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Spark Center for Self Development

At Spark Center, building a better life means becoming a better partner, friend, parent, mentor, advocate—enriching your experience in all the meaningful roles you inhabit. Whether you’re a self-professed self-help junkie or taking your very first steps toward making changes in your life, you’ll receive services and support that are uniquely adapted to your strengths, challenges, and needs. Our core team therapists have developed niche expertise acquired through extensive and focused education, training, and experience. We work collaboratively across these areas of expertise to ensure that our clients are receiving the most thoughtfully planned and personalized support. We’re devoted to designing a plan that works for you!

Spark Center is a psychotherapy, assessment, and education center located in the R Street Corridor & Southside Park area of Sacramento founded in 2017 by Executive Director and clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda Vaccaro following 15 years of experience as a therapist in both community outpatient mental health organizations and private practice. Spark Center integrates the most up-to-date research (i.e., developmental, psychosocial, and interpersonal neurobiology) into innovative practice. We provide effective personal growth services, including individual, couple/family, and group psychotherapy, workshops, as well as assessment, life coaching, and consultation.

Ignite Curiosity

There’s nothing wrong with you. Struggling is a hopeful sign that you’re ready to take a closer look at the life patterns that are limiting you. Our integrated therapy + coaching approach will help you explore, practice, and master the skills necessary to go from surviving to thriving.

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Inspire Connection

Self-development is not a solo venture. Secure relationships are essential for launching meaningful life changes, building resilience, and coping effectively. We offer the kind of advocacy, collaboration, and supportive connection that will accelerate your progress toward the goals that are uniquely important to you.

Ignite Hope

No matter what challenges you’re facing or how you’re coping with them, there’s no shame in struggling. We’ll meet you where you are and help you build the confidence to invite more rewarding experiences and relationships into your life. Even the deepest wounds can heal with the right support and the willingness to try something new.

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Inspire Healing

The past doesn’t have to define or make decisions for you. Your clever brain found life-preserving ways to deal with your difficult experiences. These outdated coping strategies often undermine the life you desire in the here and now. We’ll help you let go of these self-limiting “scripts” and build new neural pathways. With practice, you’ll respond less reactively and more skillfully to today’s challenges.

Ignite Understanding

Sometimes, questions about how to achieve your fullest potential personally, professionally, or academically can’t be answered without greater clarification and comprehensive planning. Through collaborative assessment, we can support you in developing a more accurate, compassionate, and useful story about the obstacles you’ve encountered.

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Inspire Action

We value your knowledge, opinions, and active participation in evaluating and understanding your strengths and challenges. With your full involvement in the assessment process, we’ll help you find new, more effective solutions to the problems you’re facing and target the steps necessary to reach your life goals.  

Start building a better life today.

Our Approach

Seeking relief and getting help are not signs of weakness. In fact, distress is often a call for meaningful change–not an indicator of failure. We can support you in a non-shaming way that recognizes and leverages your resilience. Our priority is to make therapy a valuable, constructive experience and relatable to everyday life.

Our team has developed the experience, skills, and knowledge to help you revise the life patterns that are stifling your growth. With the right support, you’ll learn to connect and cope more effectively with your emotional experience. You’ll develop more tolerance for uncertainty and change. And you’ll begin to respond more flexibly and skillfully to the inevitable ups and downs in your life, work, and relationships. Of course, transforming longstanding, ineffective patterns in your life to become a healthier, happier person will be inevitably challenging and uncomfortable at times. We happen to believe your well-being is worth it.

1
EXPLORE

How have your experiences shaped you and how you relate to others?

2
DEFINE

What are the life patterns that are limiting you and your relationships?

3
INNOVATE

How can you build a life aligned with your strengths, values, and goals?

4
LAUNCH

What actions are necessary for you to move forward with a happier, healthier life?

