Our Interns

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Ariel Aguirre, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Ariel received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from California State University (CSU), Sacramento. During her undergraduate career, she had the pleasure of participating in coursework enriched with lessons in multiculturalism. This experience made her passionate about a future working with clients from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

Upon completing her degree, Ariel returned to her hometown in the Central Valley, where she volunteered as a Client Services Advocate at the Marjaree Mason Center’s and as a crisis hotline volunteer for the Central Valley Suicide Prevention Hotline. Being afforded the opportunity to work with others in this way solidified her desire to serve as a guide where she could continue to help empower others. Accordingly, she went on to complete her Masters of Science in Counseling, with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, from CSU, Fullerton.

For approximately two years, she has gained clinical experience working with the LGBTQI+ population at the LGBT Center, Orange County in Santa Ana, CA. There she was trained from a psychodynamic approach, one in which she works to help clients develop insight into how their early object relations or images influence their current presenting concerns and relationships. Believing that the best approach to counseling is the one the works best for the client, she is integrative in her style. In working to turn insight into action, she incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as appropriate, feeling the two modalities work synergistically. She has worked with adolescents, adults, couples, and families, and helped clients work through mood and anxiety disorders, trauma, crisis issues, grief and loss, codependency, sexual identity concerns, gender dysphoria, body image issues, and relationship conflict.

Most importantly, Ariel is committed to and humbled by the therapeutic relationship. She feels that being authentic while offering clients unconditional positive regard and accurate empathy is central to her work and client progress. Fostering trust in a nonjudgmental, affirming atmosphere is something she strives for, as she considers this to be paramount to the healing process. She truly values each and every one of her clients, and is so honored to be allowed to come along on their journeys.

Registration IMF 91999

Barrett Eng, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Barrett’s approach to therapy is direct and non-judgmental. He prioritizes providing a safe and trusting environment for people of all cultures and orientations. Using all of his experience, knowledge, humor and insight he hopes to come alongside those working with him as they face what they are dealing with. As a working therapist, Barrett has seen clients coping with anxiety, depression, addictions, mood, and chronic mental health issues.

Barrett has experience in working with populations of addictions and children. Having practiced therapy with individuals, families, couples, children and groups. This therapist has had specialized training in working with couples. This therapist has earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton. He has also studied at Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary where he has received the degree Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. While working on this degree Barrett interned at On-Site and Turning Point’s First Street Center. Barrett primarily uses the Humanistic-Existential model, emphasizing freedom of choice and personal meaning. He is known to be eclectic in techniques borrowing skills and methods from Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing among others.

Barrett believes that it is the therapeutic relationship the client and the clinician that is the main curative. He values transparency within this relationship. That the client and clinician are equal partners in this journey. He is passionate in reducing marginalization in peoples’ lives and bringing about peace.

Registration IMF 87168

 

 

Edward Schultze Jr., MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Ed has a Master’s Degree in Counseling for Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University at Fresno, graduating in August 2015. He completed a full internship during 2014-2015 as a Marriage and Family Therapy trainee at the CSUF Student Health and Psychological Services Center serving a diverse student population for two semesters with individual, couples and group therapy. He recently completed six months with the Merced County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services at the Mercy Medical Center working as a Triage Mental Health Clinician completing crisis assessments in the Emergency Room.

Prior to his graduate studies, he provided peer intervention services for the homeless locally as a community advocate and peer support leader.  His earlier employment experiences as a public school teacher (Central Valley) and as a human services professional in the Northeast gave him considerable opportunities to serve people of diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and individuals with disabilities in vocational training to address their varied needs. His most fulfilling work was serving with Nutmeg Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Hartford, Connecticut as a caseworker providing matched volunteer services for children from single parent families and foster care settings.

At Fresno State, Ed was trained in the client-centered theoretical approach as his primary therapeutic foundation and has utilized cognitive behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavior therapy as well as motivational interviewing with clients in clinical settings regarding substance abuse issues. Other theoretical approaches of interest to him personally are existential therapy, narrative therapy and structural family therapy.

