Current Students

Learn about some of the many accomplishments of the extraordinary students in SDSU's Marriage and Family Therapy Program. 

Meet Our COHORTS

MFT Graduating Cohort of 2022

cohort 2022 zoom group picture

MFT Graduating Cohort of 2023

cohort 2023 group picture

2021 Graduates

Congratulations to the SDSU Marriage and Family Therapy Graduates of 2021! This page will be updated regularly with new spotlights about this year's graduating cohort.

karen wearing a blue shirt with gray background

Karen Alvarenga

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Spanish

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at Crossroads Family Center, working with children, adolescents, and their families. I enjoy practicing cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy, and solution-focused therapy.

"Most big transformations come about from the hundreds of tiny, almost imperceptible, steps we take along the way." -Lori Gottlieb 

[email protected]

rose wearing a green jumpsuit with floral bush background

Rose Amador

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I recently completed my clinical training at Crossroads Family Center, a county-based site where I supported children, adolescents, and their families. Throughout this program, I have adopted narrative therapy with a postmodern lens and focus on family dynamics. I also draw from solution focused brief therapy and greatly appreciate decolonial ideas. I strive to create a warm and supportive environment for anyone that allows me to become another character in their story.

"Being able to tell your story and be listened to wholeheartedly is the essence of human connection." 

[email protected]

 

 

erika in grey shirt with floral background

Erika Arellano

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement (CCCE), where I had the opportunity to work with individuals, adolescents, couples, and families.  I enjoy practicing narrative therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

"I have observed the process by which an individual grows and changes in a therapeutic relationship." -Carl R. Rogers 

[email protected]

juan pablo wearing a black shirt with tree and sky background

Juan Pablo Arias-Valencia

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I had the privilege to complete my clinical training at the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement (CCCE), a facility operated by SDSU. My clinical experience consisted of collaborating with individuals, couples, and families of all ages and configurations. My administrative experience consisted of records auditing. My work is influenced primarily by narrative therapy, post-modern modalities, and decolonial practices.

"We tell ourselves stories in order to live." -Joan Didion 

[email protected]

 

 

taylor wearing a green shirt with pilar in background

Taylor Avery

Language(s) Spoken: 

English 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at SDSU Counseling and Psychological Services, where I supported individuals and couples. I enjoy practicing from a collaborative approach, using primarily narrative therapy, emotionally focused therapy, and mindfulness-based practices.

"I feel so privileged when clients allow us into the most important part of their lives, as a way to move towards a preferred way of living." 

[email protected]

elley wearing white dress with white background

Elley Berg

Language(s) Spoken: 

English 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at Narrative Initiatives San Diego as a therapist working with individuals, couples, and families. I strive to create a warm, collaborative space for clients, and my practice is influenced by narrative therapy, mindfulness-based approaches, and decolonial ideas. I also greatly draw from play therapy and expressive arts practices.

"Each moment with my clients is a reminder of the power of storytelling, the ability to transform, and the preciousness that life has to offer." 

[email protected]

 

 

carolina wearing a gray blazer with brick and green background

Carolina Contreras

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement as a family therapist supporting individuals, couples, and families. I enjoy practicing from a systemic & strength base lens guided by Virginia Satir’s model, acknowledging that each client and system have the opportunity to change.

"Engaging with individuals in a space of co-creation and reciprocated growth brings certainty to my passion for serving." 

[email protected]

aujya wearing a white shirt with floral bush background

Ayuja Dixit

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Hindi/Urdu, & Spanish 

Relevant Experience: 

My clinical training has been held at the non-profit organization, License to Freedom, working in domestic violence with the Arab immigrant community. Through my work, I have witnessed how families navigate keeping their culture after immigration and supporting families to reach a shared desired family dynamic through therapy. My journey as a therapist continues with a collaborative spirit from a narrative decolonial anti-imperialist feminist lens.

