MEET OUR COUNSELING STAFF
Jennifer Rikard, Ph.D.
Director of Counseling & Psychological Services
Jennifer Rikard, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is the Director of Counseling & Psychological Services. A licensed psychologist, she is a graduate of George Washington University and the California School of Professional Psychology – San Diego. She completed a doctoral internship at the University of Miami - School of Medicine. She is a developer of the e-CHECKUP TO GO intervention programs, used on over 600 campuses worldwide. She is a member of the Cherokee Nation, adjunct faculty in SDSU's American Indian Studies, and the Chair of the Native American and Indigenous Faculty Staff Association.
Douglas Thomson, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of Counseling & Psychological Services and Coordinator of the Training Program
Douglas Thomson, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is the Assistant Director at C&PS, and Coordinator of the Training Program. He immigrated from Canada to the U.S. in 1996, and obtained his doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri in 2004 with an emphasis in Men’s Issues. He has been employed at Counseling & Psychological Services since 2006. He has interests in the areas of training and supervision, privilege, spirituality, and college student career development. He provides individual counseling to students, supervises graduate psychology trainees, and acts as a liaison to Project Rebound students on campus.
Cristina Antonucci, Psy.D.
(she/her/hers), is a licensed psychologist and earned her doctoral degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She trained as a predoctoral intern at Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center in Baltimore and completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Chicago Student Counseling Services. Dr. Antonucci has experience providing both individual and group therapy, as well as supervising and teaching graduate students. While she specializes in student populations, she has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient community mental health centers.
Dr. Antonucci holds an integrated approach to treatment drawing upon psychodynamic, humanistic, multicultural, and existential models of healing. Her clinical interests include identity development, intersectionality, relationship issues, social justice, trauma and working within the LGBTQIA+ community. She also has a special interest in mindfulness practices, the creative process and working with artists. Dr. Antonucci is one of two therapists at C&PS who are trained in and able to offer EMDR.
Zemed Berhe, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is a psychologist providing mental health services to students at SDSU and is the co-coordinator of the Bounce Back Retention Program. She earned her doctoral degree in Counseling Psychology from Seton Hall University, with a special emphasis in Multicultural Psychology. Dr. Berhe trained at the New Jersey Veterans Affairs for her pre-doctoral internship, and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Veterans Affairs in Long Beach, with a specialized focus in trauma-related disorders and individuals struggling with emotional dysregulation, suicidality, and interpersonal issues.
Dr. Berhe has specialized training in trauma-focused treatments and evidence-based practices, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She has extensive training working with diverse populations and experience in conducting individual, group, and couples therapy. Her clinical interests include trauma, stress, racial/ethnic identity development, African American mental health, and multicultural counseling. Throughout her work, Dr. Berhe strives to incorporate racial-culturally sensitive approaches in working with adults, couples, and families. She is bilingual in Tigrinya and English.
Devon Berkheiser, Psy.D.(she/her/hers), is a licensed clinical psychologist and serves as the Outreach Co-Coordinator at Counseling & Psychological Services. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey, before moving to San Diego to earn her Masters and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Berkheiser started her career at C&PS as an intern, and she is happy to now be a full-time faculty member. Her other training experiences include working in community mental health clinics and substance abuse treatment facilities.
Dr. Berkheiser’s treatment approach focuses on building a strong collaborative relationship with students, which provides the foundation for increasing insight and making positive changes. Dr. Berkheiser strives to help students identify their own strengths so that they feel empowered to be the best versions of themselves. Her clinical interests include substance misuse, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, and relationship issues.
Diana Bull, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is a licensed clinical psychologist providing mental health services to the students at San Diego State University. Dr. Bull is an alum of SDSU, and went on to earn her doctorate from the California Schoolof Professional Psychology. Dr. Bull’s interests include reducing the stigma of mental illness, peer mentoring and education, and suicide prevention. Her clinical interests include working with anxiety and stress related conflict, depression, relationship conflicts, life transitions, substance use and suicide prevention. She teaches Bounce Back and provides training to faculty and students on suicide prevention. Dr. Bull created and co-coordinates Aztecs Reaching Aztecs (ARA), a program focused on helping students build meaningful relationships with other students. Being a fellow Aztec she loves this university, and is thankful to have the opportunity to be working with the current students who attend SDSU.