Ed has considerable experience with psychotherapy, meditation and prayer to deepen his self-awareness, self-love and self-compassion and further his emotional healing to find meaning and purpose in his life. His involvement with 12-step programs such as Codependents Anonymous (CODA) and Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) blessed him with a deeper understanding of the impact of the family illness of alcoholism and dysfunctional families, the intergenerational transmission of family dysfunction, as well as supporting other adult children as survivors of childhood trauma and the shared challenges within their recovery/healing process.

Ed is very excited as a MFT intern to be part of our communicative team approach to best serve the therapeutic needs of the clients in a clinical and school based settings.

Registration IMF 89178

Jeffery Thomas, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Jeffery Thomas has a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, with a specialty in Marriage and Family Therapy. He also has a Master of Education in Cross Cultural Teaching and a Multiple Subject teaching Credential. Before Jeffery entered the field of mental health, he enjoyed teaching elementary school for eleven years. For the last year he has provided mental health services to adolescents, adults and families.

Jeffery has experience offering support along with tools to aid individuals suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder, behavior problems in children, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and addictions. Jeffery takes a Solution Focus and Cognitive approach to therapy. His view is that it is important to be mindful of emotions and thoughts. His belief is that our perception or belief of situations can determine emotions.  His goal is to enhance better relationships and communication skills. Another goal is to empower individuals to make necessary changes to overcome life obstacles.

Jeffery has a great passion for helping others overcome challenges. He enjoys helping individuals rebuild relationships while gaining stronger self-worth and confidence in their ability to effectively problem solve.

Registration IMF 89734

Melissa Masri, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Melissa has Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy, with a specialty in Court Mediation from California Lutheran University. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelors of Art in Child Development with a specialty in Youth and Family Services from San Francisco State University. Additionally, Melissa is a qualified Master Teacher in Early Childhood Education. For the last year she has provided mental health services to children, adolescents, individuals, families, and couples at the Community Counseling Center in Thousand Oaks.

Before Melissa entered the field of mental health, she taught as an Early Childhood Educator for eight years. During that time she also worked with immigration reform, the San Francisco food bank, educational services for those in the juvenile justice system, and youth oriented ecumenical organizations. It was this work that lead her to see how necessary and important mental health care is to ones overall functioning.

Melissa takes a Humanistic approach to therapy and believes wholeheartedly that in order for therapy to be effective the client – therapist relationship must be built on trust and understanding. Her view is that therapy should be conducted in a warm and empathetic environment, where the therapist is genuine and values their client. Melissa strives to offer therapy that takes into account the whole person and that is based on strengths.

Registration IMF 84086

 

Michelle Cranke, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Michelle earned her Masters of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling from California State University, Fresno. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies also from California State University, Fresno. While in pursuit of her education, Michelle volunteered with various organizations including the Bulldog Pantry, No More Slumlords, Technologies for Education and Social Advancement, and Mediator Mentors. Through each of these experiences, she has gained invaluable experience in working with diverse populations in the community of Fresno. Over the past two years, Michelle has provided mental health services to adolescents, individual adults, families, couples, and groups at the Fresno Family Counseling Center which offers services to underserved populations in the community.

Michelle has treated clients with such diagnosis’s as Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Motor Tic Disorder, Relational Problems, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Trauma. Michelle believes that the therapeutic-relationship itself between client and clinician is paramount to the client’s progress in meeting their goals. Because of this, she strives to foster an environment of unconditional positive regard, empathy, acceptance, genuineness, and respect. Furthermore, because every individual is different, she believes that treatment should not be approached in a fixed unchanging way. As such, her personal style of therapy is integrative and draws from such theories as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy.

Registration IMF 98275

 

Vanessa Miller, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Vanessa received her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brandman University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a Minor Specialization in English from UCLA. Vanessa initially wanted to pursue a career as a medical doctor until taking a psychology class in high school. During the class, Vanessa realized the importance and lack of mental health care due to its many stigmas. Because of this, she felt a strong desire to pursue a mental health career in hopes of helping others heal emotionally.

