Venice Sanchez, MD, is a board-certified psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist. At her practice in Newport Beach, California, Dr. Sanchez takes a holistic approach to care that emphasizes not only medication management and traditional medicine, but also the incorporation of therapy, spirituality, healthy eating and exercise, and social factors. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and Addiction Medicine.
Dr. Sanchez received her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She continued her training at the University of California, Irvine Psychiatry Residency Program where she was recognized by faculty with the Outstanding Resident of the Year Award as an acknowledgment for her dedicated efforts in education, the clinics, and her work with her patients.
Dr. Sanchez has had extensive training at multiple facilities under the supervision of experts in her field, which allowed her to gain comprehensive knowledge and experience in treating a wide array of psychiatric disorders. Her work at the Long Beach VA, various addiction rehabilitation centers, and San Diego Detention facilities allowed her to gain expertise in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance abuse, and mood and thought disorders underlying substance use.
Dr. Sanchez realizes the significant need in women's health, especially in treating pregnant and postpartum patients who are struggling with mental illness. She not only trained with a specialist at the Maternal and Fetal clinic at UCI Medical Center, but she was also at the forefront in opening up the first Women's Mental Health Medication Management Clinic at Long Beach VA Veteran's Hospital. Her passion for her field allowed her to diligently pursue the much-needed training and experience in treating patients who have a comorbid psychiatric diagnosis. She also specializes in treatment-resistant psychiatric disorders.
Christian Small, MD is board certified in addiction psychiatry, general psychiatry, and family medicine. Doctor Small is a leader in the field of addiction medicine and specializes in providing high quality medical and psychiatric services to treatment programs. He is one of a handful of doctors in the US who have the experience and training to treat full spectrum medical and psychiatric illness. Dr. Small is a graduate of the University of Hawaii John A Burns School of Medicine and completed his residency in Psychiatry and Family Medicine residency at UCSD.
Dr. Hirst graduated from Stanford University and then attended UC San Diego School of Medicine, completing her medical degree and then training in both Family Medicine and Psychiatry. With this combined training, she is uniquely qualified to attend to both the psychiatric and medical needs of Akua’s patients and enjoys providing care to each patient from a holistic, whole-person perspective.
Sean Bezdek is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 25 years of experience working in mental health and substance abuse settings, including inpatient, Partial Hospitalization Programs and private practice. Sean received his undergraduate degree from Bradford College with a focus on Human Studies. He has both a master’s degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Philips Institute and an MBA from Baker College. Over the years Sean’s clinical practice has specialized in working with Personality Disorders, Couples, Adolescents, and individual suffering from chronic mental illness. Sean has\ formal training in Solution Focused/Brief Strategic as well as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. As a clinician Sean enjoys working with clients who can be resistant to traditional treatment and believes in the philosophy of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. BUT you can feed them saltines to make them thirsty!”
Sean’s management experiences have included overseen a verity of programs, such as acute inpatient utilization management, hospice/palliative care, home health, skilled nursing, and most recently was the Assistant Director for a PHP program in the greater Sacramento Area. Sean’s approach to management is to ensure the work that needs to get done gets done. “Our job is patient care. This include everything from making coffee to running groups. There is not one person who is more important that the other when it comes to providing exceptional care to the
clients we serve.”
I believe in the therapeutic process and the importance of the therapeutic relationships. The number one thing that inspired me to become a therapist was to help someone else as I was helped. I want to help people find a connection to someone so that they can find their voice, see themselves, learn what makes them tick and makes them happy – come alive and engage with the living. It is my honor and privilege to provide a secure space which allows others to root, safely grow and blossom.
Emily Majano is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University. Prior to this, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Biola University. Emily has worked in treatment since 2017 and with Akua Mind & Body since January 2019. Emily has held many positions at Akua leading her to her current role as Program Director for Lani, our women's residential program in Orange County, CA. Emily is trained in EMDR and practices from a psychodynamic and attachment approach. She is also currently an adjunct professor of addictive behaviors for Vanguard University's graduate clinical psychology program. Emily is passionate about providing individualized, trauma-focused treatment, for individuals struggling with either primary mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring. As program director, Emily emphasizes the importance of establishing a healthy family environment for clients to explore their symptoms and find solutions, while being able to practice open communication and boundaries. In her free time, you can find her watching the Kansas City Chiefs dominate the NFL.
