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707 599-2000

I promise to make our first conversation fruitful and easy

Clients and colleagues describe me as a warm, compassionate and wise psychotherapist. I am committed to providing the highest level of counseling to the North Bay area. I am often a good fit for clients who want to integrate a spiritual perspective into working on the issues they bring to counseling. By “spiritual” I mean striving towards  “being” your whole and complete authentic self, to live connected to that self, committed to growing, evolving and finding deep purpose, forgiving oneself and others, seeing the sacred in the ordinary, and having a daily practice that keeps personal growth going long after counseling concludes.  The foundation of our  work together is the practice of transforming suffering into wisdom.

I bring 15+ years experience helping couples, adults, teens and families. Therapy is an inner journey of self-exploration, self-acceptance, and self-expression. Together we co-create and celebrate your process as you move towards a compassionate acceptance of where you’ve been and create the vision of where you are going.

I offer a wide variety of transformational tools and psychotherapy orientations to move you forward. My training/orientation draws on spiritual traditions, somatic practices, creative arts, mythology and indigenous wisdom.  I utilize techniques from the most effective cutting edge psychotherapies, the most recent findings of cognitive/affective neuroscience, and accessible practices of coaching, mindfulness, expressive arts, and energy psychology.  

 I look forward to your unique story unfolding as you step fully into the life you envision and deserve.  Together we will carefully tailor your individualized plan and utilize the most effective and well researched therapy tools available. I find great joy in helping to change lives and bringing healing to those in need. I am happy to discuss a sliding fee scale to those who need this.

You can call right now to schedule a free 30 minute phone or office consultation. I often can return calls within a few hours. You will be surprised how a 30 minute conversation can be transformative and healing. You may also schedule a full intake appointment by filling out the “contact” link in the navigation bar at the top.

Marriage and Family therapist Santa Rosa California – Kristy Hellum is a Marriage and Family therapist in Santa Rosa, California. She provides individual therapy, couples therapy, and therapy for teens. Her office is near downtown Santa Rosa.

Wise. Compassionate. Perceptive.
Experienced. Safe

Therapist-Santa-Rosa-Kristy-hellumUNIQUE TRAINING
Meridian University in the Bay Area draws on several diversified orientations to psychology that have emerged during the mid to latter part of the twentieth century, including:

• Depth Psychology
• Humanistic Psychology
• Transpersonal Psychology
• Somatic Psychology
• Spiritual Psychology
• Ecopsychology
• Energy Psychology

Licensed in California – MFT, MFC44973

Therapist Santa Rosa and Family Therapist in Santa Rosa, CA


My Psychotherapy orientation is deeply embedded in best practices and well researched theories including brain science, change theory and attachment theory.

theoretical approaches with soulful appreciation of and respect for the vast array spiritual practices and honoring the creative imagination.

Schedule includes Saturday and evening hours

Payment options that fit your budget. More client do not use insurance for therapy because Private Pay is the only way to secure complete confidentiality I am happy to offer a sliding scale for those in need.

Research shows this an effective tool for treating anxiety, depression, PTSD and emotional chaos. Each session begins this way.

Transformation is is at the heart of the therapy journey. Drawing from the richness of the alchemical process, we endeavor to transform all of life’s suffering into wisdom.

Exploring the unconscious parts of us, many people need and want to use something beyond words; sand tray, poetry, movement, drawing, scribbling, collage, writing. Skilled with these approaches, I am delighted to offer them to you.


As an alternative – ask about my work as a certified Equine Interaction Mental Health Professional, we can partner with sensitive loving horses to learn from their powerful ease and pure truth telling congruent nature. All work is done on the ground. No riding experience needed.