Vanessa’s career began at UCLA where she worked for GEAR-UP as a tutor and mentor to below proficient students at Inglewood high school. Also, during her Gerontology class, she worked with elderly adults in an adult day care facility, aiding them in artistic and fun activities.  During her time at Brandman, Vanessa began her traineeship at Pacific Pride Foundation, where she provided therapy to the LGBTQI and HIV/AIDS community. Vanessa also worked at CALM, where she provided therapy through to children who were in foster care and being reunited with their families or adjusting to their new families. Vanessa’s most recent work was with California Psych Care, where she provided behavioral therapy to children with Autism both in the home and at school setting.

Vanessa’s diverse client background has shown her that an eclectic therapy style is very important. Vanessa feels that each client has their own specific needs and that it is important to explore multiple therapeutic options in order to best treat the client. She is constantly researching new therapeutic styles, while integrating well-known styles, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Bowen Family Therapy. Vanessa also understands that a therapist-client relationship needs to be based on trust and a mutual understanding of what is the best treatment plan for the client.

Registration IMF 92041

 

Roxanne Aguirre, MFTI

Marriage and Family Therapy Intern

Roxanne received her bachelors of Arts in Psychology from California State University Fresno and her Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fresno Pacific University. Initially she wanted to be an elementary school teacher and worked various educational jobs during her undergraduate studies. Upon noticing that many children had trouble focusing in school, Roxanne discovered that she wanted to study to help others cope with their emotional problems. She quickly changed her major from liberal studies to psychology and began working in programs that focused on mental health and emotional well-being.

Roxanne has worked in various mental health programs throughout the Central Valley, which she considers her home. Roxanne is passionate about delivering mental health services to underrepresented communities. She was the recipient of the MFT Stipend Program in 2014 which was awarded by the Central Valley MFT Consortium.

Roxanne’s approach with client’s is eclectic and she seeks to find what works for each individual client. She works primarily from a Cognitive Behavioral or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy approach but is always working to understand her clients and find what works best for them. Roxanne has treated client’s suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. She has experience providing group, individual, couples, and family therapy.

In her previous clinician role Roxanne focused her attention on working with people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder and taught coping skills group to these individuals. Roxanne works on helping clients regulate their emotions so that their emotions are not controlling and running their life. Often life can be overwhelming and stressful because we are living in the past or worried about the future. Roxanne believes strongly in helping clients live in the moment to enjoy life and rid themselves of unnecessary stress and worry.

Roxanne is a Spanish speaker who has a passion for working with immigrants in the Central Valley. She has strong ties to the Latino community and is always seeking to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

Registration IMF 86138

 

 

Shannon Papagi, MFTI, PCCI

Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling and Professional Clinical Counseling

Shannon received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, as well as her Cross-Cultural Competency Certificate from California State University, Fresno. Wanting to further pursue a career in a helping profession she went on to earn her Master’s of Science degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling and Professional Clinical Counseling also from California State University, Fresno.

Shannon completed her practicum at Fresno Family Counseling Center which offers counseling services to the underserved populations within the community. During her time at Fresno Family Counseling Center she provided both individual and family counseling. Shannon then moved on and completed her hours as a Marriage and Family Therapist trainee at California State University Fresno, Student Health and Counseling Center. Shannon provided both individual and group counseling services to a culturally diverse student population. In addition to providing counseling services, she assisted with campus outreach events facilitating the removal of stigma preventing college students from seeking mental health services.

Shannon has treated clients with mood and anxiety disorders, phobia disorders, relational problems, addictions, grief and loss, and trauma. Most importantly, Shannon believes that a strong therapeutic alliance between a client and their clinician is essential for the client to progress towards meeting their goals. Shannon works to provide her clients with a warm and welcoming environment of empathy, acceptance, and respect. Her personal style of therapy is derived from such theories as Person-Centered Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution Focused Therapy.

Registration IMF 100749

Registration PCCI 4134