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Support Team

Aleta Lemon from our billing team

Aleta Lemon

Billing Specialist 

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I have a passion for helping others! I moved to San Diego in 2001 where I obtained my Associates in Social Science and a certification in Medical Billing. In 2016, I moved to Virginia for a billing position. and then returned to sunny San Diego to be close to family again.  With 10+ years of experience in the medical billing field, I enjoy the various challenges and working to get the most of our patients benefits to serve their mental health needs. I enjoy assisting staff and the community with complex billing issues.  In my free time I enjoy going on adventures with my sister and learning about archeology. I am excited to join Grow Through Life Counseling in 2023 as a great community resource for San DIego and Riverside Counties.

This is a photo of Faatimah Ransom on our support team.

Faatimah Ransom

Intake Coordinator

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Faatimah is a dedicated professional based in San Diego with a passion for community development. She loves making a positive impact on the world. Her background skills in customer service, problem-solving, and attention to detail through her prior work experience with various nonprofits and corporations assist her in this role. She has well-rounded skills in working with a diverse range of software applications and technology platforms. She finds fulfillment in supporting others to further cultivate their own goals and goals as a community.  She is excited to work with a dynamic team and contribute her skills in an inclusive and safe environment. Being part of a company that values compassion and empathy aligns perfectly with her values. Faatimah joined Grow Through Life Counseling in 2023. 

Wendy Cruz Aguilar

Wendy Cruz Aguilar

Billing Specialist

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Wendy joined Grow Through Life Counseling in October 2023 as a Billing Specialist at the Sorrento Valley location. She was born and raised in sunny San Diego. She is currently majoring in Psychological Sciences and is completing her undergrad studies at Cal State University San Marcos and in the future she hopes to become a therapist. Her strong desire to help others led her to pursue a career in Psychology and she is ecstatic to support you and your families.

This is a photo of Christine Villamarin who is part of our support team.

Christine Villamarin

Intake Coordinator 

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Christine was born and raised in San Diego. Some activities she has been enjoying as of lately are going on walks, roller skating, and playing pickleball! Christine graduated from UCSD in 2020 majoring in clinical psychology. And in the future she  hopes to become a therapist. Christine's own personal mental health journey is what inspired her to study psychology. She has experience working with children with mental disabilities and it has taught her the importance of being able to recognize and process emotions. She is passionate about working with and helping other people and excited to start a new journey as an intake coordinator!

Kiara Thomas

Kiara Thomas

Billing Specialist 

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Kiara Thomas joined Grow Through Life Counseling in February 2023 as a Billing Specialist. She 
is an avid animal lover and has three-plus years of experience volunteering in animal shelters. She is currently in school earning her Associates Degree in Paralegal Studies. Kiara is an advocate for improving one`s mental health and has previous experience as an intake coordinator for a psychiatric center in San Diego. She is excited to be a part of Grow Through Life Counseling`s support team, providing billing assistance and solutions to those in need.

Liliana Gomez

Liliana Gomez

Intake Coordinator

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Liliana is an administrative professional with over 20 years combined experience working in different sectors from public to non-profit in San Diego. Having always had an interest in child development and child rearing, Liliana has taken courses through Theoria Technical College and the Center for Babywearing Studies which contributed to her leisure job title of Certified Babywearing Dance Instructor. Liliana feels like she is where she was meant to be working all along, as she is excited to utilize her empathic strengths to assist and applaud those seeking and offering mental health services.

Janette Etchings

Janette Etchings

People and Culture Team Lead

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Janette Etchings joined our support team in 2020 where she assists with administrative operations and managing the support team. She works collaboratively with all departments within the practice to promote a positive employee and client experience. Janette has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychological Science from California State University, San Marcos. Soon, she will be attending graduate school to pursue her Master’s Degree in Psychology with the goal of becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Janette came to Grow Through Life Counseling with over five years of experience working in the field of Memory Care. She finds fulfillment in helping others and her compassionate personality makes others feel comfortable and accepted. Additionally, Janette has spent almost 10 years teaching painting classes to encourage others' self expression. She has a passion for creativity through art and believes it is an integral part of the healing process.

This is a photo of Erica McDaniel, LCSW and Director of Clinical Leadership

Erica McDaniel, LCSW

Director of Clinical Leadership

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Erica is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who graduated from San Diego State University with her Masters of Social Work and her Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC) for school social work. She has experience working with children, teens, transitional age youth, adults, and families. Erica spent five years working in the adoptions program of Child Welfare Services and the past year working with adults in a mental health outpatient clinic. She specializes in trauma, attachment issues, substance use, anxiety, and depression. She believes in being client centered, strength based, and always meeting clients where they are in the moment. Erica looks forward to bringing her range of experience and more importantly her passion for helping people to Grow Through Life Counseling! Erica is both a clinical supervisor and leader. In 2023, she was promoted to our Director of Clinical Leadership and she teaches, trains and mentors our Clinical Leaders throughout the organization. 

Shakera Yusufi

Shakera Yusufi

Director of Human Resources 

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Shakera Yusufi is the Director of Human Resources and oversees the administrative operations. When she began in 2019, she supported clients and therapists in her responsibility of the billing and onboarding processes. Prior to joining Grow Through Life Counseling, Shakera was the Client Support Manager for EA Health Corp with complex organization and support tasks. Previous to EA Health, Shakera was the Head Neurophysical Training at the Drake Institute. She provided direct care as well as managed a team of technicians in assessing and treating ADHD, Autism and other Learning and Processing Disorders. Shakera received a BA in Psychology from San Diego State University. She brings with her talent for working compassionately with people and addressing their needs, and she is passionate about helping others.

Kara Kohnen, LMFT

Kara Kohnen, LMFT 

Director of Growth 

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Kara Kohnen is the Director of Growth at Grow Through Life Counseling and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego with over 22 years of clinical experience working with children, teens and families in behavioral healthcare. Kara's current role is focused on helping grow our team. She began Grow Through Life Counseling for specialized treatment of children, teens and families in 2012. Her areas of expertise include: parenting, behavior modification, ADHD, Learning Disorders and high functioning Autism. She enjoys working with younger patients and includes families as part of the treatment process. She has been a clinical supervisor of pre licensed clinicians for the past 12 years and has taught in graduate programs.  In 2017, Kara wrote two books to help parents explain the benefits of treatment and the therapeutic relationships of children starting and in treatment and to help teens actively engage in the process and to promote suicide awareness and prevention. Kara in onsite supporting both the clinical leadership teams and support team as a Director. Kara enjoys networking, meeting with other mental health providers, community outreach and speaking at schools and in communities of topics about: pediatric mental health awareness, teen mental health and suicide prevention. 

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