Originally from Seattle, I have lived most of my adult life in Humboldt County. College came later after many years living in the wilderness of the Northern California backcountry where I was gold miner and activist. I lived and worked in Thailand, traveled extensively in Europe, always learning from the most extraordinary adventures. Parenting has been the most profound job I have ever had. I have raised a two remarkable children. My eldest with Down Syndrome chose to move back to his hometown and live independently with supportive living services. Being his mother I have learned to live with heart break and joy all in the same breath. My daughter has followed her passion with horses and thankfully still performs as a singer songwriter – with an outrageously soulful-gospel-jazz-folk voice. In my family we celebrate our diversity everyday – Gay, Straight and Trans, White Black and Brown. In my spare time I enjoy exploring wild rivers and parks, growing gardens and cultivating friendships, dancing and teaching NIA, and telling stories on and off the stage


My training/orientation draws on spiritual traditions, somatic practices, creative arts, mythology and indigenous wisdom. Integrating psychology, spirituality and the power of the imagination, I utilize techniques from the most effective cutting edge psychotherapies, the most recent findings of cognitive neuroscience, trauma treatment, and accessible practices of mindfulness, coaching, expressive arts and energy psychology. I am a sex positive LGBTQ ally


California Marriage & Family Therapist #44973

Certified Equine Interaction Mental Health Therapist

Certified NIA dance Instructor – Mind Body Soul Dance Workout

California Teaching Credential K-12


Cloverdale School District Behavior Specialist

Community Sexuality Health Educator -15 years

Mother-Daughter communication workshop facilitator

Residential Treatment for Teens- Sebastopol

Theater Director/Actor/Producer

Native American Family Services Therapist

Community College Psychology Department Instructor

Gold Miner


Treatment specialization includes:

  • Anxiety treatment
  • Sex and Love addicts
  • Partners of Sex/Porn addicts
  • Intimacy betrayal trauma
  • Facing loss and grief
  • Depression cycles, and addressing the core issues
  • Couples communication and conflict resolution
  • Attachment theory for adults and couples
  • Adolescent therapy
  • Questioning LGBT youth
  • Increasing intimacy with a partner
  • Creating healthy sexual relationships
  • Setting and asserting Boundaries
  • Teens and Parents Communication coaching
  • Mother-Daughter relationships
  • ADD/ADHD learning disabilities and ASD
  • Creative Aging

You are invited to my office where we can utilize expressive arts, collage, journaling, dreams and as well as insight oriented psycho-education, cognitive behavioral therapies and Jungian orientations.

I also facilitate Parent-Daughter workshops for younger girls 9-12 years old and their caregivers, encouraging celebration of puberty and becoming a woman.

Healthy Sexuality

I offer couples and individuals a safe place to explore gender, sexuality and relationship issues. I celebrate diversity and am a strong LGBTQ ally. I also offer unique perspectives to women in mid-life transitions and offer rite of passage initiations within your circles of support. Healing from childhood sexual shame, trauma and abuse is a sacred journey. Recreating intimacy in long term relationships is possible.

Whether you are an adult, teen, or parent, in or out of a relationship, sexuality education is a lifelong process. With over 15 years experience as sexuality health educator, I have designed and led weekend retreats on gender reconciliation & creating feminine/masculine balance. I support parents in becoming the best sex educators for their children and teens, provided healthy relationships trainings for colleges, produced and directed The Vagina Monologues, designed HIV and homophobia prevention curricula for high schools and advocate for social sexual training for people with cognitive impairments.

Partners of Sex Addicts

Whether you have known about your partner’s acting out behavior for a while or are just finding out, finding a therapist with specialized training in partner relationship trauma is critical. You did not cause the addiction and you aren’t responsible for his/her behavior. I work with a team of highly regarded specialists who can offer comprehensive sex addiction assessments and treatment, while I work with partners, offer healing, trauma treatment and tools for self-empowerment. You are not alone. There is help.


I can help couples build their capacities so that creating a deep, open and conscious relationship, filled with a lifetime of love and connection is possible. Finding what unconscious messages are blocking you from “getting the love you want”. Creating safety and trust that allows for authentic connection and deepening intimacy is our initial work together. My practice with couples centers around attachment theory, psycho-educational conversations, role playing effective strategies for re-connecting, learning new ways to ask for what you want and laughing. I use a non-violent communication tool kit, with suggestions for books and homework assignments.I use a non-violent communication tool kit with an orientation towards attachment theory and the work of Sue Johnson.  I support all forms of relationships, and am a gay marriage rights supporter for all.

