Jake Wiskerchen
Founder and Chief Clinical Officer

Marriage and Family Therapist, National Certified Counselor

Across the counseling field Jake has helped people struggling with all types of issues and has been trained in a variety of methodologies and theories. Prior to founding Zephyr Wellness, he gained experience working for six different mental health agencies, three colleges, adult drug court, and a psychiatric inpatient hospital...

Lindsay Belle
Founder and Chief Operations Officer

Marriage and Family Therapist

Lindsay Garrison was born and raised in northern Nevada and attended the University of Nevada, Reno. Throughout more than 10 years of mental health experience she has always enjoyed the process of facilitating change by helping individuals, families and couples break through the barriers that prevent them from achieving their highest potential.  She particularly enjoys working with children and has a son and daughter of her own, whom she loves very much...

Staff and Clinicians

Lauren Penksa
Director of Operations

Lauren was born and raised in Henderson, Nevada, before leaving for Reno to attend college at the University of Nevada. She is currently in her last semester of her undergraduate degree studying Human Development and Family Studies with an emphasis in psychology.  Her next step is applying and attending graduate school in order to pursue her dreams of helping children within family therapy and hopefully one day having her own counseling practice.

How I keep myself healthy: I enjoy traveling, listening to music, spending the day outdoors, and cheering on the New York Yankees.

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Jeremy Elsmore
Information Technology Director

Jeremy was born in Southern California but claimed Reno as home since he was 10. He has possesses masters degrees in clinical mental health and school counseling with a background in mental health and currently works as a school counselor for Lyon County School District. He is also certified as a Google Cloud G-Suite Administrator and works with Zephyr Wellness to keep the things running smoothly in our IT department. 

How I keep myself healthy: fishing, listening to music, spending time with family, walking his dog, and working on projects that he is passionate about. 

Steven Barcia - Reno
Clinical Director

Marriage and Family Therapist
Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Approved Domestic Violence Treatment Provider

Steven was Born and raised in upstate New York and then traveled west to attend the University of, Nevada, Reno. He received a master’s degree in Counseling and educational psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy in 2011. During this time, he also earned an advanced certificate in addiction treatment services  Since then, he was worked with individuals, groups, couples and families in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Steven is also an approved domestic violence treatment provider.

 Steven Believes that the key to a successful therapeutic experience begins with an environment where one feels safe and accepted. He strives to create this through understanding each client’s unique experience and goals with consistent attention to non-judgement. Steven works from a solution focused philosophy and incorporates Cognitive behavioral strategies while maintaining a focus on emotional awareness. Steven also takes in a holistic perspective, providing attention to the many complicated factors that affect one’s well-being. Steven’s goal is to help clients develop skills, perspectives, and behaviors they can incorporate beyond the therapeutic experience and contribute to a lifetime of increased peace and wellness.

How I stay healthy: creating art, music, and participating in many outdoor activities.    

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Amanda Green - Sparks
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Amanda was born and raised in Elko, Nevada and moved to Reno to attend the University of Nevada. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Addiction Treatment Services in 2011. She continued on to get her master’s degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology and graduated 2015. She also earned an advanced certificate in addiction treatment services and then worked as a school counselor in Reno so she definitely understands the stress children and families have placed on them by the school and everyday life. 

Amanda enjoys working with individuals of all ages, couples, families, and groups. Individuals are part of a system which creates who we are today. Therapy helps provide the tools that gain insight into those systems allowing for change. Each individual is an expert on him or herself and has the capacity to change. She creates a safe, accepting, and trusting therapy environment where she can explore issues affecting those in the room, working together to create insights on feelings, behaviors, and thoughts while focusing on mindfulness and the present moment.  

Amanda's focus is on children, age three to 10 in play and has knowledge in creating behavior plans to help parents out at home with their children. She has experience in treating domestic violence, anger, anxiety, relationship issues, parenting, adolescents, school related issues, children of divorce, and substance treatment. She helps provide the tools needed to make the changes in your life to help you start becoming the person you would like to be. 

How I stay healthy: Walking, mountain biking, reading, sewing, creating fun and interesting things, gardening, working with wood, hunting, fishing, camping, reading, spending time with my partner and family

Dave Reid Graduate Practicum Student Intern

David Reid - Reno
(Sparks on Saturdays)

Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Dave grew up in Reno, attended local schools, and graduated high school in 1975.  He attended Oregon State University and transferred to Multnomah University where he completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Biblical Education.  He married Kathy, a widowed mother of two, and then dove into church work and began seminary. 

Two additional children and a Masters of Divinity degree later, Dave and his family left for Europe for six years where he did pastoral care for missionaries and taught church leaders and laymen.  This confirmed his love for counseling struggling people in difficult situations.  Upon return Dave became a pastor in a large church in Reno where he did couples, family, and individual counseling and therapy for nearly 13 years. 

Desiring to improve his skills and be more effective,  he entered Northcentral University’s Marriage and Family Therapy graduate program.  He graduated and is currently a board-licensed intern helping struggling couples and families find the life of love and connection they need.