Sarah is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 9 years of experience in mental health. She believes the key to successful mental health treatment is creating a safe, honest space not only for the individual seeking treatment but for the treatment team as well. Sarah has experience working with individuals of all backgrounds with her introduction to substance abuse treatment has taken place during her undergraduate studies. Sarah is passionate about helping others unlock their fullest potential in order to achieve their goals and achieves this by supporting her team and clients as best as she can.
Eaman has been a part of the Akua family since 2015, working as Program Director at a number of Akua's locations. He is currently the Program Director at the Mission Hills program in San Diego, California. Eaman has an educational background in Philosophy, with an emphasis in the phenomenology of addiction, and has been a certified addiction counselor since 2014. He is passionate about helping people on their journeys to recovery, and enjoys working with the families and loved ones of those who struggle with addiction. When he's not working, Eaman enjoys spending time with his family, gardening and playing guitar.
Alicia Robinson is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC-II) and has a Bachelor of Science in Applied Management from Grand Canyon University. Alicia has a wide array of experience working with many different modalities including individuals that struggle with addiction, behavioral health issues, mental health issues, and co-occurring disorders. Alicia has been working in the behavioral health addictions field for 13 years, her personal experience allows her to be an encouraging leader to her team of addiction specialists and assists in the ability to support clients struggling with addiction issues. Alicia is passionate about wanting to work with individuals who struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders and believes that addiction is not a secular problem. Alicia’s motto is to treat the whole client with addiction issues as well as healing the client spiritually with a mix of scientific and holistic treatments.
Stephanie Behrens is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, who earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University. She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Stephanie has been working in the treatment industry since 2014. She joined the Akua team in 2022 and is the Program Director for the Akua Strong program located in Orange County, CA. She also enjoys working as a therapist and specializes in substance abuse, complex trauma, co-dependency, and anxiety/depressive disorders. Stephanie also has an interest in animal-assisted psychotherapy where she and her dog are certified as an official therapy dog team. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and her Golden Retriever.
As Program Director, Dena cultivates our systematic and evidence-based program, calibrated to enable our clients' successful and long-term recovery. She brings grace and patience to every interaction and is a natural leader to the Akua team. Determined to cultivate her treatment skills, Dena achieved a CADC II, and ICADC. And with over 18 years of experience, Dena is a seasoned professional who manages Akua (Terra Loma) with skillful ingenuity. Dena's passionate and dedicated to all those seeking substance use disorder treatment. Our community thrives because our treatment professionals partner with our clients in trustworthy relationships'. We enable our clients to thrive in recovery and the culture of our community is shaped by Dena's effortless and compassionate leadership.
Coleman is the Program Manager of AKUA Mind & Body’s Men’s Residential Program. He completed his education at CCAPP Academy in Southern California. Coleman received his certificate for Certified Drug and Alcohol counselor in October 2021. Coleman has been involved with the 12 Step Program since 2010 which brings his unique approach to client care and management. Coleman is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, he moved to California 5 years ago and has enjoyed every minute of it. Coleman is dedicated to creating a safe and productive environment for our clients to heal when they are under our care at AKUA Mind & Body.
I was a social worker for Area 12 Agency on Aging for one year. At Area 12 I served
individuals 65 and older. I worked for Alta and San Diego Regional Center as a social
work counselor for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. I worked as a
School Aid teacher at Brighton Private Elementary School for five years. Prior to
Brighton, I was working at Starbucks and interning for Sacramento County Sheriff's
Katlin currently is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. Katlin completed her undergraduate work in psychology at William Jessup University and graduated in 2014. Katlin took time off school and gained experience working with high-risk children and adolescents as Youth Behavioral Specialist. Katlin worked with CPS, children in the CPS system, and youth dealing with homelessness. Katlin also worked with the youths in crisis and their family crises and conflicts. Katlin went back to school to continue her education and expand her experience in the mental health field and graduated with her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2021. Katlin continued to work at a non-profit agency working with a variety of issues ranging from trauma to family dynamic issues before coming to Akua Mind and Body. Katlin has a heart for those who have experienced grief and loss, as well as navigating the challenges that come with any mental health struggles. Katlin also has a passion for horses and the therapeutic capacity they hold.
