Support Team

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Shaiann Gatmaitan

Billing Specialist and Intake Coordinator 

Shaiann is the Billing Support Specialist at Grow Through Life Counseling. She began her education in the field in 2016 and is now a Certified Professional Coder by the AAPC with an Associates of Science, Medical Billing and Coding. Her work experience extends into being a medical tech, clerk, admin assistant and patient support. With her strong knowledge in insurance processes, billing procedures and ethical considerations, she is ready to provide any assistance needed to our clients. Advocating for mental health is something that Shaiann holds extremely close to her heart as she has experienced the benefits of seeking help firsthand.

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Sarah Vita

 Lead Intake Coordinator

Hello, my name is Sarah and I am from San Diego, CA. I have my Bachelors in Communication from Cal State University, San Marcos. I am currently on the path of gaining my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy with Touro University Worldwide. I have always been an advocate for mental health and find helping people very healing and fulfilling. I am a certified yoga instructor and have a strong passion for anything health and fitness related. I hope to one day take my knowledge of health and wellness within the body and incorporate that with healing of the mind. 


Janette Etchings

Intake Coordinator

Janette Etchings joined our team as an intake coordinator in September of 2020. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychological Science from California State University, San Marcos. She is currently applying for graduate school to pursue her Master’s Degree in Psychology with the goal of becoming a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Art Therapist. Janette has over four years of experience working in the field of Memory Care encouraging residents to experience purposeful and meaningful engagements. Her compassionate and nurturing personality makes others feel comfortable and accepted. Janette has spent the last 5 years teaching painting classes to encourage others to express their artistic abilities. She has a passion for creativity through art and believes it is an integral part of the healing process.

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Shakera Yusufi

Client Support Manager

Shakera Yusifi joined Grow Through Life Counseling in 2019 to support clients and therapist in providing great care and assisting in billing on boarding processes. Shakera brings with her her talent for working compassionately with people and addressing their needs. Shakera has previous HR experience at a Client Support Manager for EA Health Corp with complex organization and support tasks. Prior to this, Shakera was the Head Neurophysical Training at the Drake Institute in Vista, CA. 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 is passionate about helping others.

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Kara Kohnen, LMFT

Clinical Director

Kara Kohnen is the Clinical Director at Grow Through Life Counseling and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego with over 18 years of experience working with children, teens and families in behavioral health. In June 2012, she began Grow Through Life Counseling for specialized treatment of children, teens and families. Her areas of expertise include: parenting, behavior modification, ADHD, Learning Disorders and high functioning Autism. She enjoys working with younger patients and frequently works with families as part of the treatment process. She also helps adults with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, transitions and grief.  She uses several techniques including CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as part of the treatment process. She is a clinical supervisor of pre licensed clinicians and has taught in graduate programs. In 2017, Kara wrote two books: one for children called "Why Am I Going to Counseling?" to help parents explain the benefits of treatment and the therapeutic relationships of children starting and in treatment and "13 Reason Why Am I Going to Counseling for Teens" to help teens actively engage in the process and to promote suicide prevention. Kara enjoys speaking at schools and in communities of topics about pediatric mental health, teen mental health and suicide prevention. 

​© 2021 by Kara Kohnen, LMFT @ Grow Through Life Counseling   Located: Eastlake of Chula Vista, Sorrento Valley, San Diego, Scripps Ranch, Oceanside and Murrieta  *Now Offering Telehealth too! 

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