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Henry Meraz, LCSW

Owner/Clinical Director


Passion and dedication to helping others

Lacie Turner, LMFT
Clinical Supervisor


Donald Turnmire, LMFT
Clinical Supervisor

I’m Henry Meraz, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist working in Fresno, CA. I am here to guide you through life’s most complex and difficult matters. I truly care about my patients’ well-being and guarantee top of the line counseling and psychological services catered to their needs.

I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California and understand some of complex issues that may arise. I completed by BA at UCLA and my MSW at USC. I have over ten years of clinical training in mental health. My training took place primarily in Los Angeles. I have worked in healthcare, community mental health, non-profit advocacy, colleges, and now in private practice settings. My diverse experience has allowed me to learn about people from all over the world and with an array of obstacles.


I am most proud of my training that I have received to help individuals dealing with trauma, anxiety, and depression. I also have years of commitment working with LGBTQIA+ populations; including the transgender community and have assisted many through gender therapy and the transition process. I see myself as a much needed resource for the community. Get in touch with me today for more information.

WPATH Member, EMDR Trained, Gottman Levels 1 & 2, TRM Level 1, Gender Asset

I use an integrative approach to counseling that is specific to the individual.  I believe that the collaborative relationship of the therapist and client is built when trust and connection is established.  Your story matters and that you deserve to be heard. 


I have worked for 5 years at a local mental health agency providing therapy with children, adolescence, adults, families in crisis as well as the LGBT community.  My training includes Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Play therapy, and Attachment based Therapy (Theraplay Level 1).

Life is full of wonder & beauty, as well as pain and heartbreak. Sometimes, & often, we go through life learning to hide parts of ourselves that have felt rejected, abandoned, hurt, & so on. We learn to only give comfort and attention to parts of ourselves that have felt loved, happiness, and understanding. What we often don’t notice is how ignoring parts of ourselves that have felt pain can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, and much more. Often, we notice how our emotions, our thoughts, and our bodies react to certain situations that trigger those hidden parts to resurface, & then struggle with coping.

My approach to therapy is as a holistic therapist that focuses on the person and their goals/needs. My goal is to create a safe & open space for people to explore their inner worlds more deeply. With my knowledge & training in Yoga, EMDR, & Therapy, I help individuals become more comfortable in their bodies, & build awareness with their thoughts & emotions.

My role as a therapist is to offer you support and space to un-anchor yourself from heavy emotions that you have carried for so long. This space in therapy is to look at those emotions within yourself through a lens of love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding. This journey is your journey and I am here to bare witness to your beautiful adventure.

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Meet The Team

Currently not accepting new clients

Corion Duran, LMFT
LGBTQ+ Licensed Therapist


Life can difficult, sometimes you find yourself in a place and you're not quite sure how you got there, feel stuck, or don't know where to go next. We can often feel overwhelmed by our emotions and thoughts. While emotions can be painful, they are a necessary part of life. We often react to our emotions in ways that only increase our suffering. Despite this we are capable of feeling our emotions fully and still living a valued life, we can learn to accept the necessary pain in life without amplifying it for ourselves. I approach therapy in a way that often involves identifying the things we value in life most and developing skills to help us get over the hurdles that prevent us from living those values. My hope in therapy is that you will walk away from it feeling closer to the life you want for yourself.


I work with adults, children, families and people in relationships. I also have significant experience and commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community. My experience includes working with issues such as depression, anger, and general life issues, while I also specialize in trauma and anxiety. It is my belief that therapy should be affirming of your core identity and help you to build a trust in yourself. Central to my approach with anyone is the idea that only you can define your identity and experience. Therapy should be for anyone and everyone, and I tailor my work to the needs of the people sitting with me. My approach to therapy is influenced by Person-Centered Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as the Gottman Institute and Structural Family Therapy.  If you have any questions regarding therapy with me I'd be happy to answer them.

ACT Trained, Gottman Trained

Laura Thomas, AMFT
LGBTQ+ Associate Therapist


I’m Laura, a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. My pronouns are she/they, but you can also refer to me using pronouns she/her. I’m a biracial therapist with South Asian (Indian) roots, and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community passionate about serving this community. I know starting therapy can be hard, as we may feel like no one understands us, our struggles or our story. We can have trouble understanding our emotions, or building healthy relationships. Therapy can be a safe, confidential space to unpack your specific struggles. 


As a therapist, I’ve had the privilege of working with a diverse population of clients in various settings seeking clarity with a wide range of issues. Some of these include processing trauma, navigating/managing anxiety and depression, and providing safety in exploration and celebration of identity. I enjoy building strong client-therapist relationships, facilitating client journeys and conducting sessions imbued with humor, compassion, and warmth. 


I take a relational, integrative, trauma-informed and culturally sensitive approach to therapy with each client, as therapy is not a one-size-fits-all approach. As a human first, I understand each client has unique needs, backgrounds, and external factors to consider. My therapeutic approach used Attachment, Emotionally-Focused Therapy (EFT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy among others. My clinical focus areas include identity exploration, ADHD, anxiety, depression, improving emotional regulation, and relationship issues. My experience ranges from pre-teens, teens, couples, young adult and adult populations. 


If you think I would be a good fit for you, please reach out to schedule an appointment. I’m also open to any questions you may have about therapy. 

EMDR Therapy, TF-CBT, Gottman Level 1, and Gender Affirming Care

Supervised by Henry Meraz, LCSW #72943

Supervised by Donald Turnmire, LMFT#118711

Vanessa (she/her) identifies as a first-generation cis-gender, pansexual, Mexican-American. Vanessa grew up in Sanger, California but has also lived in Visalia and Fresno/Clovis. She graduated from Sanger High School and went to Fresno City College where she was able earn her Associate of Science Degree in Human Services, Social Work Option. She then transferred to California State University, Fresno to earn her Bachelor of Art’s degree in Sociology.