Listen to Susan Johnson, the author of “Hold Me Tight” on Youtube – What is a Healthy Marriage?

YouTube Video

Individual Therapy


I see many people experiencing a life transition who are looking for extra guidance and intelligent professional support. Relationship changes, divorce, health and career challenges, children leaving home, anxiety and depression, grief support, and parent-child relationships and much more.

My specialty areas include:

Empowering change, moving forward
Thriving after Divorce
ADD ADHD adults
Gender fluidity
Depressive and Anxious feeling states
Adjusting after Baby
Women & Body Image
Creative Menopause
Creative Arts therapy
Healthy Sexuality
Sex Positive relationships
Befriending Dreams
Grief and loss
Psychic Grounding
Children of Divorce
Families – children with special needs
Parent-Teen Relationships
Young adults – Personal Growth and Development
Adult Child of Alcoholics
Marijuana use and dependency issues


Teenagers require a specially trained therapist that understands how to develop a meaningful relationship based on mutual respect and dignity. I have led Parent/Teen communication workshops for over 15 years, helping young people feel empowered throughout puberty and adolescence. I offer young people an opportunity to use expressive arts and sand tray, as well as traditional talk therapy integrating cognitive behavioral theory. Developing new decision making skills, evaluating risk taking and moving toward independence. I am committed to helping parents teach these tasks to their teens. I work closely with parents to help their child through challenges.

For 12 years I designed and directed a teen theater outreach program for Planned Parenthood in Northern California. LGBTQ teens and their allies changed lives and communities. Later, as a mental health clinician, I provided counseling for youth healing from child abuse, trauma and parental drug abuse and neglect. I have designed and led healthy relationship and empowerment trainings for young women in groups homes, high schools and in the community.

Parent/Teen communication sessions. Working as a team to get through a crisis or rough time can be the most beneficial form of treatment. If parents want to be involved and stay involved in their teen’s life, these dynamic and often playful sessions together can set the stage for a new way of relating. It is like hitting the refresh button. I am your teen’s ally, and together we make it possible for each other to be deeply listened to. Parents, you will be supported to change your parenting styles and habits that are no longer effective for this stage of development.

Individual teen sessions – your child will know whether this is the best option for them. This investment is priceless. If your teen is resistant to trying therapy, let’s talk. There may be a better way to invite them. I have never had a teen not return after their first session.

I work with a wide variety of issues: divorce, parent/child conflict, life, grief and loss, anger, eating disorders, anxiety, bullying/teasing, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, depression, learning and behavioral disabilities, body image, and sexuality and gender identity concerns.

Learning Disabilities, ADHD, Emotional Disturbance

I also specialize in working with families whose children are unique learners, including learning disabilities, developmental disabilities and those labeled with ADD/ADHD and “Behavioral Problems.” I offer children and young adults on the Autism/Asperger’s spectrum and other cognitive impairments, treatment that includes sensory integration and social/sexual training. I work closely with parents and teachers in a respectful, loving and collaborative way. My adult son was born with Down Syndrome and I have been an avid parent advocate for over 23 years.

Facilitator / Trainer

I am well known as a Parent-daughter communication workshop facilitator for puberty age girls and older teens. Please see my MOTHER DAUGHTER WORKSHOP page on this website. I have presented at national conferences as a Sexuality Educator, leading groups, exploring gender, sexuality and healthy relationships. I am a regular guest speaker for teachers-in-training on Inclusion and how to work with families who have children with disabilities. I have presented training to teachers and counselors on Sexual Harassment, Pregnancy and HIV Prevention and Teen Dating Violence. I have co-designed and facilitated 3 day retreats addressing Gender Issues in Men and Women Relationships that integrate ritual and community building.

