Cecilia S Kardel, LMFT

Sara Richardson, AMFT

As a therapist trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy I view conflict and distress in relationships as a way partners are trying to reach each other—to be seen, feel understood, and ultimately secure in their partnership. Conflict is often a call for connection but the messages being sent or received may feel like the opposite. I help couples slow down and begin to understand their own internal process and experience when conflict arises and how that unique combination unfolds in their relationship.

As humans, we have an innate need to belong – to connect with others and feel understood, valued, and accepted. In today’s world, with all of its challenges, pressures, and complexities, this is both more important and more difficult than it ever has been. Throughout our lives, our families and experiences teach us what is safe and what is not. We learn how to relate to others and what we expect in partnership with someone else. We develop patterns, insecurities, and coping skills. All of these lessons and history show up in cycles of conflict with our partners and can prevent us from deepening our relationships. Without the space to explore our own unique stories, for reflection, honesty, and communication, these cycles will continue.

As an experienced therapist, educator, and advocate, I work alongside individuals and couples to find a greater sense of belonging, connection, and satisfaction. My role in our journey together is to help you better understand your own patterns and experiences, and identify ways in which they show up in and impact your relationship.

I sit with the complexities and uniqueness of each partner. Together, we will slow down to more deeply understand how you show up in times of pain and frustration, reduce conflict and strengthen your connection to each other.

Through the evidence-based model of Emotionally Focused Therapy to, we will work together to:

  • Deepen your understanding of each other
  • Implement strategies and tools to improve communication
  • Shift unhealthy dynamics in your relationship
  • Support the foundation for more positive interactions, patterns, and a more secure bond
About Me

My career has been in the service of others. I began my clinical work in 2008 as a Treatment Specialist for adolescent girls dealing with substance abuse. Since then, my work has been in both traditional and non-traditional therapeutic spaces with clients of all ages.

I hold a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute where I studied in depth how the unconscious influences our decision-making process and relationships with others.

I’ve used many modalities including Trauma-Informed Care, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Depth Psychology, Attachment Theory, and Emotionally Focused Therapy. I am a member of Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy and the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

I look forward to helping you to navigate challenges, reconnect, and find hope.


Additional Training and Certifications:


Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor


Certificate in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy


Clinician with the Program to Evaluate and Treat Sexual Abuse


Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology


Certified Senior Trainer for California School-Aged Consortium


Training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy