Our staff work together as a team, providing on-going consultation to one another so that clients profit from the experience, knowledge and expertise of the entire group. Administrative and training responsibilities are shared by co-owners, Dr. Jocelin Saks, Dr. Erika Swanson and Karen Erickson, LMFT.
Jocelin Saks, Ph.D. has been with Clearwater since its inception, and has been the Director of the Assessment program since 2006. Dr. Saks graduated with honors from Brown University and received her doctorate degree from Alliant University (formerly California School of Professional Psychology). Dr. Saks has extensive experience working with children and families, including pre- and post-doctoral positions at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, and work facilitating support groups for new mothers. She is trained in DBT (completing the five-day intensive) and is also fluent in Spanish. Dr. Saks supervises assessments at Clearwater, in addition to performing them herself. She works with children and adults as a therapist, using DBT and other modalities to inform treatment, and she works with children using our CAMMP skills on an individual basis as well. Dr. Saks has two young adult children.
Karen Erickson, LMFT is a senior supervising therapist at Clearwater. Ms Erickson was intensively trained in DBT in 2008. Prior to that, she specialized in trauma therapy, non directive play therapy, and attachment issues. Ms. Erickson works with children, teens, and adults, and provides parent coaching, with a primary focus on the young adult population (she teaches the young adult DBT skills classes). She is also one of the architects of the new DBT-informed child program, CAMMP, helping 3rd to 5th graders develop the skills to manage anxiety, depression and mood volatility. Karen specializes in trauma recovery and has completed level I training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, DBT Prolonged Exposure (DBT PE), as well as attachment-focused EMDR, an integrative trauma therapy developed by Laurel Parnell, Ph.D. Ms. Erickson received her masters degree in clinical psychology from Saint Mary’s College in 2002 and has been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2009.
Erika Swanson Ph.D. is a senior supervising Clinical Psychologist at Clearwater and Intake Director for the DBT clinic. Since 2009, Dr. Swanson has specialized in DBT for adolescents, adults, and parents, and has a special interest in trauma healing. She has received intensive training in DBT Prolonged Exposure (DBT PE), which treats PTSD in adults and adolescents, as well as attachment-focused EMDR, an integrative trauma therapy developed by Laurel Parnell, Ph.D. She is a lead instructor for adult and multi-family DBT skills classes. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. in School Psychology from Teachers College. She completed her undergraduate degree in a joint program with Columbia University and Manhattan School of Music. Dr. Swanson brings a strong research background to her clinical work, with a particular focus on girls with ADHD and issues of self-concept and self-harming behaviors in that population. Her original research has been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. Dr. Swanson is the mother of elementary-aged children, a son and boy/girl twins. She currently supervises Laura Bell, M.A., a pre-doctoral graduate student at U.C. Berkeley.
Hilary Ferris White, LCSW is a senior DBT therapist at Clearwater. She specializes in adolescents, parenting work and family therapy. Hilary is a lead DBT skills class instructor for multi-family teen and younger teen (10-12 year olds) DBT skills classes, as well as an integrative DBT class for Binge Eating and Bulimia. She received her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University in New York where she was a member of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy Training Program in 2013. She trained for two years at an outpatient eating disorder clinic in Connecticut. She has also received intensive training in DBT Prolonged Exposure (DBT PE), which treats PTSD in adults and adolescents. Hilary graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor in Fine Arts and an emphasis in photography. She continues to love the arts. In 2019 she welcomed her first daughter. She has two Australian Shepherds who often are at her feet while she works.
Catherine Shaddix, Psy.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY#29695) and comes to the Clearwater DBT team after years of clinical work with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of outpatient settings. Catherine received her undergraduate degree from UCLA and her doctoral degree from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. She spent her internship year at San Francisco General Hospital in the department of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry, using mindfulness-based and attachment-focused modalities with children and families. She has extensive experience with early childhood interventions, mindfulness-based treatments for mood disorders, and evidence-based work with trauma. She has a special focus in her practice using DBT-adapted interventions for 8-11 year olds and their families. Catherine has been an intervention designer and facilitator for mindfulness and yoga programs for Baywell Psychiatry Group in San Francisco as well as the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. She is also a teacher of Buddhist meditation and Ashtanga yoga, and has been on the faculty of the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute since 2010 as a contemplative teacher.
Mark Abelson, AMFT is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and DBT therapist at Clearwater Clinic. He receives clinical supervision from Karen Erickson, LMFT. He studied Religion as an undergraduate at Vassar College, earned a Masters in Education from Queens College, and a Masters in Counseling Psychology from the Wright Institute. Mark came to a career in counseling after teaching classrooms of high-needs special education populations in New York City, and working as a collaborative Executive Functioning Coach for adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He completed his clinical internship with the Piedmont Unified School District Wellness Center, providing individual counseling to young adults and adolescents, and has worked with older adults and their families processing aging and loss. He has a special interest in trauma recovery and integrating Internal Family Systems work in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and emotional dysregulation. Mark is the father of two young children.
Laura Bell, MA is a 4th-year PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Clinical Science program. She is a clinical extern and trainee DBT therapist at Clearwater Clinic. She receives clinical supervision from Erika Swanson, PhD. Laura earned her undergraduate degree from UC Davis, and a Masters in Psychology from UC Berkeley. Laura has been actively involved in clinical psychological research since 2013, covering such topics as early behavioral signs of ADHD and autism, parent-child interaction therapy, and lifespan development in ADHD. Clinically, Laura has a particular passion for delivering and disseminating evidence-based therapies to children, teens, and their parents struggling with (often multiple) psychological concerns such as emotional dysregulation, ADHD and executive functioning challenges, behavioral challenges, family conflict, suicidality and self-harm, depression, and anxiety. Prior to joining Clearwater as a DBT therapist, Laura received training and supervision in parent management training, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and organizational skills training, with her work also drawing on elements of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), collaborative & proactive solutions (CPS), and DBT.