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.a place to turn.

health and wellness center

(818) 889-4415

About Us

 Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, RYT-500

Dr.Cheri strongly believes that in order to ensure health and wellness, we need to treat the whole Self–our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual realms are intimately connected. As a result, she uniquely applies her 28 years of educational and experiential knowledge with her highly intuitive abilities to assist her clients to achieve full real-I-zation. Her abilities and talents have created a reputation of helping her clients meet their expectations of healing, as well as, learn the tools to meet her individual requirements for continued health and life long growth. As a Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist and Hypnotherapist, Dr. Cheri’s specialty is working from a family systems perspective, as she explores the issue at hand by the family unit, whether working with a single individual, various family members, or, the whole family. This opens the way for the client to transition from their therapeutic learnings to successfully integrate the newfound insights and awareness to their personal lives and world.



To learn more about Dr. Cheri’s philosophy see under Philosophy

To learn more about Specialties see under Resources

Cheri Lyn McDonald, Ph.D. LMFT- Philosophy of Clinical Hypnotherapy, MS – Marriage and Family Therapy, and Clinical Director of A Place to Turn, Inc., has authored two books.

Her first Book,

Whisperings From Within-Creating and Achieving Your Ideal Self           

Found on Amazon or order directly from this website by going to Whisperings

Recent Book,

Heal Your Trauma, Heal Your Marriage: 7 Steps to Root, Rebound and Rise

Download Dr. Cheri’s new book! >>

Inside, she addresses her vast experience and tools at work—offering her readers her tools they can start applying in the comfort of their homes. Her evolving passion is her work as The Ideal Self and Empowerment Coach, where she works one on one, group and class setting teaching evolved lessons, which, guide you toward dreams and successes in life.

And you can catch a great podcast on how Dr. Cheri works with trauma and hear her passion, love and vision for BE-ing triumphant over trauma!

Check it out on my Facebook page To Love…& BeYond

On The Edge with April Mahoney Podcast for BRAINS

Cheri and her husband Patrick have raised three sons and one daughter and reside in Thousand Oaks, California.

California Licensed Marriage Family Therapy #27359

Emily Smith, MA A-MFT, RYT-200


Emily approaches therapeutic healing from a holistic approach, knowing that the
mind and body are intertwined together. Emily’s role is to help create an
environment where you feel comfortable to explore how past experiences influence
your current situation as she empowers you to gain insight on your current

Emily has received her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on
Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University’s School of Education and
Psychology in 2017, as well as a Certificate of Alternative Dispute Resolution from
the Straus Institute, a school within Pepperdine’s Law Program. Emily graduated
from Pepperdine’s Seaver College for her undergrad studies in 2011.

Emily approaches her clients from a place of unconditional positive regard and
empathetic understanding. She uses an eclectic mix of interventions from CBT, DBT,
Mindfulness, Gottman, and other modalities that would benefit her specific clients
most. Emily has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and couples.
She frequently works with issues regarding anxiety, depression, ADHD, coping skills,
self esteem, family relationships, sexual identity/differences, divorce, peer
relationships, and women’s issues.

California Associate Marriage and Family Therapist #101905
Supervisor Cheri L McDonald PhD LMFT # 27359

 Kristin Smith AMFT #106436

Kristin meets her clients where they are at, with warmth and unconditional positive
regard. Her sessions are judgement-free, client-driven and insight developing. She pulls from
family systems (because no one grows up in a vacuum), person-centered, CBT, DBT, Gottman
and mindfulness practices. Kristin has worked with children, adolescents, adults, families and
couples. The process provides clients with a safe space to access and better utilize their innate
strengths, develop new skills and invite new perspectives to create change.

The issues she has treated are recovery from addiction/eating disorders, depression, anxiety, marital/relationship
issues, difficult divorces, sexuality issues, self-esteem challenges, parenting, ADHD, personality
disorders, trauma, creating healthy relationships and anger management.

Kristin has two MA degrees, one in Psychology from Phillips Graduate University, the
other in Asian Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She completed her BA in
Political Science and International Relations at University of California, Santa Barbara.
Kristin lives in the San Fernando Valley with her 19-year-old son, 14-year-old daughter
and 10-year old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel.

Lexi Heiner MA A-MFT – Bring Baby Home Educator


My passion is helping families, children, and couples through transitions and difficulties within their lives. I will join you on a journey to promote effective problem solving skills, appropriate coping skills, positive self regard, growth, trust building, respect, and healing. I focus on pulling out strengths and building on those in each session. Therapy is a process in which we learn together how to make small changes, in order to begin the upward arrow in the direction of happiness.

I received my Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Pepperdine University. I have experience working with children, families, couples, and adults. I have completed specialized Gottman Therapy trainings in order to do the best work possible with couples. I am also a Certified Bringing Baby Home Educator. With this certification, I am able to work with parents to be, or new parents on a smooth transition to parenthood. Therapy is a unique experience that is tailored all around you, coming from a neutral stance. I am here to help you realize and live in the self potential that you have.

California Associate Marriage and Family Therapy # 100931

Amy Gandin LMFT

My focus is on guiding my clients to manage conflicts and problems in their lives, setting positive goals, and assisting them in making the changes necessary to effect real improvements in their relationships and lives. Life can be challenging and my approach is based upon helping to define and get clarity on the challenges facing you and navigating through them within a supportive and interactive atmosphere. My style is warm and direct, and I can assist with many issues, including anxiety, depression, parenting, and much more. I have been working with clients in private practice for over 15 years.

Patrick T. McDonald, CHT

Pat is a certified hypnotherapist, motivational speaker, and teacher. He is on a lifelong path of service with over thirty years of experience in mentoring and inspiring others. Pat’s commitment is to guide others to follow their personal paths to their highest potentials.

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