Who We Are


Annette R. Smith MA, LMFT, LPCC - Executive Director

When I was in graduate school back in 2001, looking for a place to do my internship, I found the Living Success Center. It seemed like a place with an eclectic clientele, a philosophy that no one is every turned away for financial issues, and an emphasis on professional ethics. I turned out to be right, and I never left.My job as executive director is to ensure the Center continues to provide mental health services to anyone in need. Our traditional psychotherapy and training functions have been augmented by the offering of psychiatry at prices everyone can afford. As Executive Director I will continue working toward ways to make a broader impact on the alarming deficit in Southern California's mental health treatment capacity.


Gina Marler - Administrator Director 

As the Administrator Director, my role is to support the core values of Living Success Center in all administrative aspects and support the important work that happens in our clinics every day. I truly believe in the mission of the organization and I have seen how providing affordable, quality, comprehensive mental health services to meet the growing needs of our community has made a difference for so many. If you are looking for mental health support, but you aren't sure how you can afford it, we have resources that can help. We're here to answer any questions you may have. Please call us at (949) 645-4723 or email us at: [email protected].


Ryan Watanabe - Clinical Director 

As the Clinical Director, my focus is on ensuring that our center provides comprehensive mental health services to those in need. Growing up in Orange County, I understand the pressures and expectations that individuals in our community face daily. I believe in the potential of each individual to reach their aspirations and work with them to overcome the obstacles hindering their progress. With a master's and doctorate-level education and extensive clinical experience, I bring a unique and comprehensive blend of therapeutic theories and techniques to our center. My role is to ensure that everyone receives the support they need to overcome temporary challenges and thrive.


Anne Cameron - Clinical Supervisor 


Hello, my name is Anne Cameron, LMFT. I joined Living Success Center (LSC) in December 2023. I have been a clinical supervisor since 2014 and have previously supervised trainees at The LGBTQ Center OC and Outreach Concern. My therapeutic and supervision approach is influenced by my previous clinical background of working within the foster care system in Orange County and the psychiatric behavioral health system in Los Angeles County. I value a strength-based compassionate approach with both trainees and clients.

Michael Lerner - Clinical Supervisor 


My name is Dr. Mike Lerner, LMFT. I've been with Living Success Center as a supervisor since 2024, and did many of my clinical hours as a pre-licensed clinician at the center from 2017 to 2020. I received my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2016 from California Lutheran University, and received my Psy.D in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University in 2024. My work in my private practice is focused on members of the military, both active duty and retired, and their families. Much of my experience comes from the addiction field, where I spent 3 years working in multiple rehabilitation facilities in Los Angeles and Orange County. My approach to both supervision and therapy is a mix of humanism and cognitive behavioral modalities, and I enjoy finding the strengths in both supervisees and clients  and helping them grow confidence in themselves.


In 1994, two therapists, Marianna Thomas, MFT and Cecile Dillon, PhD, met over coffee and discovered they shared a mutual goal-to create a counseling center for those who could not otherwise afford therapy. Though they each tried to see as many clients as they could on a pro bono basis in their own practices, there was a limit to how much they could do. Marianna and Cecile, using the prior work of another therapist, took the name Living Success Counseling Center, obtained non-profit status from the IRS, and expanded its services, not only making Living Success Counseling Center a training site for graduate students but the leading affordable fee counseling center in Orange County. Since that time  Living Success Counseling Center has remained  a leader in providing fully supervised training for those seeking to obtain their required hours to secure their Marriage and Family Therapy License.

Dedicated to successful living, Living Success Counseling Center has grown to include a staff of over 25 associates and trainees who provide affordable therapy to hundreds each year.

 Our Philosophy

It is our belief that people have a natural desire to improve the quality of their lives. When they need assistance to deal with their concerns and aspirations, they should be able to receive it via support, education and psychological care without the sacrifice of dignity, privacy or financial well-being.

Our Founder


Marianna Thomas has been in private practice as a licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor since 1982.

A graduate of Mt. Holyoke College (BA), Harvard (MAT) and Pepperdine Universities (MA Psychology), she also holds a Certificate in Special Education from CSU Long Beach, and is a State Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

Marianna draws upon her experience as a Special Education teacher at the Mardan Center for 17 years, as a group leader for VOICES (Victims of Incest Can Emerge Survivors) for ten years, and as clinical consultant for WTLC (Women’s Transitional Living Center). She has facilitated groups for stepparents, children and adolescents and has helped countless families, couples, and individuals experience greater success in their lives. She is an AAMFT approved Supervisor and certified Level 1 and 2 EMDR provider.

Past president of the Orange County Chapter of Marriage and Family Therapists, Marianna was awarded Outstanding Chapter Leader in 2004 by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Marianna Thomas states “We at Living Success Counseling Center believe all people who have the desire to improve the quality of their lives should have the opportunity to do so without the sacrifice of dignity, privacy or financial will being.”

Marianna retired April 30, 2018 and is now happily spending time with her children and grandchildren and pursuing her love of travel and art!


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Living Success Center


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9:00 am-8:00 pm


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