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. Office and financial management is overseen by Melissa Sweeney.
Melissa Sweeney, MA: Office Manager
Melissa brings two decades of work experience as an organizational administrator to Clearwater as well as an educational background in Marriage and Family Therapy. As an undergrad, Melissa was in the Family Social Science Program and invested in Child Abuse and Prevention Studies (CAPS). An avid advocate for social/racial justice, she focused her research and therapy practice throughout her master’s program working with interracial families. Although it was Melissa’s full intention to become a practitioner after graduation, her first job after college was as an Educational Coordinator for a conflict resolution program at Teachers College-Columbia University in New York City; she has been an educational and organizational administrator ever since. Melissa came to California in 2006 and was the Director of a Bay Area diversity consulting firm for more than 13 years. She is now the Office Manager at Clearwater and values the newfound opportunity to support the mental health of individuals and families receiving services here.
Jocelin Saks, PhD: Assessment Director
Dr. Saks 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: Assistant Clinical Director
Karen is a senior supervising therapist and Assistant Clinical Director for the DBT Program 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. Karen is not accepting new DBT clients. She maintains limited availability for short-term trauma-focused therapy for clients who have an existing therapist.
Erika Swanson PhD: Clinical Director
Dr. Swanson is a senior supervising Clinical Psychologist (PSY26599) and Clinical Director for the DBT Program 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. 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. 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 Sinclaire O’Grady, M.A., and Hannah Sabet, M.S., both doctoral-level graduate students. Dr. Swanson is not accepting new clients at this time. She is on a reduced work schedule until January 2024.
Hilary Ferris White, LCSW is a senior DBT clinician on the DBT team and affiliate of Clearwater. She specializes in adolescents, parenting work and family therapy. Hilary is involved in training the intern staff and is leads 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. She has two young daughters and an Australian Shepherd, Juno, who is often at her feet while she works. Hilary sees clients out of her office near the Oakland/Piedmont border. If you are interested in working with Hilary you can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at https://www.hilaryferriswhite.com
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/
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 was given meditation teacher authorization by Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in September of 2021. She taught Mysore-style Ashtanga in the Bay Area from 2001-2016, under the guidance of her principal yoga teachers, Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor. She is also a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute, serving on their contemplative faculty since 2010.
Sinclaire O’Grady, MA is a 4th-year PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Clinical Science program. At Clearwater, she is a clinical extern/trainee DBT therapist working under the supervision of Dr. Erika Swanson. Sinclaire has a BA in Psychology from New York University, and a Masters in Psychology from UC Berkeley. Sinclaire has worked in numerous clinical and research settings, including at the child and adolescent inpatient psychiatry program at Bellevue Hospital in New York, at early intervention programs with mothers and children at Columbia University, and at assessment programs at UCSF. At UC Berkeley, she has conducted research on developmental pathways to self-harmful behaviors and how DBT applies across cultures, and received clinical training in CBT and DBT. She has a special interest in providing therapy for youth with histories of invalidation. In her free time, Sinclaire enjoys skiing, eating pizza, and spending time with her puppy “Obi-Wan.” Sinclaire has limited availability on her caseload. If you are interested in working with Sinclaire, please contact Dr. Swanson at email@example.com
Casey Crossin Sasner, AMFT is a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist working under the supervision of Karen Erickson, LMFT. Casey is a graduate of California Institute of Integral Studies where she received a Masters in Counseling Psychology in Community Mental Health. Her coursework and clinical training at San Francisco’s Clinic Without Walls incorporated the approaches of psychodynamics, family systems therapy, trauma-informed therapies, and recovery and resiliency models of treatment through a bio-pscyho-social lens. Mrs. Sasner has a background in wellness that includes extensive training in trauma-informed mindfulness, meditation, and yoga as well as non-violent communications, mental health crisis and triage, equity work and restorative justice. As the intake specialist at Acalanes High School, she launched the Wellness Center and worked closely for three years with adolescents in the center and provided programming and coaching to students, teaching staff and administrators, and parents on a variety of topics related to wellness. She raised three highly creative kids who are now young adults and she loves hiking, nature, and the arts. If you are interested in working with Casey, please contact Karen Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Sabet, MS is a queer, multiethnic, multilingual and highly sensitive PhD student in the Humanistic Clinical Psychology program at Saybrook University. They are a clinical trainee at Clearwater under the supervision of Dr. Erika Swanson. Hannah was pre-med during their undergrad at Sarah Lawrence College, and also studied Spanish Literature and Poetry. They completed an MS in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook, where they honed an approach that is holistic and integrative, viewing mind-body-spirit connections as inextricable components to healing. Hannah has extensive experience teaching, counseling, and mentoring children, adolescents, and adults in various capacities, and worked as a lifeline counselor on the Trevor Project hotline. Their research focuses on ecotherapy, psychedelic-assisted therapy, and post-traumatic growth. Hannah has a deep passion for working with highly sensitive people and LGBTQ+ populations. In their free time, Hannah enjoys camping and spending time in nature with their two pups, reading and writing poetry, and playing cello in a band. If you are interested in working with Hannah, please contact Dr. Swanson at email@example.com
Rachel Gorham, MEd is an intern at Clearwater completing assessments. She is supervised by Dr. Jocelin Saks. She is a fourth year Clinical Psychology PhD student with Saybrook University and is currently working on her dissertation focusing on ADHD in children. She has her MEd in Child Development and has extensive experience working with children of all ages and cultures and in a variety of different settings including as a behaviorist, family therapist, teacher, and program director. She also has training and experience in Child Parent Psychotherapy. Outside of her clinical work, Rachel runs her own cultural music and dance camp for children during the summers. If you are interested in working with Rachel, please contact Dr. Saks at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cori Cafaro, MSc, MA, is a psychological assessment clinical trainee at Clearwater Clinic under Dr. Saks’ supervision. She’s also a PhD candidate in Clinical and Community Psychology at DePaul University. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, Cori completed her bachelor’s in behavioral neuroscience at the University of San Diego and later, a master’s in global health from Duke University. Her clinical approach prioritizes understanding individual experiences and integrates trauma-informed, strengths-based, and culturally sensitive care. In her clinical pursuits, Cori notably developed a mental health program for Afghan women asylum-seekers at her university. She also has experience across various settings, including community mental health, inpatient hospital, intensive outpatient program, and a national survey studying the prevalence of psychosis and mood-related disorders. In her personal time, Cori enjoys hiking in Northern California and sampling boba tea in the Bay Area. If you are interested in working with Cori, please contact Dr. Saks at email@example.com.