutic orientation

Person-centered, Strength-Based, and Trauma-Informed

about me

I am excited to be part of the Acacia Counseling and Wellness team! I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #111311. I have over a decade of experience working with the LGBTQ+ community in a variety of capacities including peer support groups, queer focused sex education, community activism, and therapy. As a queer trans man of color, advocating for and supporting the LGBTQ+ community is close to my heart. I understand the importance of an intersectional multicultural approach that incorporates race, ability, socioeconomic status, individual experiences, and spiritual identity.

My approach to therapy is person-centered, strength based, and trauma informed. I firmly believe that you are the expert of your own experiences and that my role is to guide and support you through the therapeutic process. I partner with my clients to find the therapeutic approach that best meets their needs.

I received my Masters’ in Counseling with a Marriage, Family, and Child emphasis from Palo Alto University and my Bachelors’ in History of Art from the University of California, Berkeley.

jennifer chowaniec
she/her/hers
#LMFT #10966|LPCC #6288

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, PTSD, Self-Esteem, Interpersonal skills, Stress Management, & Life Transitions

therapeutic orientation

Client Centered, Strength-Based, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy

about me

I am excited for the opportunity to work with the Acacia Counseling and Wellness team and work with UCSC students. I grew up in the Bay Area and visited Santa Cruz often with my family as a child. I received my undergraduate degree in Psychology at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and returned to the Bay Area to get my master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (MFT/LPCC track) from Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont.

I utilize an eclectic mix of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Client Centered, Strength based, and Solution-Focused therapy to assist my clients work through the complexities that life may present. By focusing on clients’ strengths, I provide a safe space to explore and validate individuals’ feelings in the hopes of providing practical and helpful feedback.

My friendly demeanor and approachable disposition make any therapy session comfortable for the client, putting them at ease as we work together to facilitate a strong therapeutic alliance and meet their treatment plan goals. With both colleagues and clients, I believe in creating an environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and nonjudgmental. My passion for mental health is the “why” that drives me to support the collective effort in changing the current narrative around therapy; I am equally as passionate about destigmatizing mental illness and working with young adults.

Outside of the therapy office, I enjoy spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, exploring new restaurants, and going to the beach.

DR MARK KUTCHER
HE/HIM/HIS|#G88660

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

I provide psychiatric evaluations that include depressive & other mood syndromes ,anxiety problems & learning/ attention difficulties such as ADHD.

I have experience using a wide range of medications and provide medication management treatment as well as supportive psychotherapy. I also provide education around concerns presented in the evaluation.

about me

I am a Board Certified Psychiatry with over 35 years of experience providing psychiatric services to a diverse adult population. I joined the Acacia team in March 2020. Previously I worked in College Student Counseling and Mental Health Centers for over 20 years, including a position as the Lead Psychiatrist at the University of California Santa Cruz. I have also worked in integrated community mental health clinics and University centers.

I have been part of the Santa Cruz ,CA community the last 10 years, working both in the University and community settings. I enjoy outdoor activities including walking, hiking ,cycling and organic gardening.

DR. STACI GRAHAM
SHE/HER/HERS | #PSY30771

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety; child/adolescent, Coping skills, Depression, Emotional disturbance, Racial identity, Relationship issues, Self-esteem, Stress

therapeutic orientation

CBT, Psychodynamic, Emotionally focused, Gestalt, Play therapy

about me

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read my bio! My name is Dr. Graham (or Dr. G, Dr. Staci -- whatever you prefer) and I am a licensed psychologist. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of La Verne in 2008 before diving right into graduate school later that year months after graduation. I received my doctorate degree in clinical psychology at Argosy University in Orange County, which was a program accredited by the American Psychological Association.

While much of my clinical experience has been working with children and adolescents, I also have ample experience working with adults in early and middle adulthood. Theoretically, I tend to work from psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral backgrounds, although the treatment plans and interventions I use with my clients are unique to the person with whom I am working. I specialize in, and particularly enjoy, anxiety and mood disorders (including depression) and have helped clients with adjustment, disruptive, and trauma disorders as well. Additionally, I am passionate about acknowledging and incorporating multicultural identity in treatment, and I believe it is one avenue to help reduce stigma in order to provide more access for diverse groups to mental health services.

I believe one of the most vital aspects of effective therapy is the relationship between therapist and client. As such, I make it a point to build strong rapport with those I see and connect with them on a human level. I convey to my clients that I genuinely care about them and their day to day lives because I do; I derive joy out of being a therapist and helping my clients to overcome their obstacles. Helping people is a value I’ve held since I was a child and I look forward to helping you gain insight and find balance in your life.

