Sierra Therapy Center providing counseling and therapy services to Grass Valley, Nevada City, Auburn, Truckee & surrounding areas.

Meet The Team
I am passionate about therapy because therapy saved me, changed me, challenged me, grew me and helped me become who I am today. In college I worked towards a law degree, then vet medicine, but something continued to draw me back to psychology and helping people. In my opinion and personal experience, therapy works. I have seen couples, families and individuals come through some amazing journeys. My approach is very interactive while providing a non-judgmental place for free expression of thoughts and feelings. 

I am currently owner and director for Sierra Family Therapy Center in beautiful Nevada County. Prior to this, I was the Clinical Director for a residential children's program. I left this position knowing that my true purpose was to work every day with my clients. We are a growing therapy center aimed at improving personal lives and family dynamics.

I was born and raised in Grass Valley (graduate of our local Nevada Union), I completed my undergraduate degree in psychology at California State University of Sacramento and earned my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from Chapman University. 

When I'm not working with my clients, I enjoy spending time with my family of 4 - cooking, gardening, yoga, meditation, and best of all - being a wife and mom.

Sierra Sparks, LMFT
Owner & Director
"We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy.  Yet listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know." - Carl Rogers 
Sig Mutt Freud
Freud is a therapy dog in training with a huge heart who loves cuddling, teaching us about our emotions (including frustration tolerance when he tried to eat his carrier), helping clients relax and feel safe and playing fetch. Freud is still under supervision for his license.  Freud hopes to teach our clients young and adult, “little lessons for a big life.” 
Therapy Dog In Training
Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day! - Kid President

I am in awe of the power of the human spirit, and I am inspired by the courage and strength it takes for a person to come to a place where they feel they no longer can be alone in a personal crisis and they reach out for support. It is in these very moments where grace is in motion and the potential for transformation is most fertile. I am passionate about working with others and feel honored in being part of someone’s journey of self-discovery as they uncover the root and causes of their lack of connection with others, depression, anxiety, grief, addiction, and overall stuckness. There is a saying in the world of recovery; “It is darkest before its dawn.” I offer a safe and nurturing environment for one to be seen and heard from a place of compassion as we move through your darkness and confusion together as you discover your new dawn. I have been working with adolescents, families, and individuals over eight years as the result of overcoming some devastating life circumstances, and I have found my purpose in serving others. I know what it feels like to feel alone and I know how scary it can be to reach out for assistance. I am guessing that if you are reading this, you have a deep understanding of what I am describing here. You do not need to be alone. Fear does not need block you from enjoying being fully alive. I work from a traditional and depth psychological framework where there is room for evidence-based practices as well as the unconscious work of dreams, images, and archetypes. Our depression or anxiety is simply an expression of something deeper inside of us that wants to be heard. Whether we end up working together or not, my deep wish is for you to find freedom from your pain and you are able to walk with dignity and grace throughout your life. 

Shannon O'Shea, LMFT
Therapist/Manager
“Just as evening gives birth to morning, so from the darkness arises a new light, the stella matutina, which is at once the evening and morning star.” -Carl Jung                       "
My practice is defined by a love for yoga and human potential, combined with the essence of our human nature. We all have urges and desires, the capacity for joy and pain. We have the potential to live inspired lives, but at times we become separated from this inspiration. My goal as a therapist is to help you become more present and mindful of what is working and what is not. I combine principles of Somatic Psychology, Mindfulness, Creativity, Art and conversation to offer you a safe place to work out your difficulties. I have experience with adults, couples, adolescents , teens, and families. I am particularly aware of the connection between our bodies, minds and hearts and that when we are disconnected from our bodies or our minds, then we find ourselves feeling out of sorts, depressed or anxious. We start by supporting and strengthening your relationship to yourself, to recover the pieces that may feel displaced, and find your inner power, so that you can thrive within your work, your relationships and your life. 

I specialize in anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, trauma, panic, and unresolved anger. I believe that these are at the core of other symptoms such as addictions and relationship issues. I am here to listen, to offer a safe space of non-judgment and awareness, so that you may find your way towards healing and wholeness. 

Michelle "Chandra" Tracy, LMFT
Therapist
"Though the waves can feel turbulent, at times overwhelming, sometimes all we need is to be supported and seen, to gain the courage and strength needed to reach the shore." - Chandra.
                       
Sharon Forsythe, IMFT
Life is full of challenges and many times we find ourselves off-track and begin having trouble navigating relationships, work and family obligations resulting in experiencing feelings of anxiety, fear or depression.  We all need someone to talk to who understands what we are going through. I believe you are the expert in your life. I am here to support and guide you while you navigate your life back into balance, manageability and closer to your true authentic self. I believe our true authentic self is where we find peace, comfort acceptance and love.  Peace in feeling free from anxiety, comfort in feeling relaxed and at ease, acceptance in knowing you are in a place where you can be your authentic self, and love in feeling that warm inner strength and courage that creates a sense of safety and connection.

