About Me

The Nest: A Gathering Place
Nurturing Wellness, Connection and Creativity
Counseling ~ Classes ~ Retreats ~ Retail


Hello! My name is Shelley Balla-Hawkins and I am the owner of The Nest: A Gathering Place, located in the Village of Old Fair Oaks. I founded The Nest following my dream to create a place where people could come together to nurture a sense of wellness, connection and creativity. My purpose is to help people to be their best selves and to live their best lives.

I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 30 years experience in the field of counseling, social services and community development. I offer individual, couples, and group therapy in the tranquil setting of The Nest.

I am an interactive, supportive and experienced therapist. My work is focused on treating the whole person, mind, body and soul. My therapeutic approach is integrative, weaving together the wisdom and practice of psychology, modern science and ancient traditions. I use complementary proven methodologies and effective techniques to offer a highly personalized approach that is tailored to each client. With compassion and understanding, I work with individuals to help them build on their strengths and attain the personal growth they are committed to accomplishing.

My areas of expertise include: Positive Psychology (inclusive of neurobiology and the mind-body-spirit connection, mindfulness practices, and cognitive behavioral work); use of creative modalities (artistic expression, narrative therapy); personal development, self regulation and self care, attachment focused therapy, healing from trauma, working with adoptive families and supporting GLBTQ individuals and couples. I have also developed and facilitated a variety of groups. classes and workshops.

In addition to being a prominent specialist in the care of women and a relationship therapist, I have written curriculum for and/or presented at National conferences and to general audiences speaking on the topics of: Cultivating Wellbeing; Self Care; Couples Relationships ("Keep the Love Light Burning"); Parenting; and "Creative Expressions-- How to utilize a variety of creative modalities to promote greater personal understanding, self regulation and joy."

I have been honored to present on and/or teach a variety of adoption related issues including: Concurrent Planning; a Trainer for "Adoption Competency" a 9-month University level course developed by the Center for Adoption Support and Education designed to provide advanced training to therapists and social workers who serve adoptive families; W.I.S.E. Up!; and Creating a Lifebook. 


Antioch Univeristy, Seattle: Masters Degree--Psychology, Couples and Family Therapy 
University of California, San Diego: Bachelors Degree--Sociology
Universite de Poitiers, France: Study Abroad: culture, language, art

License, Certifications & Awards

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Board of Behavioral Sciences, State of California
Trainer for Training Adoption Competency: The Center for Adoption Support and Education
Registered Child, Couples and Family Therapist, State of Washington

2012-2017 Style Magazine Placer County Mental Health Professional of the Year

Additional Training

Integrative Medicine for Mental Health Practitioners Certification (Dr. Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH, MA) 

SyNAPSE Science; Nutrition; Awareness Training; Positive Psychology; Spirituality; Epigenitics (Joan Borysenko, PhD & Gilah Rosner, PhD) 

The Foundations of Well-Being (Rick Hanson, PhD)

Positive NeuroPlasticity Training/The Professional Course in Positive NeuroPlasticity (Rick Hanson, PhD)

The Art and Science of Mindfulness, Compassion and Joy (Rick Hanson, Daniel Siegel, Kristin Neff, Shauna Shapiro, Lee Holden)

Positive Psychology: Greater Good Science at UC Berkeley

Nurtured Heart: (Howard Glasser and Lisa Bravo)

Dyadic Developmental Psychology: (Daniel Hughes, PhD)

Theraplay Part I: The Theraplay Institute (Sandra Lindaman)

TRIM Parts I & II: Trauma Resiliency Institute. (Elaine Miller-Karas)

Emotionally Focused Therapy--Hold Me Tight: (Susan Johnson)

Professional Activities and Memberships

Member of CAMFT


I look forward to hearing from you!