Our Therapists

Sasha Ginsburg -Krasny, LCSW
Executive Director & Founder of Westside DBT

Sasha, a USC graduate, received her training from Harbor UCLA, a DMH facility in Torrance. She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and DBT working with adults and family members. She subsequently worked at Cedars Sinai at Thalians in the adult outpatient clinic, seeing clients for individual and group DBT. Sasha was intensively trained as a team, through Behavioral Tech, and has extensive experience in the field of DBT. Sasha currently treats families, adolescents and adults in West LA and Studio City locations. Sasha also provides clinical training for the UCLA psychiatry residents through the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

Through the process of dialectics and mindfulness, she works with her clients to uncover their inherent skills and improve your overall quality of life. Working collaboratively is crucial in this therapeutic process and in the discovery of your short and long-term goals.
She has a specialty and extensive experience in working with individuals and personality disorders, relationship issues, depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

Sasha Ginsburg -Krasny, LCSW

Lic.25995

Executive Director & Founder of Westside DBT

Erin Lotz, LCSW
Clinical Director & Founder of Westside DBT

Erin Lotz, LCSW, holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California and has been a part of the well respected team of Psychotherapists and Psychiatrists at Cedars-Sinai-Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences in Los Angeles, California and continues to be a trusted psychotherapist and teacher. Outside of Westside DBT, Erin also has a private practice, www.erinlotz.com, specializing in Mindfulness Psychotherapy. Erin has extensive experience working with adolescents and adults.

Erin specializes in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy working with individuals and groups. Erin provides treatment for a variety of mood, anxiety and personality disorders, as well as difficulties with addiction, impulsive behaviors, and chronic/persistent feelings that cause great amounts of suffering. Erin believes in each individual in creating a quality of life worth living.

Erin is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She was first introduced to DBT in 2000 at a Coping with Chaos training by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D, the original developer of DBT. Since then, Erin has completed DBT 2 trainings and completed the Intensive Training through Behavioral Tech.

Erin Lotz, LCSW

Lic.22869

Clinical Director & Founder of Westside DBT

Pam Jacobson, MFT
Clinician

Pam Jacobson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco. Over the last seven years her experience has ranged from working with adult dually diagnosed patients at Saint Helena’s Behavioral Health Hospital in Vallejo, California, to most recently working as a Dialectical Behavioral Therapist at Westside DBT. Pam has received training in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and continues to further her knowledge of the DBT model through extensive trainings offered at Behavioral Tech, Marsha Linehan’s organization where DBT was developed.

In private practice Pam specializes in working with adults and adolescents struggling with impulse control, self-harming behaviors, anxiety, mood disorders and substance abuse. She is also well-versed in facilitating DBT skills training groups. Pam has embraced the DBT model because of its balance between validation and acceptance with commitment to change. Working in a supportive and collaborative style with her clients she introduces the DBT skills and structure. Pam is honored to be a part of her client’s journey as they move towards a life they want to live.

Pam Jacobson, LMFT

 Adolescent & Family Program Director 

Brian Shiers, MA CMF
LMFT Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist # 114627

Brian Shiers is a Certified Mindfulness Facilitator and has a Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Interpersonal Neurobiology. Brian uses mindfulness to create a safe holding environment for treating anxiety disorders, healing attachment damage, and teaching DBT skills. He is a senior teacher for UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and provides mindfulness programs for clients such as the FBI, Disney Animation Studios, and the UCLA Women’s Volleyball Team.

Brian Shiers, MA, LMFT

Clinician

Jennifer Ghadishah, Psy.D
Registration #PSB94025712

Jennifer Ghadishah holds a doctorate degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  Prior, she attended Antioch University where she received her master’s degree in clinical psychology after completing her BA at UCLA. Over the last 8 years, Jennifer has experience working as a psychotherapist in both an outpatient and residential setting and has worked with many different populations including addiction, personality disorders and mood disorders. Jennifer is trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and is currently registered under the Board of Psychology as a Psychological Assistant and is working towards her licensure. Jennifer works with children, adolescents, adults couples and families and has facilitated both process and educational groups. Jennifer is a bi-lingual therapist who is fluent in Farsi. Jennifer is also the intake coordinator at Westside DBT.