Todd Carson, Psy.D. (he/him/his), has been Counseling Faculty at C&PS since fall of 2015. He provides individual and group therapy for SDSU students, as well as, presents to SDSU campus groups on a wide variety of topics, including managing test anxiety, matters of multiculturalism and diversity, and privilege in our society. He also coordinates the Successful Community Living program, is a member of the [email protected] Coordinating Committee, teaches a Bounce Back course, and supports the FratMANners/SiSSters program of the Health Promotion Department. He is a co-coordinator of the Aztecs Reaching Aztecs program, which aims to build connections between students. He also and enjoys working with students adjusting to college, dealing with life stressors, grieving losses, and struggling with test anxiety.
His therapy style integrates different fields of psychology, as well as, philosophical and spiritual ideas. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Florida and obtained his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego.
Martin Doucett, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is a licensed psychologist and a graduate of SDSU. Before returning to his faculty position in January 2020, he served as the Associate Director of C&PS for 4.5 years. Over his 20 years of service to the university he has supervised doctoral trainees and has been the liaison to Student Ability Success Center and Student Health Services where he provides consultation and oversees psychological assessments for students with disabilities related to mental health conditions. He has also served as a liaison to Well-being & Health Promotion and Housing and Residential Education where he has fostered relationships and assisted in programming that supports SDSU students. Dr. Doucett developed a short-term biofeedback program to address academic stress and trains graduate student interns in the administration of this intervention. He has also developed a neurofeedback program to assist students with issues of focus and attention resulting from ADHD and traumatic brain injury. He developed and implemented the Anger Management Program at C&PS, and co-developed the Civility/Citizenship Workshop for students mandated to an early intervention/diversion program for violating campus code of conduct policies. Dr. Doucett also serves as a co-chair on the Sexual Violence Task Force at SDSU, which is charged with supporting students who have experienced sexual violence and educating the campus community.
Dr. Doucett has a strong interest in cultural, gender, and sexuality and how these factors of human diversity inform therapy. He has lived in Bahrain and has traveled extensively. He enjoys working with international students from the Middle East and Latin America. Dr. Doucett has been a member of the Safe Zones training team, and sat on the LGBT Advisory Board, which was charged with the development and implementation of the Pride Center on the SDSU campus. He has also served as faculty advisor to SDSU’s Queer Student Union. He is certified in relationship violence, and helped to develop and implement a court-certified program for treatment of relationship violence among gay and lesbian couples at the San Diego Gay and Lesbian Center. Additionally, Dr. Doucett conducts workshops and trainings with community groups and county agencies on various aspects of family violence, gay/lesbian culture, and biofeedback. He has presented at numerous conferences on his work using biofeedback to address academic stress.
Maria Elena Garibay, LMFT
(she/her/hers), is a licensed clinical therapist at Counseling and Psychological Services. She is proud alumna of SDSU where she obtained her BA in Psychology. She then went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, San Diego. She has experience providing group, individual, couples and family counseling. Maria Elena has had the opportunity to work in different settings including schools, a crisis house, non-profit community clinic and outpatient drug and alcohol programs.
Maria Elena is passionate about working with students and helping them through Cognitive Behavioral, Systems, Client-Centered approaches, being sensitive to cultural and spiritual values. She has worked with diverse populations and is familiar with the process of acculturation and how this can play a role in family dynamics, self-identity and academic success. She has a passion for working with underserved populations and working on decreasing mental health stigma. Maria Elena is bilingual in Spanish and English.
Erika Hess, LMFT (she/her/hers), is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who received her Masters in Counseling from San Diego State University and Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She also studied and interned in Senegal. Since 2005, Erika has been engaging with diverse communities in community-based mental health and non-profit agencies. Her work has focused on supporting individuals, families, and communities with experiences of trauma, depression, anxiety, substance misuse, immigration stress, and cultural adjustment. Her previous employment has also included research in UCSD Psychiatry Department and clinical supervision in the SDSU MFT Program.
Erika’s approach is grounded in narrative therapy, which centers each person as the expert of their life and focuses on (re)connecting with personal and collective skills, competencies, values and committed actions. Her work is also informed by Acceptance & Commitment Therapy, Artistic Expression, and Psychophysiological Approaches (Mindfulness, Biofeedback, Neurofeedback and EMDR). Erika offers individual, couples and group therapy, teaches Bounce Back, provides training and supervision to masters-level counseling students, co-coordinates the center’s Biofeedback and EMDR programs, and is a liaison to the International Student Center. In addition to working at C&PS, she is also a contracted provider with Survivors of Torture, Intl., a local non-profit supporting political refugees and asylum seekers. She enjoys playing music in her free time.
Mary Joyce Juan, Ph.D.