Mother & Daughter Counseling

I believe that mother- daughter relationships are the most complex, powerful and important relationships in need of tender nurturing and reclaiming in these times. There exists a rich possibility of healing for families and communities when mothers and daughters honor their gifts of feminine strength and connectivity. Biologically linked, bonded through adoption or found later in life, mothers and daughters offer each other opportunities for the necessary re-telling of family stories and eventually, forgiveness. I see girls and mothers together from age 6 and up as well as adult daughters and mothers in the Wisdom years. Mothers of Daughters ages 9-16 are most in need of staying connected through puberty and young womanhood. I would delight in offering you a free phone consultation and to talk about this option for family therapy.

Recommended Reading: Mother Daughter Movies: 101 Films to See Together, Rosemary Rogers and Nell Rogers Michlin with Christine Ernst Bode

Mother-Daughter Communication Workshops
Many parents, caregivers, and young people want to support and talk with each other about growing into healthy, safe, wise and strong women. These workshops for Mothers and Daughters offer a safe supportive atmosphere to practice communicating about positive sexuality, love, dating relationships and healthy choices.

These are practical, interactive and humor filled 2 hour long workshops that have been developed to guide parents, caregivers, educators and mentors (dads can come too!) to assist young women as they develop into womanhood.

My approach to raising daughters is refreshing and takes the dread and worry out of “talking about sex”. The most reluctant teens/ parents coming to these workshops give rave reviews and sign up for more.

“Celebrate Girls” is for younger girls, 9-12 years old and their parents/guardians. Fostering positive attitudes about girl’s bodies and the changes to look forward to during puberty. In a safe and respectful group setting, we talk about love and sex and “where babies come from”. We create plans for celebrating menstruation and laugh a lot. Parents and girls have the chance to have fun while talking about what may have been too embarrassing or confusing.

“Teen Talk” is for 13 to 16 year old daughters and their parents/guardians, addressing healthy dating relationships, peer pressure, decision making, media messages, body image, birth control, STDs, family values, and how to say an “effective no.” Presented with humor and sensitivity,

Experience: During 15 years as a Planned Parenthood Sex Educator, I began developing these workshops. I am known for my wisdom, warmth and humor. I have presented at national conferences as a Sexuality Educator and Teen Peer Education expert, leading adult and Teen groups, exploring gender, sexuality and healthy relationships. I have been a trainer for teachers, counselors and caregivers on Sexual Harassment, Effective Pregnancy and,HIV Prevention and Teen Dating Violence. I hold a California Teaching Credential, working in educational settings from Kindergarten to College.

Request a workshop in your home or community:

Please call to talk about customizing a two-hour workshop for your community (e.g. living rooms, community centers, schools or synagogues and churches). I have presented to PTAs, non-profit organizations, parenting classes, Girl Scouts and book clubs. These workshops are usually held in the evenings and can be hosted by parents or other organizations. Arrangements can be made for a series.

Small groups of twelve to twenty participants are ideal, although audiences of over one hundred in school auditoriums has been done. Fees for workshops are based on a sliding scale: $150-$200 per workshop which are most often paid with participant donations of approximately $20 per family.

What is Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Equine therapy is practiced around the world in many forms. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) has been shown to be beneficial for more than two decades with remarkable research just being published. We know that horses and humans have been creating unique partnerships for more than a millennia. Horses are a critically important partner in my work as a Board Certified Equine Interaction Professional.

The equine’s prey nature and intense sensitivity to subtle changes in their environment make them perfect partners for clients to develop deeper awareness and insight and a wide range of life and coping skills. Originally used to help patients recover from traumatic injuries, it then became a widely-used therapeutic method to treat children and adults with physical and developmental challenges. In recent years, equine therapy has branched off into other areas – treating a wide variety of emotional issues as well as Recovery and addiction treatment.

EAP is an effective treatment method for:

  • Teaching teamwork, communication and problem solving
  • Helping individuals face fears, increasing confidence and self-esteem
  • Providing a safe environment in which to address emotional roadblocks
  • Developing new ways of interacting socially
  • Providing challenging, fun and therapeutic healing
  • ADHD
  • Anger management
  • Trauma and PTSD
  • Depression and grief
  • Anxiety issues
  • Co-dependence and boundary setting
  • Couples therapy and relationship building

Please ask about my work with equine partners and see if this may be right for you. All work is done on the ground and no riding experience is necessary. We meet at Sky Tree ranch about 10 minutes from Downtown Santa Rosa for a 1 hour session, rain or shine.

