Meet Our Therapists

Bryant Howard

Marriage and Family Therapist, LMFT.

Owner and Founder of
Heart of the matter counseling

Bryant Howard is a Licensed marriage and family therapist here in the Sacramento area.

He is originally from the small town of Derby, Connecticut. Bryant has always had a natural gift of listening and supporting others in times of crisis. He was often who his friends and even acquaintances would go to for advice or support.

After graduating from his local high school it was clear to Bryant not only would he pursue a career in therapy, but would also pursue his college career in California. He first attend a community college in Southern California called Antelope Valley College, and studied there for about three years . He later traveled up north to Sacramento where He attended Sacramento City College and California State University Sacramento (CSUS or Sac State). He received his Associates degree in Psychology from Sacramento City College and his Bachelors in Psychology from Sacramento State. Bryant attended the University of San Francisco to pursue his Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. His program focused on Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). After three years of studying and training He completed the program and obtained his Masters degree.

Bryant spent four years working at a community based non-for profit agency within Sacramento, working with families and their youth. In his private practice Bryant has helped many individuals and couples with their relationship issues and mental health needs. 

Christina Owen


Hi! My name is Christina Owen, I am the administrative assistant here with Heart of the Matter Counseling! I am the first you will speak with and I strive on making the onboarding process effortless and smooth for you.

With such admiration, I have been a part of Heart of the Matter Counseling’s team since 2019. I love getting to share this work family while also knowing each team member is behind me. I confidently know that these counselors and myself, want to show support in all the ways that can matter for our guests. We treat clients as our guests because we want you to experience that ‘comforting’ feeling.

I may not be providing strength for you inside your session room, though I will provide different strength for you on the outside. The insurance outside that is! Insurance can be confusing and so tough to understand at times, but this is where I come in to help! I will verify or assist with any questions you may have regarding your insurance!

The practice is waiting for your outreach so I can help make your first steps toward a big, life-altering decision – easy, and our counselors are waiting to make that big difference!

Thank you for your interest in Heart of the Matter Counseling, we hope you choose us!

Monica Hefner

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW

Hi! My name is Monica. Thank you for your interest in me as your therapist. My goal is to partner with and empower my clients on their mental health journey. I see us all as people-in-progress, so rest assured that you are coming into a safe and judgment-free space.

I am a Sacramento native. I graduated from Sac State in 2015 and have worked in various positions in the field of mental health throughout the Sacramento area for six years.

I draw from a number of therapeutic approaches and am trained in trauma informed care. I pride myself in mindful, culturally humble care, and am committed to meeting each of my clients where they are at.

Yvette Wilhite

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, AMFT

My desire is to empower families, couples, and individuals to overcome obstacles they encounter in their lives that hinder them from experiencing healthy and positive relationships and from being their best selves. I believe we all have a potential to be great, and I would like to help facilitate one reaching his or her greatest potential. Understanding that we will face difficulties in life, I hope to encourage a positive outlook and better ways to deal with negative situations as well as negative thoughts and emotions that often arise when we encounter these difficulties.

I have a Master of Science degree in Counseling, and I am registered as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. Using evidence-based interventions, I have worked with individuals and children for over 2 years while in my college program practicum, at a psychiatric healthy facility, and in a counseling center.

During my time working in these agencies, I gained experience in treating symptoms related to anxiety, depression, anger, adjusting to change/life transitions, grief and loss, posttraumatic stress, relationship issues, and sibling issues. My approach to treating such issues include using interventions and techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Therapy, Art Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Play Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief-Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Interventions.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by feelings of depression or anxiety? Do you have difficulty making and/or maintaining relationships and experience feelings of aloneness as a result?

Let’s sit down and chat. As we build a therapeutic relationship of trust, respect, and rapport, together we can explore strategies that allow you to address the root causes of the issues you may be experiencing and work towards positive change.

Rachel Sapozink

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, AMFT

Welcome to Heart of the Matter Counseling! I know it can be difficult to talk to someone new about your personal issues, but I’m thankful that you are taking a step towards personal growth, and I’ll be here to guide you throughout your journey to a better you! But first things first: Why should you trust me with your mental health concerns?

  • I have gained the majority of my experience in the mental health field working at a psychiatric inpatient hospital and intensive outpatient psychiatric facilities for the past 6 years, where I have worked with a multidisciplinary team treating a variety of psychiatric conditions with varying degrees of severity. The majority of this experience has been working with adolescents, but I have ample experience with all age populations. Simply put… I have seen A LOT!
  • I am a highly empathetic, supportive, and non-judgmental individual, while also adhering to boundaries that are so incredibly important within the therapeutic relationship. My passion is assisting others in identifying the root(s) of their present issues through a variety of treatment modalities with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focus. In particular, I enjoy working with clients to reveal irrational and detrimental thought processes, assess how these thought processes can trigger emotional dysregulation, and provide clients with tools to practice effectively managing distress and eventually take control of their emotions and their lives.
  • I “meet the client where they are at.” Psychobabble aside, I work with clients on assessing degrees of comfort with the therapeutic process to collaboratively identify appropriate treatment goals.
  • I’ll be real with you: participating in therapy is work… No one ever said it was easy, but my goal as your therapist is to listen to you and help you to identify your psychic needs, and then we can work hard together and get you to where you want to be in life!

