Support Team

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Intake Coordinator

Nicole Hernandez

Nicole Hernandez recently joined our team as an intake coordinator. She has a Bachelor’s in

Applied Behavioral Science and plans to pursue her Master’s Degree in Social Work. She is also

working towards obtaining her Master’s teaching permit in child development. Nicole has a

background working with children who have autism, and with women struggling with co-

occurring disorders and eating disorders. Nicole is also a preschool teacher and enjoys working

with children and families. She is passionate about holistic health and believes it is important to

integrate mind, body, and soul in order to have a balanced sense of well-being. Nicole is intuitive

and empathetic to others needs and eager to learn.

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Intake Coordinator

Geneveve Godinez Madrid

Geneveve recently joined in 2019 as a new member of the intake team. She has seven years of social work experience in hospitals, schools, non-profits, and community based organizations. Her accomplishments include being awarded Volunteer of the Year through the North County Philanthropy Council in 2015. She has led the Undergraduate Social Work Association at San Diego State University and the Social Work & the Arts Interest Group from her graduate school the University of Southern California. Geneveve continues to focus on expanding her clinical skills with children, youth, and families exposed to traumatic stress, crisis, anxiety and depression, family violence or abuse. Geneveve provides individual, group, and family interventions with the use of trainings in Motivational Interviewing, Problem Solving Therapy, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Safety and Risk assessments, Crisis Interventions, and Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools.

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Client Support Manager

Shakera Yusifi

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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Lead Intake Coordinator

April Bertocchini, LMFT

April Bertocchini is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a history of over ten years experience working with children, adolescents and adults in behavioral health.  After obtaining her BA in Psychology from the University of San Diego in 2002, April went on to obtain her MA in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Pepperdine. April has worked with children and families in a variety of settings including elementary schools, residential treatment facilities, and outpatient clinics. April has helped children and adults with mood disorders, PTSD, substance abuse, grief, ADHD and autism. As Intake Coordinator at Grow Through Life Counseling, April is happy to help connect patients with the ideal therapist to address their specific needs.

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Clinical Director and Owner

Kara Kohnen, LMFT

Kara Kohnen is the Clinical Director at Grow Through Life Counseling and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 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 work with families as part of the treatment process. She also help adults with depression, anxiety, mood disorders, transitions and grief.  She use several techniques including CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) as part of the treatment process. She is a clinical supervisor of prelicensed clinicians and has taught in graduate programs. In 2017, Kara wrote twobooks: 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. 

​© 2019 by Kara Kohnen, LMFT @ Grow Through Life Counseling   Located: Eastlake of Chula Vista, Del Mar, San Diego, Scripps Ranch and Oceanside