Meet Our Team

Our team of clinicians are highly trained, professional, friendly, and compassionate. Our personalized and integrated approach inspires people to commit to overcoming obstacles that are interfering with the quality of their lives, changing destructive behaviors, and gaining insight and coping skills for underlying emotional psychological issues.

“When I understand myself, I understand you, and out of that understanding comes love.” -Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Monica Bezzi Demas – MA, RAS, LMFT

I provide empathic and experienced therapy for adults, teens, couples and families, with more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and clinician. I offer a goal oriented approach to counseling based on building a collaborative relationship with each of my clients; accepting their need for comfort, understanding, and guidance, while challenging and encouraging...

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Motivational Interviewing
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Leila Martinez, MA, LMFT

As your therapist I look forward to each session and to being part of the discovery of  your personal strengths, finding new ways to cope with change and to change when that is what is needed or desired. Together we find hope and optimism, working to turn courage into comfort. It is an honor to...

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Motivational Interviewing
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Ashley Kretzshmar, MA, LMFT

Welcome. I am so glad that you are contemplating the use of psychotherapy to help you through a challenging time. Negative feelings or stressful situations can push us beyond our typical coping strategies into a place of feeling overwhelmed and wanting some guidance. I strive to create an open, non-judgmental environment in which you can...

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Motivational Interviewing
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Timothy Hutson, MA, MCA

Assist families in direct intervention for loved ones’ alcohol and other drug abuse and or dependency problems Educate families on the symptoms and phases of addiction including family dynamics, enabling, treatment, aftercare, and recovery Educate governmental offices on the symptoms and phases of addiction including effects in the workplace, enabling, treatment, aftercare, reemployment and recovery...

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Motivational Interviewing
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Jill M Wussler, LCSW

As we travel this journey of life, sometimes the way to health and wholeness is not too clear. During these times, it’s helpful to have a partner to walk with you. I have been in practice for over 20 years, helping individuals, families, couples and groups facing a wide variety of challenges. I treat individuals...

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Motivational Interviewing
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Lauren Peake, Psy.D.

I am a licensed clinical psychologist in California and am dedicated to providing treatment and assessment services to children and their families presenting with various difficulties (i.e., ADHD, autism, behavioral difficulties, anxiety, and depression). I am passionate about helping children navigate their chaotic worlds and assisting them in becoming successful adults. I believe that in...

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Motivational Interviewing
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Kelsey Harper, Psy.D.

Struggling with personality disorders can create significant obstacles in relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and intimate partners. Through committed Dialectical Behavior Therapy, I focus on calming distress, mending emotional wounds, and building serenity in order to access supportive relationships and sense of self. DBT treats chronic emotion dysregulation, ongoing and pervasive emotional experiences that are...

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Motivational Interviewing

Therapy is a step towards learning about ourselves, recognizing opportunities, improving relationships and healing. Our approach to therapy combines understanding, compassion and insight to empower our clients and help them fulfill their dreams and desires.

First Step Counseling prepares you to move forward into a new phase of your life. You are one step closer to becoming a new you, with stronger and healthier relationships with friends and family. Our commitment is to assist our clients in developing carefully constructed “pathsways”; which lead to healthier and more productive lives.

First Step Counseling is located in San Pedro and services the South Bay Area, CA and offers a wide range of mental health services to the community.