Spark Center for Self Development

A modern, integrated, and relationship-focused therapy + coaching approach to personal growth and healing.

We’re as passionate about your personal growth as you are.

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 relationship-focused, resilience-oriented psychotherapy, education, and personal development center located in the R Street Corridor 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 to provide effective treatment and self-growth services, including individual, couple/family, and group psychotherapy, psychoeducational 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

Spark Center’s integrated therapy + coaching approach will provide informed guidance toward revising the life patterns that are stifling your growth, connecting and coping effectively with your feelings and needs, developing tolerance for uncertainty and change, and responding flexibly and skillfully to the inevitable ups and downs in life and relationships. You can start this process by reflecting on these questions before our first appointment:


How have my experiences shaped me and how I relate to others?


What are the life patterns that are limiting me and my relationships?


How can I build a life aligned with my strengths, values, and goals?


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

Our Team

Brenda Vaccaro, PsyD

Founder & Executive Director

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Full Bio
Karisa Barrow, PsyD

Clinical Services Director, Gender & Sexuality

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Full Bio
La Tanya Takla, EdD, LMFT, LPCC

Self Development Specialist

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Full Bio
Jasminka Rainey, ASW

Self Development Specialist

Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker

Full Bio

Our Core Values


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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


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


Self-improvement shouldn’t have to be shameful, isolating, or boring; we’ll help strengthen your sense of belonging and offer you meaningful (and even enjoyable) ways to engage in the support you need.

What Clients Are Saying


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

My young years were rough, and to cope I became a survivor, doing what was necessary to stay invisible. Just surviving is no way to live. I found acceptance, authenticity, and someone who could see the real me. I was never judged or made to feel inadequate. It was really hard at times, but I would go through it a thousand times to be where I am today.

Claire - Age 45