(she/her/hers), is a licensed psychologist with her bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Psychology (Counseling Psychology) from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She trained as a psychology predoctoral intern at the Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA and as a Women's Mental Health Advanced Postdoctoral Fellow at the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in San Diego, where she specialized in treating interpersonal trauma as well as dysregulation of emotions, identity, and relationships.
Dr. Juan's approach to working with students is centered on nurturing self-compassion. In therapy, she draws largely from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and emotion-focused and mindfulness-based approaches, while honoring students' multicultural perspectives. In addition to providing individual and group therapies, she is a clinical supervisor for psychology doctoral students. Dr. Juan is also a member of SDSU's Sexual Violence Task Force. Her clinical interests include intersectionality and identity integration, women's issues, managing intense emotions, and trauma/PTSD, particularly sexual assault. Outside of C&PS, Dr. Juan has organized around issues affecting women and the Pilipino American community.
Michael Juan, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is a licensed psychologist providing mental health services to the students of San Diego State University. He has over a decade of experience in community mental health, serving individuals with severe mental illness as a therapist and clinic manager in South San Diego. Michael received his undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of California, San Diego and obtained his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego.
Dr. Juan has specific clinical interests in the areas of multicultural counseling, community mental health, severe and persistent mental illness, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Prior to community mental health, Michael accumulated six years of experience working with individuals with special needs. He has a passion for working with diverse and under-served populations. In his time at SDSU, he has gained specialized experience working with former foster youth, first-generation students, and student athletes. Additionally, he is a lecturer in the College of Education’s Counseling and School Psychology Program and faculty adviser for the Student Health Advisory Committee.
Jerry Kropp, Psy.D. (he/him/his), has been employed at C&PS since 2009. He coordinates the Peer Education Program and social media for C&PS. He also provides individual therapy and is involved with many of the other services, including co-coordinating the ASPIRE program. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and his doctoral degree from Alliant International University.
Throughout his professional career, Dr. Kropp maintained a private practice that primary focused on providing individual therapy and conducting psychological assessments, worked at multiple inpatient and outpatient psychological facilities and programs, and provided therapy for individuals with a history of alcohol and drug use. He also has extensive experience working with court mandated forensic populations, including authoring a dissertation that examined the personality profiles of male stalkers.
Koko Nishi, Psy.D. (she/her/hers), is a licensed psychologist at Counseling & Psychological Services. Koko received her BA in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and completed her Masters in Psychology and Education at Teachers College Columbia University. Prior to becoming a psychologist, Koko taught English in Japan through the Japan Exchange Teaching (JET) program and worked in residence life at Columbia University and University of California, Berkeley. She earned her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the George Washington University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at University of California, San Diego with an emphasis in suicide prevention and mental health promotion.
Koko utilizes an integrated treatment approach drawing upon psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral, humanistic, interpersonal and multicultural interventions. Her clinical work focuses broadly on issues related to multiculturalism and social justice, racial/ethnic identity development, Asian/Asian American mental health, as well anxiety disorders, depression, trauma, women’s issues and interpersonal relationships. She is the co-founder (along with SDSU alumna Kathy Nguyen) of the (AAPI)phany workshop series, a program that addresses the intersection of Asian American identity and mental health, and has gained specialized experience in working with first-generation students and former foster youth at SDSU. Koko is passionate about collaborating with campus partners to create outreach programs that raise awareness and promote resources to help reduce mental health stigma, particularly within underserved populations.
Ricky J. Pope, Ph.D. (he/him/his), is a psychologist providing mental health services to San Diego State University (SDSU). He transferred from San Diego Mesa College before earning both a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Education with a Concentration in Counseling from SDSU’s Community Based Block Program. Driven by his passion for counseling, he left sunny San Diego to earn a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University. Dr. Pope trained at the University of California, Irvine, for his pre-doctoral internship. He completed his Postdoctoral training at Alvarado Parkway Institute, an inpatient psychiatric hospital where he provided clinical care to individuals with acute and chronic mental illness.an alumnus of SDSU, Dr. Pope is honored to engage in outreach and support across the campus, foster academic readiness by teaching a Bounce Back course, and provide individual and group therapy. His general clinical interests involve working with emerging adults, exploring racial and ethnic identity concerns, treatment of depression and anxiety, addressing men’s issues, and supporting first-generation students to persist toward degree completion. The foundation of Dr. Pope’s therapeutic approach is humanistic. He also incorporates humor, cognitive-behavioral, multicultural, social justice, and mindfulness-based approaches to his therapeutic style. As a first-generation college student, he is aware that higher education, whether it is undergraduate or graduate school, can be a challenging yet rewarding time in life. He wants to assist you in identifying existing strengths, bolstering areas of growth, and locating resources to actualize your potential.
