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Our Medical, Clinical and Therapeutic Team

 

Dr. Venice Sanchez

Dr. Venice Sanchez – Medical Director, Ph.D., Psychiatrist, MD:

Dr. Sanchez works closely with Truvida Recovery patients regarding substance abuse and related mental illnesses and creates a supportive, cooperative and informed therapeutic environment. Her areas of expertise include Substance Dependence, Dual Diagnosis, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Generalized anxiety disorder,  Panic Disorder,  Bereavement, Acute stress disorder,  and more.  Ms Sanchez has extensive training with experts in the field of Substance Abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying the substance use. She received a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Los Angeles and Medical Degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.  She continues training at the UC Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program and has been recognized with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award.

Ms. Katy Wells

Katharina “Katy” Wells – Clinical Director, LMFT

Ms. Wells has decades of experience in mental health therapy, and as it relates to substance abuse addictions. She has extensive experience in clinical supervision for MFT trainees for BBS licensure. Her extensive experience and leadership is of extreme importance to the overall TruVida clinical program, and her hands-on guidance of our clinical team insures that each patient is receiving optimal therapeutic treatment and care. She also meets with our staff at every level, as well as providing break-through counseling with our patients in need. Ms. Wells holds a Masters degree in Counseling, as well as a B.S. degree in Nursing. She has extensive experience in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, DBT, EMDR, and is a certified Smart Recovery facilitator.

Dr John Biroc

John Biroc – Consulting Psychologist, Ph.D.

Dr. Biroc has a broad base of mental health and addiction recovery training and experience. He has supervised and taught therapists in various methodologies of effectively working with groups and individuals during therapy. He created and set up new group structures and trained staff in understanding the challenges of addiction recovery. He also helped develop curricula in Sociodrama and Psychodrama. Dr. Biroc is devoted to breaking paradigms that prevent progress in the path to lasting recovery. He is a member of the Nat’l Association of Marriage and Family therapists, and has a Ph.D. degree in Psychology, and a M.S. degree in Counseling from USC.

Dr Nader

Dr. Nader Siahdohoni, Ph.D. Consulting Psychologist

Dr.  Nader is one our esteemed consulting Psychologists who provides our Clients with various breakthrough therapy’s that focus the functional systems including neurons, neurotransmitters, and certain brain waves that enable the way we think, behave, move, feel, and maintain homeostasis. Such therapy’s include NeuroMax neurofeedback, the state of art integrated technology in Neurofeedback,  combinations of wireless Electroencephalogram (EEG), real time brain mapping and a unique and exceptional neuropathway therapy called “Visual Concentration Attention Therapy (VCAT)”.  Dr Nader graduated from Walden University.

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Roxanne Cherry – PhD, LMFT, Consulting Therapist

Ms. Cherry has over 25 years of professional practice as a licensed Therapist with vast experience with substance addiction, communication skills, anxiety, relationships, co-dependency and depression.  Roxanne offers a non-judgmental and supportive counseling style to those who are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, and provides unique programs for clients to help guide them to a lasting path of sobriety.  She has an extensive educational with a Ph.D. from Ryokan College in Human Behavior, an M.A. from Antioch University in Clinical Psychology, and a degree in from Antioch College, including 3 years at Neve Yerushalim in Israel.

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Kevin Nicolau – Program Director, AOD Counselor

Mr. Nicolau brings years of experience in addiction and behavioral health counseling to the TruVida team. His leadership by example philosophy has transformed the lives of many past addicts.  His unwavering commitment and compassion is patiently expressed with each and every client he works with.  His direct and respectful approach has been very effective in helping countless individuals transition from substance abuse to sobriety. Kevin possesses a college degree in addiction counseling, and is CADC-II certified with the State of California.

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Tiffany Romero – Director of Operations

Ms. Romero brings over 8 years experience working in various professional capacities in the field of Substance Abuse Treatment. Tiffany brings a deep sense of purpose, dedication, caring and compassion to each and every Client and Staff Member she works with. As the Director of Operations Ms. Romero brings expertise in management, operations and compliance with DHCS and JCAHO standards.  She also carries a college degree in substance abuse counseling and holds a CADC-II Certification.