She has worked within the State Center Community College District at both Fresno City College and Clovis Community Colleges in various capacities as well as State Center Community College Foundation. She spent some time working in a non-profit as an AmeriCorps VISTA as a Volunteer Coordinator for two elementary schools in Fresno Unified School District.


Vanessa graduated Summer 2020 from the Masters of Science program in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling at California State University, Fresno where she also received two certificates: one in racial understanding and the other in cultural competency. While in her graduate program, she worked at the Wayfinders program and completed her practicum at the Access and Abilities Center at the College of Sequoias in Visalia, California. Vanessa fulfilled her internship requirements for graduate school at Livewell Behavioral Health Counseling Center.


Vanessa ventured to a new career opportunity to gain clinical skills working specifically with the teen population by being employed with Family Foundations Counseling Services to provide mental health services to various students at McLane High School in Fresno, California. Vanessa has always had such a passion to help people in any capacity that she was able to. Vanessa understands the difficulty and pressures of being a first-generation college student and American as well as living below poverty for some time.


Vanessa’s clinical experience is working with anxiety, depression, abandonment/attachment issues, and grief/loss, and adults with intellectual, developmental, and/or physical disabilities. She enjoys specifically working with adolescents, teens, adults, veterans (her partner is a United States Marine Corps veteran), and LGBT+ populations. Vanessa enjoys reading, trying new food and recipes, baking with her daughter, watching the Raiders, Lakers, and San Francisco Giants, and going to the beach with her friends and family when she can. Vanessa uses social media as her self-care and as a creative outlet. 

EMDR Trained, Gottman Level 1, CBT Trained


Vanessa Cabrera, APCC
LGBTQ+ Associate Therapist

Savanna Yepez, AMFT
LGBTQ+ Associate Therapist


Hi there! I'm Savanna (she/her), an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist at Safe and Affirmative Counseling. I have obtained a BA in Psychology and an MS in Counseling, both from Fresno State and I'm dedicated to supporting individuals, couples, and families.


Throughout my career, collaborating with a diverse clientele in the Central Valley, I've developed a profound appreciation for each person's unique journey in therapy. My passion extends to creating a safe and affirming space, particularly for members of the LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent communities, as well as individuals from other minority backgrounds, empowering them to find their voice and break down generational barriers.


I also find great fulfillment in working with individuals navigating new life transitions, entering adulthood, and those learning how to be more assertive and set boundaries. My expertise extends to helping individuals struggling with codependency, insecure attachments, anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, relationship issues, and more.


As a therapist, my approach is eclectic, tailored to your specific needs, drawing from diverse therapeutic modalities and integrating evidence-based practices. This ensures a holistic and personalized approach to navigate life's complexities.


If you're considering therapy, I encourage you to take that step. I'm here to facilitate a connection, understand your aspirations, and collaboratively embark on a journey toward positive change. Let's explore together what resonates with you and work towards achieving the fulfilling life you deserve.

Supervised by Donald Turnmire, LMFT#118711

Gabriel Alvarez, ACSW
LGBTQ+ Associate Therapist

Hello, my name is Gabriel Alvarez, but go by Gabe for short. My pronouns are He/Him and I am a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. I am a registered Associate Clinical Social Worker.

I received my Masters of Social Work from Simmons University in 2022 and my Bachelor’s of Biology from California State University, Sacramento. I was born and raised in the Central Valley, Mendota to be exact, and am the first person in my family to graduate from a University. 

I use a person centered approach as I believe it is the best way to make a connection with my client and is the best way to relay a positive psychology experience. Over the past 2 years as a social worker, I have worked in Community Mental Health providing psychotherapeutic services in English and/or Spanish to children, adults, and foster youth. I have supported my clients with processing trauma/complex trauma, depression, and anxiety. It is my priority to get to know you as a client and making sure all your questions are answered to have an effective therapeutic experience. I look forward to assisting you with all your mental health related needs and life goals.

Gottman Level 1 and ACT Training

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Supervised by Henry Meraz, LCSW #72943

Jamie DiMeco, AMFT
LGBTQ+ Associate Therapist

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I’m Jaime DiMeco, a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, with a Masters of Science degree in Counseling.


I’ve had the honor to serve a beautiful spectrum of clients across the Central Valley with a variety of therapeutic needs and goals. I have worked extensively with clients to improve trauma, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Throughout the cultivation of each of these relationships I have watched individuals transform their lives by learning and utilizing evidence-based concepts and strategies. I’ve celebrated with my clients, witnessing their transformations, deepening their relationships, and thriving through identifying a positive sense of self and confidence in their newfound life-affirming skills.


As a therapist, I take a whole-person approach with each client. It is my desire to get to know you, and help facilitate lasting positive impacts by providing support, tools, and structure within a safe space to identify strengths, work through weaknesses, as well as identify and strategize effective methods to address challenges and reach meaningful goals.


If you are ready to make real changes in your life, I would be glad to connect to determine if my service is the right fit for you.

TF-CBT Trained, DBT, EMDR Trained 

Supervised by Lacie Turner, LMFT#110577

Susie Meraz
Office Coordinator


Hello, my name is Susie. I am the Office Coordinator here at Safe and Affirmative Counseling. My job here is to oversee the office operations, schedule new clients and answer any questions you may have. 


I have an Associates degree in Business Office Administration. I have over 10 years of office experience as well as over 10 years in customer service. 


As an Ally I am proud to support the LGBTQ community. 


My goal here at Safe and Affirmative Counseling is to make our clients', and their families experiences here, a positive one. 

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