Meet the graduating cohort of 2024 

Congratulations to the SDSU Marriage and Family Therapy Graduates of 2024! 

MFT 2024 Cohort

Read about the experiences of our 2024 grads as well as the languages they speak and impactful choice quotes.


Ashley Bridgewater

Language Spoken: English

I completed my training at The Elizabeth Hospice, where I had the transformative experience of working with people navigating the anticipation and grief of losing family members. I provided individual, couples, and family therapy and co-facilitated support groups in this role. I approach therapy through a trauma-informed, client-centered, and culturally sensitive lens, drawing on Narrative therapy, Emotionally-Focused Therapy, and Somatic and Mindfulness-Based approaches. I believe in our inherent capacity for healing and that everyone benefits from support.

“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” - Thich Nhat Hanh


Cindy Tang (She/Her)

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin, Taiwanese 

I completed my traineeship at Cherokee Point Elementary School through Project Impact, specializing as a school-based play therapist. My role involved supporting students from UTK to fifth grade, families, teachers, and staff. I created a safe space where my clients could explore and develop coping strategies to navigate the complexities of school and home life. My therapeutic approach is deeply influenced by Narrative and Solution-Focused Therapy while incorporating Play and Art therapy. I am passionate about employing a holistic and collaborative approach to therapy;  additionally, I am strongly committed to serving AAPI communities and have found great fulfillment working with children and young adults from diverse backgrounds.

“‘What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said?’ asked the boy 
‘Help.’ said the horse” - by Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse


Daniel Wright (he/him/his)

Language Spoken: English

My clinical experience gained at South Bay Community Services has specialized me to support individuals, families, and children affected by domestic violence. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I'm particularly passionate about helping my community build resilience against shame. I enjoy working with short-term therapy modalities such as Solution-Focused Brief Therapy and Emotion-Focused Therapy. My dedication lies in enhancing communication between parents and their children, fostering resilience within families, and strengthening their bonds from within.

"Letting go is the art of watching our problems evaporate into the infinite expanse of the sky."



Ellene Wright (she/her/hers)

Language Spoken: English

I completed my clinical training at Monte Vista High School, specializing as a school-based therapist. I was privileged to engage with the stories and experiences of youth and their families, working from a strength-based, client-centered approach. Inspired by the power of storytelling and social constructivism, I work predominantly through a Narrative framework, drawing influence from Queer Theory, Collaborative Language Systems, and Emotion-Focused Therapy. I am committed to co-constructing inclusive and affirming spaces where all clients can feel seen, heard and valued. As a Black, Queer person myself , I am deeply passionate in working with BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIA+ communities.

 “It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism” - Angela Davis


Fenan Kifleyesus (she/her/hers)

Language Spoken: English

I completed my clinical training at License to Freedom, a non-profit domestic violence agency located in El Cajon. Throughout my time at License to Freedom, I grew alongside various immigrants and refugees from the Middle Eastern community. I have supported individuals and families while navigating complex systems and guiding them towards healing. My therapeutic approach is influenced by Narrative, Collaborative, and Emotion- Focused Therapy. The heart of my work revolves around compassion, care, and connection. 

May kitgeil: giber gemed, zereba kitlemid: “ehm” limed (To draw water, you must use a rope. To learn how to speak, you must learn to listen) - Eritrean proverb


Gabriel Castellanos (He/Him/El)

Languages Spoken: English / Spanish / Spanglish

I had the opportunity to complete my traineeship at Cherokee Point Elementary through Project IMPACT as a school-based play therapist. My therapeutic work is influenced by narrative, solution-focused, and art therapy techniques that allow me to emphasize a client-centered approach. In collaboration with students, caregivers, teachers, and support systems, our focus is to create a safe and accepting space that facilitates growth. I am passionate about continuing my therapeutic work within marginalized communities to serve fellow young people of color. 

“When you can’t count on yourself, you can count on me homie… I’m always rooting for you!” - L.P.F. 


Giselle Arenas

Language Spoken: English

I had the opportunity to complete my traineeship as a school-based therapist with SDUSD Mental Health Resource Center at Canyon Hills High School. I’ve supported high school age students navigating mental health and relational challenges through individual and group therapy settings. My therapeutic approach is influenced by Narrative Therapy and Solution Focused therapy, incorporating elements of Emotionally Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I am passionate about creating a collaborative and warm therapeutic space for individuals and their families to sit and heal in. I am interested in continuing my work with youth and connecting with AAPI communities.  


Isabella Mena (she/her/hers) 

Language Spoken: English 

I completed my traineeship at License to Freedom working with immigrant/refugee individuals and families, predominantly from the Middle Eastern diaspora. I’ve supported individuals, couples, families, and groups who have experienced domestic violence and/or are in court-mandated contexts; as well as supported clients in healing within their stories of immigration as they are confronted with U.S. cultural systems. I currently use narrative, collaborative, and solution-focused modalities in my work; guided by ethics of care and generating sustainable change. I am a values-driven clinician with a passion for building relationships and dissolving problems. 


