Meet Our Team

At North Berkeley Couples Therapy Center our highly skilled couples counselors, sex therapists, psychologists, life coaches and holistic health care practitioners have Doctoral and Masters degrees in addition to advanced training in cutting edge attachment-based relationship therapy and other relevant modalities.


Scroll Down to Learn About Each Team Member 

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Dr. Christina Nelsen, PsyD


Dr. Nelsen has a Doctorate and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on attachment and relationship dynamics. She also has a Bachelors degree in Human Sexuality & Psychology and a BFA in Studio Arts. She is a published author in the field of gender and sexuality and also contributes to various blogs. She is currently writing a self-help book to help couples have deeper sexual intimacy.

She is trained in Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT), Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy for Couples (AEDP), Sex Therapy, Somatics Experiencing (SE), Child Therapy, Art Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), EMDR, certified in Clinical Hypnotherapy and is working towards her certification in sex therapy through The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and California Institute of Integral Studies.

Areas of particular passion to Dr. Nelsen are all things related to healthy attachment relationships, parenting and pregnancy issues, LGBTQ issues, intimacy & sex, art therapy and helping survivors heal sexual trauma. 

She is a registered psychological assistant employed by clinical psychologist, Dr. Miguel Hidalgo- Barnes, Psy.D (PSY: 24974).


Dr. Anya de Montigny, DHS

Dr. Anya is a Sexuality Expert with over 20 years experience working with individuals, couples & groups.  She teaches adult sexuality education classes, workshops and retreats in the Bay Area and beyond and has a private clinical sexology practice specializing in individual and couple's sexual heath and wellness. Dr. Anya has her DHS - Doctor of Human Sexuality - degree from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, is certified as a Sex Educator, Clinical Sexologist, Sex Coach, Somatic Sex Educator and Holistic Health Counselor and is trained in the Gottman Method Couple's Therapy (Level 1) and Restorative Justice & Diversity Education.  Dr. Anya teaches Affirmative Consent, Boundaries and Personal Safety workshops for students in schools, colleges and universities.  Dr. Anya sees individuals and couples along the gender and sexuality spectrum and invites straight and LGBTQI into her practice.

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Dr. Annice Ormistom, Psy.D

Dr. Ormiston has been working in the field of psychology since 2003.  She received her doctorate and master’s in psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA and her undergraduate degree in psychology from Barnard College in New York City.  She has worked in outpatient, intensive outpatient, residential, community mental health, and university counseling settings over the last ten years.   In addition to working with couples, she also enjoys working with individuals and has additional interests in the areas of identity, the body, gender, disordered eating, and trauma.

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Kristel Allen, MFT


Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, Kristel's orientation is primarily Somatic, however your work together will keep in mind your unique goals and set of life circumstances that brings you to seek therapy at this time.  She hold a Bachelors of Science from the University of California Berkeley in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy, and received her Masters at the California Institute of Integral Studies in Somatic Psychotherapy.  

Kristel's therapeutic work is engaging and relational at its heart, and aims to help people body themselves with a sense of security and vitality so to enhance the connections they generate within their relationship(s).

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Ava Pommerenk, MA


Ava received training in individual, couple, and group therapy, and participates in on-going consultation in these three disciplines.  She has clinical training in AEDP for Couples Therapy. She holds a Masters Degree in clinical psychology and is a PhD candidate in Clinical Psychology. 

Ava's areas of clinical interest include but are not limited to My interests include: Trauma, Attachment Trauma, Anxiety and Stress, Relationship/ Intimacy/ Co-Dependence Issues, Identity Development and Boundary Issues, Family of Origin Issues, Big Life Transitions, Self-esteem and Empowerment Issues, Grief and Loss, Addictions, Co-occurring Disorders, and Recovery, Communication, Intimacy, and Trust, Sexuality, Couples & Intimacy.

She is a registered psychological assistant (PSB: 37799), supervised by clinical psychologist, Miguel Hidalgo- Barnes, Psy.D (PSY: 24974) 

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Amy Jo Goddard, M.A.

