New Beginnings Counseling Center (NBCC) is a nonprofit mental health center that provides psychological counseling and supportive services to low-income families and individuals in the Santa Barbara community.
To provide quality, affordable counseling, shelter, case management, and education that strengthens our community and provides our clients with the ability to lead healthy and productive lives.
To be recognized as a leading organization that meets the shifting needs of our community through our superior clinical training program and focused supportive services, delivering exceptional outcomes cost effectively.
Staff and Counselors
New Beginnings’ staff and Board of Directors are dedicated to providing client-centered services. To this end, services provided are maximally responsive to each individual’s needs, preferences, and values.
- The plan of service or support for persons receiving services shall be developed through a person-centered planning process.
- The plan’s person-centered, strength-based approach is about treating people with respect and dignity and working together to improve the person’s quality of life.
- Services are to be based on the client’s expressed needs where we facilitate the client in managing their own care.
- Services and supports are to be provided in environments that promote safety, independence, community, and quality of life.
- The process will fully utilize the coordination and integration of care and resources.
- The process will provide emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety.
- The process will meet client’s needs for continuity and transition.
New Beginnings Administration Team
Kristine J. Schwarz, MA, MFT, LPCC
Kristine Schwarz is a seasoned executive and psychotherapist who brings extensive experience building organizations and managing multi-faceted projects in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, and considerable experience as an educator and clinician. Kristine is also a former entertainment industry executive with 13 years of experience developing film and television projects internationally. She received her MA from Antioch University Santa Barbara and has worked locally as a therapist at Domestic Violence Solutions, the COPE program at Cottage Hospital, Full Spectrum Recovery, Goleta Valley Union School District, and Working Alternatives. She maintains her psychotherapy private practice, Santa Barbara Psychotherapy.
Prior to joining New Beginnings, Kristine was Associate Director of Institutional Advancement at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She also served as Core Faculty and Clinical Director of Antioch’s Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology Program where she founded the MFT Consortium of the Central Coast Region, and served as the Central Coast Chair of the MFT Leadership Collaborative and Chair of Antioch’s Alumni Association Steering Committee.
Kristine began her career as a media buyer in Washington, D.C., working with clients such as the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, before moving to Los Angeles in 1987, when she joined the Walt Disney Studios. She received her undergraduate degree in Marketing and Advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Crystal Ramirez, PhD, MFT
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Crystal Ramirez has a wide variety of clinical, supervisory, and management experience in the community, most recently from the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness, where she worked as Regional Manager, Team Supervisor of CARES South, and Practitioner on the Homeless Outreach and Justice Alliance teams.
Dr. Ramirez has also served as a Clinical Supervisor at the Salvation Army, worked as the Assistant Manager of Mountain House at Crescend (formerly Phoenix), and been a lead counselor and Children’s Program Clinical Coordinator at Domestic Violence Solutions.
Dr. Ramirez holds a Marriage and Family Therapy license and has a B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from UCSB; a Masters in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica; and a Doctorate in Depth Psychology with Emphasis in Psychotherapy from Pacifica. Her dissertation research focused on the subjective experiences of people with psychotic disorders and has been presented at professional conferences internationally and domestically.
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Michael manages development, communications, and donor relationships in close collaboration with the Executive Director. Most recently, Michael served as a Proposal Writer at Yardi Systems and as a part-time Grant Writer for the Lompoc Family YMCA. Before this, he graduated UCSB with degrees in Economics and History. He is very passionate about our mission and looks forward to strengthening our relationships with donors and conveying the impact of our work to community members.
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Allen Bishop, PhD
Allen Bishop, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at Pacifica Graduate Institute having served as faculty member, Department Chair, and Accreditation Liaison Officer for over 15 years. He is a licensed psychologist and certified psychoanalyst. Dr. Bishop completed a Post-Doctoral fellowship in Child Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy at Reiss-Davis Child Study Center where he currently serves as Dean of the PsyD Program. He is a former Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis (ICP) and is currently on the faculty of Antioch University in Santa Barbara. His research interests center on the intersection of music, psychoanalytic treatment and creativity. Dr. Bishop is also a concert pianist performing chamber music with a variety of artists in the local area.
Dr. Dyan Colven completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. She most recently served as Clinical Coordinator, Program Coordinator, and Program Director at Vista del Mar Outpatient Program, a social service organization in Los Angeles, for approximately 15 years. She also served as a adjunct faculty member at UCLA and taught mental health awareness to medical students at UCLA. Prior to this, Dyan held a variety of positions at SHIELD for Families, Inc. She also served as Clinical Supervisor for Rosa Parks Sexual Assault Crisis Center. Before obtaining her doctorate, Dyan worked as a human resources professional in the private sector after obtaining her MBA from the University of Oregon.
Miranda Field, MFT
In practice since 1986, and providing clinical supervision since 1988, Miranda has served as Clinical Director for a number of counseling centers in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, including our own New Beginnings Counseling Center and Child Abuse Listening and Mediation (CALM).
The current focus of Miranda’s practice incorporates the intersecting fields of trauma and attachment theory, mindfulness, and somatically based practices. While maintaining a general practice, Miranda specializes in healing early trauma, including childhood sexual abuse and early attachment injuries, as well as couples therapy. With advanced training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy, Miranda values a respectful and relationally oriented approach to healing.
Barbara Sheffield, MFT
Barbara S. Sheffield, MFT, received her BA from Duke University and her MA in Education, Counseling Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California as well as a CAMFT Certified Supervisor and has three years post-graduate training from the Santa Barbara Gestalt Training Center. Her theoretical orientation integrates Gestalt, solution-focused, and psychodynamic theories.
Barbara has been a member of the Antioch University Santa Barbara faculty since 1991. She also has taught at Antioch University Seattle. She is a past instructor at Santa Barbara City College’s Drug/Alcohol Certification Program. She has served as Clinical Coordinator of Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara and Clinical Director of Domestic Violence Solutions of Santa Barbara and New Beginnings Counseling Center.
Barbara had a private practice for 16 years, which included a great deal of group experience. She has worked with perpetrators and victims of domestic abuse, clients in drug/alcohol residential treatment programs, and Employee Assistance programs, and she has 18 years of experience supervising trainees, interns, and clinicians. She is a long-time member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and has served on the Board of Directors of the local chapter. She is currently providing individual supervision to MFT associates and leads two women’s groups, as well as teaching at Antioch University and Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Susan Wax, PhD
Susan Wax has 30+ years of clinical experience as a psychologist, specializing in psychodynamic psychotherapy with individuals and advanced couple’s work, with couples striving for intimacy and better communication. She has also received divorce mediation training and a portion of her private practice is devoted to facilitating effective co-parenting. Susan was a founding board member of SB-Court-Appointed Special Advocates and a trainer for CASA, Associate Professor at Antioch University, Parent Educator for SB County Courts, and Clinical Supervisor at UCSB Hosford Clinic. This is her second year supervising doctoral interns at New Beginnings.