Meet the Team

The professionally licensed Counselor Faculty of the Counseling & Psychological Services include licensed marriage and family therapists, psychologists, and clinical social workers trained to work with San Francisco State's multicultural student body. Several of our counselors are bilingual. To contact the team, please email

*Counseling available in the following languages: Farsi, Korean, Mandarin, Turkish, and Spanish.

Taghi Amjadi

Taghi Amjadi, PhD., LMFT*


Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: East-West psychology, mindfulness-based anxiety management, relationships, trauma work with refugees and immigrants (PTSD), impact of social justice on mental health, and transpersonal psychology.

Personal Interests: Music, nature, and movies.

Motto: "And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same." ~ Nelson Mandela

Nicole Buitrago

Nicole Buitrago, Psy.D.


Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Social Justice and minority stress, LGBTQ+, identity development, complex trauma, ADHD, non-monogamy, spirituality, mindfulness and skills-based approaches, harm reduction for behavioral change, first-generation college students, and adjustment to life transitions. 

Personal Interests: Sitting in the sunshine, being in community, trying new things, music, cooking, cleaning, exercising, traveling, and relaxing. 

Motto: “Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” ~ Joseph Campbell 

“We have been raised to fear the yes in ourselves.” ~ Audre Lorde

Karla Castillo

Karla Castillo, LMFT, LPCC*


Clinical Counselor & Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Substance use disorders, EMDR, trauma, mindfulness, multicultural issues, issues affecting undocumented students, harm reduction, and crisis counseling.

Personal Interests: Swimming, biking, jogging, dancing, music, and travel.

Motto: "I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival." ~ Audre Lourde

Stephen Chen

Stephen Chen, Psy.D.



Professional Areas of Interest: Multiculturalism, social justice, relationships, groups, training.

Personal Interests: Movies, sports, and nature.

Motto: "Grit is sticking with your future—day in, day out, not just for a week, not just for a month, but for years—and working really hard to make that future a reality." ~ Angela Duckworth

Susan Chen

Susan Chen, LMFT*

Clinical Counselor & Liaison to International Programs

Professional Areas of Interest: Social anxiety, excessive internet and social media use, harm reduction, LGBTQ issues, anti-racism, and meditation.

Motto: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." ~ Various

"It is a joy to be hidden and a disaster not to be found." ~ DW Winnicott

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Rudy DeAsis, LMFT


Associate Director

Professional Areas of Interest:  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy & Narrative Therapy, self-compassion, multiculturalism, social justice, working with the serious mental illness population, LGBTQIA+, and providing clinical supervision and training to counseling interns.

Personal Interests: Comic books (X-men), the Lakers, movies especially horror, nature & hiking, and I’m a foodie.

Motto:  This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.” ~Kristin Neff

Laurene Dominguez

Laurene Domínguez, LCSW

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest:  cultural identity/multicultural issues, Chicanx/Latinx support, first-generation students, crisis/trauma especially sexual violence support, EMDR, somatic healing methods, anxiety, healthy relationships, and social justice issues and the integration of western and indigenous ways of healing.

Personal Interests: music, dancing, travel, watching b films on Netflix, and my puppy Maya.

Motto:  "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare." ~ Audre Lorde

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Ana Frias-Bravo, LMFT*


Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Social justice, migration, interculturalism, language, issues affecting Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic communities, first generation college students, non-violent parenting practices, narrative practices, strength-based approaches.

Personal Interests: Embroidery, yoga, music, food, collective growth and healing, bilingualism.

Motto: "Que no te digan que no." ~ Ceci Bastida, cantante mexicana

"Don't let them tell you no." ~ Ceci Bastida, Mexican singer

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Yolanda Gamboa, PhD.*

Coordinator of Peggy H. Smith Counseling Clinic and Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Multicultural issues, first-generation college students, AB 540 undocumented students, women of color, Chicano/a and Latino/a population, LGBTQ, and underserved and underrepresented students. Training and supervision of graduate and postgraduates.

Personal Interests: Spending time with family, walking my dog, cooking/baking, hiking, and meditation.

Motto: "Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'." ~ Mary Ann Radmacher

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Patrick Hayden, AMFT


Mental Health Case Manager

Professional Areas of Interest: Case Management, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, college counseling, anxiety, depression, social anxiety, social phobias, academic stress, family and relationships dynamics. 

Personal Interests: Skateboarding, cycling, fitness, spending time with friends and family, cooking, and camping.

Motto: “Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.” B.K.S. Iyengar

Rick Nizzardini

Rick Nizzardini, LCSW


Residential Life Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Interpersonal processes, trauma, relationships, LGBTQIIA+ issues, and University Residential Life.

Motto: “I am not what happened to me; I am what I choose to become.” ~ Carl Jung

Leslie Shin

Leslie Jaeyoun Shin, LMFT & LPCC*

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Relationship issues, trauma work, racial discrimination and microaggressions, social justice related issues, multicultural counseling, self-esteem and personal growth, depression, anxiety, and adjustment challenges.

Motto: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.   

"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced." ~ Soren Kierkegaard

Lightfoot Wilhite

Lightfoot Wilhite, LCSW

Clinical Counselor

Professional Areas of Interest: Thought as creation myth, deconstruction of stressful beliefs via internal awareness.

Personal Interests: Reading, music, basketball, cooking, anime, British crime/drama, and doing yoga when nobody's looking.

Motto: The Truth is also seeking the Seeker.

Administrative Support Staff

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Anthony Chan

Administrative Analyst/Specialist 

Professional Areas of Interest: Helping others with growth and development to become the best person they want to be.

Personal Interests: Experiencing the most of what life has to offer.

Motto: "At some point, we all have to choose between what the world wants you to be, and who you are."

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Justin Weiss

Administrative Support Coordinator

Professional Areas of Interest: My focus is on facilitating open lines of communication between our counselors and the student body. In my own work I’m involved in community outreach/activism, social justice, art/music therapy and equity vs equality issues.

Personal Interests: Self-expression through art and music, traveling, extreme sports, technology and basketball.  

Motto: “Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.” ~ Charles Schulz

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” ~ George Bernard Shaw