Meet The Team

Dr. Karla Heredia, PsyD, LMFT #92394



I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Child Development. I then began to work as an elementary teacher. I furthered my education and received a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University. After three years working as a classroom elementary teacher, I decided to continue my educational journey and earned a second Master’s degree from Alliant International University in Marital and Family Therapy. I furthered my education by earning a Doctorate of Psychology, in Couple and Family Therapy from Alliant International University. My clinical interests include working with couples & families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. Current research interest includes family dynamics including parents coping skills, marital satisfaction and resilience in the marriage. Other interests include the influence of Autism with different members in the family including siblings and their relationship with the family member diagnosed with Autism. 

Dr. Karla Heredia has worked with special needs individuals ages 4-adulthood in a variety of settings since 2003. She began her work in a special education classroom as a special needs aide. She then worked as a classroom teacher where she had a student who was diagnosed with ASD and then began her work with a behavioral company as a direct interventionist. She has an extensive background in working with the population with ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) as a direct interventionist and a clinical supervisor. Currently, Dr. Karla Heredia works as a marriage and family therapist in a traditional psychotherapy setting working with individuals, couples and families in supporting and understanding ASD with the mind, body, and emotions in a traditional psychotherapy environment. She has been working with special needs in the counseling/ mental health department since 2010. 

I am passionate about working with children, parents and families who are influenced by the Autism Spectrum Disorder. I have an extensive background in working with the population including ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and Traditional Psychotherapy. I work with individuals, couples and families in supporting and understanding ASD with the mind, body, and emotions. I am also passionate about working with couples in all stages including premarital counseling, communication enrichment and working on a variety of family dynamics. I am trained in a variety of marital & couple programs including Prepare and Enrich, Relationship Enhancement: Mastering the Mysteries of Love & Working with Step Families and Gottman Level 1. As a bilingual therapist, I have experience working with children and their families in various clinical settings including school based counseling, behavior therapy and family therapy. I also have experience with Applied Behavior Analysis, services to children who are diagnosed Autism and PDD as a clinical ABA supervisor and direct interventionist. I am also certified through NAMA (National Association of Anger Management) and CAAMP (California Association of Anger Management Providers) as an anger management specialist and can provide you with approved documentation for mandated individuals. I run a group of up to 5 individuals in understanding and empathizing primary and secondary emotions related to anger, sadness, hurt and disappointment. Mindfulness, guided imagery including safe place is a primary practice used to understand our emotions. The class focuses in increasing empathy, patience and effective communication skills. 



  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Anger Management
  • Developmental Disorders
  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Family Conflict  


  • Individuals
  • Couples
  • Family

Treatment Approach:

  • Narrative
  • Family Systems
  • Mindfulness
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Emotional Focused Therapy 
  • Solution Focused Therapy


  • Certified Autism Specialist CAS172372 (IBCCES)
  • Certified Anger Management Specialist: National Anger Management Specialist (NAMA) 
  • Relationship Enhancement Mastering The Mysteries of Love & Step-Families 
  • Prepare Enrich Workshop for Couples 

Experience: Other professional experiences include working with substance abuse & mandated clients. I also have experience working with clients diagnosed with depression and anxiety due to a variety of a medical illness including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and autoimmune diseases. I worked in a variety of clinics in a clinical therapeutic setting including:

  1. The Gary Center: OC Health Care Agency
  2. SACS (Substance Abuse Counseling Systems) in Santa Ana
  3. NOCRHF (North Orange County Regional Health Foundation) in Fullerton
  4. Lestonnac Free Clinic of Orange County in Orange and Los Alamitos

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in contact with me. Thank you.       

Dr. Farnush Farmand PsyD, Clinical Psychologist PSY29573

I understand how difficult it can be to seek help and to acknowledge the shameful and vulnerable parts of ourselves. As a psychologist, my focus is to provide a safe, compassionate space as we explore life challenges together. Therapy is a journey of turning undesired experiences into stepping stones and to create a more meaningful sense of self. Often times, we lack self-compassion and we develop judgement and shame directed inward. Together we deepen your level of insight as we explore past and present behaviors to resolve underlying issues and inner conflicts. I feel very passionate about what I do and feel fortunate to be able to help cultivate resolution and personal growth as I walk through this journey with you.  


I treat children and adolescents struggling with depression, grief and loss, behavioral issues, and traumatic events. When working with children, I look for ways to enter into their world and to view their experiences through their lenses. I often use play therapy to help children express themselves through their “language” using play and toys to work through struggles. I also specialize in dyadic work with parents and children to help parents better understand their child’s behaviors and to support healthy emotional development. In my work with treating adolescents, I find that meeting them where they’re at and creating a trusting, nonjudgmental space is a central part of working with teens while fostering resiliency, growth, and improved functioning.

