We are a group of licensed therapists who are passionate about working with young adults (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 created 20’s Creating Connections to support 20-somethings navigating 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 specializes in working with transition related issues: first generation students, death of a loved one, break ups, illness, divorce, and graduating seniors' anxiety around 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. She is trained in EMDR.
Kim brings a direct, practical, and caring approach to working with clients. 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, DBT, 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.
Kimberly Prohaska, LCSW, JD completed her MSW in 1995 at Rhode Island College and Juris Doctor at Loyola University, New Orleans in 2003.
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.
Language: English, Spanish
Amanda Nisewaner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked with young adults and adolescents navigating transitions for the past decade. She takes a holistic and collaborative approach to identifying treatment goals and strives to create a calm and safe space for individuals to express themselves. She pulls from a variety of therapeutic modalities and will utilize narrative therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, family systems, mindfulness, and has recently explored the benefits of nature therapy. She specializes in working with mood disorders, depression, anxiety, first generation challenges, grief and loss, and those looking to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Amanda received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz and her masters in Social Work from Boston University. She spent her training years at Children's Hospital Boston with an emphasis on trauma and working with recently arrived refugees and immigrants. She understands the needs and challenges that young people are faced with in today's society and enjoys exploring the political and cultural climate that impact our well-being.
Virginia Ballantyne identifies as a bi-racial woman and her pronouns are She/Her. Her specialties include working with people who have experienced intimate partner violence, trauma/PTSD, anxiety, and depression, or who grew up in an environment where they were negatively impacted by a family members’ substance use or mental illness.
Virginia provides a sex positive environment where issues around sexual intimacy, sexual identity, and sexual desires can be discussed without judgement. She considers herself to be an LGBTQ+ affirming therapist and an ally for LGBTQ+ individuals and sexual/gender minorities. Virginia also works with disadvantaged populations and values social justice, authenticity, and each person’s right to self-determination.
She is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, as well as Solution Focused Therapy. Virginia practices from a strengths-based, client-centered approach that focuses on empowering each person to access their inner wisdom and move toward mental wellness. Her counseling style is non-judgmental and her theoretical orientation is best described as humanistic/eclectic and unique to each person’s situation and background.
Virginia graduated from San Jose State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in health/mental health. She has many years of experience providing mental health services in the non-profit sector and county services.
Danielle is a strengths-based, client-centered therapist. As there is no “one size fits all” approach to therapy, support will be tailored to empower you to make changes specific to your needs and goals. She provides a welcoming, non-judgmental space where you can be your authentic self and explore whatever challenges you may be facing. She will help highlight inherent strengths that can support you in navigating difficulties and fostering growth both within yourself and in your relationship with others.
Whether you are struggling with anxiety, depression, first-generation experiences, forming healthy relationships, or areas of personal growth, Danielle will offer a compassionate presence where your experiences can be heard. Together, you can begin working towards positive changes in your life.
Danielle’s practice is informed by her experience and identity. She is the daughter of an immigrant, active in the LGBTQ+ community, and identifies as Latina and multiracial.
Danielle received both her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University. Her previous experience includes supporting young children and families to foster their emotional understanding, resilience, and to develop healthy family relationships.
Language: English, Spanish
Persephone Gonzalez 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 (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Interpersonal Therapy, as well as current studies in Relational Gestalt Therapy.
Persephone 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 intergenerational trauma.
Persephone is a graduate of The University of California Santa Cruz.
Language: English, Spanish
Edward Olvera provides strength-based and solution-focused assistance with an emphasis on:
- Assisting you in focusing your attention, inner strengths, and abilities on your present circumstances in order to address counterproductive thoughts and behaviors so you can realize a more satisfying, enriched, and desired future!
- Past experiences can carry an emotional charge that can be like a powerful “undertow”, however the goal is to learn to build new skills, strength, and focus to enhance or amplify your resilience, resourcefulness, and resolve to become your "Best You" living a lifestyle of your design and desire!
- The approach is intended to coach, guide, encourage, question, advocate and collaborate in order to help you achieve desired goals. "Partnering" with you emphasizes solutions to overcome patterns of behavior and thinking that are counterproductive, unsatisfying, or otherwise detrimental to your well-being, happiness, and life goals.
Edward brings more than four decades of experience and practice in a variety of settings including Crisis Mental Health, Emergency room settings, private practice, Telehealth, and UCSC CAPS.