 

Jennifer Ghadishah, Psy.D

Psychological Assistant Registration #PSB94024178

Christopher Causey, CTT
Clinician

Chris received his B.A. Degree in Human Services from Saint Leo University with undergraduate focus in Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy. He received his Master's Degree at Webster University with a concentration in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral and Experiential therapies. Chris is a Certified Trauma Therapist (CTT) and an Associate Sex Addiction Therapist (ASAT).

Chris has extensive clinical knowledge and expertise in eating disorders, trauma resolution, sex and love addiction and co-occuring addictions. With these specialties he is able to treat many clients and conduct many different styles of groups. Chris is currently a co-facilitator with Healing Within, an intensive trauma workshop.

Chris is also well known for his use of heart centered breath in a modified Holotropic Breathwork modality suitable for beginners, experts, and trauma survivors alike - combined with techniques of Soul Gazing and energy work.

He firmly believes in practicing a treatment modality that encourages a healing connection between mind, body, and spirit, through the efforts of fostering personal empowerment and body acceptance.
www.inspirebreath.com

Christopher Causey, CTT/ASAT

Clinician

Katrin Steinert
Clinician 

LMFT#130229

Katrin Steinert is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who received her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.

Katrin received her graduate school training at Airport Marina Counseling Service and Exodus Recovery. Airport Marina Counseling Service is a community mental health clinic that provides affordable therapeutic services. While at Airport Marina Counseling Service, she received training in a range of topics including LGBTQIA affirmative practices, grief counseling and suicidal/domestic violence assessments. At Exodus Recovery Psychiatric Health Facility, she worked with adults who struggled with mental health disorders and received training in treatment planning and group therapy.

In her free time, Katrin enjoys hiking, spending time with friends and traveling.

Katrin Steinert, LMFT#130229

Katrin Steinert, LMFT

Clinician

Caitlin Bergh, Licensed 
Clinical Social Worker #108274

Caitlin has been a clinician at Westside DBT since fall of 2019. She is passionate about DBT and values the unique relationships that she builds with each client. She enjoys helping clients identify what matters to them most and take steps toward “building a life worth living.” Caitlin also facilitates DBT groups at Westside and enjoys creating a non-judgmental space in which clients can  build mastery in DBT concepts and skills.

Caitlin has been trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Complex PTSD, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Prolonged Exposure (DBT-PE), Fertility Counseling, and Mindful Self-Compassion. She is an avid practitioner of mindfulness and mindful self-compassion, and is always learning and reading more about how we can use these tools to be more present and engaged in our lives.

Prior to working at Westside DBT, Caitlin worked with clients living with acute mental illness in a residential setting, both as an individual psychotherapist and as a DBT skills group co-facilitator.

Caitlin received her Bachelor’s in English from Columbia University and her Master’s in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago.

Caitlin is a Licensed
Clinical Social Worker #108274

Caitlin Bergh, LCSW

Clinician

Carissa Gallardo, LMFT
Clinician and Clinical Supervisor

Carissa Gallardo, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, finished her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University. Carissa holds a license in Marriage and Family Therapy in both California and Colorado. She has over 15 years of experience dealing with individuals, couples, and families in a variety of settings. She began her career working with a non-profit organization focusing on dealing with the parents and families of children with special needs. She also has considerable education and practical experience in Applied Behavior Analysis.

Carissa’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) education and expertise started when working at an in-patient treatment facility. During her time there, she worked with a wide variety of clinical concerns and diagnosis’ applying Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She acquired on-site training and education in DBT. She is a skilled group therapist with experience leading groups a including DBT, CBT, and Seeking Safety, Mindfulness, Body Centered, and Experiential.

As the Director of the Intensive Outpatient, Outpatient and Alumni Program in an addiction treatment facility, Carissa was responsible for the day to day clinical oversight of the IOP/OP and Alumni Programs.

Carissa has worked in intensive outpatient care and private practice settings providing brief and long-term psychotherapy, psycho-education, and consultation to adolescents and adults, groups, couples, and families struggling with issues that include addiction, eating disorders, dual diagnoses, depression, anxiety, addictions, personality disorders, multicultural issues, and trauma.

Carissa’s hobbies include biking, running, swimming, hiking, reading and most of all spending time with her son.