Courtney Button has a passion for working in mental health. Courtney studied Social Work at CSULB and USC. Courtney worked with children, adolescents, and families after completing her education. Courtney values the environment, social justice, equality, and mental wellness. Courtney spends her personal time with her family, chocolate lab, cooking, SCUBA diving, volunteering, and spending time in nature.
Jessica Cornea is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. Jessica attended Hope
International University for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She has a wide
variety of experiences in the field of therapy. Her clinical skills consist of working with individuals,
families, couples, children, individuals who struggle with substance abuse, depression, OCD,
Trauma, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and acute mental health. She is also trained in EMDR
and believes that by offering a different approach to helping heal trauma, she is able to offer
clients an alternative treatment. Jessica is currently working towards obtaining her licensure as a
LMFT. As Jessica continues to grow and expand her knowledge she is motivated to help anyone
find their balance in life.
Jacquelene is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist who received her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University. Jacquelene has been working with Akua since early 2021, beginning as an MFT Trainee, and has since moved into the role of Primary Therapist at Lani Women’s Residential Program. Jacquelene is also trained in Brainspotting, which she utilizes with clients struggling with various responses to traumatic events. Jacquelene works from a client-centered approach, with a focus on psychodynamic and attachment. She also utilizes CBT and solution focused techniques. When Jacquelene is not at work, you can find her relaxing with her white husky named Draco (yes, from Harry Potter).
Kacey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Applied Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2021, she received her Master of Arts degree in Marital and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego and obtained her AMFT license. During her Master’s program, she received clinical training and experience here at Akua Mind & Body completing her hours as a Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee. Kacey cultivates a safe and warm environment in the therapy room through empathic attunement and authentic connection. She integrates psychodynamic and attachment theory principles to promote insight and awareness on the journey of recovery, as well as self-compassion techniques to build a foundation of worthiness and self-love. She is committed to empowering individuals to awaken to their divine purpose and healing of the mind, body, and spirit.
Jaimie is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist that balances her gentle nature with a straight forward attitude to promote healing. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Nutrition Science from Whittier College and her Master’s degree in Counseling, emphasis in Marriage, Family, and Children from Palo Alto University. She uses both studies to treat the whole person and believes that every part is connected and valuable. She helps clients make sense of their past experiences to shift their present lives to lead to a more fulfilled future. Her background experience revolves around supporting low income families in community mental health settings, as well as supporting children and adolescents in school settings, with an integrative approach of psychodynamic, attachment, systemic, and somatic therapy. Jaimie has a passion for working with clients that are healing from trauma, chronic illnesses, and those in a transitional stage of life. Her favorite place to be other than AKUA, is her couch next to her cat with plenty of snacks and lit candles to set the mood for a funny TV show.
Adrienne is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapy and Associate Professional Clinical
Counselor. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University of California,
Davis. After gaining experience working in acute psychiatric inpatient and community mental
health settings, she received my Masters in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy from
University of Phoenix, Sacramento. Her career has allowed her to work with a vast array of
demographics and mental health conditions and she has additional training in EMDR. Her
approach with clients is to help them understand how they got to where they are now so that they
can learn how to move forward. As a therapist, she illuminates the client's strengths and guide
them toward a healthier path.
Kayleigh is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She gained her Master's in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach in 2020. Her background includes over 8 years of serving the unhoused community, working in hospice, supporting families as a full-spectrum doula, and serving as a volunteer in Peace Corps Indonesia. Through supporting the recovery of people experiencing homelessness, she gained a fierce compassion for the entirety of the human experience. She deeply believes in the power of client-centered care. Kayleigh’s healing approach is holistic and intuitive while integrating mindfulness, DBT, with a trauma-informed perspective. She believes that everyone has their own deep well of wisdom and an innate ability to break cycles and heal themselves. She is devoted to journeying in service with people through life's most challenging seasons to encourage their ability to ultimately thrive.
Jenna is a Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Davis. After gaining experience working with foster youth, emotionally disturbed youth, and youth with special needs, she went on to pursue her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University. She is currently working towards completing this degree and accruing clinical hours. Jenna’s theoretical orientation is geared towards providing a safe and nonjudgmental space for clients to process and develop insight into their life’s difficulties. Jenna’s approach to therapy is a collaborative dynamic in which the client is empowered to awaken to their strengths and inner reservoir of resources. With the skills and tools learned in therapy, the client is better able to navigate trying situations as they arise, even after the therapeutic journey.