I identify as a woman of color and can support you with issues that arise through generational trauma and racial oppression.  I understand living within more than one culture at a time, identifying multi-culturally and welcome those living a multi-cultural experience. I look forward to getting to know you and supporting you through your life journey.  

Sharon has a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Associate.
Sharon enjoys working with couples, individuals and children.  She works relationally and is informed by Mindfulness Psychotherapy, Recovery and Addiction, Somatic theories, Attachment Theory and Transpersonal Psychology.  


Therapist Intern
"We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship." - Harville Hendrix
Simone Weit, APCC
              I came to the field of mental health after leaving a prospective medical career to travel the world serving children and the elderly in developing countries, as well as teaching yoga to girls in juvenile hall. Through my experiences in service to others I found the coping skills that I needed to heal from my own trauma.  
            I have served teens, children, and their families in Nevada County through Juvenile Hall, the Nevada Joint Union High School Student Assistance Program, What’s-Up Wellness Check-ups, and Nevada County Children’s Behavioral Health. Although I specialize in working with teens, children, and their families I am happy to serve individuals and couples as well.
            I believe that healing is not a one-size-fits-all process and as such I like to collaborate with my clients to find the treatment approach that resonates with them. Some methods that I often use in therapy include mindfulness, trauma-informed yoga, expressive arts, play therapy, sand tray, collaborative problem solving, cognitive behavioral therapy, and the work of Dan Siegel (Author of The Whole Brain Child).
            I am passionate about helping parents learn new skills to increase harmony in the home, and I love to support children and teens in gaining better control of the impulses and thoughts that challenge them. I am committed to supporting people in healing from their past, softening their worries about the future, and arriving in the present moment with a sense of acceptance and strength.
Therapist Intern
"Love isn't a state of perfect caring.  It is an active noun like struggle.  To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is. Right here and now." - Carl Rogers
Life has revealed to me there is beauty in simplicity. My approach in connecting with another human being through therapy is to focus on the simple truths that drive us. I find that so often, simple self realizations bring about the biggest and most unexpected breakthroughs in one's life.  
A former client myself of individual, group, and couples therapy, I realize firsthand the vulnerability inherent in sharing one's innermost pain, fears, and insecurities. Of particular importance to me is awakening within you the two A's: Acceptance and Anticipation. Through these two "ways of being", I sense that one becomes more in touch with themselves and the world around them. After all, Life will continue to bring about struggle, loss, and unexpected peril. Yet we yearn to unearth the ability to cope through Life's endeavors, come what may. Thus it is so important to fortify the body, mind, and soul, because you go on, in spite of Life's happenings. You are ever moving, even when you feel stagnant. You are DYNAMIC. 
 
My constant endeavor is to discover new breakthroughs together, along your personal journey. Thank You for connecting with me.  

Steven Cooper, APCC
Therapist Intern
"Heat couldn't melt me, cold couldn't waver me." - Sevda Aliza
It is an honor to witness another’s journey and to provide them with support and encouragement along their path. Through the therapeutic process of working with adults, couples, children, and families, we find out what is important to you, what you want to accomplish or improve through various therapy techniques, as well as coaching and teaching approaches. My goal is support you during this time in your
life, witnessing your transformation and growth, seeing you move into your future
.

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and consider myself blessed to be able to do this work. I grew up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains; small towns and close communities. I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science in 2000 and a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology in 2002. I have been working in this field since 2001 and I am still amazed at the courage, strength, resilience, and perseverance of the individuals I get to meet. I look forward to meeting you!


During my free time I like spending being with my family and friends, relaxing at the river on beautiful summer days, weekend getaways, and being outdoors appreciating nature.

Dena L. Hall, MA, LMFT
Therapist
"Communication is to relationships what breath is to  life" - Virginia Satir
“The beauty of life is, while we cannot undo what is done, we can see it, understand it, learn from it and change. So that every new moment is spent not in regret, guilt, fear or anger, but in wisdom, understanding and love.” - Jennifer Edwards, Actress & Author

If you are at a point where your life seems to be out of balance, it is important to know that help is available. My desire is to help you achieve the goals you set for yourself, help you uncover your true potential and come closer to your authentic self. While we can’t change difficult
situations of the past, we can work together to better understand and resolve challenges in your present life. I will work to support you by creating a safe and non-judgmental environment in which you can work through your thoughts and feelings, and find the insight and tools you need
to move beyond old limiting beliefs and behaviors.