Carissa Gallardo, LMFT

Clinician, Clinical Supervisor and Family Director

Ella Johnson
Clinician
Licensed Clinical Social Worker LCSW 113744

Ella received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Connecticut College and her Master of Social Work from Columbia University. While enrolled at Columbia, Ella was selected as a part of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy training program and was intensively trained in DBT through Behavioral Tech. During this time, Ella interned at Zucker Hillside Hospital in the Adult Outpatient Compressive DBT Program, providing individual therapy and facilitating groups.

Ella has experience treating mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychosis. Prior to joining Westside DBT, Ella worked as a therapist at a non-profit in NYC where she provided evidence-based individual therapy to adults, adolescents, and children. While working in the non-profit sector, Ella was intensively trained in Groups and Family Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (GF-CBT) and CBT for Psychosis (CBT-P).

In her free time, Ella enjoys playing beach volleyball, watching documentaries, taking film
photographs, and spending time with friends & family.

Ella Johnson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW #113744

Ella Johnson, LCSW

Clinician

Sarah Breen
Clinician
Licensed Clinical Social Worker LCSW 

Lic # 115675

Sarah received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Boston University and her Master of Social Work from Columbia University. While enrolled at Columbia, Sarah was selected as a part of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training program and was intensively trained in DBT through Behavioral Tech. During this training program, Sarah interned at NYU Child Study Center in their Adolescent DBT Program where she provided comprehensive DBT and CBT to children and adolescents.

Prior to joining Westside DBT, Sarah worked as a therapist at a group practice in NYC where she conducted evidence-based individual therapy with adults of all ages. Sarah has clinical experience in treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety and other mood disorders, personality disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. In addition to DBT, Sarah is intensively trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapy modality primarily used for the treatment of trauma.

In her clinical practice, Sarah believes in the importance of building trust and a meaningful therapeutic relationship with clients in order to facilitate change. Sarah focuses on her clients’ strengths and the power of validation to support clients in building positive experiences and foster growth. In her free time, Sarah enjoys going to the movies, spending time with friends and family, and hiking on weekends.

Sarah is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Lic # 115675

Sarah Breen, LCSW

Clinician

Nirvana Bravo
Associate Clinical Social Worker
Registration #111867
Supervised by Erin Lotz, LCSW License #22869

Nirvana received her bachelor’s in sociology from California State University, Northridge followed by her Master’s in Social Work from the University of California, Los Angeles. During her time at UCLA, she received her PPSC certification to further specialize in working with adolescents and their support systems.

Nirvana has experience providing psychotherapy to children, teens, and their families, as well as adults dealing with chronic and multiple diagnoses.
Prior to joining Westside DBT, she worked as a therapist at the University of California, Los Angeles providing evidence-based individual therapy to students, as well as leading group mindfulness activities.

Nirvana is passionate about the therapeutic alliance as the vehicle to support clients in their unique journey towards self-fulfillment.
In her spare time, Nirvana enjoys painting, dancing, traveling, cooking, and incorporating daily movement into her life.

Nirvana is a Registered Associate (ACSW#111867) practicing under the supervision of Erin Lotz (LCSW#22869)
Clinical Director and Founder of Westside DBT

Nirvana Bravo, ACSW

Clinician

Maya Whaba
Clinician

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, AMFT# 137838

Maya earned her Masters of Science Degree in Clinical Psychology at California State University, Northridge. Maya previously received her Bachelor of Art Degree in Sociology at California Polytechnic University of San Luis Obispo. During this time Maya volunteered with adolescents in juvenile detention centers providing mindfulness based rehabilitation services.

Prior to joining Westside DBT Maya provided psychotherapy to adolescents, adults, and couples at Hillside Wellness Center, a community non-profit. Maya received training in trauma informed psychotherapy and integrated evidence-based approaches to her therapy practice.

Maya’s style of therapy is warm and compassionate, she provides a safe space for you to discover and live in your authentic self. Maya is passionate about fostering a genuine therapeutic relationship to meet the unique needs of each individual.

When Maya isn’t at work she enjoys hiking, practicing yoga, traveling, and spending time in nature with her friends and family.

Maya is currently a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT#137838) practicing under the supervision of Pam Jacobson M.A., LMFT #49386

Maya Wahba, AMFT

Clinician

Peter Smick
Clinician

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, AMFT# 128673

Peter Smick is a trauma-informed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. His integrative, relational approach helps clients identify their core wounds and target behaviors and work to increase self-awareness, self-regulation and emotional attunement. Using DBT, EMDR, Internal Family Systems and Gestalt methodologies, Peter helps clients reconnect with an authentic relation to self and others, enroute to therapeutic transformation.

