Clinical Team

Clinical Team

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Vicki Berkus

Dr. Vicki Berkus Medical Director

Dr. Vicki Berkus, Akua’s Medical Director, is a Board Certified Psychiatrist. Dr. Berkus has been the Medical Director for several programs around the country that treat eating disorders and has medically worked with patients at all levels of eating disorders treatment. Dr. Berkus is the past president of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP) and currently serves on this organization’s Senior Advisory Board. She is the author of the acclaimed “10 Commitments to Mental Fitness,” as well as a recent book chapter on the physiological effects of eating disorders. In addition, Dr. Berkus has brought telemedicine to several facilities, and is dedicated to providing treatment to patients who do not have substance abuse or eating disorder professionals in their area.

Christine Curtis

Dr. Christine Curtis Executive Clinical Director

Dr. Christine Curtis is the Executive Director of Akua Mind and Body in Sacramento, CA. She has a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and has worked in the field of Behavioral Health and Addiction Treatment for over 15 years. She has experience in a wide variety of clinical settings, including acute care hospitals, outpatient programs, and managed care. Dr. Curtis also serves as adjunct faculty for the graduate psychology programs at both The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and The University of Phoenix.

Lauren Cabaldon

Lauren Cabaldon, MA, LMFT Clinical Director

Lauren is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Lauren received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego and her Master’s degree in Counseling and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Lauren works from the strong conviction that transformative and life-changing treatment starts with a healthy, self-aware, and balanced clinical team. Lauren utilizes an integrative psychodynamic approach when working with clients, and believes that an individual’s personal encounter with the unconscious is essential for the healing process. Lauren is passionate about helping clients get in touch with their spiritual selves, and believes strongly in the power of community and connectedness to promote growth of the individual mind, body, and spirit.

Shannon Hybl,

Shannon Hybl, MA, LMFT Program Director – LANI Women’s Residential

Shannon is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She graduated from Vanguard University with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Shannon is passionate about empowering individuals to find healing and restoration. “There is nothing more rewarding than to be invited into someone’s pain and to watch them grow and experience the freedom from their bondages,” she says. Shannon also specializes in helping those struggling with addiction, depression, anxiety and relational issues.

Kristen Torp

Kristen Torp, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist Program Director – KOA Men’s Residential

Kristen is a Marriage and Family Therapist and a Practitioner of Clinical Counseling. She received both her BA and Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology (with an emphasis in MFT) from Azusa Pacific University. Kristen also completed coursework for the Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Counseling at California State University Dominguez Hills and utilizes humanistic and existential models of therapy and an overall holistic approach.

Jennifer Newman

Jennifer Newman, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family TherapistProgram Director – OHANA Intensive Outpatient Program

Jennifer has completed her Marriage and Family Therapy internship and is in the process of becoming licensed. She earned her MA in clinical psychology at Antioch University in Los Angeles. She is currently training in mindfulness based EMDR for addictions treatment and is also trained in trauma focused therapeutic yoga. Jennifer has had a personal meditation practice for over 10 years and teaches meditation and mindfulness across all programs at Akua. Her approach to treatment lies in the intersection between neuroscience, attachment theory, and meditation. She is a warm, practical, focused clinician. Jennifer is committed to working with first responders and veterans struggling with addiction and PTSD. “In the toughest moments of my life our first responders will be there for me. I feel a responsibility to do my part to be there for them in the toughest moments of their lives.”

Eaman Saddaifard

Eaman Saddaifard, CADC Program Director – Detox MAHALO & ALOHA

Eaman is the Director of Detox at Akua and brings years of experience in substance abuse treatment to his position. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, with an emphasis in Philosophy of Psychology and Phenomenology of Addiction. Eaman is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work. Eaman is passionate about helping those who struggle with addiction, giving them lasting tools to transform their lives through successful recovery.