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Tiffany Agra – Therapist, LMFT #103693

Ms. Agra is a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, who has been working with individuals, couples, families, and groups for the past seven years. Her other therapeutic approaches include Narrative Therapy, Family Systems Theory, Psychodynamic dream interpretation, and Gestalt Psychology. She has also been a Guest Speaker at other organizations. This unique background has made her effective at helping clients overcome the grip of substance addiction. Tiffany obtained two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Davis, and her Master’s degree from the California State University, Long Beach. She has worked for both the county of Orange and Riverside, helping those who struggle with addiction and mental illness. In addition to providing evidenced-based approaches to the clinical program at Truvida Recovery, she brings her compassion as a fellow addict in recovery; living proof that we do get better!

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Kim Sprague – Therapist, MSW

Ms. Sprague has been working in the field of substance abuse treatment and case management for over 30 years. Kim’s strong work ethic, caring approach and patience endears her to patients struggling with addictions. Her therapeutic approaches include cognitive-behavioral therapy, attachment and family systems strategies, a trained EMDR clinician, and is adept at both individual and group counseling. Kim excels with grief counseling and overcoming barriers to recovery, and is committed to assisting her clients in becoming their best self. She hold a Bachelors degree in Psychology, and a Masters degree in clinical Social Work from USC, as well a PPS Credential from USC. She worked for many years as a social worker at Mission Hospital, and is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Casey

Casey O’Brian – Therapist, LMFTi

Mr. O’Brian comes to TruVida with extensive experience as a Case Manager and Therapist intern. He has a keen interest and talent in helping patients break through barriers to change, as well as assisting patients identify and mitigate potential triggering mechanisms. He is both skilled at one-on-one individual counselling as well as dynamic group counseling. His supportive and caring approach to counseling is key to helping patients overcoming obstacles that keep them trapped in addictive behaviors. Casey earned a B.S. degree in Psychology, and also received 2 Masters degrees in Clinical Psychology. Mr. O’Brian is in high demand within our patient mix at TruVida.

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Daniel Baumgartel – AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Mr. Baumgartel has been helping substance abuse Patients achieve sobriety for the past 5 years. He  develops and implements life changing tools and coping skills needed for living a life of recovery.  He is experienced with individual counseling, group counseling, relapse prevention, family reunification and 12 step & smart recovery programs.  Daniel’s Tru-adventure and Tru-outing healing and sobriety programs are in great demand with our patients.  He holds a Alcohol and Drug education certificate from CAARR Institute, is Smart Recovery certified, and is a certified CADC counselor.

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Mike Lee – AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Mr. Lee specializes in compassionate and motivational substance abuse counseling in both a group and individual setting. He is responsible for the assessments, case management, treatment planning, crisis intervention,  individual and group counseling, as well as family outreach services. Mike is a collaborative member of the multi disciplinary team providing excellence in addiction services. He has a strong skill set in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and experience with cultural diversity which lends itself to effectively treating and supporting all individuals seeking addiction recovery  treatment. Mr. Lee is extremely passionate about working with clients of all ages and backgrounds, struggling with substance abuse issues.  Mike is a certified Addiction Counselor for Adult Treatment (CATC II).

Claudia

Claudia Hernandez – AOD Counselor, Case Manager

Mr. Hernandez’ is very compassionate about her work as an addiction counselor, and has a strong commitment in helping patients struggling with addiction in developing healthy coping mechanisms, and developing new positive behavioral habits. She experienced with Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Moral Reoconation Therapy, and supports and experienced in both 12 Step recovery as well as Smart recovery programs. Ms. Hernandez is bilingual and bicultural, was a Teen Mops group leader at Coast Hills Community Church, and has bee a guest speaker at various fundraisers, and international conventions. She is also a CAADE certified CATC I counselor.