Manuel Rivera, LMFT (he/him/his),
has worked at Counseling & Psychological Services since 2011. He is currently the Assistant Coordinator of the Training Program, and provides individual and group supervision to graduate therapy trainees. Besides providing individual, couples, and group therapy to the SDSU community, Manuel is also the developer and facilitator of C&PS’s Everyday Mindfulness & Meditation workshops.
Manuel was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and is bilingual in Spanish and English. He has lived in Puerto Rico, Texas, and California, calling San Diego home since 1996. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and San Diego State University’s Marriage and Family Therapy Program. Before coming to SDSU, his clinical experiences included working with military service members and their families, working with adolescents and families involved with San Diego’s Juvenile Court and Community Schools, and working in community mental health. Manuel’s approach to therapy is collaborative and inclusive, and he is particularly interested in working with individuals, families, and communities as they develop resilience and agency in the face of adversity.
Martina Nittra Savedra, LMFT (she/her/hers), is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist providing mental health counseling to the students at San Diego State University. She earned a master’s degree in Martial and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego in 2008 as well as a master’s degree in Education with a Concentration in Counseling from San Diego State University in 2006. Martina brings to Counseling and Psychological Services an extensive experience in community mental health serving underrepresented populations as a therapist and a clinical leader.
Having been raised in a large, multicultural family and to have been the first generation to receive a higher education, Martina’s approach to therapy integrates Family Systems Theory and Narrative Therapy as meeting the student where they are in their development is significant to her. She utilizes emotion-focused and mindfulness-centered interventions. Martina provides a holistic approach to healing and considers all aspects of life that relate to the present. Throughout her work, Martina has practiced therapy with a collection of communities from a wide range of backgrounds, providing her with a cross-cultural perspective. She has special interests in working with women, couples, families and the LGBTQ community; and within health and wellness, trauma, peer support services, social justice, and ethnic identity.
After a productive day, Martina finds balance by practicing yoga, running, surfing and sharing time with her family and friends.
Sara Tafeen, Psy.D. (she/her/hers), is a licensed psychologist providing mental health services to students at San Diego State University. She earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland and completed her predoctoral internship at the American University Counseling Center in Washington, D.C. Dr. Tafeen began working at C&PS as a post-doctoral trainee in the ASPIRE program and is delighted to now be serving students as a faculty member. She has experience providing individual and group therapy, as well as supervising and teaching both undergraduate and graduate students.
Dr. Tafeen’s therapeutic approach integrates humanistic, cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal, and mindfulness-based interventions. In therapy, she is compassionate and collaborative, honoring and incorporating into treatment each student’s unique background, needs, and goals. Her clinical interests include life transitions, anxiety, body image/eating concerns, relationship conflicts, and identity development.
Shireen Trujillo, LCSW, (she/her/hers), is a licensed clinical social worker. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University and her Masters of Social Work from University of Kansas, having completed additional training at Loma Linda University. She also holds a Pupil Personnel Services Credential in School Counseling. In addition to individual counseling, she enjoys facilitating group counseling, teaching in the Bounce Back program, and providing clinical supervision.
Shireen has worked in a variety of settings including community based mental health, non-profits, and schools, and has valued each of these experiences. She incorporates a strengths-based perspective into her work and enjoys working with college students as they navigate a variety of changes and experiences.
Her special clinical interests include grief & loss, life transitions, spiritual & religious values, identity, purpose, and multicultural counseling. She is grateful to be a faculty member at C&PS serving the San Diego State community.
Leslie Wilson, Ph.D. (she/her/hers), is a clinical psychologist, co-coordinator of the ASPIRE program, and has worked at Counseling & Psychological Services for more than 19 years. She is a founding member of the e-CHECKUP TO GO intervention programs used on over 600 campuses worldwide. She has served as the project director of eCHECKUP TO GO since 2015. In addition to treating the full range of mental health issues, she has an expertise in Motivational Enhancement Treatment (MET) and trains faculty, staff, and interns in the use of MET with the college population. She also specializes in working with issues of grief and loss. Dr. Wilson coordinated the peer education program at Counseling & Psychological Services for seven years. She is an alumnus of San Diego State University (and Zura Hall) and the California School of Professional Psychology – San Diego.
Our admininstrative support staff help students get connected to the proper therapist or program at C&PS. They are C&PS' first point of contact for students seeking services and take care of all initial scheduling, as well as assist with a large number of other administrative duties.