Jasmine Segura (she/her/ella)

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Spanglish

I completed my clinical training at Monte Vista High School as a bilingual school-based therapist. Here, I had the opportunity to collaborate with students and their families to support them in navigating mental health struggles and relational conflicts. My therapeutic approach is client-centered and informed by Narrative and Solution-Focused principles. As a first-generation eldest Mexican daughter, I am passionate about working with marginalized communities and supporting them with navigating intergenerational conflicts and other societal stressors. 

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." - Maya Angelou

José Manuel

José Manuel Wong (el/he/him)

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Spanglish

I was granted the opportunity to provide therapy and share spaces with high school students and their families at Monte Vista High School during my clinical training. Because of my interest in people’s stories and the unique, cultural strengths within them, I mostly worked through a Narrative approach with the inclusion of Narrative Hip-Hop Therapy and Digital Media story-telling. My work as a therapist has allowed me to satisfy my true passion of creating safe, inclusive spaces on school campuses to foster the success of all - regardless of their identity. 

“I need some peace for all my partna’dem / A piece of the impossible / Might die on that philosophy” - Isaiah Rashad

Karis Addo Quaye

Karis Addo-Quaye (she/he)

Language Spoken: English

My clinical training at the Union of Pan Asian Communities Child and Adolescent Mental Health division (UPAC CMH) involved office, school, and home/ community based individual and family therapy. I’ve found fulfillment working collaboratively with an integrative team of providers and family support specialists, as well as clients, caregivers, and their community members from diverse backgrounds. Prior to UPAC, I worked with adults and couples in person and via telehealth at the Center for Community Counseling and Engagement. 

I use an integrative, strengths based, relationally grounded, and culturally attuned approach to Narrative Therapy, engaging community, movement and somatic work, affect, parts work, art, and play. I’ve also used SFBT, EFT, MI, CBT, and mindfulness directives. My practice centers intercultural, intergenerational, and inner child healing with interest in working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families of all designs, as well as caregivers/those with helping roles in their communities. 

“Our histories never unfold in isolation. We cannot truly tell what we consider to be our own histories without knowing the other stories.  And often we discover that those other stories are actually our own stories.”
― Angela Y. Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle


Kelsey Marie Jones (she/her/hers)

Language Spoken: English

I completed my training at License to Freedom, working with Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees. I supported groups, individuals, couples, and families as they healed from domestic violence and the challenges of navigating the cultural and legal systems of the United States. I currently use narrative, emotion-focused, and collaborative therapies in my work, guided by an intercultural stance and training in racial literacy and restorative movement.

be easy./take your time./you are coming/home./to yourself. –the becoming | wing.  nayyirah waheed


Kyra Brandt Hanacek (she/her/ella)

Languages Spoken: English, Spanglish, Spanish

I completed my graduate clinical experience at Monte Vista High School in East San Diego County. There I specialized in providing bilingual English-Span(--ish/glish) school-based therapy services to students and their immediate family members. During my time at MVHS, I  nurtured my theoretical approach in Narrative and Contextual Family Theory to heal through the whole family rather than just the individual. I have also enjoyed witnessing clients respond to Art Therapy, SFBT, Collaborative, and Motivational Interviewing as they understand themselves in relationship and context to their world. I am highly interested in supporting young women and queer community who are navigating power dynamics and challenges with disordered eating behaviors and self-esteem. . 

“Cherish your own emotions and never under-value them. We are not here to do what has already been done.” – Robert Henri


Lily Topete (she/her/ella)

Languages Spoken: Spanish, Spanglish, English

I had the pleasure of completing my clinical training at Monte Vista High School as a school-based therapist where I provided bilingual services to adolescents and their families. My clinical work is informed by narrative, emotion-focused, and solution focused approaches in order to provide client-centered and strength-based support. I also very much enjoyed connecting to students through the use of art and creativity in our therapy sessions.

“The human soul doesn't want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.” - Parker J. Palmer


Lily Mojdehi (she/her/hers)

Languages Spoken: Farsi, English

I completed my training at License to Freedom, working with the Middle Eastern refugee community. I facilitated groups and worked with individuals and families who experienced domestic violence. I am open to working with communities of different backgrounds and, as a learner, I look forward to new training opportunities. I use narrative, collaborative, and solution-focused therapies in my work, with a passion for somatic experience.


Lorena Mendoza (she/her/ella)

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish

I’ve had the opportunity to gain clinical experience at South Bay Community Services (SBCS) working with families who have experienced domestic/family violence and youth experiencing difficulties at school. It has been an honor to give back to my local community as someone who grew up in the Chula Vista area. My clinical work is guided by narrative therapy, emotionally-focused therapy, and a collaborative systems approach with the flexibility to honor what clients are needing individually. I’m seeking to continue working with the BIPOC and marginalized communities with an emphasis on expanding access to therapy across languages. 



