Meet Our Team!

Judith Thompson, LMFTNancy Calkins, LMFTGiti Hansen, LMFT, PCCiLewis Hyatt, MFTiJamie Hall, MFTiKatie Cook, MFTiJoanne Nitchman, MFTi
Bert Thompson, Life CoachPeter Hansen, Life CoachHeather Dorris, Life Coach, CounselorConnie Nicolaus, Life CoachKesha Haynie, Life CoachDave Brown, Life Coach

Judy has spent most of her life investing in people. Her greatest desire is to see people become all they were created to be. As Founder, Executive Director and Clinical Supervisor of The Growing Place - Center for Helping People (TGP), and as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), she leads and guides Marriage and Family Therapy Interns (MFTI), Trainees (MFTT), Certified Life Coaches, Para-professional Counselors and Mentors.


Becoming a therapist and creating a safe place which provides professional care for people who are stuck or wounded began after a family tragedy. In August of 1988 her youngest son Jason, at age 17, was killed in an accident here in Chico, which left her devastated and lost. Life had no meaning. It was in response to her husband Bert’s question, “What have you always wanted to do?” that she felt a small glimmer of hope. She had always wanted to go to college.


Judy then began the journey through years of schooling, internship hours, and licensing exams. As a result, she has completed a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology, graduating in 1998 with honors in 1999 from CSU Chico and is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). Along with a robust private practice, she oversees all of the activities of TGP. It is her responsibility and joy to select and lead the most caring and equipped group of professional people who bring insight, wisdom and hope for the heartaches, concerns and problems of others.

Nancy R. Calkins graduated from UC Chico with a BA and went on to get a Master's degree at UC Dominguez Hills in Early Childhood Development. She then attended Phillips Graduate Institute to complete her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.


She has been in private practice for 25 years and is an approved Supervisor of MFT Interns and Licensed Therapist from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.


Nancy sees therapy as a joint effort with the Holy Spirit who is already working to transform all who seek restoration and healing. She works with individuals, couples and families. Nancy has developed her own style of psychotherapy called, "Integrative Therapy," which is now used by several therapists throughout the State.


She has been the wife of one man, the mother of two bio children and one adopted. She writes Christian Drama, leads a contemplative prayer group, and is a Street Pastor — all of which feed her soul.


The joy she gets from counseling is watching the transformation of people as they encounter truth and are freed from previous beliefs that have crippled her clients and their relationships. She likes to step in when people say, "I just don't know what to do any more."

Giti Hansen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who holds a Master of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy as well as a Master of Arts Degree in Christian Studies. Giti is also completing her internship to become a Professional Clinical Counselor.


Born in Tehran, Iran, Giti came to America with her family when she was an infant. Although Giti grew up in America in a bi-cultural home, she traveled back and forth between Iran and America five times before graduation from high school. The switching of cultures, worldviews, and languages had a profound effect on Giti’s personality development and perception of reality. Giti believes that God used these cultural circumstances to develop her skills as an empathetic and sensitive counselor who is able to understand and appreciate the worldview of her clients.


In 1978, Giti graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern Studies. After graduation from Berkeley, Giti had an unexpected and life-saving conversion to Christianity that involved no human agency. For over thirty-seven years, Giti has been serving the Lord in lay ministry as a teacher, mentor, advisor, intercessor, trainer, retreat leader, and Biblical counselor. From 2009 to 2012, Giti owned and operated her own life coaching service. She and her husband, Father Peter Hansen, have been married for over forty-three years. Giti and Father Hansen have lived in Chico for twenty-five years where they have served at St. Augustine’s Church. Giti offers counseling at The Growing Place to individuals, couples, families, and groups.

Lewis served as a pilot for American Airlines for many years while obtaining his PhD. in Psychology. After retiring from American Airlines he moved to Chico with his wife and daughter where he began a business in farming, which he continues to do today.


Lewis believes that God has called him to help people, which brought him to The Growing Place where he uses his gifts and education in counseling and psychology. Lewis is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern, working toward obtaining a Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) license and is delighted to work with the great group of people at The Growing Place.




• Counseling internship, Parents Place, Marysville, Ca.


• Experience at Parents Place included: Group facilitator for domestic violence perpetrators; individual therapy for the partners of the perpetrators of domestic violence; group facilitator for young boys who had been sexually molested; parenting class instructor (helping parents reacquire custody of children who were in foster care); family therapy, couples therapy and individual therapy for marriage and relationship issues; individual counseling for teenagers and young children who were in foster care.


• Continued internship at Cooper Avenue Baptist Church, Yuba City, Ca.
Experience included individual and couples counseling for families in crisis, counseling individuals with a variety of relationship and personal issues.




• Bachelor of Science - Biology CSU Chico, Ca

• Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, National University, Sacramento, Ca

• PhD. Psychology, California Coast University, Santa Ana, Ca.

Jamie Hall is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (MFTi) and Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (PCCi).  She completed her Master of Arts in Professional Psychology with Azusa Pacific University and her Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology with Liberty University.  Jamie has a Certificate of Ministry from Christian International Ministry Training College and has rich experience working in an Inner Healing Ministry.  She has several additional certifications for counseling through the American Association of Christian Counselors.  She was married in 2007 and enjoys art, music, and being in nature.