Partners of Sex/Porn Addicts

If you have discovered that your partner/spouse has been using pornography, cybersex, strip clubs, massage parlors, having affairs, using prostitutes or acting out on Craig’s List or other dating sites, you will likely find yourself experiencing painful reactions to these discoveries. I know how these betrayals can traumatize partners and turn their world upside down. It doesn’t matter how often or how long your partner has been using porn or acting out. What does matter is if YOU are being negatively affected.

I have very specific training in what is known as “relationship and betrayal trauma” My approach to supporting, educating and treating the partners of porn/ sex addicts reflects perspective of the “multidimensional partner trauma model” (http://apsats.org/training) I can help you to regain your strength and heal using the most current and well researched trauma treatment resdearch available. I will not label you “co-dependent” or refer to you as a “co-addict.”

The most important thing right now is that you are reading this and reaching out for help: You can recover from this and you do not have to face this alone. I work with a team of certified sex addiction experts and can refer addiction partners for a comprehensive sex addiction assessment. A simplified sex addiction screening tool is available on line at https://www.recoveryzone.com/tests/sex-addiction/ SAST/index.php. Although this can not replace a full assessment, it is a place to start for addicts and those with problematic compulsive sexual behavior and or porn use.

There is online support for partner right now and a place to find local POSA (Partners of Sex Addicts) meeting at http://www.posarc.com/resources/posameetings “If you are experiencing: anger/rage, sadness, confusion, grief, betrayal, rejection, low self-esteem, disappointment and or depression…or any number of other symptoms as a result of finding out about your partner’s involvement with pornography or other sexual acting out, it is essential for you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are hundreds of thousands of others who are suffering (often silently) as they attempt to come to grips with the frequently devastating effects of their partner’s sexual “habits.” We’re glad you found your way here…” from the POSARC website.

Couples Counseling

I am honored to help couples create deep, open and conscious loving relationships filled with a lifetime of authenticity and connection.

In our initial work together, you will explore unconscious messages that may be blocking you from “getting the love you want.” Together we will create safety and trust that allows for re-connection after a conflict; which is the key to ongoing and deepening intimacy.

Our time together centers around effective listening, adult attachment theory, psycho-educational conversations, role playing effective strategies for re-connecting, learning knew ways to ask for what we truly want (knowing what it is you truly want) and of course, laughing more.

I offer a combination of “Non-Violent Communication” skills and emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with Gottman marriage research that guide you towards deep compassionate listening. I will suggest books and homework assignments with an orientation towards attachment theory and the work of Dr. Sue Johnson (see her recent book).

I support all forms of relationship commitments and am a LGBT marriage rights supporter.


Standard appointments are 50 minutes long. Couples are encourage to schedule 90 minute sessions. Assessment and initial intake appointments are 80-90 minutes. Phone sessions are available after the first face-to-face assessment.

Regular Hours

Monday – Friday: 9:00am to 8pm with some Saturday times available

Standard Fee

$130 for a 50-60 min session. $195 for a 80-90 min intake session. Many couples prefer the longer sessions, your choice.

Private Pay clients – there is one important reason to consider why one would not use health insurance for Mental Health services – to protect your privacy. Companies and businesses may access your health records despite all of the impeccable care a therapist takes to ensure complete confidentiality.

I offer a variety of payment options that include credit cards, HSA, cash, checks, or paypal. If you are experiencing a financial snafu, ask about a sliding-fee scale. I offer 20% of my clients a time limited sliding-fee scale that ranges from $90-$110

Before you start therapy, we will discuss my payment policies and your options.

Please call me to take advantage of my free 30 minute phone consultation 707 599 2000


Check with me about your insurance. Many insured clients prefer to pay out of pocket for therapy for reasons of medical records and confidentiality.