I also treat adults in individual psychotherapy struggling with a variety of life stressors and difficulties. Through our work we identify current behaviors and patterns that contribute to distress, while exploring how they are influenced by past experiences. Whether you’re feeling stuck in an unwanted routine or whether you need help navigating a more balanced and meaningful life, together we will find a way forward. I look forward to working with you!  


-Children (including 0-5 population)



-Dyadic with children and parents





Treatment Approaches:

-Play Therapy

-Child Parent Psychotherapy

-Psychodynamic therapy including Attachment Based Approach, Relational Therapy, and Interpersonal Process Therapy

-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

-Culturally Sensitive  


-Trauma and Stress Related Experiences including Childhood Trauma, Survivors of Trauma, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder



-Oppositional Defiant Behaviors

-Family Conflict

-Life Transitions

-Parenting Issues

-Personal Growth


-Body Image

-Relationship Issues 

Dr. Cindy Bautista PsyD. Psychological Assistant PSB94024015

Dr. Cindy Bautista PsyD, is a clinical psychological assistant working directly under the supervision of 

Dr. Farnush Farmand PsyD., Licensed Clinical Psychologist. 

Early  childhood and pre-adolescence can be a challenging time for children  and parents alike. Parents often feel unprepared or do not understand  their role in supporting their child’s emotional development. During the  early childhood years, the quality of the relationship that is  developed between the child and the parents can greatly influence the  growth and development of the child. Parents  play a critical role in modeling how to respond to strong feelings.  Children need help and practice to develop their capacity to cope with  and manage a variety of emotions. Feelings and behavior are closely  linked; therefore, when feelings are not well managed, children’s  ability to think can be impaired and maladaptive behaviors can result  which could negatively impact the relationship between the child and  parent. Sometimes parents can feel lost or have a painful sense of not  being a “good enough” parent, even a well-meaning and conscientious  parent is not free from reacting with anger or frustration when their  child misbehaves. I am determined to create a safe space to discuss  these frustrations and insecurities about parenting in order to  strengthen and foster the relationship between the child and the parent.

I  specialize in treating children and young adolescents with emotional,  behavioral, and relational difficulties. I provide individual and dyadic  family therapy utilizing an attachment-based theoretical framework.  With a collaborative approach, I treat a variety of concerns including,  early trauma, anxiety, depression, parent-child relationship problems,  developmental and behavioral concerns. My view of the therapeutic  process helps to support the many needs of the child, including healthy  development, family relationships, and social and academic support.

My  training in Play Therapy, Child-Parent Psychotherapy, and Parent-Child  Interaction Therapy, allows me to integrate various relational concepts  and modalities into my work with families. The collaborative therapeutic  work will facilitate development of stronger relationships, social  skills and coping tools to confront life’s challenges.

*Alternative Languages: Spanish


· Toddlers / Preschoolers (0 to 6)

· Children (6 to 10)

· Preteens / Tweens (11 to 13)


· Individuals

· Dyadic work with parent and child

· Family

Treatment Approach/Types of Therapy

· Attachment-based

· Play Therapy

· Child-Parent Psychotherapy

· Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

· Trauma Focused

· Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

· Psychological Testing and Evaluation


· Child 

· Parent-Child Relationship problems

· Behavioral Issues

· Emotional Disturbance

· Depression

· Anxiety

· Autism Spectrum Disorder

· Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

· Trauma and PTSD

· Family Conflict

· Parenting skills

· Peer Relationships

· School Issues

Nancy Ruiz Barnes, M.S., LCSW 79552

 I am Mrs. Nancy- thank you for taking the time in reading a little more about me. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience as a Clinical Therapist. I completed my Master Degree in Social Work from California State University of Long Beach. I can use a variety of theories to conceptualize & help guide me throughout treatment including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focus and Crisis Intervention.   

My experience includes working with the following populations:  

  • Post Postpartum Depression
  • Women's Support 
  • Victim's of Crime
  • Immigration issues
  • Children 
  • Adults 
  • Elders  
  • Families 
  • Couple's
  • Gender/ Sexuality 
  • ADHD 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Trauma  
  • Hospital environment  
  • Clinic settings 
  • Outpatient     

It takes a lot of courage and bravery to share your story. Often times people process a lot of hurt and disappointment as the root of the cause for “problem”. Therefore, the therapeutic process can be very challenging and difficult. As your therapist I will go at your pace and really get a sense of what is needed to achieve your goals. I will create a safe space where kindness & compassion is felt, through my presence, body language, tone of voice and genuine energy for empathy. My goal is for you to be transparent, feel validated and connect what needs to happen in order for healing to occur.  