"You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you. If you walk alongside the footsteps of a stranger you'll learn from things you never knew." (Modified from the song Colors of the Wind) 

[email protected]

 

 

yasmeen wearing a green shirt

Yasmeen Elbanna

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Arabic

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my training at the Union of Pan Asian Communities with children and adolescents. I have experience working with kids from ages 5 to 20 years old, the foster system, and collaborating with clients’ schools, PCPs, and families. I enjoy practicing strength-based approaches and utilizing SFBT, CBT, and play therapy to support my clients and their families.

“Play is an adventure. It isn't a chore. There is no right way to play.” -John Gottman

[email protected]

kelly wearing a yellow shirt with green and sky background

Kelly Grace Finney

Language(s) Spoken: 

English 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at Monte Vista High School, where I supported students and their families via telehealth and in-person sessions. I enjoy practicing from a systemic and strength-based lens, utilizing aspects of dialectical behavioral theory, narrative theory, and mindfulness. I am continually inspired by the works of Virginia Satir and Marsha Linehan.

"It is the honor of my lifetime to support families through communication and skill-building." 

[email protected]

 

 

uriel wearing a red shirt with lemon tree background

Uriel Angel Gonzalez

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish

Relevant Experience: 

My training was done at Nueva Vista Family Services, where I had the privilege to work with linguistically and culturally diverse populations of children, adolescents, and families. I am a strong advocate for strength-based, person-centered, and collaborative clinical approaches. This is informed through solution-focused brief therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing. 

"You’re the pilot of your destinations in life. I’m here as one of the co-pilots offering help navigate where our next destination will be and how I can support you getting there.

[email protected]

 

erika wearing a black shirt

Erika Holyfield

Language(s) Spoken: 

English 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement, where I had the privilege of working with individuals and couples. Drawing from emotionally focused therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, I strive to create a space that fosters vulnerability, healing, and the ability to create meaningful relationships.

"We depend on our loved ones to support us emotionally and be a secure base as we venture into the world and learn and explore. The more we sense that we are effectively connected, the more autonomous and separate we can be." -Sue Johnson

[email protected]

 

 

iris arms crossed with blue shirt, brown background

Iris Hueso

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at Nueva Vista Family Services (NVFS), where I had the opportunity to work with children, adolescents, and their families. I enjoy practicing narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused, and dialectical behavioral therapy.

"The problem is the problem, the person is not the problem." -Michael White & David Epston

[email protected]

sarah wearing a pink hijab sitting

Sarah Kouzi

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Arabic

Relevant Experience: 

I recently completed my training at License to Freedom, where I had the opportunity to support the Middle Eastern refugee and immigrant community in El Cajon. I enjoy practicing Arabic and English, primarily from a narrative therapy lens, incorporating post-structural and decolonial ideas.

"I wonder if my clients realize the traces they leave in me, and the mutual restorative work we do together." 

[email protected]

 

 

alicia in a polka dot shirt with white brick background

Alicia Lopez-Yglesias

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish

Relevant Experience: 

I had the opportunity to complete my clinical training at the Union of Pan Asian Communities Child and Adolescent Mental Health (UPAC-CMH) as a family therapist, working to support bilingual youth and their families! I practice from a strength-based family system approach, often utilizing solution focused, CBT, play therapy, and narrative therapy. 

"You do not just wake up and become the butterfly. Growth is a process." -Rupi Kaur 

[email protected]

jillian in a green shirt with rock background

Jillian Mayer

Language(s) Spoken: 

English 

Relevant Experience: 

I recently completed my training at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic, where I was trained in CBT and had the opportunity to support military veterans and their families. I foster a collaborative approach in my work and enjoy practicing narrative therapy. I am also influenced by solution-focused theory and decolonial ideas.

"Every time we ask a question, we're generating a possible version of a life." -David Epston 

[email protected]

 

 

tina in a black blzaer with green background

Tareen (Tina) Mekany

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Arabic

Relevant Experience: 

I recently completed my clinical training at License to Freedom as a Chaldean Arab American therapist providing mental health services in refugee & immigrant communities going through domestic violence. My work is informed by a narrative therapy lens with an emphasis on post-structuralist themes. I am passionate about supporting individuals, families, and couples explore their identities and the ways in which relational bonds form or strengthen in the process.

