About you, About us

About You, and About Us

We are a group of  licensed therapists who are passionate about working with millennials (18 years old-33 years old). Our expertise is providing holistic counseling to overwhelming life transitions. We offer a compassionate approach, combined with dynamic collaboration to help you develop skills and tools to apply immediately to your life. 

Kerena Saltzman

 Founder,  LCSW #20934

Kerena created 20’s Creating Connection to support 20-something’s navigate major life transitions. She gathered a group of highly skilled licensed therapists to provide holistic counseling to this emerging generation.
Kerena works  with a limited number of clients per year.  She is trained in EMDR. She specializes in working with transition related issues; first generation students, death of a loved one, break ups, illness, divorce, and graduating seniors anxiety regarding what is next for them.
She works with graduate students experiencing burn out, stress, and who are wanting to get more direction and clarity professionally.

Persephone Gonzalez

 LMFT #100405

Persephone Gonzalez, LMFT, provides psychotherapy in English and Spanish. Her specialties include complex trauma, major depression, anxiety, issues of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, sexuality and intimacy. She is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, as well as current studies in Relational Gestalt Therapy. She considers how structural, political and representational intersectionality shape clients’ access to status, health and power, bringing sociocultural contexts into the room. Persephone has an interest in working with clients who are exploring the borders of bi-cultural identity and historical and inter-generational trauma. Persephone is a graduate of The University of California Santa Cruz.

Martha Aguilar

 LMFT #108963

Since 1999, Martha has worked with youth and young adults navigating major life transitions, and the challenges that can come with developing independence and self-identity, especially for those from marginalized communities. Her specialty is working with first generation college students from migrant or recent immigrant families and those from families struggling with addiction or similar challenges. She has extensive experience working with depression, anxiety, oppression trauma, body image, low self-esteem, grief, and loss. She offers in-person and on-line counseling in English and Spanish.

Martha has been trained in: Assertive Communication, Trauma Focused CBT, Mindfulness-Based Substance Abuse Treatment for Adolescents, Motivational Interviewing, and Cara y Corazon modalities including Xinachlti, and Joven Noble.

Martha completed her BA in Multicultural Psychological Counseling from Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA; and her MA in Counseling Psychology from Palo Alto University.

Kim Prohaska

 LCSW #24158

Kimberly Prohaska, LCSW, JD completed her MSW in 1995 at Rhode Island College and Juris Doctor at Loyola University, New Orleans in 2003.  Kim brings a direct, practical, and caring approach to working with clients. Kim is trained in DBT. She specializes in working with anxiety, depression, PTSD, mood disorders, students in the LBGTQ community, students coping with immigration and first generation challenges, and students experiencing major life transitions.

She has been trained in Forensic Social Work, CBT, Family Systems, Brief Therapy, TF-CBT,  Attachment Therapy, Trauma based therapies and other evidence-based models. Utilizing a strengths-based developmental approach, her practice focuses on helping others achieve both short and long term goals.  She has practiced in a variety of settings including inpatient psychiatric, outpatient clinics, forensic assessments and private practice.  Additionally, she has provided clinical supervision for both interns and those working towards licensure from The Citadel, MUSC, Tulane University, UCLA and San Jose State.

Dima Dashevsky

 LMFT #82579

Dima is a holistic therapist who works relationally as well as somatically and provides a safe space for you to be able to get in touch with your inner wisdom and intuition as a way to guide you through whatever challenges and struggles you may be experiencing. Dima’s work is also rooted inintersectionality, restorative justice, cultural humility and queer theory.

As an immigrant as well as a queer, non-binary, transgender human, he holds a special place in his heart for working with folks affected by displacement and struggling to find a sense of community and belonging. By looking together at how the multiple layers of your identity and life experiences have shaped you, we can reflect on your strengths and resiliencies as well as support you inmoving towards becoming your most empowered self and creating the life that youwant.

Dima has been a therapist for the past 12 years in multiple settings, including agencies, schools, providing community-based services, as well as private practice. He specialized in providing trauma-informed services to youth, children and families involved with child welfare, as well as providing gender affirmative care to youth and adults in the LGBTQQI+ community. Dima has also enjoyed combining traditional talk therapy with other modalities, such as ExpressiveArts Therapy.    

Karin Robbins

  LCSW #18692 | SEP

Karin earned her Master’s Degree in Social Welfare from UCLA and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of California. She spent twenty-two years working in public and private agency settings providing direct services, clinical and administrative supervision, program planning and development, prior to opening her full time private practice in 2012.

• Somatic Experiencing® (SE) Practitioner
• NeuroAffective Relational Model™ (NARM) Practitioner
• SE Touch Skills for Trauma Therapists
• Yoga and Ayurveda Lifestyle Specialist (300 hours)
• Mindfulness Meditation: Insight LA, Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), and Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Lisa Herendeen

LCSW #7772

Effective therapy involves candor and authenticity.  I enjoy partnering with young people and am motivated by the openness and desire to grow that I see with this population.   As a therapist, I use my own mindfulness meditation practice to connect with and educate clients.  I challenge them to become more intelligent about themselves and ultimately more at ease in the world.

I have over 15 years experience as a family therapist and love working in education settings. For several years I was a teacher and school-based therapist.  I love working with the UC Santa Cruz student population.

Melissa Villalobos

LMFT #88903

Melissa Villalobos, LCSW, provides a safe and supportive environment to explore your feelings and concerns. Her goal is to help you live and maintain a fulfilling, healthy, authentic, balanced and meaningful life. She holds a degree in Psychology from UCSC and earned her Masters degree in Social Work from San Jose State. She has over 15 years in the mental health field and has worked with children, adolescents and adults to improve overall quality of life.

Melissa has worked in a variety of settings, including residential facilities, psychiatric hospitals, non-profit community agencies and government. She specializes in working with mood disorders, depression, anxiety and first-generation challenges. She works to provide each person with a tailored treatment plan using a blend of theoretical orientations.

Riitta de los Santos

LMFT #105830

I provide a safe and non-judgmental space in the spirit of warmth and humor for your journey towards wellness. I earned my MA in Counseling Psychology from Palo Alto University. I have experience working with youth and adults of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds in private practice and in educational, county mental health, and forensic settings.

Being a therapist is my second career; my first career was in the business world, as a sales and marketing professional. My life has given me quite a journey through which I have been fortunate to have lived, worked, and learned in a variety of settings, countries, and cultures. This diverse personal history adds to my depth of understanding and capacity as a therapist.

I use a combination of modalities to address all aspects of you. I have experience and training in CBT, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), TRE® (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises), and am credentialed as a yoga teacher (RYT ® 200) with specialty training in trauma- informed techniques. I specialize in working with anxiety, depression, chronic stress, PTSD/complex trauma, and life transitions.

Holly Purcell

LMFT #98293

While Holly has worked with a variety of ages, she finds she is continuously drawn to working with young adults. She forms genuine connections with her clients and provides a warm and welcoming space for students to begin exploring and processing their feelings.  Holly pulls from a variety of therapeutic orientations, including inner child, mindfulness, person-centered, humanistic, and cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Her work focuses on strengthening your relationship with yourself. She helps clients develop more awareness, kindness, and compassion for themselves. Holly works with students who want to improve their boundaries, self esteem, self confidence, explore gender, or explore their sexuality. She enjoys working with a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, addiction, PTSD, and trauma. Holly helps her clients move beyond the symptoms and labels, to create the lives they want to live.

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Phone: 831-566-3495