Estrella Ramirez- Robles, M.S., LMFT 105724

Hello my name is Estrella Ramirez-Robles and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I received my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mount St. Mary’s University 2012. Upon graduating I began working as a therapist for a non-profit agency that provides mental health services to a diverse population of primarily low income families. Within this agency I worked, and continue to work, for a program called Wraparound. With this program our target population are families who have open cases with the Department of Children and Family Services or those who have open case with Juvenile Probation. Many, if not all the families we work with have experienced some type of abuse and have gone through extensive complex trauma.

Working in a program like this has given me the experience and knowledge when it comes to working with those experiencing: Depression, Anxiety, Disruptive/Oppositional Behaviors, Adjustment Disorders, as well as ADHD. I’ve provided family therapy as well as couples therapy and conducted groups addressing bullying and prevention groups for commercially Sexually Exploited Children. 

My passion has always been to work with children and families who need that extra support to reach their true potential. I want to be that person people feel comfortable in talking too and help them work through those difficult moment in their lives. I want to not only be thought of  as a therapist but also an ally; someone who will work side by side to help people reach their goals. 

Additionally to working as a therapist, I am also a professor at Mount St. Mary’s University where I teach for both the graduate and undergraduate psychology program. I have been teaching as of 2016 and have taught: Introduction to Counseling, Complex Trauma, Child and Human Development, Theories, Child and Adolescent Counseling, Diversity of cultures. Teaching has given me additional experience needed to not only work side by side with my clients, but also provide education on what each individual may be experiencing and going through.

I am certified in:

  •  MAP (Managing and Adaptive Practices)
  • CANS (Child and Adolescents Needs and Strengths Scale)
  • Trained in PCIT (Parent Child Interaction Therapy). 


  • Individual
  • Family
  • Couples
  • Group

Melissa Huitron, MSW, LCSW #74048

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver


A fulfilling journey in the therapy process starts with a safe, supportive, caring relationship between my client and me. Cultivating a secure environment that inspires hope, introspection and humor-- is my first task. 

My mission is to bring you self-empowerment, strength, balance and self-discovery along your journey. I specialize in offering a holistic approach in the treatment of depression, anxiety, grief and loss, life transitions, career, trauma and addictions. Additionally, I have an affinity for supporting children and teens with Autism and ADHD as well as parents/families.

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Melissa Huitron has worked in a school-based setting, residential group home, as well as in-home services with students’ ages 5-17 years old. She provided social-emotional counseling and facilitated social skills groups for students with autism spectrum disorders, PDD, ADD/ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, bipolar disorder, and other mental, attention, behavioral and learning disorders. Melissa provides parent education and has conducted community workshops on various learning disorders. She is also certified in Brain Education and trained in Applied Behavior Analysis/ Mindfulness/Neuroplasticity-and has taught such techniques to students and teachers in both Los Angeles County and in New York City. Currently, Melissa provides counseling services at Heredia Therapy Group. 

Melissa holds a Master’s Degree in School Work from California State University, Los Angeles and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Behavioral Science from The University of La Verne. She is currently completing her Post-Graduate-Pupil Personnel Services Credential from California State University, Long Beach. 

I am passionate about working with all aspects of your experience, including mind, body and spirit, helping clients understand the underlying issues related to difficulties, while offering supportive guidance for the enhancement of an individual’s unique expression of emotional well-being, meaningful relationships and a fulfilling life.  My experience of working with individuals, children, youth and families for nearly a decade- is that this is one of the most effective methods of fostering lasting change.


I value creativity, diversity and flexibility in the therapeutic process. I’m also a certified yoga and brain education leader/trainer and I have a special interest in the mind/body/spirit connection. Also, I enjoy teaching and developing seminars and workshops for members of the community.



Children (ages 6 to 10)





Treatment Approaches:

Mind/Body/Spirit Holistic Approach



Play/Art Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy



Seeking Safety-Complex PTSD

Academic/Educational Counseling (5K-12th grades)

Cynthia De Leon-Fuentes, M.S., LMFT 96305

Deciding to pursue therapy can be a difficult step for many individuals. In my role as your therapist, I will provide you with a warm and safe therapeutic environment that will help you to explore conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I practice a non judgmental and compassionate attitude and I welcome an open dialogue that allows you to step into the therapy experience at your own pace. I have extensive experience working with clients from diverse backgrounds that include race, gender, socioeconomic status, and age.