If you have health insurance, it can be tricky be fully informed about what your insurance company does and does not cover. Many insurance plans cover or reimburse for mental health care, often it is called “behavior health” services. A licensed therapist can provide you with a “super bill” that you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement, providing the treatment and provider meet your insurance company’s requirements. Being licensed is most often a requirement as is having an informed therapist who understands the correct codes to put on the bill. Although very rare, some therapists will bill your insurance company directly if they are a “preferred provider.” Because most therapist lose money when they attempt insurance billing and find it very difficult to stay in business, they have stopped billing directly. I am licensed therapist and an “out of network” provider. I can give you all the correct paperwork to submit your claim.

It is your responsibility to make sure your therapy is covered. Here are a few tips for doing so:

Contact your insurance company or read your insurance plan to verify your insurance coverage.
Get the name and title of the person with whom you speak.
Ask your insurance company if you need a referral from your primary care physician to work with a MFT. If you do, be sure you get a referral for therapy.
Ask your insurance company about what your policy will cover.
Find out from your insurance company how many visits are covered.
Confirm the amount of your deductible and co-pay.
Ask your insurance company if it requires the therapist to be part of a preferred provider network or if there are any limitations on who you choose to receive therapy from.

To read more on insurance coverage:
California Department of Insurance http://www.insurance.ca.gov
Department of Managed Health Care http://www.dmhc.ca.gov

Cancellation Policy

If you cannot keep your scheduled appointment, I ask that you notify me 24 hours in advance. I trust that we value each other’s commitments. I will hold your scheduled time open as long as I can and be happy to re-schedule with you.

My customary charge for a missed appointment is $70.00.


Please fill out the New Client Intake Form and the Confidentiality Form and bring to your first session.

New Client Intake & Cancellation Policy Form

Confidentiality Form

If you would like me to coordinate care with another professional (e.g., your psychiatrist, primary care physician, etc.), please complete the applicable release of information form below:

Consent to Release Information Form


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Kristy Hellum, MFT

707 599 2000

Santa Rosa Office
608 College Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Kristy’s reading list

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson. The stories, new ideas and exercises offered in Hold Me Tight are based on the new science of love and the wisdom of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.

If the Buddha Married? and If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path by Charlotte Kasl

This is sweet bedtime read to your honey. Charlotte blends a bit of Buddhist and Sufi wisdom with Psychology and loving compassion. (And now a new one “If the Buddha Got Stuck”)

Conscious Loving: The Journey to Co-Commitment, Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks may be getting older, however these timeless books give powerful step-by-step relationship advice to transform a relationship from co-dependence to co-commitmement. And ultimately to what we all want: A deep, open and conscious relationship, filled with love and a connection beyond description. This book has changed many lives, and saved even more relationships.

Embracing the Beloved, by Stephen and Ondrea Levine.

The authors demonstrate how to use a relationship as a means for profound inner growth and healing. Their insights and anecdotes will benefit all who are drawn to looking inward and all who seek a relationship as a path for spiritual renewal. “A poetic and compassionate book about the healing potential of love and familial relationships. Publishers Weekly.

How to Be An Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving, by David Richo. ”Beginning with practical exercises for couples and single, this book offers heartening insights into the lifelong journey of love, from childhood to adulthood, from dating to breakups”

10 Lessons to Transform you Marriage, by John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman.

If you haven’t read the Gottman Institute’s “Love Lab” research, Google it now. “The Gottmans provide vital tools, scientifically based and empirically verified, that you can use to regain affection and romance lost through years of ineffective communication. You’ll strengthen your relationship and make it the most fulfilling it can be.”

A Conscious Person’s Guide to Relationships, Ken Keyes, Jr. Alright it is really old, my copy was published in 1979 but just the chapter titles are useful to read: Chp 5 “Don’t Expect the Relationship to Make You Happy” and Chapter 11 “Develop the Awareness of the Constant Beauty and Perfection of Yourself and Your Partner”. Remember he also wrote “Handbook to Higher Consciousness”. Far out.

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, by Harville Hendrix. First on the scene 20 years ago, “This book will help any couple find the love they want hidden under all the concealing confusion of a close and intimate relationship.”