Our Team

BRENDA VACCARO, PsyD

Founder & Executive Director

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

SPECIALTIES:

  • Adults w/Childhood Emotional Neglect
  • Men Building Emotional Confidence
  • Therapeutic Parenting Support
  • Adults in the Adoption Triad
  • Young Adults & Difficult Transitions
Full Bio
LA TANYA TAKLA, EdD, LMFT, LPCC

Director, Inclusive Mental Health Initiative

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

SPECIALTIES:

  • Couples
  • Grief & Loss
  • Ethnic Minority/Multicultural Issues
  • Developmental & Life Transitions
Full Bio
TARA LINDAHL, PsyD

Director, Therapeutic Assessment Services

Psychological Assistant

SPECIALTIES:

  • Collaborative & Therapeutic Assessment
  • Learning Disabilities & ADHD
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Attachment Loss & Relational Trauma
  • Personality & Psychotic Disorders
  • Perinatal Mood Disorders
Full Bio
TRAVIS NELSON, MFTT

Marriage & Family Therapy Trainee

SPECIALTIES:

  • PTSD & Trauma
  • Veterans & Military Families
  • Social Justice & Racial Trauma
  • Men & Fathers of Color
Full Bio
JASMINKA RAINEY, MSW

Associate Clinical Social Worker

SPECIALTIES:

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Anxious Tweens, Teens, & Adults
  • Therapeutic Parenting Support
  • Self-Regulation & Distress Tolerance
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Full Bio
MARLENE ROSE

Life Coach & Behavior Analyst

SPECIALTIES:

  • Women in Transition & Baby Boomers
  • Behavioral Analysis & Feedback
  • Values & Life Patterns Assessment
  • Career Transition Strategies
  • Leadership + Impact Coaching
Full Bio

Consulting Providers

KARISA BARROW, PsyD

Consulting Provider, Gender & Sexuality Founder & Executive Director, inMind

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

SPECIALTIES:

  • Consultation/Training, Gender & Sexuality
  • Gender Affirmative Assessment & Psychotherapy
  • Bereavement & Loss
  • Life Transitions
Full Bio
JAMIE FRAZIER, LMFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

SPECIALTIES:

  • Transgender & Gender Diverse Affirming Care, Consultation, & Training
  • Eating Disorders
  • Food, Weight, & Body Image Issues
  • DBT & Mindfulness-focused Treatment
Full Bio
RACHEL PEPPER, LMFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

SPECIALTIES:

  • Gender Specialist for Youth & Adults
  • Teen Coping Skills & Identity Development
  • Family Members/Parents of Trans Identified Teens & Adults
  • Transitional Aged & Foster Youth
Full Bio
SARAH SPINNER, PsyD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

SPECIALTIES:

  • Eating Disorders & Body Image Concerns
  • Sexuality & Sexual Intimacy
  • PTSD/Complex, Chronic, & Single Traumatic Incident
  • Clinical Hypnotherapy for Relaxation/Mindfulness, Creative Blocks, & Performance Improvement
Full Bio

Our Core Values

Hopeful

We aren’t focused on fixing you. You’re not broken. You’re just ready to do life differently. We’ll help you understand how.

Flexible

At each stage of self-development, your needs will evolve. We’ll meet you wherever you are along your life path and adapt as you progress.

Approachable

We value “real talk.” Our work together will be interactive, jargon-free, and applicable to your everyday experiences.

Collaborative

Self-development inevitably walks the line between comfort and stress. We’ll be right behind you as you step into new, better ways of being connected.

Reflective

We’ll help you unpack what’s getting between you and the life you want, so you can begin to make room for new, more fulfilling experiences.

Connected

With your active participation, we’ll create the kind of supportive connection that will accelerate your learning, healing, and growth.

Accessible

We take the mystery out of the change process, so you can continue to move your self-development goals along solo.

Inclusive

Asking for help shouldn’t have to be shameful or isolating; we’ll help strengthen your sense of belonging and offer you meaningful ways to engage support in a safe, culturally responsive environment.

What Clients Are Saying

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Through the years, most of my immediate family members have benefitted from Dr. Vaccaro and Spark’s services. Now I have the confidence to start a new business, the confidence to be my authentic self, and the confidence to live free.

Marie - Age 61

I have learned how to give and receive emotional support. It has been a life-changing experience.

Darrell - Age 38

I have learned that other people’s demands should never consume or frighten me if they truly care about me.

Emily - Age 27