How I stay healthy: Working out, backpacking, building furniture and fine woodworking, music, literature and movies.

Trish McCoy - Reno
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Trish was born and raised in northern California and moved to Reno in 2005 to attend the University of Nevada, Reno. She received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2009 and in 2017 she completed her Marriage and Family Therapy degree at Capella University.

Trish implements solution-focused theory in her counseling and realized that the integration of positivity coupled with client collaboration appealed to her. Trish is a firm believer that with some guidance every person has the inherent ability to identify and find their own solutions to current, continuing, and future challenges. She enjoys serving northern Nevada families.

How I stay healthy: Music, reading, exercise, gardening, and spending time with my family.

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Matt Burkhardt - Sparks/Lovelock
Clinical Professional Counselor Intern

Matt was born and raised in Reno, Nevada.  He has lived in a few different places including Canada and Seattle, but will always call Reno home.  While living in Seattle Matt earned him master’s degree in counseling psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and it was during this time that he developed a love for exploring the narrative that shapes each of us.

Shortly after receiving his master’s degree Matt moved back to Reno and began to pursue a career in the mental health field.  Matt has gained experience working as both a case manager and day treatment counselor and says the greatest thing he learned from this experience is that people aren’t defined by where they are in life.  Matt’s goal as a therapist is to help people begin to pull back the layers of those stories and start to find healing. It is in the process of discovering that healing that Matt believes in creating a safe and trusting relationship between the client and the therapist.

Matt’s vast experience coupled with his willingness to work with any population, regardless of their background or story. is one of his best assets.

How I stay healthy: Doing life with my friends and family. Listening to music, good movies, reading, rock climbing, riding my bike, traveling the world and watching the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers.

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Angel Littlefield - Sparks/Safe Embrace
Clinical Mental Health Practicum Student
Capella University

Born and raised in Northern California, Angel moved to Reno in 2002.  She has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and is now pursuing her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling.  She began working in the mental health field doing psychosocial rehabilitation and basic skills training and then transitioned into psychiatric casework.

Her life changed when she lost her brother.  During this confusing and difficult time she found her way into her own therapy and education, through which she was able to build the strength she needed in herself and others to move forward.  She discovered that individuals have the necessary strength and resilience within themselves to achieve the life that they desire.  With collaboration and guidance to learn new ‘tools’ to handle each situation, a person is able to accomplish anything they set their mind to.  

She has experience with severe mental illness, anxiety, parenting, depression, couples, adolescents, the LBGTQ community, and of course, bereavement.  Angel’s goal is to create a space of acceptance, understanding, empowerment, and confidence in one’s own abilities.

How I stay healthy: Spending time with my children, dancing, reading, photography, mindfulness, traveling, and being in nature, especially anywhere with water.

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Amanda Hurley - Sparks/Safe Embrace
Clinical Mental Health Practicum Student
Antioch University New England

Amanda moved to Reno from Philadelphia to get closer to the mountains and the outdoors she loves. She received a bachelors in Environmental Biology from Ursinus College in 2013 which has given her a deep respect for the interconnectivity of life.

After moving to Reno after graduation, she worked in outdoor education with under-served youth until she transitioned into the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program with the Nevada National Guard as a civilian contractor where she works with service members and their families. Her experience with all stages of the deployment cycle has given her a unique insight to the stresses of military life especially for Guard families. She supports an integrative approach to therapy using mindfulness techniques and encouraging mindful movement as part of healing.  

How I stay healthy: Hiking with my dog anywhere in the back country while finding new placing to camp, swim, and hot spring hop. I love being involved with the Reno arts community and volunteer with projects as much as possible. 


Dominique Nguyen
HDFS Undergraduate Intern
University of Nevada

Dominique will be graduating in Spring 2019 as a Human Development and Family Studies major and Psychology minor.

Dominique’s goal is to become a Marriage and Family Therapist and has had experience with children during her time at the Child and Family Research Center at the university as well as The Continuum. Dominique was previously a Behavioral Health Technician at West Care, a drug and alcohol triage clinic. Currently Dominique works in the Victim Services Program at Nevada Urban Indians where she works with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crime. 

Her overall goal is to acquire a diverse amount of experience with the community, enabling expansion of her knowledge of people from different backgrounds. 

How I keep myself healthy: I enjoy traveling, cooking, and staying physically active by going to the gym, swimming, and running. I also love spending time with family. 


Brigitte Price - Sparks
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Brigitte was born on the East Coast and moved to Reno when she was one year old. After growing up here, she fell in love with the Northern Nevada community and decided to attend the University of Nevada, Reno where she received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.  Brigitte quickly developed a passion for learning about human behavior. After working with multiple MFTs at a local residential treatment center for youth, she realized she wanted to focus on a career where she could help others.

Brigitte earned her Master's degree specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Nevada, Reno. She particularly loves working with couples and helping them implement skills that they can use to further deepen their relationship. She has experience working with individuals, couples and families of all demographics. She hopes to provide her clients with a safe space so they can gain new insights and implement positive changes to attain their therapeutic goals.