Avery is a Marriage & Family Therapist Trainee, currently earning her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health from Concordia University. She also earned her B.S. in Kinesiology from Concordia University. She works out of a psychodynamic and attachment based theoretical orientation, while also utilizing CBT techniques. Avery is passionate about helping clients with body image issues, and walking alongside them on their journey to self-acceptance and healing. When she is not at work, you can find her at the beach.
Alexis Lockwood is a Marriage and Family Therapist trainee. Alexis is currently obtaining her Master's degree in Marital and Family Therapy at the University of San Diego. Alexis obtained her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Applied Psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara and graduated in 2015. Alexis has pursued a career in therapy since a young age and is highly passionate about providing a space for healing and self-discovery. Alexis is passionate about several therapeutic approaches including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Attachment theory and self-compassion work. Alexis is extremely passionate about Akua's mission and for the opportunity to assist others on their healing journey.
Chelsea Roush is a Colorado native and received her BA at University of Colorado at Boulder. She is currently working towards her master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Alliant International University. Chelsea has worked at numerous treatment centers in Southern California as well as in New York. Chelsea's passion is to help other overcome the stigma of mental health and substance abuse labels by providing a safe place for self-exploration.
With over a year of experience working with groups and providing Mental Health, my goal is to provide clients with the opportunity to grow and heal from their experiences. While I am still new, I believe that my ability to connect with individuals helps me recognize where I need to grow in order to be my best self for my clients. When a client comes to me, they should expect the ability to share and collaborate with me in order to create a beneficial experience for their journey. As I start my time with Akua Mind & Body, I hope to expand more of my skill sets in order to better help the community.
Cindy is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-III) through CCAPP. She earned her M.A. in Psychology from Pepperdine University. Cindy has 7 years of experience working in the field, in a variety of contexts from medical to operational and clinical. Cindy has a passion for working with clients to establish and achieve goals that lead to long-term results. She is an advocate for the 12-step process and provides both a direct and compassionate approach with her clients. Cindy aims to encourage clients to further develop and improve their self-esteem and self-love. In her free time, she loves hiking with her family and eating soup.
Michelle has her Masters in Psychology and has worked in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment since 2013 as both a Therapist and Case Manager. Michelle is passionate about helping others and enjoys being a part of client's journey while they are in treatment. She enjoys helping clients reach their full potential by supporting them and helping them navigate their life while in treatment and for when they transition back home. In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her dog, going to the beach, and reading.
Leslie is the Case Manager at Akua’s Detox program. She has been working in the field of recovery since 2010 and brings with her years of experience helping struggling addicts and alcoholics take their first steps toward a new way of life. Leslie is a. Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor Counselor and is passionate about supporting and encouraging Akua clients while they work toward a healthy and happy future in recovery.
My name is Carolina Correa CATC III case manager at Akua Strong Long Beach. I am a mother of beatufil twins and also a cat lover. I was born and raised in Los Angeles CA. I enjoy camping, hiking and having fun with my family. I have over 13 years working as case manager working with youth, adults and families in various settings. My passions is to educate, guide and assist individuals gain the knowledge and confidence to get their lives back, succeed and be the best version of themselves. The populations I have served have faced homelessness, gang involvement, drug and alcohol abuse, and trauma. My education began at Mt. San Antonio College where I received my Associates In Science and Drug/Alcohol Counseling Certificate. I then pursued my education, enrolled into Phoenix Univeristy and obtain my Bachelors of Science in Human Services with an emphasize in addiction in Families and Children.
Beth Dammeyer is a CADC I and Case Manager at Akua in San Diego. She received a B.S.degree from Loyola University Chicago and certification in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling from UCSD Extension. Beth has years of experience in the recovery community and has a passion to educate and support others to reach their individual recovery goals. Having anunderstanding that many who are challenged with substance use disorder also struggle with a dual diagnosis, Beth is pursuing her M.S. degree as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor and will graduate from Walden University School of Counseling in May 2023. Beth loves working at Akua Mind & Body because Akua provides a holistic approach to healing and, it is “a great place to work!”