Jamie is sensitive to the many components that contribute to both personal blocks and growth.  She views life as a journey with peaks and valleys, dark places and light places, and the inevitable changes of seasons.  If she can walk with you on your journey, if even for a short time, to process difficulties in the present, pain from the past, or desires for the future, she counts herself as honored.  She endeavors to be a safe place for her clients so they can be honest without judgment.  She has experience in dealing with couples, individuals, and children.  Whether you have to adjust to a big life change, are dealing with emotional or existential concerns, or are finding yourself stuck, Jamie will tailor her treatment to your specific needs with compassion and even a sense of humor at times.  There is a lot of “noise” in our lives today.  Jamie desires to help bring some level of quiet to people’s souls so they can make decisions with better clarity, they can view themselves and others in a healthy way, and they can connect with that still small voice inside that reminds them they are valuable and loved.


• Experience at Parents Place included: Group facilitator for domestic violence perpetrators; individual therapy for the partners of the perpetrators of domestic violence; group facilitator for young boys who had been sexually molested; parenting class instructor (helping parents reacquire custody of children who were in foster care); family therapy, couples therapy and individual therapy for marriage and relationship issues; individual counseling for teenagers and young children who were in foster care.


• Continued internship at Cooper Avenue Baptist Church, Yuba City, Ca.
Experience included individual and couples counseling for families in crisis, counseling individuals with a variety of relationship and personal issues.




• Bachelor of Science - Biology CSU Chico, Ca

• Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology, National University, Sacramento, Ca

Katie holds a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hope International University. Prior to working as a counselor, Katie worked in the international non-profit field, traveling and living around the world which has granted her a deep perspective and diverse worldview. During her time working in Nepal with girls rescued out of sex-trafficking, the Lord called Katie to pursue her masters in counseling.


Katie's desire as a therapist is to partner with clients in helping them find healing and restore hope in their life. Katie combines her educational training, experience and skills, with a compassionate, warm, and non-judgmental presence.


Katie is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Katie is trained in EMDR, which is a powerful and effective therapy that helps process trauma. If you've ever found yourself "stuck" on a memory, not able to release the bitterness inside of you, or triggered by past events, EMDR might be for you.


Katie is also trained in couples therapy and enjoy partnering with couples to meet their collaborative goals in the relationship. Katie is also certified in Prepare and Enrich, which seeks to help prepare engaged couples for marriage. Katie has worked with a wide variety of clients in all stages of life, dealing with anxiety, depression, chronic health and relationship problems (among others).


Katie is passionate about seeing people set free from bondage. She believes that God created people to live an abundant life with Him, and that healing is possible. Katie is committed to working with clients in a holistic way, focusing on the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of healing.


Katie is married and enjoys traveling, being in nature, bike riding, reading, and spending time with family and friends

Hi. I'm Joanne Nitchman, a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee who will graduate from Western Seminary on July 30, 2016. I have a heart for people.  I have had my share of trials in life and I believe in the value of counseling. God called me into counseling to help others through life's hurts and struggles.


Through the use of my strengths of empathy and understanding, I believe I can help people change the negative thoughts they have by helping them focus on truth.


I enjoy working with individuals, couples and families to help them have the best relationship possible.  I have found that the attachment we form as infants has an impact on our relationships into adulthood.


Are you having trouble in your relationships?  Sometimes all it takes is someone to listen, to care, to walk beside you in order to overcome those challenges.

Kaelyn Bootman holds a Master of Science Degree in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University, Chico.  She has spent the last few years working with adolescents who are living in broken homes, as well as adults caught in addiction. Prior to working as a counselor, Kaelyn worked as a nanny and a tutor and loves working with children and youth.  She is a Certified Life Coach and completed Discipleship Training School (DTS) through Youth With a Mission, where she was given the opportunity to work with at risk youth overseas.


Kaelyn has counseling experience working with couples, individuals, youth and children and has worked with those dealing with mental and physical health concerns, drug and alcohol abuse, and a vast array of relational issues and tensions.


She is passionate about creating a safe place for clients to explore past and present pain and to help clients find hope and healing in knowing that they are not alone.


Kaelyn believes in the beauty of redemption and is committed to working with clients through emotional, physical, and spiritual components of healing. In addition, Kaelyn has a background in theater, art, and music, and, when appropriate, she loves to incorporate creativity and the arts into counseling.


Kaelyn is married and has been inspired herself by counselors and mentors who have guided her both through the story of her own life as well as in her marriage.  She has been privileged to extend this kind of service and care to others who are experiencing any variety of difficult relational dynamics themselves.  As she continues to grow through these personal, professional, and academic practices, she aims to bring these same skills to bear with all her clients and in all her counseling opportunities.

Bert is a no-nonsense kind of guy. His experience as E-9 (Sargent Major), Child Development Butte College Instructor, Biblical Counselor, Certified Master Life Coach, and over three decades in ministry has equipped Bert to serve a broad population of clients at The Growing Place. Although Bert specializes in Leadership Coaching and Executive & Organizational Coaching with adults, he extends the same motivation for personal growth to teens as well.