Caitlin O’Donnell

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, AMFT

I am a passionate mental health advocate who has been working in the field for close to 8 years.

My journey to becoming a therapist has consisted of lived experience and education. I received my Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The University of Phoenix and became an Associate in February of 2020.

I have extensive experience working with impoverished families, crisis intervention, high acuity diagnosis, substance use disorder, and trauma.
My time in this field has taught me the value of meeting people where they are at and leaning into experiences with an open heart and mind. My desire is to provide my clients with a safe place to land on their journey.

I believe that you are the expert in the room and I strive to empower the expert within. I look forward to meeting you!

Chenique Jackson

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, AMFT

My name is Chenique Jackson and currently AMFT.  I have served over 7 years in the Sacramento community. I enjoy collaboratively working with resources in my  community . My specialty doing groups. I love idea of helping and facilitating a safe space where individuals  can have a place to vent and freely express themselves with no judgment. I believe everyone has a story and it’s important to be expressed and heard by self-expression. As black woman I want to help bring awareness and normalize therapy. I am here to help bring support and encouragement during these challenging times.
Warm Regards

Deja DeTrinidad

Associate Clinical Social Worker, ACSW

As a child my dream was to help families and couples strengthen and improve their relationships. I began my efforts to reach that goal at Sacramento State University where I gained my Bachelor’s in Psychology. I began my work with families shortly after and realized I had a strong desire to continue my education to help others through therapy. I received my Master’s in Social Work from California State University, Stanislaus where my program had a clinical focus. I have been working as an Associate Clinical Social Worker to support individuals and families in community mental health. I am a client-centered therapist who values empowerment and highlighting an individual’s unique strengths. I have experience treating anxiety, depression, trauma, family systems, disordered eating, mood disorders, psychosis, and more. I am inspired by the resiliency of those I work with and feel honored to be invited on a person’s journey to self-fulfillment. I come with a background of various therapeutic methods as I believe treatment should be individualized. I have knowledge in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Focused Integrated Play Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy), Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Mindfulness interventions, and Motivational Interviewing. I look forward to our work together as we develop a therapeutic alliance and create a safe space to achieve insight and growth on your journey.

Travis Nelson

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, AMFT, APCC

Great Risings! I am excited to be a person of interest for your self-development needs. I am a proud father of two wonderful young men. My youngest is graduating from high school this year, so I am aware of the challenges faced by most parents, professionals, Service Members, Veterans, coaches, teachers, and leaders. Life can be challenging, and in time of crisis it is always comforting speaking with someone down to earth and empathetic enough to hear your concerns.

I am experienced in life and the daily challenges we face. I have been prepared and equipped to work with all individuals and organizations in the spirit of diversity and equality. My worldview has been crafted as a US Army Officer and OIFI Veteran; as a Father; as a Service Coordinator in a Psychiatric Health Facility; and as a Basketball Coach.

Along with my professional training and education; I offer sincerity, honesty, empathy, and respect for all persons from all backgrounds. Please allow me the opportunity to hear your concerns and work together to find a place of healing and stabilization.


  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Child or Adolescent
  • Family Conflict
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Mood Disorders

Megan Noriega

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist / Professional Clinical Counselor

Welcome! My name is Megan and I would be honored to guide you in your healing journey. I am currently an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist / Professional Clinical Counselor and I have worked with a variety of client issues including trauma, anxiety, depression, self-worth and relationship issues. 

My passion is helping you grow towards greater joy, authenticity, and health from whatever may be holding you back. We all come across struggles in life, whether from past pain or current difficulties, and it is a brave step to ask someone to come alongside and help. I believe that holding a safe space free of judgement is one of the most important parts of therapy. No topic is off-limits here, and my goal is to seek to understand you and your story with compassion.

I will use all the resources and knowledge I have in order to meet you where you are at and help you get unstuck. Therapy can be a difficult process at times and takes work, but I believe the newfound freedom you will experience is more than worth it in the end. If you are ready to start this process, I will be there with you every step of the way!


Darcy Jackson

Associate Marriage & Family Therapist, AMFT

Originally from Connecticut I moved to California to pursue a new journey. Along this path, it has allowed me to be a therapist who is compassionate, funny, yet challenging.  I like to use these skills, all while linking solid professional education with personal experience in supporting people to find their inner gifts. 

I offer warmhearted treatment for people who need assistance in overcoming the impacts of negative life experiences. I help clients improve their quality of life by developing coping skills, processing their thoughts, feelings & experiences.

 I operate from an empathic, non-judgmental, and multicultural lens that focuses on inclusion. In addition to my therapeutic work, I have a history and passion for working with those who are justice impacted. This includes those that are incarcerated, and the families impacted by incarceration.

I believe that we all have a story and at times it may seem we need guidance to move between chapters. Whether you are at the beginning or middle or concluding season of life’s book. I look forward to being alongside this journey.




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