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The agency believes strongly in facilitating a supportive, nurturing environment for trainees and interns as well as clients. We believe that staff members can benefit greatly from knowing each other and each other's work; therefore, supervision and training are conducted in groups. In this way, staff members have an opportunity to observe a variety of counseling approaches as well as developing deep bonds with others at the agency.

Meet our leaders


Debra Sharon, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Dr. Sharon is a licensed Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist. She has worked in various agencies as well as graduate schools. She has taught at Mount Saint Mary’s College, Argosy University, and California Graduate Institute. More recently, she was core faculty teaching in the Clinical Psychology, School Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy Departments as well as being Director of Clinical Training and Dean of Students at Phillips Graduate Institute. Dr. Sharon has an extensive background working in Special Education Schools. She was Director of School-based Mental Health Services at the HELP Group as well as being the Clinical Director of Summit View and Coldwater Canyon Prep Schools. Dr. Sharon has a Pupil Personnel Credential in School Counseling and many years of experience working with children, adolescents, and their families.


Gianna Maunu, M.A., M.F.T.

Clinical Coordinator
MFT Clinical Supervisor

Gianna has followed the professional path of psychology and education since early adulthood.  She earned her degree in psychology from the University of Oregon.  Upon her graduation she focused on teaching.  Gianna taught in various settings for 15 years.  Part of her teaching experience included English in Spain for 2 two years.  Her experience in Spain led her to earning a MA in bilingual/bicultural education from Columbia University.  She went on to teach high school Spanish for 9 years in California.  During her time in secondary education, she also became an academic counselor, assisting high school students achieved their goals for college as well as reminding her of her psychology and counseling interest.  At Pepperdine University, she earned her MA in psychology.  She completed her internship and became a licensed MFT in 2013. Currently, Gianna is combining her love of education and psychology as the Clinical Coordinator and supervisor at Counseling West  and enjoying the educational process for both her clients and herself in her private practice in Encino.


Joni Lavick, M.A., M.F.T.

MFT Clinical Supervisor

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Graduate Loyola Marymount University. Twenty years experience as a psychotherapist, fifteen as a clinical supervisor. Specialized training in Mary Main's Adult Attachment Interview. Certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner. Recipient of National HIV Leadership Award and The Los Angeles Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapists Community Service Award. Board member of The Women's Association for Addiction Treatment.


Carol Tanenbaum, Ph.D., M.F.T.

MFT Clinical Supervisor

Carol Tanenbaum is a Marriage Family Therapist and psychoanalyst. She has been in private practice in Sherman Oaks since 1978. While she works with families, couples and individuals, she also has had an interest and a great deal of experience working in community/non profit settings both here in the United States and overseas. 

Carol was a founding member of Global Children’s Organization, a non-profit organization that organized cross cultural summer camp programs for the children of the war torn Balkans, the children of Northern Ireland and young adults of Palestinian and Israeli backgrounds . She helped run these camping programs, which focused on bringing children from ethnically strife ridden war zones together to live, play, and heal from the war traumas of their young lives.

Carol also ran the Ernest S. Lawrence Trauma Center at The Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies. This program offered psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy to young at-risk mothers who were living in and around Echo Park, Los Angeles.

She was also a founding member and therapist for The Soldiers Project, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization that provides free psychotherapy to military families and soldiers coming home from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars She has worked with  families and individuals returning from these wars for the past 12 years and understands how important and helpful psychotherapy can be for their transition into civilian life.  

She is also an adjunct on the faculty at Pacifica Graduate Institute in their Community, Liberation, Ecology track and has been a fieldwork adviser there for 8 years. Here, she is able to combine academic expertise, clinical, and community psychology in supporting her students through their degree programs.  She also teaches in the Trauma studies course at LAISPS in the area of war trauma and collective trauma. 

She continues to work in her private practice and with students who are pursuing their careers in psychology. Her training in psychoanalysis and her hands on experience of working on the ground with traumatized groups has enlarged and enriched her psychological perspective and continues to be a great interest of hers. 

Ifat Peled.jpg

Ifat Peled, Ph.D

Ph.D. Clinical Supervisor

Ifat Peled, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist working in private practice in Encino, California.  Her publications include Transformations in the therapist's psyche through working with borderline patients, as well as several book reviews. Dr. Peled also teaches psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and at College of the Canyon in California, and was a professor in the psychology department at Burlington College, Vermont.


She lectures, provides depth oriented training and workshops on various clinical subjects such as personality disorders, and clinically working with the unconscious. Dr. Peled has been involved in education for many years and serves as a board member of the Board of Trustees of Highland Hall, Waldof School, offering education based on the philosophies of Rodulf Stiener and Carl Jung. Her training is in the Jungain and Psychoanalytical perspectives.


Her interests include research, understanding and treating emotional and personality disorders from a depth perspective, and human development from a personal, cultural, and neurological perspectives. She is also interested in using various methods to reconnect the soul and spirit back to the collective, to nature, and to wildlife. 



Heidi Buckland, M.A., Ph.D.

Ph.D. Clinical Supervisor

Heidi Buckland is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Westwood and Sherman Oaks, California.  For over ten years, she has worked with people struggling from obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders.  She also works with persons with more intractable problems i.e., schizophrenia and persistent mood disorders.  Prior to private practice, Heidi worked for five years with at-risk-youth referred from Department of Children and Family Services and Los Angeles Probation.  This work inspired her to write a scholarship winning memoir play about the inner landscape of trauma (produced by The Wooden O Theater).  Heidi holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology focused on psychoanalytic and Jungian theory (Pacifica Graduate Institute) and a Masters degree focused on cognitive behavioral theory (University of Santa Monica).  Her doctoral dissertation was on the maternal body in the analytic relationship (The Instinctual Visceral Mother).  Heidi has published in International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches.  She is very interested in the therapeutic process of releasing deep childhood trauma. 


Jennifer Levine, Psy.D.

Clinical Supervisor

Dr. Jennifer Levine earned a Doctor of Psychology degree (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology from
the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, California's largest and oldest
graduate program for psychologists.  Prior to that, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree (B.A.)
from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  Dr. Levine pursued postgraduate
training at Wright Institute Los Angeles and Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. 
For several years Dr. Levine provided psychodynamically informed clinical supervision to
Master's, Doctoral and Post-Doctoral level psychology interns at non-profit community
organizations in Los Angeles County, including Family Stress Center and WISE & Healthy
For approximately 10 years, Dr. Levine was the Clinical Director of the Mental Health
Department at WISE & Healthy Aging, a non-profit social services organization serving
primarily low-income older adults and their families. 
Dr. Levine has maintained a private psychotherapy practice since 2006, which currently includes
working with adults.

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