About Me

Hi, I’m Carissa. I’m the Founder, Director, and CEO of Paladin Psychotherapy & Family Counseling, Inc. As a Black psychotherapist, I am excited to continue to provide mental health services through my private practice.

I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT#144727. I am currently accepting new clients so if you are interested in working with me, feel free to contact me!

I am excited to walk alongside each of my clients as they begin their mental health journey. I use a strength-based and collaborative therapy approach to assist clients in strengthening their shields for mental health battles.

What is a therapy approach?

A therapy approach is a way in which a clinician provides therapy to their clients. Currently, I work with a wide range of individuals and couples using a strength-based and collaborative therapeutic approach. The key theoretical orientations that resonate with me are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Narrative, Motivational Interviewing, and Mindfulness. I am life long learner and I aspire to add more therapy techniques to my toolset to achieve an eclectic style in working with clients in the future.

What’s an Associate?

An “Associate” is the title given to individuals who have completed their master’s degree and are currently earning hours for licensure in the state of California. The title of Associate means that I was registered as a pre-licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) & Associate Professional Clinical Counselor with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) in the state of California. This registration allowed me to gain post-degree hours to fulfill the 3000-hour requirement of a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of California.

My title was formerly “Associate Marriage & Family Therapist Registration Applicant” and “Associate Professional Clinical Counselor Registration Applicant” which meant that I was in the process of applying to receive an associate registration number from the licensing board of California, the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).

What’s a Trainee?

“Trainee” is the title given to graduate students as they earn their hours for licensure while still in Graduate school. The first step to licensure in California is to work as a Pre-Licensed therapist under the title Marriage & Family Therapist Trainee. I have completed my pre-degree licensure hour requirements as established by the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Did you say you’re no longer in school?

Yes, I officially finished graduate school! As of September 20th, 2020, Pepperdine University has officially conferred my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy.

What’s your educational background?

I have completed my Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy at Pepperdine University in 2020. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University Northridge in 2011. I also completed my Master’s degree in Public Health from The George Washington University in 2016.

How long have you been doing this?

I have been providing mental health services since September 2019.

I previously worked at MagpieLife, a private practice owned by my former supervisor Eve Sturges, LMFT, from February 2021 to February 2024. While in this position I enjoyed working alongside my clients to provide individual and couple psychotherapy services as a Registered Associate Marriage & Family Therapist.

I previously volunteered at CalFam Counseling where I provided individual, couples, and family therapy from May 2020 to September 2021.

I have also previously worked as a Marriage & Family Therapist Trainee from September 2019 to September 2020 providing individual, couple, and group therapy services in-person and through telehealth platforms (i.e., VSEE Clinic, Everbridge, Doxy Telemedicine, and Zoom).

In addition to my practicum experience, I also worked part-time as a Behavior Technician with Autism Learning Partners.