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.
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.
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 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 TheBody.com 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.
Rena Pollak M.F.T
Rena Pollak, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Group Psychotherapist. She received her M.A. in Psychology from Phillips Graduate University in 2010. The majority of her associate training was received at Counseling West. She provides individual and couple’s counseling as well as group therapy in her private practice in Woodland Hills, CA. She's a fully trained EMDR therapist. Her group work has included interpersonal process groups, cancer support groups, child and adolescent grief groups, and parenting groups. She spent five years on the board of the Group Psychotherapy Association of Los Angeles and three years on the board of the San Fernando Valley chapter of CAMFT. She has given presentations on group therapy and other topics at numerous counseling centers and training sites. She believes in being loving, having fun and adoring cats.
Kellum Lewis M.F.T
Kellum Lewis, MA, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), is a psychodynamic, LGBTQ+-affirmative psychotherapist and supervisor/consultant in private practice in Old Pasadena. Kellum has served as Adjunct Professor in psychology at Antioch University, Los Angeles (teaching Diagnosis & Treatment Planning, Ecopsychology, Psychology of Addiction, Gay Male Identity Development, and Clinical Preparedness and Supervision), Director of Outpatient Services at Las Encinas Hospital, Manager of Outpatient Services at Mission Community Hospital, and Manager of Mental Health Services at AIDS Service Center. Kellum also served on the LA County HIV/AIDS Task Force, and the LA County HIV/AIDS Standards of Care Task Force. A merit scholar at DePaul University (Chicago; MFA, Acting) and a graduate of Antioch University (Los Angeles; MA, Clinical Psychology), Kellum’s specializations include LGBTQ+ psychology, Jungian psychology, ecopsychology/ecotherapy, chemical dependency, religious trauma, men’s issues, health & wellness, anxiety, depression, and the biopsychosocial impact of HIV and AIDS
Janet Goldstein-Ball, M.S., LMFT, CEDS
Janet Goldstein-Ball is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS), and EMDR Certified. After working in the entertainment industry for a number of years, Janet returned to school and received her Master’s Degree in Marriage & Family Counseling from California State University Northridge.
Janet has been in private practice since 2012, and in her current location in Burbank since 2014. Her special interests are eating disorders, trauma, and working with creative professionals. In addition to her private practice, Janet has also been working as the Eating Disorder Case Manager at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles since 2014. Her past experience and training includes working at eating disorder treatment programs, seeing clients at community clinics, and counseling adolescents at a school for students with severe emotional disorders and learning disabilities.
Janet is a member of AAMFT (American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists); CAMFT (California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists); EMDRIA (EMDR International Association); IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals and VFED (Valley Federation of Eating Disorder Professionals). She has served on the board of the San Fernando Valley chapter of CAMFT and as editor of their on-line newsletter. In addition, she is one of the founders and a former board member of VFED.
Janet is the co-author of the book “Straight Expectations,” a memoir of her colleague Peggy Cryden’s experiences raising two gay sons, one transgender, along with insights and support for involved family members and friends, clinicians, and the gender non-conforming community. (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2017).