DR. ERIKA FRIEZE, Psy.D
Dr. Frieze received her B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2003. She then received her Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) from Alliant International University in Sacramento in 2008. During her time in her doctorate program she also received her certificate in Infant Preschool Mental Health. Dr. Frieze’s clinical experience began as an in-home ABA therapist. She has been fortunate to work within school, clinic, and home settings conducting psychological assessments. Dr. Frieze’s postdoctoral training at Kaiser Permanente’s Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic allowed for the best foundation and training. For seven years she was one of the primary psychologists at the University of California, Davis MIND Institute, conducting clinical evaluations for neurodevelopmental disorders, regional center evaluations, and with the social skills program. Dr. Frieze spent two years as a staff psychologist at Dignity Healthcare in Woodland, California where she continued to conduct neurodevelopmental assessments for infants through early adulthood, before she opened her private practice. Her professional goal is to serve as many patients as possible in a timely fashion. Dr. Frieze’s waiting lists have been as long as 9 months for these types of assessments that are so needed in the community, therefore she felt driven to be in private practice full time, while continuing to serve the majority of the northern California regional centers as a vendor conducting limited scope assessments. Dr. Frieze is research reliable in the best practice assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale, Second Edition (ADOS-2), and all of her evaluations have been highly regarded in the community for the past 10 years.
DR. PARISA SHOJA, Psy.D
Dr. Shoja began working in the field of psychology over 15 years ago as a behavioral therapist for children with autism spectrum disorders. It was during this time she discovered her love of working with kids and families. She went on to complete her undergraduate degree in psychology at UC Davis and obtained her Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D) at The Wright Institute in Berkeley. Her training and work experience have involved various settings including the UC Davis MIND Institute where she conducted cognitive and behavioral evaluations for children participating in autism research. Dr. Shoja has provided psychological services to children and adolescents in schools, where she had the opportunity to provide community outreach and develop therapy groups for students. She has also worked with adults in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Dr. Shoja is excited to be able to provide evaluation services to individuals and families in the area as she knows how important they can be in the journey towards receiving services.
DR. JANICE MCDAVIT, Psy.D
Dr. McDavit received her B.A. in psychology from UC Davis, and her M.A. in counseling psychology from Santa Clara University. She began her clinical career providing in-home behavioral therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, as well as conducting psychological assessments for Stanford University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. McDavit received her Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) in 2012 from Alliant International University, Sacramento. She has gone on to provide both therapy and psychological assessments for adults, children, and teens, including dually-diagnosed and severely emotionally disturbed youth, in schools, private practice, and inpatient settings. She looks forward to providing psychological services that can help clients grow, advocate for themselves, and thrive.
DR. JENNIE SINGER, Ph.D
Dr. Singer received her B.A. in English and Psychology from San Diego State University in 1989. She graduated from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego (now part of Alliant International University) in 1995. She has been licensed in the state of California since 2000. Dr. Singer has a strong interest in providing assessments and evaluations for individuals of all ages because she has seen how much an evaluation providing proper diagnoses and describing clients’ strengths and weaknesses can help to get vital services and supportive accommodations needed to support them at their stage of life. Dr. Singer has worked in a variety of settings over the years, including at a Child Guidance Clinic, inpatient facilities such as psychiatric hospitals, and with seniors in nursing home facilities. She also has clinical experience working with a variety of mental disorders at federal and state prisons. Currently, Dr. Singer provides mental health care for UC Davis students, faculty and staff at Acacia Counseling and Wellness in Davis. Dr. Singer has worked as a Criminal Justice professor for the past 15 years at California State University, Sacramento, and she has also provided both assessments and school advocacy for parents of children with a variety of special needs. Dr. Singer is dedicated to helping families get important services for their children and helping young adults to better transition to college and employment with needed accommodations.
DR. JAZMIN BURNS, Psy.D
In 2012, Dr. Burns began her work in the field of Psychology as an in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) behavioral therapist, as well as serving as a Research Assistant (RA) at the UC Davis MIND Institute. Dr. Burns’ love and passion for working with families with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDDs) grew and she quickly realized she wanted to become a Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Burns graduated from UC Davis with her BA in English and minored in Psychology in 2013. After continuing to work at the MIND Institute for a couple of years, she attended Alliant International University, Sacramento and received her PsyD in Clinical Psychology in May 2019. Her work within UC Davis Health did not end during her schooling. She received a year of practicum training at the UC Davis CAARE Center where she was trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). It was during this training that Dr. Burns realized her passion for doing trauma-informed care. She completed a year of training at the Veterans’ Administration (VA) in Mather, CA where she primarily worked in the PTSD Clinic doing trauma and neurodevelopmental assessments, co-facilitated substance abuse/PTSD support groups, as well as conducted Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) with veterans. Dr. Burns completed her internship at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services (CAPS) clinic in Sacramento, CA where she deepened her knowledge and experience working with children, adolescents, and young adults by co-facilitating social skills groups, administering psychological assessments, and conducting therapy. Currently, Dr. Burns continues working at the MIND Institute, in addition to coming aboard Bridges of the Mind. In her free time, Dr. Burns enjoys traveling, cooking, eating, singing, watching movies/TV, playing videogames, and spending time with her husband, family, friends, and three cats. Dr. Burns is excited to continue providing psychological services to families to help them grow and prosper.