Jeff is a case manager at Akua Mind and Body Terra Loma. Jeff graduated from CCAPP academy in 2019 and is currently working his hours to gain his NCAC. He has been working in the recovery field since 2020. He focuses on client development through philosophical ideas, evidence-based methods and mindfulness to assist clients in the pursuit of meaning and a life without substance abuse.
Joseph is a case manager at Akua Mind and Body. He has been working in the recovery field since 2014 and has a passion for helping others. He has been a certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor since 2016 and is currently in school at American River College to obtain a degree in psychology. Joseph has given his life to the health care industry and believes he is here to help save lives and plant seeds. Joseph is also in recovery himself and loves the life recovery has given him.
Donna served 20 yrs in the US ARMY as a Nurse. She has 11yrs clean and sober and is perusing her CADAC II as a Drug and Alcohol counselor she also holds a MHS III certification in the Mental Health Field.
Becca earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at CSULB and her Master's in Teaching from Concordia University in Portland. Her career began in teaching lasting for over 20 years. This is where she realized that her passion was working with children with mental illness. Her background in working with mental health started in schools but has brought her to treatment centers which deal with the homeless, court ordered programs as well as clients looking for help to get their lives back on track. When she landed here at Akua she found she was thrilled by the alignment and interconnection of substance use and mental health treatment which was why she applied and still loves being here. Outside of work you can find her with friends or family,
walking down the beach or working on jigsaw puzzles.
Molly has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science from the University of WisconsinStevens Point. She is currently in the final stages of completing her Certificate in Alcohol and
Drug Counseling from CCAPP. Molly has extensive knowledge, experience and involvement in
12-Step Recovery. She is committed to guiding clients to let go of their old ways of life and open
themselves to a newfound happiness. Molly has an innate ability and desire to serve, support and
Candace is a Case Manager at AKUA Mind & Body. Candace completed Alcohol & Drug counseling school in 2019 and is currently working toward her undergraduate degree in Sociology, with the goal of becoming a holistic Therapist. Candace is a Veteran of the US Army and is particularly passionate about helping Vets as well as anyone facing substance abuse and mental health challenges. In her free time, Candace enjoys listening to podcast, reading, hiking, and going on adventures with her son, Leo.
Brandon is a case manager at the Akua Mind and Body’s Men’s Residential Program. He is set
to receive his certificate for Alcohol & Drug Counseling from the CCAPP Academy and has
been working in the field of Substance Abuse since 2016. Brandon has a working knowledge of
the 12 Step program but open to exploring alternative options to recovery and helping clients
find an individual all encompassing aftercare plan that utilizes key factors to achieve a healthy
life. He has 3 years experience working with primary mental health and co-occurring disorders.
Brandon’s style embodies meeting clients where they are at and increasing motivation through
positive reinforcement and encouragement.
Lulu is a case manager for Lani Women’s Residential program and is working towards her Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-II) certification through CCAPP. Lulu has been working at Akua Mind & Body since 2016. She has a passion for helping her clients navigate through day-to-day life challenges, as well as setting them up for success upon discharge. Lulu provides a compassionate and safe space, while taking a directive and individualized approach. She aims to establish achievable and maintainable goals with her clients, as well as supporting them on their journey throughout their healing process. When Lulu is not working, you can find her cheering on her daughter at soccer tournaments or making modifications to her 4Runner.
Danielle has been working in the addiction treatment industry since 2014 and holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Communication Studies with a minor in Sociology from California State University of Fullerton. Danielle has worked in many areas of addiction treatment including Operations Management, Human Resources and Compliance. Danielle is devoted to helping those in recovery who have been afflicted with substance use disorder and mental health struggles. Danielle is passionate about the journey to self-discovery and fulfillment, accommodating to everyone’s personal needs. As a Case Manager she is focused, organized, and effectively advocates for the needs of her clients while in treatment. She believes that hard work and determination can take us anywhere we want to go in life if we have support from others, encouragement toward our goals, structure, and belief in ourselves.
Ashley went to school to be a drug and Alcohol counselor currently holds her CADC I and is
working towards her CADC II. Ashley has chosen to work in Addiction, because she is in
recovery herself and is passionate about helping others. Ashley says, “It is very fulfilling to try
and instill hope in others who are struggling and help them on the path to recovery.
In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs, spending time family and going on adventures
around Southern California.