As a Sexual Empowerment coach and thought leader, Amy Jo Goddard has guided thousands of people towards the wholeness and fulfillment they want, sexually and in other aspects of their lives. She earned her Master’s degree in Human Sexuality Education from New York University and has over 20 years of experience in the sexuality field. As a renowned speaker and teacher, Amy Jo travels to colleges, communities, and conferences teaching classes and offering keynotes that help people to connect the dots around sexuality and money, expand their creativity, grow their confidence and learn to be bigger in their relationships, in business, and in the world. She delivered her TEDx talk “Owning Your Sexual Power” in March, 2014 in Napa Valley, was named one of GO! Magazine’s “100 Women We Love” in 2010 and one of Kinkly’s ”100 Sex Blogging Superheroes” in 2013. While Amy Jo is not a psychotherapist or psychologist, as a sexuality coach, she can assist you in having better sexual awareness and expression. 

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Lindsay Ferlin, MFT

Lindsay is a licensed psychotherapist. She has been practicing psychotherapy for 9 years in both community mental health settings as well as private practice settings. She hold a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. All of her major coursework in both academic settings was framed by a socio-cultural curiosity and included feminist and social justice perspectives. She is trained in Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT) and help couples to deepen their attachment bond and have healthier relationships.

Dr. Hidalgo-Barnes' Interests and Specialties Gender LGBTQ Issues Non-Standard Relationship Configurations Healing From Domestic Violence The Intersection of Technology and Psychology Working to Teach Self- Regulation Skills Helping Clients Cope With Mental Health Issues in the Workplace Substance Abuse, Addiction, and Recovery  EDUCATION Pacific University School of Professional Psychology Hillsboro, OR M.S in Clinical Psychology (2006) Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology (2010)   University of California- Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA B.A. in Intensive Psychology (2003)   Experience, and Professional Affiliations Member of the American Psychological Association (2004 to Present) Regular Attendee of the California Alcohol and Drug Programs Conference (ADP) Supervising Since 2013 to present Staff Psychologist at Portia Bell Hume Center (Sept 2014- present) Project Manager and Staff Psychologist at La Cheim Partial Hospital Program (2012- Sept. 2014) Post-Doctoral Fellow at La Cheim Partial Hospital Program (2010-2011)  Pre-Doctoral Intern at Portia Bell Hume Center (2009-2010) Provided Crisis Services as a Clinical Specialist at Protocall Services (2008-2009) Group Facilitator at Allies in Change Counseling Center (2006-2009) Clinical Practicum Student at Mary's Home for Boys (2006-2007) Helped to Develop the S.M.A.R.T. Recovery Program in Portland, OR (2005-2007)

Dr. Miguel Hidalgo-Barnes, Psy.D.

Dr. Hidalgo-Barnes is a licensed clinical psychologist, practicing in North Berkeley, Napa and Oakland.  He specializes in men's issues and helps men to have better relationships.  He also works with couples and individuals. Dr. Hidalgo-Barnes has worked extensively with both mild and severe mental illness and believes all people are treatable and all people are capable of change. Areas of clinical interest include men who have been abusive and seek to take accountability and change, Bipolar Disorder, and clinical supervision. 

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Beth Nelsen, MA

Beth is a life coach, activist, world traveler, lecturer and an internationally acclaimed award winning documentary filmmaker.  Her work juxtaposes her personal passions and experiences pertaining to social impact, Native American and Latinx cultural identity, LGBTQ rights, adoption issues and authentic storytelling.

Beth is a board member of Napa Valley Mental Health Committee, Napa Valley’s Center for Mental Health Services which has been dedicated to the emotional health and wellness of the community through providing accessible and affordable mental health services.

In her coaching, Beth helps individuals and families get in touch with their personal narratives, develop and meet personal or creative goals, and explore their personal power as people of color, adoptees and/or LGBTQIA+ identified folks. She assists parents in understanding the perspective of their queer or adopted children. Beth also helps people with artistic blocks, personal identity issues and other matters of the heart.

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Sari Meline, MA, Life Coach

Coaching with me happens primarily by telephone. I prefer this to in-person or video chat because when we are in front of someone, we carry a facade - no matter how small. On the phone, it’s just your voice and my voice, and in my experience, that works best for our authenticity together.  

In between our phone calls is when all the really productive, juicy work happens. This is when you put rubber to road, and carry out the homework and inquiry assignments that you’ll discover on each call. During the time that I’m your coach, you'll have unlimited access to me by email. I welcome check-ins, questions, challenges, feedback, and updates as often as you’d like. 

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Dr. Emily Garner, PsyD

Dr. Garner treats adults and youth for individual, couple and family therapy at our integrative health clinic. She has over 5  years of experience serving a wide range of clients with particular exposure to multicultural youth and families, and adults in group therapy. She has a keen interest in hypnotherapy after an 80-hour certification in this modality, and uses related tools to help clients work toward managing and reducing anxiety, among other treatment goals. 