JASON DALPORTO, Reading Specialist
Jason has over 20 years of experience working individually with children, including those in special education, sports, and schools. He has a BA from Cal State University Monterey Bay. His major was in Liberal Studies with a teachers pathway. He has always had a life long passion to help people in need, most importantly children.
TARIN VARUGHESE, MA Speech-Language Pathologist/Early Interventionist
Tarin received her BA from the University of California, San Diego and her MA in Communicative Disorders from the University of the Pacific. She has been working with children for over 20 years. Tarin is a strong proponent of early intervention and has focused much of her efforts helping children with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Apraxia of Speech. For several years, she was the co-founder of a clinic in Davis dedicated to helping children improve their social skill development. Her favorite part of the field of speech pathology is being able to positively influence a child’s natural development, and providing assistance to families in the form of information, guidance, and support. Tarin will be offering speech and language assessments for children birth to three years of age, as well as ongoing early intervention speech therapy services for children with communicative language delays. Tarin also offers infant and toddler developmental screenings that look at a child’s communication, cognition, social-emotional, physical development, adaptive behavior and play.
SCOTT WEINTRAUB, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Scott earned his BA in Psychology and Religious Studies from UC Davis in 1995. After working in residential mental health and education, he returned to work towards his MA in Counseling Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley. Scott gained practicum experience at Turning Point Community Programs in Yolo County supporting youth and their families, as well as working with the Wright Institute Clinical Services. He has spent over a decade working with transitional age youth and is excited to bring this experience to Bridges of the Mind clients. His therapeutic work strives to help clients understand the impact of their personal trauma, culture, identity, family, relationships, and life changes. Scott provides support, insight, and emotional management skills when anxiety, depression, or other experiences get in the way of being able to actualize your fullest self. He looks forward to collaborating towards achieving goals and finding clarity to help you feel less pain and experience more joy. Scott works with teens, adults, and families of all backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, abilities, identities, and orientations. He utilizes a variety of approaches based on what is best for the client and their issues. He has experience with trauma-informed care, family and relationship communication, mentoring, and solution-focused treatment. Scott is highly involved in our local community, working closely with students, coaching youth sports, and volunteering. His interests include music, board games, traveling, gardening, soccer, and cooking.
CARRIE WHITECOTTON, M.A. Academic Support Specialist
Carrie graduated from UC Davis in 2005 with a BA in English, and CSU Sacramento in 2014 with a master’s degree in mild/moderate Special Education. She has been involved in education for over 20 years, starting as a volunteer for tutoring programs in inner-city schools.
She worked for UC Davis for over 12 years, serving for 10 years on the UC Davis Disabilities Advisory Committee to the Chancellor. She has volunteered as an advocate for children with special needs, making recommendations on transition plans and how to beneficially implement modifications. Because each child is different, she believes in meeting students where they are to individualize their needs and goals.
In her spare time, Carrie is learning American Sign Language, and enjoys spending time with her family, dog, and recently adopted cat. She’s also an artist, and has fun creating art pieces for friends and family.
VANESSA TINAJERO, CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER
Vanessa received her BA in Sociology from California State University Stanislaus in 2015. Afterward, she obtained her MA in Social Work from California State University Long Beach. Vanessa starting out with engaging court mandated individuals in Orange County through parenting classes and batter’s intervention programs. By teaching motivational interviewing, social skills training and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy families were able to reach reunification and improvement with parent-child communication. While following her passion for social justice and interest in Criminology, Vanessa transitioned to a psychiatric inpatient program with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in Solano County. At CDCR she supported individuals in crisis experiencing the most difficult moments in their lives by exploring life reflecting interventions such as searching for meaning, grief and loss, forgiveness and processing childhood adverse experiences. Vanessa has utilized Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to assist with decreasing destructive and self-injurious behaviors and completed extensive biopsychosocial assessments as well as Suicide Risk Assessments and Self Harm Evaluations to identify and decrease suicide risk. Vanessa chose to be a mental health professional while growing up with a passion to lift others during difficult times. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Vanessa believes the enlightenment of one’s own strengths, motivation and surrounding resources can assist with better life outcomes and overall satisfaction. Vanessa also has experience providing clinical work in Spanish.
ERICA LINDLEY, Office Manager
Erica joined the Bridges of the Mind team in September 2019. She has a BA from CSU Chico in Communications, Graphic Design Option, and also spent 6 years working in Equity Compensation. She is an ardent supporter of Dr. Erika Frieze’s vision for Bridges of the Mind and the services the business provides the community and region.
CHARMAINE FLANSBAUM, Administrative Assistant
Charmaine has spent the last 8 years at home raising her two daughters along with her husband Sean, while running their small family business, FlansDigital, and providing daycare service to their friends and family. She is an active member of the West Sacramento Community, with roles as a Parent Teacher Organization Board member at Bridgeway Island Elementary School, a Board member for the River City JR Rugby Team, a youth soccer coach, and volunteer for many other social groups. She is a highly personable talented professional with experience in sales and office management. Her main duties will include scheduling for tutoring sessions, group therapy, and social media.
MANAR AHMAD, Administrative Assistant
After spending 13 years working in the medical field which ranged from direct patient care to analysis, and billing, Manar took 6 years off to raise her 3 children. Last year she decided it was time to get back into the field. She joined Bridges of the Mind in January 2021. Manar has been part of the West Sacramento community since 2011 and enjoys the quiet family oriented neighborhood she’s a part of. Manar has a BS in Health Sciences from CSUS and enjoys keeping up with advances in medicine, medical technology, and medications.