I have been in the field of addiction for 6 1/2 years. I am also in recovery for the past
19 years. My passion is helping people for find their passion for life and helping them
to reach for their goals.
Brett Spinella is case manager currently working towards obtaining his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential. Brett has been working in the field of mental health and substance abuse for 10 years and is passionate about helping clients establish the necessary tools to continue in their healing process. As a case manager Brett seeks to support his clients through creating a safe atmosphere to facilitate the change they desire. Brett is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and believes that all humans deserve an individualized approach along their journey of interpersonal growth. Brett has worked for Akua Mind & Body since June 2020 and has been an integral member of the Akua community.
I am Linnea Smith CADC I. I am from Charleston West Virginia and moved to California in 2006. My education includes a biology degree and a health science degree physician assistant. I currently have 6 1/2 years sober. I decided I was meant to help people so I went back to school to become a drug and alcohol counselor.
I am a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I was a team leader in a highly specialized unit, with that I bring discipline and leadership. I currently hold the CADC-II and my counseling experience spans over 10 and a half years working with many populations to include the criminal justice, homeless and veteran population. During the last 4 years I was in a supervisory role I was responsible for the curriculum and training for the program, I was also providing supervision, instruction, and ongoing assistance to program staff, counselors who worked under me and volunteers. I assisted with the program director and executive director on a regular basis. What brought me down this road was my past experiences and struggles, when I returned from treatment there was no doubt what my next steps would be, I was motivated and felt a deep calling to this field. I answered by entering into it and giving other alcoholics and addicts hope, I only keep it by giving it away.
Vanessa Diaz (she/her) is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician, who obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services, with a focus in Mental Health, from the California State University of Fullerton. Vanessa has worked in a clinical treatment setting since 2020, which allowed her to gain experience working with those who have substance use, mental health, and co-occurring disorders. Vanessa is passionate about case management and uses a trauma-focused strength-based approach to uplift clients and assist them in meeting their recovery goals. In her free time, you can catch her attempting to walk her cat and overwatering her plants.
My Name is Delaney Thiel. I have been an LVN for almost two years but have worked in the medical field for just over 9 years. I am very passionate about nursing and improving the lives of patients and clients I come across. I enjoy sunshine, relaxing in my hammock and playing with my daughter. I am happy to join the AKUA team!
Katie Campo graduated from Carrington College as a Licensed Vocational Nurse in 2018. She has been a Nurse Manager in Substance Abuse and Addiction Medicine ever sense.
Katie's specialties include the employment of best practices in the field, medication assisted therapy and cultural competency. Her deep understanding of the complexities of substance use and co-occurring disorders serves to reinforce our client's sense of safety and the promise of progress. The proof of Katie's expertise shows itself through our client's successful detoxification and in the completion of our treatment program.
Experienced in client-centric care, Katie always listens carefully to her clients, includes them in their detox treatment planning and medication management. She is knowledgeable about numerous treatment modalities and stays abreast of emerging trends. She goes above and beyond for our clients and her natural compassion comes through in everything she does.
Katie, who is described as very "down-to-earth", treats everyone she meets with respect and dignity, and her wonderful sense of humor. As a team-leader, Katie is an important and integral part of the success of Akua (Terra Loma) and our clients.
Danielle White has always wanted to work in the medical field growing up. Helping and caring for others has always been something Danielle has been passionate about. Danielle became a Licensed Vocational Nurse at Stanbridge University in 2018. Since then, Danielle has had experience in working in treatment and mental health for over 3 years prior to AKUA. Danielle enjoys working in recovery. Her Ultimate goal is to further her education and become a nurse practitioner. Being able to help others and watch them through their individual recovery is what Danielle finds to be most fulfilling.
My name is Laura D'Errico. I am a licensed psychiatric technician for Akua Behavioral Health. I have over ten years of experience working with clients on various parts of the mental health spectrum. I enjoy being part of an interdisciplinary team and have worked on a strategic planning committee to identify breakdowns in affective communication and implement changes outlined to address those needs. I am passionate about providing consistent, holistic care within my scope of practice. I also enjoy spending time with my family, in the outdoors, and practicing self-care.