Terrah Osborne

Terrah Osborne, LVN Associate Director – Detox MAHALO & ALOHA

Terrah obtained her license in Vocational Nursing from Northwest College. She has clinical experience in a variety of specialties, including psychiatric/mental health, surgical, pediatric, gastrointestinal, and community health care. Terrah’s medical capability and caring approach create the perfect combination for safe and effective detoxification treatment. Terrah has the ability to make clients feel personally cared for as she nurtures them towards their recovery.

Ellyn Silverman

Ellyn Silverman, RD, MPH, CEDRDProgram Manager

Ellyn Silverman-Linnetz is a Certified Eating Disorder Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) 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. Ellyn 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. Ellyn has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition from Rutgers University and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of South Carolina. She also completed a Fellowship at USC in Metabolic Dysregulation as well as her Physician’s Assistant degree. Ellyn is a member of IEADP 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.

Rachel Eckes

Rachel Eckes, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family TherapistProgram Therapist

Rachel is a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist and received her Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University, Long Beach. Rachel is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) and completed her 200-hour yoga teaching training program from Cloud Nine Yoga. Rachel is trained in Trauma-Informed Yoga and Yin Yoga. She uses mindfulness-based concepts to inspire clients to maintain a calm, open mind, allowing them to explore their thoughts, emotions and body sensations with curiosity rather than judgment. Rachel’s goal is to help clients rebuild their self-esteem, allowing themselves to succeed and reach their true potential.

Sara Povey

Sara Povey, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family TherapistProgram Therapist

Sara is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Holistic Counseling Psychology. Her passion is empowering women to cultivate a succulent and loving relationship with themselves so they can express freely and experience life – fully free and alive. She recognizes the intimate relationship between the human body and psychological well-being and uses body-oriented psychotherapy to invite clients to view the body as a resource for self-discovery and healing. Her therapeutic style integrates DBT, mindfulness, and Jungian Shadow Work.

Kayvon Afsarifard

Kayvon Afsarifard, MFTt Program Therapist

Kayvon is completing his master’s degree at Pepperdine University as a Marriage and Family Therapist. He has a passion for helping people move through life’s challenges by developing a more mindful lens of the world. Kayvon enjoys working with families and individuals to change the nature of their relationships and means of communication. He is also trained in teaching several styles of yoga including yin, restorative, vinyasa, and hatha. His therapeutic approach integrates values-based positive psychology as well as DBT skills for emotional regulation and distress tolerance.

Kenyota Dokes

Kenyota Dokes, BLS, MA. LPC Program Therapist

Kenyota graduated from the University of Missouri Saint Louis with a Bachelor’s of Liberal Studies with an emphasis in psychology and communications. She received her Master’s of Art degree in Professional Counseling from Lindenwood University. Kenyota is currently working on her PhD in Leadership and Higher Education Administration at Saint Louis University . Kenyota has been a therapist in private practice and various organizations , for several years. She has worked heavily with co- occurring disorders, women’s issues, family systems, addictions, and under-served populations providing resources and treatment. Kenyota has extensive training in cognitive approaches to trauma therapy and has worked with Survivors of War who suffer from PTSD. Her therapeutic approach focuses on the “whole person”- mind, body and spirit and is a combination of cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic approaches. She focuses on short-term symptoms as well as long-term factors that underlie the client’s issues in order to help them reach a greater understanding of self to and help them on their path of healing.

Katie Marienthal

Katie Marienthal Acupuncturist

Katie Marienthal LAc is a licensed acupuncturist and mindfulness meditation teacher. She gives group acupuncture at Akua and her meditations during these sessions are infused with topics that help those on the path of recovery. These topics include, self compassion, non judgement and cultivating awareness which leads to self discovery to better inform our choices. Katie is licensed in giving the NADA acupuncture protocol for addiction. This protocol was successfully studied at Yale, the results with acupuncture quadrupled the success rate of long term sobriety because of acupuncture’s healing impact on the brain. Katie has her Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Emperors College and her Bachelors degree from USC.