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Deanna Vanlue – Lead Support Technician

Ms. Vanlue has extensive experience in nursing and also medical nursing care as it relates to addiction treatment. She is extremely caring and relates well with patients in need no matter what they may be struggling with. Deanna has the additional skill of building meaningful rapport whit her patients, for she deeply understands the challenges and tribulations of overcoming addiction for she is now 19 years sober herself. Deanna received her education and LVN nursing license from Long Beach City College.

Allison Goode

Allison Goode, Art in Recovery Counselor

Allison Goode is a lifelong resident of Laguna Beach and professional artist for over 15 years, and has developed a very successful and trans-formative Art in Recovery program in treatment facilities through out California. Her passion for the fine arts and helping others recover from substance abuse addiction is contagious. Allison has a unique ability to connect with clients through the creative process helping clients set positive goals for their recovery. Ms. Goode has studied Fine Art and Graphic Design at Laguna College of Art and Design, is a certified RADT1 technician, and is currently completing her CCAPP certification program.

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Jimmy Wix, Outpatient Coordinator

Mr. Wix’s commitment and compassion to those suffering with substance abuse is unparalleled.  He enjoys helping other men through the process of addiction to sobriety, and has many years of experience in both individual and group meetings, as well as 12-Step programs.  Jimmy comes to the facility each day with energy and a sense of purpose to help our patients achieve sobriety. Jimmy is currently an RADT-1 in substance abuse treatment.

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Willie Sanchez, Program Technician

Mr. Sanchez is a self-motivated professional with a positive attitude.  He is actively  involved in a 12 step fellowship.  He effectively contributes to each Patient with their struggles with addiction. Willie is RADT1 certified counselor and has been educated at Long Beach City College.

Thomas Mladinich

Thomas Mladinich, Admissions Manager

Mr. Mladinich hard work ethic and dedication make him a key part of the TruVida team.  Tom’s ability to connect and relate with others have allowed him to excel as admissions manager. His personal experience has allowed him to proudly serve those in need of recovery from addiction. Tom is eager to work with our clients and provide the experience, strength and hope that they need to find success in recovery.

Sam Covarrubias

Sam Covarrubias, Program Manager

Mr. Covarrubias has keen a understanding, and compassion that he calls upon each day to serve and assist those who are seeking to recover from addiction.  He has many years of experience and enjoys leading group outings.  Sam is currently a RADT-1 counselor in substance abuse treatment. When Sam is not assisting our patients on a path to lasting  sobriety, he likes to spend time with his family and go fishing.

Matthew Schnable

Matthew Schnable, Program Technician

Mr. Schnable is extremely dedicated and experiences great joy in working with others to recover from their addictions as he struggled for a long time to over come his own. Matthew is very active in his community and his 12 step program. He enjoys taking clients on hikes and to the beach as well as working with them one on one to overcome their challenges and barriers to living a life of sobriety.  Mathew is a transplant to California from the east coast,  is RADT-1 certified, and is furthering his education on addiction treatment counseling.

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Jose Flores, Program Technician

Mr. Flores is a highly motivated and hardworking team member with TruVida. He has several years of experience working in treatment helping individuals get back on track, achieving a lot of great results. He brings problem solving skills and experience to use everyday, and is proud and passionate about his profession as a RADT-I program technician.

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Christopher Mendoza, Culinary Chef

Christopher is TruVida’s full-time culinary chef who has a degree from Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary arts program, which has over a 100 year heritage of culinary excellence. Mr Mendoza has over 12 years experience as a Chef for major corporations and has been a personal Chef for some of Hollywood’s elites.  Early on, Chef Mendoza knew he enjoyed creating meals, and later on, he discovered an even greater lesson – food was something more than just a means to stay alive, for it had the potential to deeply satisfy people on another level. Especially those who are recovering from addiction. He specializes in specific dietary needs including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and kosher. Christopher is RADT certified, and has a great ability to relate to those who are seeking recovery.