How I stay healthy: spending time with my friends and family, cooking new recipes, and frequently visiting the humane society


Colton Ralphs - Sparks/Lovelock
Clinical Professional Counselor Intern

Colton was born and raised in Las Vegas before moving up North to Reno to attend school. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his graduate degree in counseling from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Colton integrates creative interventions with talk therapy to help individuals achieve their counseling goals. He comes from a client-centered approach, emphasizing the importance of a caring and trusting relationship between the therapist and the client. He believes that every individual has the keys and ability to change.

While his focus is on children and adolescents using art, music, and a variety of creative interventions to explore and work through issues, he also treats adults as well. Colton prides himself on creating a safe environment to evoke change.

How I stay healthy: Listening to and playing music, drawing, painting, playing with my dog, skiing, rock climbing, and watching the Philadelphia Eagles and Utah Jazz play.


Diane Franzen - Sparks
Marriage and Family Therapist
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Diane was born and raised in the Bay Area of California but has lived in Northern Nevada since 1980. She is married and has raised two sons who are pursuing successful careers of their own. She ran her own business as a Massage Therapist for 13 years in Carson City while returning to UNR to get her Masters Degree to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor.   

After treating substance abuse in the Nevada prison system, Diane ran the several programs at Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (NNAMHS), assisting the most seriously mentally ill and their families.  Her diverse work history makes her uniquely qualified to address a wide-range of issues including substance abuse, mental health diagnoses, as well as seniors and their issues with aging or grief and loss, and marriage/family conflicts and stress.

Diane believes that the foundation to good therapy is the connection and trust developed between the therapist and the client.  Understanding the client’s world is paramount before promoting change. Diane uses psycho-educational training, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy to assist with the change process, as well as mindfulness training. Real change comes about when clients discover their own resilience, transfer skills they already have, and begin to trust their own process.

How I stay healthy:  Nutritional focus, exercise and mindfulness meditation; connecting with family and friends; hiking in nature; traveling locally and overseas with my husband; and listening to a variety of live music.  An avid book reader, I am actively involved with my church and my Christian faith is my greatest source of stability and comfort.

Heidi Rhoades - Reno
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

Heidi was born and raised in California.  She moved to Las Vegas just out of high school, where she met her husband of 14 years. Together they have three awesome children and a house full of pets. The family moved to the Truckee Meadows in early 2017 and have fallen in love with area with plans to stay here for many years to come. 

After she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology, Heidi completed her graduate degree in marriage and family therapy at Northcentral University. Throughout her educational career, Heidi has been certified and worked as an early childhood educator where she found a passion in with working with children. Like Dave and Trish, after her student practicum placement at Zephyr, she was hired on full-time as a licensed clinician.

Heidi believes that everyone is a unique individual worthy of respect and deserves to be treated with dignity. She brings these beliefs into clinical practice with her clients. 

How I stay healthy: Mindful meditation and spending time with my family

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Rachel Peterson - Sparks and WCSD schools
Marriage and Family Therapy Practicum Student
Northcentral University

Rachel is a Nevada native who enjoys exploring and connecting with nature as this enables her to reconnect, recharge, and ground. She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education in 2010 and her Masters in Administration in 2014. She is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has spent the better part of the last 12 years teaching elementary and middle school and is the mother of two independent and amazing sons, who enlighten her in unimaginable ways.

Rachel supports a Solution-Focused approach to therapy, as she understands the importance of language and acknowledging our own strengths and resources to problem solve. She welcomes the opportunity to work with diverse clientele and create a space that is comforting and accepting for all walks of life.  

How I stay healthy: Enjoy each and every moment! I love to do yoga, meditate, read a good book, spend time with my boyfriend and our children, snowmobile, paddleboard, ride dirtbikes, and hike. I choose to laugh every day with people who see the beauty of life and welcome it with open arms!

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Karriem Beyah
HDFS Undergraduate Intern
University of Nevada

Karriem was born in Chicago and he grew up in Las Vegas, but moved up to Reno for college. He is currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Community Health Sciences.

He plans on going to grad school in hopes of becoming a counselor one day. Karriem has a background in working with children, adolescents and their families in various schools, and community settings, and learning more about their developmental processes as he continues his educational journey.

How I stay healthy: Going to the gym a few times a week, listening to music, spending time with my family and friends, and playing volleyball any chance that I get. 

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Matt Dutcher
HDFS Undergraduate Intern
University of Nevada

From Northern California to Reno, Nevada, Matt is grateful for the opportunities he has had to learn and grow in his life. At the University of Nevada, Reno, he is finishing his final semester studying Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Women's Studies.

Following graduation Matt will be working for a year and then apply to graduate programs to study counseling. He has enjoyed his career as an undergraduate studying HDFS and found his major and minor to be very applicable to his work in the community with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

How I stay healthy: Mainly I focus on cooking healthy and exciting meals, exercising in the mornings, and reading before bed. All of this, plus the comfort of those close to me keeps my mind and body in a fulfilled state.