Bert’s desire is to help each person he serves discover their God-given role in life - becoming mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy, and dedicating their gifts back to the Lord, family, church, and the community. Bert is intrigued with the unique qualities of each person and has the ability to recognize and cultivate the potential in others. He notices even small signs of improvement, delighting in each step forward.


Bert believes that as individuals grow, everyone benefits:


“Healthy people make healthy families; healthy families make healthy churches; healthy churches make healthy communities; healthy communities make healthy people.

Peter Hansen earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley in 1972. However, God had other ideas. Called to be an Anglican priest, Father Peter obtained a seminary degree from St. Joseph of Arimathea Anglican Theological College in Berkeley, California. He was ordained into the priesthood in September, 1985. He served a church in Sacramento for ten years before moving to Chico. Since 1991, Father Peter has been the rector of St. Augustine of Canterbury Anglican Church in Chico.


While in Chico, Father Hansen formed a pro-life ministry (Chico Life); served as a Chico Police chaplain (1999 to present); and currently serves with Care Enough to Act (suicide prevention), Reading Partners, Chico Street Pastors advisory board, and Inspired Productions advisory board.


Since 1973, Fr. Hansen has been married to Giti Zarnegar Hansen, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor Intern at The Growing Place.


Father Peter specializes in men's ministries. He offers his services as a group leader and clergy counselor for The Growing Place. Father Peter is currently training in Theophostic Prayer Ministry and the American Association of Christian Counselors to receive certification in both.

Heather’s empathetic nature draws people to her wherever she goes. After realizing that her empathy was a God-given strength and not a weakness, Heather began her own personal journey to become equipped to help others. Her greatest desire is to partner with her clients in their journey toward healing from their trauma-based pain. Her goal is to help people recognize their true beauty through God’s lens and not through the world’s tainted filter.


Heather brings with her to The Growing Place, over two decades of experience working with adults and children that have had difficulty in overcoming physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual challenges. Heather is a Certified Master Life Coach and also specializes in Theophostic Prayer Ministry, a therapeutic process used to help people receive truth from God and healing from their inner pain.


Heather graduated with honors from Butte College in May 2013 with A.A. degrees in Social and Behavioral Science, Office Administration, and Computer Applications. She has also completed her Advanced Diploma for Biblical Counseling through the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC).

For the past 20 years Connie has had a heart to serve and minister to individuals on their life’s journeys.  She enjoys encouraging, coaching and counseling others as they experience the events of their lives. Connie is very passionate about people being able to find hope in some of life’s most difficult places.


Her training began at Tandem House Counseling Center in 1992 with a course in Biblical Lay Counseling. Her first clients were women from a drug treatment transition house which inspired her to seek additional training.


Connie graduated from Butte Community College in 2005 with an Associate of Science in Drug and Alcohol Studies.  She was the Director of Sabbath House, a homeless shelter for women and children, from 2006 - 2010.  Her experiences there continued to develop her skills for counseling and ministering to women.


Along her own journey Connie discovered how much she likes working with parents.  She received training in Colorado as a Facilitator for Becoming a Love & Logic Parent and has had fun teaching and training parents over the years.


Connie is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and the International Christian Coaching Association.

Kesha Haynie is a sought after Certified Advanced Life Coach who will help you discover your purpose and maximize your potential in all areas of life. She has many years of ministry, community outreach, and life experience working with individuals, couples, and groups from various walks of life.


By walking through her own personal journey of trials, she has observed that these trials produce perseverance, character, and hope. Kesha's greatest joy is being able to give back to others the gift God has given her... that is: to empower, encourage, inspire, uplift, and motivate others while assisting them with moving forward in fulfilling their plans, purpose, and goals towards the abundant life God has designed for them.


Kesha has been coaching, for over two decades and resides in her hometown of Chico, CA, with her husband, three adult children, son-in-law, and 2 grandchildren. Her biggest accomplishment is now her own life-- balanced, joyful and overflowing with love and living the abundant life God has for her.

Dave Brown has been doing IT (Information Technology) work at The Growing Place and has recently updated all areas of our website, giving it a new look and additional functionality.  He has also done extensive work updating our brochures and business cards.


Dave brings new life and out-of-the-box thinking to TGP as he is very excited about life and the possibilities it holds.


He is also a Certified Master Christian Life Coach and Biblical Counselor who specializes in Life Planning, Goal Setting, Life Recovery and Spiritual Formation. Having witnessed the transforming power of Laser-Focused Life Planning, he is helping people find their "why" and showing them how to pursue an intentional life. This is Dave's burning passion.


Dave firmly believes that knowing the direction for one's life makes an immense difference in the outcome of their life story. His mission is to empower them to rewrite their own story.  With his Life Planning Coaching, you will go from where you are to where you want to be.  He will help you review the 10 vital life areas and get you pointed in the right direction.  Working together with him, you will discover where you want your life to go.  Using goals, action plans and accountability you will be in the driver's seat of your life!



"You can't steer a parked car.   Let's get this car moving!"