Meet Our Staff
Our qualified therapists & counselors fall into the following professional categories:
LICENSED MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST:
Our Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists are seasoned professionals that have attained a Master's Degree or higher in psychology or a related field and are experienced in treating a variety of issues in counseling. Marriage and Family Therapists work with a specific emphasis in addressing relational issues when counseling individuals, couples, and families.
REGISTERED ASSOCIATE MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST:
Our Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapists have attained their Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology or a related field and have experience counseling individuals, couples, and families. Registered Associates assume a counseling role under the supervision of a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.
REGISTERED ASSOCIATE PROFESSIONAL CLINICAL COUNSELOR:
Our Registered Associate Professional Counselors have attained their Master's Degree in Psychology or a related field and have experience counseling individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Associate Professional Clinical Counselors at Family Focus also work with couples and families and assume a counseling role under the supervision of a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.
PRACTICUM STUDENTS/TRAINEES: Our practicum students and trainees are counseling students in their last year of graduate school attaining their Master's Degree and counsel under the supervision of a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist.
EMILY VANNORTWICK, M.A.
LICENSED MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST #120571
With over a decade of clinical experience, I work primarily with individual adults seeking to learn ways to better manage symptoms of anxiety that are impacting their lives and relationships. I support my clients in identifying and pursuing their values in order to reclaim parts of their lives anxiety or distressing life experiences have tried to take away.
My experience in working with clients struggling with the physical and emotional impact of trauma and anxiety includes training in EMDR as well as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I use a relational and Client-Centered approach in therapy to support others in pursuing the same healing for their minds that they would for a physical injury requiring care and attention. I’ve witnessed incredible stories of growth in the context of an authentic and safe therapeutic relationship.
There is no single approach to therapy that works for everyone. Keeping this in mind, I work with each client to find the best way to move toward positive growth, healing, and fulfilling relationships with others.
I deeply value effective and high quality clinical care. This informs the work I do as a clinical supervisor of counselors and therapists pursuing licensure in California as well as a passion for providing therapy to pre-licensed therapists entering the mental health field.
-Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology - Azusa Pacific University
– Optum (UHC)
JENNIFER OSBORN, M.A.
LICENSED MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST #117433
Are you hurting and want to overcome your pain or obstacle in life? Are you having trouble with emotion regulation or problems in your relationships? Therapy is about change. I am passionate about seeing people healed and set free from emotional pain, trauma, unwanted behaviors, low self-image, and broken relationships. I approach therapy in a non-judgmental manner in which I come alongside an individual and explore the goals they have for themselves. The method I embrace focuses on both strengths and potential growth areas through an edifying relationship.
I want to come alongside you by providing a safe environment in which healing and change occur. I consider it a privilege to do therapy with individuals who are willing to work towards their goals in order to see transformation take place in their own lives and relationships with others.
My experience and training consists of working with those who struggle with depression, anxiety, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, relationship conflicts, interpersonal effectiveness, low self-image, abuse, trauma, and single or dual diagnosis. I am also trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), EMDR for trauma, and Prepare/Enrich for marital/premarital counseling.
STEPHANIE VELEZ, M.A.
MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST #132055
Supervised by Emily VanNortwick LMFT #120571
I am a warm and compassionate professional therapist with a Christian world view approach to counseling. I offer tools that are both Psychological and Biblical that can assist people through their life transitions, stressful circumstances, and changes.
I believe we all desire to be loved and accepted for who we are. Often during our lives we experience disconnection, isolation, turmoil, loneliness and a need to find meaning. It is my goal as a therapist with the power of God's word to assist my clients to better understand their experiences, assist in the changes necessary to live the way they were meant to live, and to have the relationships they desire.
I have worked with older male and female adults suffering from depression with Union Pacific Asian Communities. My work has also included interning at Family Focus Christian Counseling which enabled me to work with adolescents, adults, and couples. I was a ministry leader for the Rock Church Single Parent Family Ministry teaching and providing biblical guidance to parents and children. I have also completed a 40-hour Domestic Violence training.
I hold a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. I am currently serving Family Focus as a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist under the supervision of Emily VanNortwick, LMFT#120571.
SHARON MEINS, M.A.
REGISTERED ASSOCIATE PROFESSIONAL
CLINICAL COUNSELOR #APCC10828
Supervised by Emily VanNortwick, LMFT #120571
If you are in a relationship and are finding yourself stuck in negative patterns that are blocking you from feeling understood and connected, it can be challenging to find a sense of security and hope. When the distress and tension mount, safety and well-being can feel elusive. I work with couples and individuals using therapeutic methods that help promote healing both within the person and between people. Sometimes trauma is at the root of these patterns, so if this is true for you, we can work together to make sense of what feels confusing, disorganizing, and sometimes overwhelming.
I have advanced training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples and am currently continuing my training as I pursue certification. I am also a certified Level 3 Trauma Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST) therapist, which is helpful for individuals who have been through traumatic experiences to gain a sense of self-agency, emotional stability, and connection within.
My approach is warm, compassionate, and relational. My hope for you is that you will find therapy with me helpful in finding the resources inside that you didn't even know you had. I invite you to reach out to me to begin your journey.
- MA in Counseling - Townsend Institute at Concordia University Irvine
- BA in Literature - UCSD
- Elementary Education Teaching Credential - University of San Diego
LITA BOWIE, B.A.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPIST TRAINEE
Supervised by Emily VanNortwick, LMFT #120571
What if I told you, "I see you?" What would that mean to you? Would that mean a person that listens with open ears, a person that supports you, someone that authentically cares, or all the above? As a Marriage and Family Therapist trainee, I am able to do just that. Hi there! My name is Lita Bowie and I am an empathetic, warm, and fun clinician currently completing my Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. I have the pleasure of offering therapy to clients of Family Focus Christian Counseling.
I have a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and I have worked with families, mothers, and youth in my professional life. I provide support to children and adolescents, couples, and individuals struggling with addictive behaviors, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and perinatal mood disorders. As a therapist trainee, I am passionate about serving communities that may not otherwise have the resources necessary to access help. I support FFCC's mission as a 501(c)(3) non-profit of providing significantly reduced rates and low-fee services to clients experiencing financial need. Educationally, I utilize attachment theory as a foundation in my work with clients to understand relational patterns and emotional challenges.
If what I am sharing speaks to you, I am ready with open ears to start your healing process!
Director of Operations
Rikah Thomas has been serving FFCC since January 2012. During this time served as the Office Manager until her promotion to Director of Operations in December 2022. She has over thirty years of ministry, leadership, and business management experience in both for-profit and non-protfit organizations. She has used her experience and skills to support and help serve our staff and clients well. Rikah looks forward to continuing with the vision of FFCC started by our founder, Dan Desmond, in 1999 of coming alongside individuals, couples, and families with their personal struggles to encourage, educate, and impact through clinical psychology and Biblical integration. Rikah enjoys managing the business side of ministry with excellence, professionalism, and a commitment to growth. Her focus is to sustain a healthy and impactful team as we reach our community with hope and provide a safe place for others to navigate life challenges and changes.
In her personal life, Rikah is an award-winning artist, a mentor, teacher, and author. She enjoys inspiring hearts and minds through words and art as she shares her life's journey through her books and oil paintings. Rikah's work as an author currently includes 8 published works.
Rikah received her Biblical Studies training from Liberty University and is an experienced Biblical Counselor with over 15 years of experience. She is currently pursuing certification as a Life Coach.
Check out Rikah’s website for updates, blogs, and upcoming book information or to commission an art piece. Her books are available at Amazon.com.