 

 

TruVida Recovery Consulting Practitioners:

 

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Recovery in Motion

Recovery in Motion is provided for individuals at TruVida Recovery, to help clear the mind through the healing therapy of body movement and light exercise. This evidenced based program was created and orchestrated by Robert Layton, for the purpose of helping individuals transform from addiction to recovery – Physically – Emotionally – Spiritually. New scientific studies have proven that exercise has benefits far beyond just redirecting one’s attention from the urges and discomfort of addiction. Mr. Layton has over 30 credentials in the areas of Fitness Training, Holistic Therapy and RADT1 addiction recovery registration.

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Art in Recovery

The origins of art therapy can be attributed to Adrian Hill, an artist who discovered the therapeutic advantages of various art forms while in recovery from tuberculosis. It is a valuable tool in the recovery process of individuals with Substance Abuse addiction as it gives form to feelings, concerns, and stress which otherwise may be difficult to address. During the Art in Recovery groups offered at TruVida, clients will explore such projects as Tree of Life, Recovery Masks, Treasure Boxes, Recovery T-shirts, Vision Boarding, Mind Maps and more. Clients are able to keep their works of art as a positive reminder of the time they spent at TruVida Recovery.

Rock2Recovery

Rock to Recovery

Rock to Recovery helps to soothe the restless souls of those in recovery. We do this by creating a “band” and writing and recording songs together with Rock to Recovery’s staff of professional musicians, who are also in recovery. This caring team brings fun into treatment and recovery by offering a natural escape from the fear-based mind. This helps people grow a sense of belonging and self esteem. They help to vent emotions by writing lyrics and singing together for release, in real-time.  A positive theme of hope in recovery is incorporated throughout the whole process. When the session is done, the client “band” members feel a new energy throughout their minds and spirits.  Music is a powerful tool, proven to help soothe the soul. For someone in recovery, learning to have clean and sober fun, feeling a part of, connecting to a group, and quieting the mind are keys to a successful new life. It’s time to feel good in all that we do. Rock to Recovery gives recovering addicts a chance to have fun expressing themselves, working as a group, and experiencing the natural high only music can produce.

Breathworks

Breathworks Recovery

The Breathworks approach to Mindfulness-Based recovery and stress management is the most comprehensive, in-depth, scientifically up-to-date and user-friendly approach to learn how to reclaim one’s life. Mindfulness means deliberately attending to and becoming more aware of our experience: our thoughts, feelings and body sensations. This allows one to clearly perceive thoughts, physical sensations, emotions and events at the moment they occur without reacting in an automatic or habitual way. Experiences don’t overwhelm us and we become steady through life’s ups and downs. Breathworks is based on the experience of Vidyamala Burch who sustained a severe spinal injury in 1976 when she was sixteen leading to multiple surgeries and partial paraplegia. Over 27 years ago she began exploring mindfulness and meditation to manage her persistent pain and in 2001 wondered if she could share these life-changing skills with others who were suffering from pain, stress or illness.

 

Executive Leadership and Board of Directors:

 

George condas

George Condas – PhD, Psychologist, Board Member

George P. Condas, Ph.D. is a noted psychologist and was previously a clinical director of a 96-bed psychiatric hospital. He is known for published articles and presentations and frequent appearances on radio and television programs addressing behavioral health issues, and he is a member of the American, California and Orange County Psychological Associations. Mr. Condas also has extensive experience with the Joint Commission (JCAHO) and has been an instrumental influence in the development of TruVida’s operational structure.

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Jon Boswell – Board Member

Mr. Boswell has over 38 years of experience in the hospital management, insurance, physicians groups (IPA) organizations, managed care consulting and medical mergers. Jon’s knowledge and depth of medical and insurance operations experience is invaluable to the TruVida board as we expand and grow in the ever changing and challenging field of healthcare. Jon has intricate knowledge and vast working experience with insurance organizations such as HMO’s, PPO’s, Medi-Cal and Medicare. Mr. Boswell has obtained a Bachelor degree from Brigham Young University and a Master degree in Hospital Administration from UCLA.