In my 5+ years of experience as a mental health clinical, I have had extensive training working with children, adolescents, families, and adults. I have been trained to apply Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused CBT, Anger Management, and Crisis Intervention practices that can help alleviate symptoms associated with anxiety, depression, trauma, personality challenges, life changes and stressors, relationship and existential issues, and grief. In working with children and adolescents, I have experience working collaboratively with parents in understanding and better managing the mental health needs of their children. I lead with a psychodynamic approach that allows me to address sensitive issues of racism, sexism, and other 'isms that affect our society on a daily basis.

In our therapeutic relationship, we will focus on increasing your self-awareness, developing and reinforcing your coping skills, and increasing and strengthening your communication abilities. I uphold all legal and ethical standards, including the confidentially of every single client.

Joselyn Ayala-Encalada, M.S., LMFT 96987


Hello. My name is Joselyn and I am a Bilingual Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I graduated from Alliant International University where I received my Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from University of California, Irvine where I majored in Psychology and Social Behavior, and minored in Chicano Studies. 

Currently, I work for a county-contracted agency that provides mental health services to a diverse population, mainly for low-income families. As a bilingual therapist, I primarily work with monolingual Spanish speaking parents and their children. Although I can provide treatment within different modalities, my main “lens” of treatment is through Functional Family Therapy (FFT). FFT is an approach to working with family with youth at risk. My main focus through the use of FFT is to strengthen relationships in the family by opening up communication and reframing negative behavior’s by putting them within a positive relational context. 


Symptoms and behaviors I have worked with before are youth with depression, anxiety, oppositional defiant behavior, conduct disorder, ADHD, auditory or visual hallucinations, suicide ideation, self-harming behaviors, low-self esteem, family conflict, and trauma, among others. 

As a therapist, I firmly believe the importance of being an ally and partner in this journey where my client feels supported, cared for, acknowledged, validated, and heard. I feel that one of the best qualities I have, as a therapist, is being transparent. Transparency builds trust and honesty. The therapeutic relationship I develop with my clients is crucial in the overall progress of treatment. 


It will be such a blessing and pleasure to be able to help you in whatever difficulties or struggles you may be going through. It is my passion to not only help you in the moment, but to also provide you with skills that you can take and use after the treatment is over, to be able to better help you through this journey of “Life.” 

Treatment Approaches:

  • Family Systems
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Solution Focused Therapy
  • Functional Family Therapy 
  • Art Therapy


  • Individual 
  • Family

Kelsey Harrold, M.S. AMFT #100942

Kelsey Harrold, M.S., is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #100942 

working under the supervision of Dr. Karla Heredia, PsyD,  Licensed Marriage and Family  Therapist #92394. 


I would like to start off by saying that it can be intimidating to start the therapy process. Coming in and talking to a stranger about your personal life takes bravery. My hope is that the following information would allow you to have a better idea of who I am and my therapeutic style so that you feel more comfortable during your time with me.  

Education/Experience: I am a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist under the supervision of Dr. Karla Heredia a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I completed my Master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy at Loma Linda University. While obtaining my Master’s degree I was able to train in multiple settings and gain therapeutic experience. I have experience working with children, families, couples and individuals in either clinical or medical/hospital settings. I have also attended an externship in emotionally focused couples therapy. I wanted to continue my education and am currently enrolled in the Couples and Family Therapy PsyD program at Alliant International University. 


Therapeutic Style: Through collaboration between you and myself I try to create an inclusive, accepting, and empathetic environment. I am someone that is here to support and guide you as you discover more about yourself and where you want to go. I see individuals, families, children and couples. I am passionate about helping others become more connected to themselves and in relationships. 

Hopefully this information has given you some idea of who I am and how we could work together. If you have any other questions do not hesitate to call, email or ask when we meet. I look forward to meeting you and going on this journey together.

Karen Navarrete, MSW, ASW 67315

 Psychotherapist, Doctoral Candidate, supervised under Dr. Karla Heredia Psy.D., LMFT 92394

As  a mental health professional my goal is to help others find ways to  cope and heal through life's adversities in a way that is validating and  true to themselves through psychotherapy and evidence based practices. I  have eight years of experience working in the mental health field. My  experience includes working with underserved populations, including the  Latino population, homeless, at-risk youth, treating co-occurring  disorders, working with the LGBTQIA population, & HIV/AIDS,  Veterans, populations exposed to domestic violence, trauma, substance  addiction, and court mandated cases (DCFS, Drugs & Alcohol). I have  extensive experience providing clinical case management and crisis  intervention. 

