PLUS is a space for us to create community as students, alums, and clinicians from ethnically underrepresented and historically excluded racialized groups. This space will be a meeting in which we, as a community, share resources for survival, hold each other through hard times and relate the work we do as MFTs to the healing practices people of color have used to thrive for generations. Additionally, the hope is that PLUS will build a bridge of the work MFT students of color have done at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) across cohorts, and remind us all that we are numerous and powerful.

~Dr. Montinique McEachern, LMFT
PLU Core Interim Faculty, Class of 2020-2021


This group is for current MFT students and alumni of the program.

Second Thursday of the month from 12:00pm – 1:00pm

To join or if you have questions, please email Rachel Howard at

Third Annual PLUS Conference: Friday May 17, 2024 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Featuring renowned Guest Speaker Natalie Gutierrez.

Krystal Handy
Krystal Handy, Ph.D., LMFT

PLUS Group Facilitator

Krystal Handy Ph.D., LMFT was born and raised in the great state of California and ventured to Washington State for a few years following life’s pull to the Pacific Northwest. While in Washington, Dr. Handy became an alumnus of Olympic College with an Associate’s degree in Psychology; earned a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Western Washington University; a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Lutheran University c/o 2019. Dr. Handy returned to California where she completed her doctoral degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northcentral University. At the interim of these scholastic moves, Dr. Handy has had an array of experiences in various settings. Her passion in multicultural studies, racial justice, and survivors of domestic violence has been an imperative part of her clinical work in her community. Dr. Handy has her solo private practice in California, Handy Life Counseling & Coaching, and is partnered with two prominent group practices in Southern California in the capacity of consultant and clinical trainer.

Dr. Handy has spent her career empowering and challenging all BIPOC and non-BIPOC clients, colleagues, and institutional leadership spaces willing to take a deeper dive into how you show up for yourself, as well as the people you serve in your community. You ready?

Juancarlos Santisteban
Juancarlos Santisteban, MA, LMFT

PLUS Group Facilitator

Juancarlos Santisteban (he,him,el) is a first generation immigrant from Guatemala, and is a first generation college graduate. He has a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pacific Lutheran University, and a Bachelors in Family Studies from Weber State University. Juancarlos is the Training Director and Clinical Supervisor for the Counseling and Psychological Services Center for Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Juancarlos is the co-chair of the DEI committee for the Student Access and Success Division and a member of the DEI Advisory Council for Weber State University. Juancarlos also is the owner of Here Beside YOU Therapy LLC.

Jessica Infante-Castro, MA, LMFT

PLUS Group Facilitator

Jessica (she/her/ella) graduated from Pacific Lutheran University’s Marriage and Family Therapy program, and embarked on her professional career in community health.  In 2017, Jessica made a transition to academic counseling.  Previously, she attended Gonzaga University and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor and the owner of Columbia Basin Family Therapy, LLC in Eastern Washington.

As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, who work the lands of the Columbia Basin, Jessica returns to her hometown often, and is supporting rural families, many of whom share her background. She is passionate about promoting family healing and secure attachments, and provides services for many Spanish-speaking and low-income families.

Jessica’s greatest values are family and education. She enjoys volunteering her time on the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program (HAAP) scholarship committee. Her self-repair activities include dancing with her two children and partner, scrapbooking, and watching a variety of series’ on Netflix.