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 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 (PSY26599) at Clearwater. Since 2009, Dr. Swanson has specialized in DBT and trauma healing for adolescents, adults, and families. 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 a middle-schooler and two elementary-aged twins. She currently supervises Laura Bell, M.A. and Esther Howe, M.A., both doctoral graduate students at U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Swanson’s caseload is full and she is not accepting new clients until January 2022.
Hilary Ferris White, LCSW is a senior DBT therapist at Clearwater. She specializes in adolescents, parenting work and family therapy. Hilary is involved in training our intern staff and 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 (PSY29695) providing individual DBT therapy for children, adolescents, and adults at Clearwater since 2016. In addition, Dr. Shaddix has extensive clinical training in early intervention with mothers and children (pre-natal period to 3 years of age), with children ages 6-11, and contemplative practice in the Buddhist and yogic traditions. At Clearwater, Dr. Shaddix offers two treatments integrating her practice of DBT therapy with these specialized areas of training. These treatments are:
DBT-informed therapy for mothers during the pre- and post-natal period, combining the emotion regulation and mindfulness skills from DBT with contemplative practices tailored for each mother’s needs. Infants can be included in the treatment as needed.
DBT-informed therapy for children ages 6-11 and their parents, incorporating the CAAMP (Clearwater’s Affect Management and Mindfulness Program for kids) curriculum. This treatment can be individualized to meet the particular needs of the child and the family: https://www.clearwaterclinic.com/dbt-children/
Currently, Dr. Shaddix is only accepting new patients wishing to engage in either of these two specialized treatments.
Dr. Shaddix completed her undergraduate education at UCLA, and her doctoral training at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA, where she received extensive training in working with evidence-based modalities for mood disorders, emotion dysregulation, attachment disruptions, and trauma. Her predoctoral training focused on therapy with children, adolescents, and families, including a year at the SF General Hospital in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Infant-Parent Program. From 2012 until 2014 she worked under the guidance of Dr. Larissa Duncan at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine on research investigating the impact of pre-natal contemplative practice training for mothers and their birthing partners on parent and child functioning in the post-natal period. She has also been an intervention designer and facilitator at UCSF since 2014 on the TARA study, examining the effects of body-based contemplative practices on adolescent anxiety and medication-resistant depression.
Dr. Shaddix brings to her clinical work a 30-year practice of Buddhist meditation and classical hatha yoga. She has taught meditation at InsightLA under the guidance of her mentor, Trudy Goodman. She taught Mysore-style Ashtanga in the Bay Area from 2001-2016. She is also a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, serving on their contemplative faculty since 2010.
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 5th-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 Dr. Erika Swanson. 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. Laura is not currently accepting individual therapy clients until January 2022.
Esther Howe, MA is a 4th-year PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Clinical Science program. At Clearwater Clinic, she is a clinical extern/trainee DBT therapist working under the supervision of Dr. Erika Swanson. Esther has a BA in Gender Studies from Grinnell College, and a Masters in Psychology from UC Berkeley. Esther has worked in a wide range of clinical and research settings, including a mental health services program for refugees in Amman, Jordan, at the Depression Clinical and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA, and at the San Francisco VA. At UC Berkeley, she has conducted research investigating psychological responses to sexual assault and has recieved clinical training in cognitive-behavioral therapy. Outside of work, she loves rock climbing, backpacking, and cinnamon raisin toast.
Stephanie Haft, MA is a 4th-year PhD candidate in UC Berkeley’s Clinical Science program. She is a clinical extern/trainee DBT therapist working under the supervision of Karen Erickson, LMFT. Stephanie has a BA in Neuroscience from Claremont McKenna College, and a Masters in Psychology from UC Berkeley. Stephanie’s clinical interests involve delivering evidence-based therapies to individuals facing acculturative stress or race-related stressors. Stephanie conducts research at UC Berkeley on the roles of bilingualism and discrimination in the adjustment of immigrant youth and their families. Her clinical research has involved understanding how DBT applies across cultures.