Jana Crosby
She/her/hers | #LMFT122477

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Based Repetitive Behaviors, Somatic Disorders, Phobias, Perfectionism, Life Transitions, Guilt/Shame, Eating Disorders, Body Image, Self Esteem/Self Identity, Women's Issues, Highly Sensitive Person

therapeutic orientation

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

about me

Do you feel insecure, stressed, or ashamed? Do thoughts about food, body, or all the “what ifs” of life seem to take up so much brain space that there is little room left for studies or parts of your life that you value? Are you tired of trying to control or push down your emotions, and instead looking to do the work to find deep healing? I am excited to meet you, learn more about what is important to you, your life experiences, and discover how I can best help!

It is certainly vulnerable and often new to seek out therapy. It’s 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 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. My goal as your therapist is to help you decrease shame regarding your emotional experience and feel less fear around uncertainty and change. 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.

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and have experience working with individuals, couples, and families providing therapy. Areas I treat include young adult issues, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, physical symptoms or habits caused by anxiety, eating disorders or body image concerns, women’s issues and life transitions. I also support young adults in building healthy self esteem, self identity and confidence to live an authentic intentional life.

My style of therapy includes Psychodynamic, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention, Comprehensive Behavioral Model, and Attachment Model. My approach is tailored to your specific needs.

What does that all mean? I take time to get to know what is important to you, help to explore and define your personal values and desired goals, and any barriers you may have faced, in order to help us build a clear intentional picture of what you want for your life and begin to develop trust in therapy. From there I focus on relational and attachment needs, uncovering and processing past experiences and patterns that continue to influence your functioning today, building self compassion and confidence. I support you in making peace with the full spectrum of human emotions, to make room for value driven choices and taking positive action in life. I will help you to deepen awareness, nurture and responsiveness in your body, mind and soul as major parts of our whole being.

When working with phobias or obsessions and compulsions, I explore function and healthy adaptations for behaviors, create solid anxiety management skills, and work on gradually exposing you to the fears in a safe and gradual way in order to decrease the power of those fears and open up life for you. I work together with you to support your goals and welcome any and all feedback at any point through the therapy process.

Okay, you might be wondering about me outside of therapy and how you might relate. In my personal time I am renewed by quality time with loved ones, being in nature, doing fast paced hot yoga as well as restorative meditative yoga, swimming (including ocean swimming more recently when pool access has been limited due to COVID), and taking in all kinds of new experiences during short road trips. I am originally from Massachusetts so love trips back east when I can get out there. I enjoy listening to audio books, often while walking in the neighborhood, journaling, and am a life long learner.

I look forward to potentially working with you in the future!

YEYMY SABRINA LOPEZ
SHE/HER/HERS | #LMFT120561

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Anger management, Anxiety, Child or Adolescent, Coping skills, Family Conflict, Foster Care, Depression, Incarceration, Life Transitions, Parenting, Peer Relationships, Relationship Issues, School Issues, Self-Esteem, Emotional/Physical/Sexual Abuse, Stress, Teen Violence, Trauma and PTSD, Women's Issues
Additional Languages: Spanish

therapeutic orientation

Attachment-based, CBT, Culturally Sensitive, Experiential Therapy, Family Systems, Gestalt, Humanistic, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative, Person-Centered, Psychodynamic, Strength-Based.

about me

I am thrilled to be part of the ACACIA team as a Bicultural Latina and Bilingual Licensed Therapist. I am originally from Guatemala, my family and I immigrated to San Francisco when I was a young child. I grew up in San Francisco and have lived in different parts of the bay area and Europe. I am proud and humbled to be part of my family’s first generation to graduate from High School let alone obtain a master’s degree. I completed my undergraduate degree in Latin American/Latino Studies at UC Santa Cruz and obtained my master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at John F. Kennedy University.

Giving back to my community is a core value of who I am and what has driven me to community-based work for the past ten years. My experience ranges from working with families, young children, and young adults impacted by violence, drugs, foster care, and life transitions to incarcerated adults. In addition, I am passionate about breaking the stigma of mental health in order to increase delivery and access to those in need. Building trust and a safe space are what I thrive to provide to each individual I work with as I believe this is the foundation to a therapeutic relationship. I believe that we all have strengths and that we are our own experts of our unique needs. I have a collaborative and strength-based approach when working with individuals in order to tailor therapeutic interventions and treatments that are holistic and culturally sensitive to each individual.

I look forward to continuing my community-based work at ACACIA to further bridge the gap in Mental Health services among the student population and be part of the growing solution to not only meet the needs of students but to empower and advocate for the well-being of our communities, young adults and students. As a UCSC Alumni, I am honored to be able to do this by being part of the ACACIA team and serving UCSC students.

For fun, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy traveling, listening and dancing to music, being outdoors in nature, watching movies and spending loads of time with my two rescue Furbabies Xela and Dasher.

I welcome you and admire your courage in taking your first step to your overall well-being!

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!

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.

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!

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.