Our Medical, Clinical and Therapeutic Team
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.
Jaime Askew – Clinical Director, LMFT, LPCC
Ms. Askew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor who has been working in the field treating substance abuse and mental health issues for over twenty years. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family, & Child Counseling from Pepperdine University and was among the first to obtain the LPCC license in the state of California. She has been providing clinical supervision and training to interns, conducting workshops, and is a certified Trauma therapy trainer. Her areas of expertise include working with legal issues, court ordered treatment, family preservation, trauma therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, family systems, social skills training, play therapy, and career/ vocational counseling. Her passion is in advocating for at risk populations, holistic healing, and treating the underlying, core issues to help individuals achieve their maximum potential and happiness. Jaime’s extensive experience and passionate 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.
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 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.
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!
Deborah Wieland – Therapist, MS, LMFT #96864
Ms. Wieland is an Eclectic EMDR Therapist, using R-TEP and G-TEP, and specializes in several modalities in treating Substance Use issues, Dual Diagnosis, Complex Trauma, and Severe Mental illness. Deborah also provides several types of therapy such as Psychodynamic, Rogerian, CBT, DBT, IFS, PICT, MI, Grief Recovery, Sand Tray, and Attachment Theory to help her patients achieve mental wellness and a sober lifestyle.
She has worked with Psychiatric Hospitals providing crisis interventions and psychotherapy to those struggling with substance abuse issues, mental health issues, and domestic violence. She completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at Vanguard University of Southern California. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Summa Cum Laude and a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology. She is currently completing her Doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at Cal Southern University. Deborah is an active member of EMDRIA, California Association Marriage Family Therapist (CAMFT), American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and Psi Chi International Honors Society of Psychology.
Ashley McLaughlin – Therapist, LMFT
Ms. McLaughlin is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in EMDR therapy. She brings over ten years of experience working in the field of addiction to the Truvida Team. She obtained a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and has two Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Economics from University of California, San Diego. Ms. McLaughlin was trained in EMDR in 2013 and since has been helping individuals process through past traumatic experiences that have contributed to current struggles with substance abuse and mental health symptoms. Her extensive experience and passion for this field has helped guide individuals through the process of recovery in order to experience freedom from their past and a hope for their future.
Kat Johnson – AOD Counselor, Case Manager
With almost 10 years experience working at treatment centers, Kat Johnson shares her wisdom and passion for balanced living, creative writing, and meditation and how each plays a role in early recovery and beyond. Certified as a CADC II, and supported by a bachelors in psychology, Kat’s infectious energy brings her groups to life. She is grateful for every opportunity to spread health and wellness.
Paige A. Chastain, AOD Counselor, Case Manager
Ms. Chastain has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict/alcoholic, bringing personal experience to both individual substance abuse and group counseling settings. She has worked in the field of addiction for several years, currently working as an addiction counselor and case manager. Paige too, is a collaborative member of the multi-disciplinary team providing excellence in addiction services, working with clients from detox to intensive outpatient levels of care. She holds a strong skill-set in Psychoeducation, Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. She also has extensive experience with 12-step recovery programs. Paige is passionate about treating the client with empathy, compassion and respect throughout the client’s journey. Paige holds an AA from Saddleback College, a BA from the University of California of Irvine and is a certified CADC-I holding memberships with CCAPP and NAADAC.
Lesley Richards – AOD Counselor, Interventionist
Ms. Richards began in this field of healthcare as a volunteer for substance abuse treatment centers and worked her way up from there. Lesley has dedicated her life to helping the suffering addict. it is here strong belief that everyone deserves to have the opportunity to have a safe and sober life. She 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. Her Group counseling sessions are highly sought after within the TruVida program. Lesley is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), National Certified Intervention Professional (NCIP), Nationally Certified Recovery Coach (NCRC), and is a member of the California Consortium of Addiction programs (CCAP), as well as the International Association of Addiction Professionals.
Claudia Hernandez – AOD Counselor, Case Manager
Ms. 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.
Christine Green – Treatment Facilitator
Christine Green is a certified personal trainer, and yoga instructor. Ms. Green is dedicated to helping patients struggling with substance abuse transform their lives through a consciousness-based approach to body-in-motion fitness.
Christine passionately shares her 18 years experience with our clients by sharing her specialized Yoga & Energy Healing Program, which she has developed over the past 8 years of working directly with addicts and alcoholics. Her Yoga program facilitates integration of all the layers of life – environmental, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual with the primary initial goal of overcoming withdrawal symptoms and cravings from drug and alcohol dependency. TruVida is fortunate to have her as part of the team.
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.
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.
Willie Sanchez, Support 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.
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.
Jose Flores, Program Manager
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 manager.
TruVida Recovery Consulting Practitioners:
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.
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.
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.