Ellyn Silverman-Linnetz is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian and Physician Assistant. Her expertise covers a wide area of practice, from integrating nutritional healing into addiction and recovery care to nutrition therapy in eating disorders. Her integrative approach to nutrition intervention helps clients improve their relationship with food and find peace in their bodies, so they can show up for what is most important in life. Silverman-Linnetz considers herself to be a “non-diet” Registered Dietitian and is committed to helping clients reach their goals through self-exploration and self-trust. She is an Intuitive Eating practitioner and comes from the philosophy of weight-inclusive wellness. Silverman-Linnetz has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition from Rutgers University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. She also completed a Fellowship and her Physician’s Assistant degree at the University of Southern California in Metabolic Dysregulation. Silverman-Linnetz is a member of IAEDP and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and has authored many publications, written chapters on a variety of topics and is a national speaker on nutrition health.
Christina graduated with her master's degree in social work from Columbia University and has worked all over the country in a multitude of treatment environments. Her background in social work informs her perspective in seeing each individual client as a whole, all with unique, distinctive strengths and challenges. Christina's experience in both mental health and substance use treatment will provide an expansive lens in her role as Admissions Clinician where she will ensure a streamlined admission process for all Akua clients.
Caroline became a Hospital Certified Harp Therapist in 2009 through Bucks County Community College and Bedside Harp, Inc. In 2019 she completed her training as a Reiki Master through Open Ended Circle in Anaheim, CA. In 2019 she also studied under healer and breathworks master David Elliott, receiving a certification in breathworks facilitation. Caroling graduated with a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fullerton in 2021 with a major in psychology. She is currently working towards graduate school with a continued focus on psychology. Caroline is the resident harpist with a group of world-renowned female sound healers, The Sonic Deva’s, who perform in various cathedrals, private events, and music festivals around the country. She works as a recording artist and has released music with artists such as Divasonic, Navid Izadi, and Esqape. She is in constant collaboration with various sound healers and musicians, providing sound healing and musical performances. Caroline is the mother of two daughters. She enjoys surfing with her daughters, bringing them to soccer, and is also their Girl Scout troop leader. In her free time, she enjoys yoga on the beach, long distance marathon running, tai chi, and playing classical piano. Caroline has worked at Akua since the very first day they opened. She is passionate about bringing the ancient, healing qualities of the harp to modern day healthcare.
Kellyn is a licensed acupuncturist with a doctorate in Oriental Medicine. She has been practicing since 2008, treating everything from pain and hormonal symptoms, to issues that relate to stress and mental health - like insomnia, depression and addiction. Through gaining experience in these different areas of practice, she has come to appreciate the many ways that mental and physical health are connected. Dr. Pappas’ groups at Akua involve a combination of auricular (ear) acupuncture along with guided meditation. This specific acupuncture protocol was originally developed to provide support in methadone clinics to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It supports heathy nervous system feedback, while assisting the detox organs in the removal of harmful substances from the body. She also has training in various medical Qi Gong (mind-body) practices and integrates them into the guided meditations along with the ear acupuncture. This helps activate and engage the brain in new dynamic ways that give those receiving treatment added support in navigating everyday stressors, as well as increased resilience in dealing with more serious trauma and relapse triggers.
Madison has worked in the addiction and mental health industry since 2015. She is a certified yoga teacher, Breathwork facilitator, Radical Aliveness practitioner, and Drug and Alcohol Counselor. Madison uses a balance of Somatics, spirituality and neuroscience in her sessions.
Madison believes that it is important that every piece of a person’s identity is allowed to exist in the therapeutic process. She works with youth and adults from diverse backgrounds and life experiences. She believes in a non-expert model that empowers the individual to tap into their own body's wisdom and emotions. Madison's goal is to hold a secure space for you to explore the deepest parts of your world, and find your place in it.
Joshua Saucedo received his Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology and Sociology while attending The University of California, Merced as the undergraduate inaugural class of 2005. Joshua started cooking at a very young age and apprenticed as a pastry chef/cake decorator in 2012. By 2014, Joshua opened a kitchen in Fullerton, CA and was executive pastry chef at a French Bakery in Garden Grove, CA. In September of 2015, Joshua was hired by Akua and founded Akua’s culinary program. His hobbies include playing recreational softball, going on hikes, traveling the world, but most importantly, cooking for friends and family. He chose to work for Akua because “it is a culinary job like no other.” What brings him the most satisfaction in working for Akua is that he gets to design, order, and create a healthy nutritious meal for someone during a pivotal moment in their life.