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Dr. Laura Pucci, Psy.D. 

Dr. Pucci is a licensed clinical psychologist. She strives to improve relationships, emotional expression, communication and overall psychological well being with individuals, families and couples. Some of the more frequent issues addressed include: anxiety, depression, communication, gender and sexuality, intimacy, addiction, trauma, grief and loss, parenting issues and work/life transitions. 

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Heather Hilton-Melancon, LM, CPM, Doula, Parenting Coach

In 2009 Heather enrolled in the Midwifery College of Utah and started her formal Midwifery apprenticeship. She has been attending and assisting births ever since. Heather's training has allowed her to work with many different midwives, in many different settings. In the spring of 2012 Heather had the honor of traveling to Haiti to volunteer at a high volume Birth Center. In 2013 she became a NARM certified Midwife and California Licensed Midwife. Heather has been working at PachaMama Midwifery serving the HomeBirth community of Napa and surrounding areas since 2011.

In addition to being a Licensed Home Birth Midwife, Birth Doula, and Childbirth Educator, she also offer breastfeeding assistance, parenting coaching and placenta encapsulation services.

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Thom Kessler, MFT

As a therapist, I bring my education, life experience and clinical training to help guide our work. I combine these powerful tools with a willingness to suspend judgment, think creatively, and remain truly engaged as we work toward helping you to develop new perspectives and skills that move you toward creating the life you want.

My work with couples draws upon my experience utilizing evidence- based practices developed by John Gottman, Gary Chapman, Dan Wiles And Sue Johnson.

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Dr. Erin Findley, Psy.D.

Dr. Findley is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist  She specializes in working with couples who have significant job stress, chronic illness, and personal histories of trauma. When the world outside speeds by at 100 mph, She will help you and your partner slow down enough to truly experience what you’re feeling deep-down and share those parts of yourselves with each other in a clear, congruent, and open way. She will also help you see where and why you get stuck – as well as how to get unstuck and reconnected when it happens

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Jason Brand, LCSW

Jason helps couples in a collaborative process to identify and apply strengths in difficult times. His work is informed by models of human development and takes into account milestones that individuals, couples and families reach at different points in their lives. He stays active in the field and works closely with other professionals to ensure that he is bringing an up to date, focused and informed approach to my work. Jason is a P.A.C.T. trained marriage counselor at Napa Valley Couples Therapy Center and North Berkeley Couples Therapy Center.

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Alex Hoeplinger, MFT

Alex is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and practices holistic, relational, and in-depth psychotherapy to provide you lasting mental health. He works with teens, adults, couples, and siblings through difficult life transitions by helping them explore the meaning behind their patterns, thoughts, feelings, and means of relating to create the space for healing and change within.

His training was grounded in an existential-humanistic approach inspired by relational, psychodynamic, and experiential therapeutic philosophies.

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China Rose Zamora, NTP, CCH

In 2009 China Rose was certified as a nutritional therapist. She had learned a lot about holistic nutrition over the years, but was looking to gain the deepest understanding possible. China Rose found the program she was seeking with the Nutritional Therapy Association. They taught her how to discover each client’s individual health needs through both in depth consultation and physical assessment.

Her most recent training has been in holistic approaches to hormonal imbalance. When China Rose began to learn about the intricacies of male and female hormones a light went on! She was immediately intrigued because she had found a way that she could support her clients on a deeper level, as a health and wellness coach.

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AJ Zamora, CPT

After more than twenty years in this field, AJ advises professional athletes, public education, and support both naturopathic and medical doctors as a nutritional supplement consultant.

She has always loved being active. At any given time she was out climbing rocks or trees, surfing, rafting, hiking, snowboarding, or rollerblading. Throughout AJ's life several of her loved ones have been unwell or clinically obese. AJ's goal was to inspire them and help them learn how to take care of themselves. While gathering as much knowledge as she could to help them, her passion eventually turned into a lifestyle, and then eventually into her profession as a personal trainer and wellness coach. AJ was certified by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and she is currently pursuing a Masters in Kinesiology with a focus on exercise science, wellness, & nutrition.

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Bethany Gurrola, MA

North Berkeley Couples Therapy Center has the top marriage counselors in the SF Bay Area. Follow us on Google+ North Berkeley Couples Therapy Center