Meet the Staff

Kathleen Wenger, M.A. - LMFT, LPCC, Clinical Supervisor


We all experience difficult moments in our lives, and usually we have the tools to handle them. But when we consistently feel overwhelmed, stuck, trapped, fearful, helpless or empty, psychotherapy can help us become more conscious of what's behind our troubles and move to resolve them. As a result, relationships, self-esteem and life circumstances can improve. I work to develop a caring, supportive and trusting relationship with my clients, so they can feel safe to explore their past, honestly look at their feelings, thoughts and behaviors, and move towards positive change.

The most important thing I've learned is that there is rarely a right or wrong way to do anything, and perfection simply doesn't exist. Through the counseling process, you will learn to let go of old expectations and create a new definition of a happy and a healthy life.

I have worked for 28 years as a Licensed Marriage, Family and Individual Therapist and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with expertise in couples and marriage therapy, adolescents and teens, anxiety, depression and premarital therapy.

Aside from being the Founder of Laguna Beach Counseling, I am the newly retired Manager of M.A. Psychology Clinical Training and Professional Development Program at Pepperdine University for the past 25 years. As an educator of students who were enrolled in Pepperdine's Masters of Clinical Psychology Program, I taught future LMFT and LPCC students. I am passionate about helping others get the help they need. I also serve as the Clinical Supervisor of the behavioral health department at the Susi Q Senior Center in Laguna Beach.

I am available to see you in person at my Laguna Beach office or from the comfort of your own home via Telehealth.

Read more about Kay

Associate: Trisha Church, M.A. - APCC # 6817

Call Trisha at (949) 230-3123 or visit her website at

Trisha Church, APCC

As a mental health therapist, I provide support and guidance to my clients who may be struggling with depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, and relationship difficulties. I specialize in working with individuals, couples, children and adolescents during times that may be impacting their mental health and overall well being. Therapy is a process of self-discovery, growth, and transformation that requires acceptance and a belief that recovery and healing are possible. I commit to building trust, listening, and providing supportive direction. I have additional training in substance abuse and anger management.
I specialize in the individual's areas of difficulties as it relates to the presenting problems. My focus is to create a safe environment for the client to express their thoughts and concerns in a therapeutic setting.
I understand that no two clients or circumstances are the same. My approach is to work with each client with compassion and understanding to build a new positive outlook.

Associate: Irene Alvarez de Schwartz, M.A., AMFT, APCC

Call or text Irene (949) 385-3689 or visit her website at

Irene Alvarez de Schwartz, AMFT, APCC

I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who believes in the human potential to heal from trauma, develop psychological resilience from adversity, and find inner strength to purposely move forward in life. My focus is to empower individuals, couples, and families experiencing depression, anxiety, communication difficulties, extramarital affairs, addictions and co-dependency or facing vulnerable life transitions. I achieve this by providing a non-judgmental, compassionate stance, and a safe space where you feel comfortable to share your hurt, concerns, and vulnerability, and work towards your personal or marital goals. Additionally, I have well-rounded life experience collaborating with families with neurodivergent family members and a deep passion for empowering couples challenged by the unique constrains of raising neurodivergent children. I am a native Spanish speaker, have lived in different countries as well as many regions in the United States, and feel comfortable working with people from different cultures. I will accompany you on every step of your journey. My goal is to help you deepen your self- and other- awareness, get in touch with your inner strength, develop resilience from your struggles, heal from your pain, and move forward to where you want to be in your life.  Supervised by Kathleen Wenger, M.A., LMFT #38183, LPCC #1450. 

                                                                              I am available in Laguna Beach, Irvine and via Telehealth.

Associate: Sarah Peterson, M.A., AMFT, APCC

Sarah Peterson Therapist Therapist

Call or text Sarah at (949) 395-6122 or visit her website

I provide comprehensive individual, couple, and family counseling for adolescents and adults through a narrative, existential, and strengths-based approach. My relationally based style is authentic, compassionate, and non-judgmental. I work in response to a wide range of concerns, including anxiety, depression, trauma, life transitions, family conflicts, spiritual issues, and relational health. When exploring an individual’s past relationships and familial background, one can begin to recognize patterns to discover what has or has not worked for them in their personal and professional lives. When looking at the broader context, I can help clients specify problematic issues as well as identify strengths and vulnerabilities. Through fostering clients' resiliency, I can help people discover their skills, competencies, passions, and values to transform their lives into preferred ways of being. By finding meaning and understanding of one’s unique experiences, I believe empowerment and healing can occur.

I am passionate about helping individuals become more fulfilled in their personal and professional lives by assisting them in attaining their goals. I love my work, both as an educator who trains future therapists and collaborating with my clients in their desires to change. Before becoming a therapist, I spent years teaching, educating, mentoring, and serving in various school and church youth programs. Volunteer work fueled my passion for supporting and loving others. I also have an extensive background in business and leadership. Creating a sense of community and helping others has brought me immense joy throughout my life. I am passionate about advocating for individuals and families and find my greatest contentment as a wife, mother, and grandmother.

I am an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (#132080), Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (#11424), and a Professor of Clinical Psychology in the graduate program at Pepperdine University. I received my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education at Brigham Young University and my Master's in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University.  Supervised by Kathleen Wenger, M.A., LMFT #38183, LPCC #1450

I am available in Laguna Beach, Irvine and via Telehealth.