Christina Milucky

Christina Milucky, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, CATC-IVTherapist

Christina is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, Case Manager, and Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. For the past six years, Christina has worked in both residential and outpatient facilities helping countless individuals, couples, and families, find their own path in the recovery process. Christina facilitates groups focused on relapse prevention and the recovery process.

Taleen N. Barsam

Taleen N. Barsam, MA, Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist Program Therapist

Taleen is a registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. Taleen believes in the transformative power of relationship and approaches therapy from a person-centered, authentic and holistic perspective. Taleen views overall health as the integration of mind, body, emotions, will, and spirit in their true free-flowing form. Through insight-oriented, solution focused and mindfulness-based models Taleen’s goal is aimed at fostering self-love, awareness, and connection.

Brandon Joffe

Brandon Joffe, LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Brandon began his career with addiction counseling at the Substance Abuse Foundation in 2001. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Brandon deals with addiction issues, eating disorders, anger management problems, and significant mental health disorders. He has developed Inspired Resolutions, a center dedicated to families and teens. His dedication towards the integration of fitness, nutrition, and mental/physical health allows his clients to take ownership of their life goals and develop a spiritual approach to recovery.

Jordin Tate

Jordin Tate, CADCCase Manager

Jordin discovered a passion for working in the addiction field as a result of a personal experience in 2011. After earning her degree as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, Jordin began helping women understand the issues that surround the cycle of addiction, such as self-esteem, body image, healthy relationships, and communication. Some of the women struggling with such issues have a history of abuse and she is committed to helping women transform into their authentic selves and create a fulfilling life of recovery.

Leslie Chappelle

Leslie Chappelle, CADCCase Manager

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 Abuse Counselor and is passionate about supporting and encouraging Akua clients while they work toward a healthy and happy future in recovery.

Dena Santos

Dena Santos, CADCCase Manager

Over the twelve years that Dena Santos has been working in the treatment field, she has gained experience in both the clinical and administrative areas of care through a variety of modalities. Dena entered the substance use disorder treatment field as a certified counselor working with women suffering from substance abuse. Dena went on to be the director of a Residential Detox Program treating clients with acutely co-occurring medical and mental health issues. Dena’s passion is working one-on-one with clients by building exceptional treatment plans that support individual client care.

Eric Foti

Eric Foti, CADC II, MFTtCase Manager

Eric has worked in the field of mental health and addiction since 2002. He is a certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC II), and is currently completing his Master’s degree in Psychology to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. Eric has worked in all facets of treatment; from county psychiatric hospitals, private residential treatment centers, and intensive outpatient programs, and most recently assisting the homeless population in Orange County to obtain services for mental health, substance abuse, and housing. Additionally, Eric has been a certified trainer for staff on non-violent crisis intervention and de-escalation skills.

Dan Paulsell

Dan Paulsell Case Manager

Dan has earned a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration with majors in Management, Human Resources, Marketing and supporting emphasis in Psychology and Sociology. He is currently working toward the completion of his Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor designation. He uses a caring and practical approach to assist in transitioning clients thoughts, actions and perspective into a new way of life, emphasizing the necessity of a new design for living. His ability to connect with clients through respect and empathy, is an invaluable asset to those struggling with addiction and trust barriers. His approach to a 12 step lead spiritual experience is accessible and inspiring.

Angelina Horn

Angelina Horn Case Manager

Angelina is a graduate of Grand Canyon University. She possesses a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and she is currently pursuing her Master’s of Science in Counseling with an emphasis on Trauma. As a clinician, Angelina comes from a place of deep empathy and compassion for her clients. She enjoys working in the areas of child development, trauma and addiction. Her other interests include curriculum development, program development and group therapy.

Elizabeth Irving

Elizabeth Irving Group Facilitator

Elizabeth is a Certified Yoga instructor and a Reiki II Practitioner with experience in addiction recovery. She believes that mindfulness is the key to understanding one’s self and paving a path through recovery that is authentic and sustainable. Elizabeth loves to blend science and spirituality in her holistic approach to mindfulness meditation, and believes that people’s capacity to heal one another with open hearts and open minds is the greatest miracle there is.