Peter earned his Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pepperdine University. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Analytical Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute, specializing in Integrative Therapy and Healing Practices. Prior to joining Westside DBT, Peter spent several years at the Maple Counseling Center and Reconnect Integrative Trauma Treatment Center, where he worked as a primary therapist with individual adults, adolescents, and families. He also facilitated groups on creating meaningful relationships, CBT, self-discovery and stress management. Additionally, he has experience working with clients who suffer from process addictions, such as sex/love and social media addiction.

A Washington, D.C. native, Peter began his career in the entertainment industry in New York City after completing his B.A. at Columbia University. Working in media and market research opened his eyes to the value of understanding the psychographics of an audience. After completing a two-year MFA program at UCLA’s graduate Film School, Peter spent a decade working in marketing and advertising in the entertainment industry. It was in this space of creative strategy and social media strategy that he became fascinated with the interpersonal neurobiology associated with always-on, ubiquitous connectivity and it’s connection with complex trauma.

Peter is currently a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT#128673) practicing under the supervision of Pam Jacobson M.A., LMFT #49386

Peter Smick, AMFT

Clinician

DUNIA HAMZI, ACSW
Clinician

REGISTRATION #111867

SUPERVISED BY CARISSA GALLARDO, LMFT LICENSE #52131

HELLO, I'M DUNIA, A DEDICATED THERAPIST COMMITTED TO YOUR WELL-BEING AND PERSONAL GROWTH. I HOLD A MASTERS IN CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK FROM BOSTON UNIVERSITY. MY JOURNEY IN THERAPY HAS BEEN ENRICHED BY 6 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WHERE I'VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF SUPPORTING INDIVIDUALS, FAMILIES, AND COUPLES ON THEIR PATH TO HEALING. MY THERAPEUTIC APPROACH IS DEEPLY ROOTED IN COMPASSION AND EMPATHY. I TAKE A HUMANISTIC APPROACH TO CREATE A TAILORED EXPERIENCE FOR EACH CLIENT. MY STRENGTHS LIE IN FOSTERING A SAFE AND NON-JUDGMENTAL SPACE FOR CLIENTS TO EXPLORE THEIR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS. BEYOND MY WORK, I'M PASSIONATE ABOUT VOLUNTEERING, YOGA, MUSIC, AND SPENDING TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I BELIEVE THAT PERSONAL INTERESTS CAN PLAY A VITAL ROLE IN ONE'S OVERALL WELL-BEING. I LOOK FORWARD TO JOINING YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY AND TRANSFORMATION. TOGETHER, WE CAN WORK TOWARDS ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS AND FINDING BALANCE AND FULFILLMENT IN YOUR LIFE.

DUNIA IS A REGISTERED ASSOCIATE (ACSW#111867) PRACTICING UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF CARISSA GALLARDO (LMFT#52131).

DUNIA HAMZI, ACSW

Clinician

Aimee H. Ruiz
Executive Administrative Assistant

Aimee H. Ruiz is the executive administrative assistant to the owners of Westside DBT, Inc. In this position, Aimee provides technical and logistical support for clinicians. She serves as the primary contact for communicating with relevant parties regarding accounts and billing issues. Aimee joined our team in 2018. Prior to her position at WDBT, she served as patient service supervisor at Radnet Resolution Imaging in Santa Monica. She has worked in the medical field for over 23 years.

Aimee is a wife and a mother of two daughters. Born in California, she enjoys the beach, watching football and spending time with her family and friends.

Aimee H. Ruiz

Executive Admin Assistant

Denise Hill
Executive Administrative Assistant

Denise Hill is an Executive Administrative Assistant with 20 years of medical experience and a graduate of the University of Louisville. Denise was the Operational Manager for a Radiology for facility in Santa Monica for 8 years where she managed 20 employees. She is also an entrepreneur and passionate about inspiring others. Denise along with her husband are the owners of Inspirational Affirmation Apparel.

Denise was born and raised in Louisville, Ky and currently resides in Santa Monica, C

Denise Hill

Executive Admin Assistant

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