I have experienced my own personal setbacks in life and understand what it means to have someone in your corner who believes in you and will support you without judgment.  One of the best things about talking to a therapist is one can feel a sense of hope. Because just  making that first small step is a key component to feeling better, and can bring about feelings of hope that, perhaps, have been missing for a long time.



Annette Kelso, LMFT
Therapist
“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” - Keri Russell
Angela Trathen, LMFT
My psychotherapy practice has evolved from the heart of Depth Psychology. My Master’s in Counseling Psychology is from Pacifica Graduate Institute. I completed my undergraduate degree at California State University, Sacramento with a degree in Women’s Studies /Feminist Theory, – the study of gender,
power, institutions, and political ideologies. I practice Buddhism, which I believe is the Eastern equivalent to the West’s practice of psychotherapy. I use a Buddhist psychology as a cognitive
methodology for issues of the mind. I use a relational approach to the practice of somatic psychotherapy and add a twist of experiential Gestalt therapy, for approaching relational issues, and issues of the emotional body. My style of psychotherapy takes a safe and loving approach while tending to the
uniqueness of your soul, your well-being, and your personal goals.


Psychotherapy is a healing journey through relationship and rapport. Having engaged in the sojourn myself for more than 20 years, I take a great honor in providing psychotherapeutic services for the treatment of suffering and the journey to human efficacy, creativity, and realizing potential. My practice is open to any and all identities, all ages, any affliction. The role of a Marriage Family Therapist can be essential to your process at a time that you feel your life is disoriented and wrong. My experience and my belief is that with psychotherapy a period of chaos, grief and confusion, can open us up to an experience of emotional growth, enhanced relationships, and the gain of healthy understanding from personal insight drawn out in the work of psychotherapy.


When I am not at the therapy office - I continue to study Zen Buddhism, and ancient healing arts. I practice mediation and spiritual investigation. I live in Grass Valley homesteading on a property that has belonged to four generations of my family, in the home by grandparents built, where my spouse and I work at cultivating a life of love and simplicity, gardening and tending to chickens, watching our family grow, dancing, singing, and playing with our 2 young grandsons.

Therapist
“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it
wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still
with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this
earth.”
- Glennon Doyle Melton
Rachael Harvey, LMFT
  
    I decided to become a Marriage Family Therapist during my teaching career, when my students were coming to talk to me about their problems. I felt a need to further my education and seek a career in therapy to better help the children who actively sought my attention.
    During the progression of my education, working in many different mental health venues, I began the process of learning to work with couples as well. I fell in love with working with couples and decided to pursue this area to help partners learn the delicate dance of intimate communication.
    To me, the two styles of therapy blend nicely as children learn to communicate their feelings and express themselves (as adults) and couples learn to further that communication into sharing their innermost intimate emotions with one another (being able to be vulnerable yet trusting with their partner in a safe place).
    I am a person who will listen and is willing to help anyone who needs someone to encourage the process of understanding his or her emotions and learning to express them.
    After finishing my degree through Brandman University, I have been working in the mental health field for approximately five and a half years. I am new to Penn Valley, but have lived in California for nine years. I served in the Marine Corps and have had the delightful opportunity to live and visit many wonderful states and countries and experienced many different cultures. I am blessed to have so many experiences and am very excited to be a part of this community.
    When I am not working, I enjoy running, swimming, gardening, and reading. I love being married to my husband and we share the enjoyment of dirt bike riding and going to the races.
Therapist
There is nothing impossible to him who will try – Alexander the Great
Darin Peters
As someone who delights in helping others to reach greater levels of achievement, I love to coach people.  I thrive on increasing the knowledge of those to which I am associated. Given the opportunity to guide professionals through a transformative process to realize the power, efficacy and efficiency of a digital workplace is key to unlocking the potential in being competitive in today’s global landscape. This is what piques my interest.
It’s the moment peripeteia or “Ah, Ha!” that I seek.  That spark that signifies the awakened genius lying within the student.  I look for the opportunities to show others that they can rise above mediocrity and focus more on doing what they set out to do, rather than spin wheels doing the same things in the same way time after time.  Professionals provide services and solutions to others… they shouldn’t be working on a system to do that, rather their systems need to work for them… I help them do that.
I am a computer whisperer, user experience designer, data analyst, organizer, troubleshooter, instructor, leader and US Army Veteran. I bring experience in business administration, management telecommunications, travel, logistics, software development, marketing, behavioral health, healthcare, and e-commerce
My personal mantra, especially in dealing with the obstacles we encounter on the mountain is “Oh, what the heck! Do whatever it takes!”  
Operations Manager
“You might think that climbing a mountain is half the battle, only to find out that the mountain goats who live at the top are vicious, and heavily armed.” - Lemony Snicket