"Let your hardships be a part of your story, not your identity." 

[email protected]

monica in a black jacket with green background

Monica A. Melchor-Alvarez

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I had the opportunity to complete my clinical training at Monte Vista High School as a school-based therapist, where I supported a diverse population of students and families. I love practicing from a strength-based lens utilizing a family system’s approach while incorporating dialectical behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, and narrative therapy.

"In a culture like ours, we were never taught the importance of healing, we were only taught to survive. Bury. It's time to heal." 

[email protected]@sdsu.edu

 

 

daniel in a blue button up with white background

Jung-Ho (Daniel) Noh

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Korean

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at the Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) Multicultural Community Counseling as a family therapist. I enjoy working with clients from a collaborative and strength-based approach, drawing from narrative therapy, solution-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

"There is something about connecting with the clients on a personal level and becoming part of their journey in becoming healthier that makes me feel alive." 

[email protected]

angel wearing white blazer with sky background

Angel-Lynna Tran

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Vietnamese

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at Monte Vista High School as a school-based therapist, supporting students and their families. I enjoy working from a collaborative and strength-based approach, respecting that the client is the narrator of their own life. 

"Helping individuals use their stories to discover their life purpose is an honor and brings me great professional fulfillment." 

[email protected]

 

 

vanessa in a white jacket with white background

Vanessa Vazquez

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I was privileged to complete my clinical training at two sites. At Project IMPACT, I have supported bilingual elementary school children and their families using play therapy techniques, attachment theory, and a client-centered approach. At the Center for Community Counseling & Engagement, I have had the opportunity to collaborate with individuals, couples, & families through various modalities, including aspects of narrative therapy, Gottman method, and solution focused therapy.   

"It is an honor to serve my community and help strengthen family connections through creativity, playfulness, and understanding." 

[email protected]

lupe in a pink shirt with green background

Guadalupe Villarreal Ontiveros

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Spanish, & Spanglish 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical traineeship at the center for community counseling and engagement, collaborating with adults, children, couples, and families. Along with clinical responsibilities, I had administrative and financial duties at the clinic. My epistemology is under solution focused brief therapy with intervention from narrative therapy under a postmodern lens.

"That's a way to see it and there is also another way to see it." -Insoo Kim Berg

[email protected]

 

 

irina in a pink cardigan with green background

Irina Weitzen

Language(s) Spoken: 

English, Hebrew, & Russian 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my training at Cohen’s Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village San Diego and the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement. Throughout my training, I had the privilege to work with individuals, couples, and families from underserved communities, including veterans and their families. I enjoy working with clients collaboratively from an experiential and systemic approach utilizing primarily emotionally focused therapy while incorporating narrative therapy and mindfulness influences.

"Once we tune into clients' emotional reality & really listen to their pain, especially the pain of not being seen & accepted by others, everything they do, no matter how apparently self-destructive, makes sense." -Sue Johnson

[email protected]

shannon in green blazer in hallway

Shannon Yandall DeJesus

Language(s) Spoken: 

English 

Relevant Experience: 

I recently completed my clinical training at the Elizabeth Hospice, where I had the opportunity to support bereaved individuals and families and facilitate grief support groups. I view counseling as a collaborative process and am informed by narrative and solution focused theories in which I explore with clients their social and relational beliefs, preferences for living, values, and the identities that inform who they are and hope to be.

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." -Edith Wharton 

[email protected]

 

 

 kylee wearing a pink shirt in front of green background

Kylee Yoshikawa

Language(s) Spoken: 

English & Japanese 

Relevant Experience: 

I completed my clinical training at the Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) Children and Adolescent Mental Health as a family therapist and will continue working there after graduation. I love practicing from a strength-based, family systems approach, utilizing narrative therapy, play therapy, and CBT in a safe and empathetic environment.

"It is so beautiful when we work together towards the understanding that we all have a light that is meant to shine in this world." 

[email protected]

 

 

 

*Six members of the 2021 cohort are not reflected on this list.