I  have worked in the mental health field for over 8 years. Most recently I  worked as a Mental Health Therapist at a non-profit organization which  provides mental health & intensive outpatient substance abuse  treatment to the general community and the HIV+ populations, & the  Latino, monolingual population. I completed my Masters degree in Social  Work at the University of Southern California. My concentration was  Community Organization Planning and Administration with a Military  Social Work sub-concentration. I completed my Bachelor of Arts degree  & Associate of Arts degree at Mount St. Mary's University. I am  currently pursuing a Doctorate of Social Work degree at Capella  University. My experience includes working with the dually diagnosed  LGBTQI population, at risk youth, Latino undocumented mentally ill,  court mandated drug, alcohol, and Department of Child and Family  Services cases, and the Veteran homeless population.


Karen  has presented at the Council on Social Work Education and enjoys being a  volunteer with Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), The  Soldiers Project, and is a Board Member of Project Caged Birds, a  non-profit organization whose mission is to assist domestic violence and  military sexual trauma survivors and women's empowerment.






Domestic Violence

Chronic Illness

Peer Relationships

Substance Abuse

Domestic Abuse



Grief and Loss

Sexual Abuse

Suicidal Ideations




LGBT Issues


Mood Disorders

Personality Disorders

Women's Issues

Treatment Approach/ Treatment Orientation


Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)
Motivational Interviewing

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
Strength Based
Trauma Focused

*Experience  with Court Mandated Cases

*Alternative Languages: SPANISH

*Children,Youth, Young Adults, Adults, Olders Adults

*Individuals, Couples, & Families

Patricia Gomez, MA, AMFT 94022

  My name is Patricia Gomez, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, 

supervised under Dr. Karla Heredia Psy.D., LMFT 92394. 


Dear reader, thank you for taking the step on deciding on seeking therapy.  Emotional disequilibrium, confusion, and loss of hope often stem from difficulties associated with life transitions. Luckily as human beings we have the capacity for self-actualization, and are capable of attaining our potential. Therapy is a place to practice how to rebalance our lives. As your therapist, my responsibility will be to assist you in processing your situation, as well as promoting self-exploration and growth to improve your quality of life.

  I have experience counseling clients reporting depression, anxiety, bereavement, domestic violence, adolescent adjustment, substance abuse, and marital issues. 

Thank you for taking the time to meet me. 

Treatment Approaches:

Solution Focused Therapy


Cognitive Behavioral (CBT)




About me: My name is Patricia Gomez, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, supervised under Dr. Karla Heredia Psy.D., LMFT 92394. I obtained my Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. From a very early age, I have adhered to a work ethic with an aim at impacting clients’ lives. I have been fortunate in working at community mental health centers, and participating in a fellowship with Mental Health of Los Angeles. Additionally, I have experience co-facilitating domestic violence, parenting, and anger management classes at a non-profit agency. These places have given the opportunity to work with people of all age groups and of diverse populations, with different presenting adversities and/or limitations. I enjoy working from an empathic, nonjudgmental premise because I value the trust that is given to me when someone is ready to share their intimate life with me. 





Robert Aguirre, MA, AMFT 80641

Hello my name is Roberto Aguirre and I am a Associate Marriage and Family Therapist 

working under the supervision of Dr. Karla Heredia, PsyD, LMFT 92394.  


I earned my Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, with an Emphasis in the Latino/a Population from Pacific Oaks College in 2014. Upon completing my Masters I began working for a non-profit agency providing mental health services for various populations, including: lower income families, single parented households, children with a history of different forms of trauma. I continue serving families at this agency and I apart of the Children’s Full-Service Partnership. Within this program, we support families, who may have had cases open with the Department of Children and Family Services, history of psychiatric hospitalizations, cases within Juvenile Probation, at risk of being removed from home or school settings. 


· Individual

· Family

· Couples

· Group


One of the benefits to working within the Children’s Full-Service Partnership is being able to obtain a rich experience around working with: Anxiety, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Behaviors Disruptive Behaviors, Separation Anxiety, families with Domestic Violence, children with Autism and Prader Willi-Syndrome. 

I am devoted to supporting children and families who seek out the additional support to enhance their lives. I am someone who is willing to support with time and dedication to support people establishing a strong therapeutic relationship with. I want to continue being that support for individuals and families, to further assist in achieving goals in life. 

Robert David Casas, MSW, ASW 84014