Manh Chuong (they/she, chanh, 她)

Languages Spoken: English, Cantonese, Vietnamese (+ Cantolish & Vietlish!)

Through San Diego Unified School District: Mental Health Resource Center, I was given the amazing opportunity to work with middle-school students (ages 11-14) and their families from low-income, multiethnic communities. Collaborative, play, narrative, Bowen family systems, and queer theories currently guide my therapeutic work. Passionate in and experienced with working from a client-centered, strengths-based approach and interested in working with transitional youth from 2SLGBTQIA+ and APIDA communities.

“Uống nước nhớ nguồn” (When you drink water, remember the source) — Vietnamese proverb


Maya Baca

Language Spoken: English

I was able to complete my clinical training at Douglas Young Youth and Family Services as a clinic and school-based therapist, supporting children (aged 5 through 18) and their families with communication, processing and coping skills. I thoroughly enjoy working from a narrative, play therapy, collaborative and strength-based approach for clients, respecting that the client is the expert of their own life and that each client has aspects of themselves that can and should be celebrated in treatment. I passionately work from a client-centered perspective and enjoy focused work with teens and young adults predominantly. My work as a therapist has allowed me to connect and support children and family systems that have been affected by trauma and provide a sense of “full-circle”-ness in my own life, as I had a family therapist as a young kiddo that influenced my entry into this field.  

“Your legacy is every life you touch.” - Maya Angelou 


Mayte Rodriguez Medel (they/them)

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Spanglish 

I completed my traineeship at UPAC Children and Adolescent Mental Health, where I was in community with young people and their families. My therapeutic work has been influenced by Narrative, EFT, and SFBT techniques, while incorporating art and play directives. My work with families has also been influenced by Structural Family Therapy to support strengthening attachment and collaboration within family systems. I am passionate about continuing my therapeutic work in community settings connecting with queer youth and Latine families. 

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” - Audre Lorde


Nhung Chau (She/Her)

Languages Spoken: English, Vietnamese, Vietlish

I completed my clinical training at UPAC Multicultural Community Counseling, where I had the privilege of working with Asian and Latinx youths and their families. I utilized techniques and interventions from Narrative Therapy, SFBT, and CBT while integrating play, art and outdoor therapy to collaboratively help clients and their families achieve their desired well-being. My heart continues to remain working with youths and families from diverse backgrounds to build connectedness, community, and understanding. 

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan Watts


Ritu Sharma (She/Her)

Languages Spoken: English, Hindi, and Punjabi 

I completed my clinical training at Ibarra Elementary School through Project IMPACT as a school-based play therapist. Within this space, I had the honor of supporting children, families, teachers, and other staff to help young people navigate their school and relational systems. I provided individual and family therapy and facilitated psychoeducation groups. My work is deeply influenced by a strengths-based approach, utilizing Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Emotionally-Focused Therapy, with the incorporation of art and play techniques. I am committed to approaching my therapeutic work with curiosity and humility as I believe it is a privilege to co-construct an environment where I can enter into a client’s world. As someone who identifies as a first-generation Indian-American woman, I am deeply passionate about working with South Asian and BIPOC communities to increase accessibility to mental health services. 

“you are a soul. a world. a portal. a spirit. you are never alone. you are organs and blood and flesh and muscle. a colony of miracles weaving into each other.” ― Rupi Kaur, Home Body


Thasneem Saifudeen (she/her/ella)

Languages Spoken: English, Spanish, Gujarati

I completed my clinical training at San Diego Unified School District: Mental Health Resource Center. I had the privilege of supporting and collaborating with younger people, bilingual families, and staff to strengthen relationships while living under the systems that are housed in public education. I utilized narrative therapy and CBT techniques through a client centered and strength based stance. My passion lies with working with diverse and first gen populations.

 “We are powerful because we have survived, and that is what it is all about- survival and growth.” Audre Lorde

Xuyi Alice

Xuyi Alice Chen (she/her/hers)

Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin

I did my Traineeship site at Union of Pan Asian Communities, Multicultural counseling center working with youth ages 5-22. I am guided by Post-modern therapeutic modalities including (but not limited to) Narrative, collaborative and other various therapies. I enjoy learning and staying up to date with research, therapeutic modalities, and tailoring my counseling to fit the needs of the individual. I place special importance on the relationship of the family unit, and empowering individuals within the family to strengthen their bond and relationship. 

“Leave nothing for death but a burned-out castle” ― Nikos Kazantzakis


Tracie Amerson

Languages Spoken: English and American Sign Language 

I had the opportunity to complete my traineeship at San Diego Outpatient program which is partnered with San Diego Unified School District to provide therapy services to elementary, middle, and high school students and their families. My therapeutic work is guided by Narrative Therapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I have a vested interest in working with diverse and underserved populations.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou 


MFT Graduating Cohort of 2025

cohort 2025 group picture

Past Cohorts