Meet the Team
Our team is a connected and committed group of leaders who are better and stronger when we are united in our work of creating joy and healing generations. We share our best practices, pushing each other to be the best we can be.
Sharon Dietsche, LISCW, LCSW-C joined Embark in 2021 as Executive Director of the Tysons Corner clinic.
Sharon has dedicated her 30-year career to creating healthier families and communities. Her endeavors started in the child welfare field in Orlando, Florida, as a foster care and adoptions counselor. After receiving her Masters, she began her clinical work at Edgewood Center for Children and Families in San Francisco where she led clinical treatment teams serving children and families with severe trauma histories. Then, as Director, Mental Health, she served as one of the creative forces in the development of Our Second Home, an early childhood family resource center south of the city.
From California, Sharon’s career brought her to the national capital area, where she joined the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in 2009 as a Senior Practice Associate. Her work focused on school social work, behavioral health, and child, adolescent, and family issues. Among other accomplishments, she led the development of the NASW standards for social work practice with clients with substance use disorders and the NASW policy statement on adolescent and young adult health.
Sharon then served as Director, Prevention & Early Intervention at the DC Department of Behavioral Health. There she oversaw early childhood, school-based mental health, and substance use prevention programs. She transitioned to her next position in 2020 as Director, Program Operations for the Center for Adoption Support and Education where she oversaw all direct services for the organization.
Sharon holds a Bachelors and Masters in Social Work from the University of Central Florida and in 2020 earned certification in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Northwestern University. Since 2004, she has served as a subject matter expert in the development of the professional social work licensing exams in California and with the Association of Social Work Boards.
Sharon and her husband Tom are parents to three children. Their youngest joined their family in 2018 through international adoption. They currently reside in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Melissa Myers has a Masters in Community Counseling with extensive experience working with teens and families. She comes from a military background working with military families with transitions and having lived in various parts out of the country. Melissa’s main area of experience is working with teens with anxiety, depression, and trauma. Her theoretical approaches includes Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Prior to returning back to the DMV area, Melissa worked as a residential counselor in Memphis, TN specifically working with problematic sexual behaviors in teens. Her biggest loves in life are family, travel and good eats.
Lynn Otto was raised in a military family and has lived in several countries, including Bahamas, Iceland, United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada, as well as several states. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Memorial University Newfoundland and a Master of Arts degree in Community Counseling at Argosy University, Washington, D.C. She is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and approved licensure supervisor in the state of Virginia. She is certified by National Acupuncture Detoxification Association as an Acupuncture Detox Specialist (ADS). She has trained in IFS, CPT, and EMDR therapy and uses a trauma-informed approach to assist clients to address both simple and complex trauma. She has extensive experience working with clients struggling with substance use disorders, process addictions, co-occurring disorders, mood disorders, depression, anxiety and stress management using modalities including, but not limited to, EMDR, CBT, mindfulness, and motivational interviewing.
Lynn likes to read, bake, and spend time with her family. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, son, three very furry cats and one silly pup.
Position: Director of Professional Relations
Jennifer Murphy is the Director of Marketing and Outreach at Embark Behavioral Health in the DC Metro area, and has a Bachelors in Education. Jennifer has a passion for working with children and young adults and helping them lead happy and healthy lives. She believes in the saying “ It takes a village to raise a family” and that it takes all of us to help children grow in a safe and healthy family.
Prior to her career at Embark Behavioral Health, Jennifer had experience in working in Pharmaceuticals and in the mental health field.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family at the beach, exercising, reading non-fiction, and volunteering at dog adoption events.
A native of northern Virginia, Hannah Watts returned to the area after receiving her Master of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Hannah is excited to work as a therapist at Embark Behavioral Health, and is eager to draw on her experiences and skills from years of working in primary care and inpatient behavioral health settings. She has a passion for working with adolescents and their families, and hopes to help them learn and grow alongside each other as the experts of their own experiences. Hannah explains that working with adolescents is especially rewarding because they are perceptive, resilient, and have a fun sense of humor. Her authentic style and use of humor has sharpened her ability to quickly develop rapport with patients and families. Outside of work, she enjoys playing video games with her friends, caring for her plants, and walking and training her five-year-old black pitbull mix, Nyla.
Donovan Holloway is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Masters Degree in Social Work from George Mason University. Before coming to Embark Donovan worked at the INOVA Behavioral Health Ambulatory Services where he performed Emergency Psychiatric Evaluations for individuals of all age ranges for 11 different Emergency Rooms and Care Centers throughout Northern Virginia. While going through his masters in Social Work, Donovan interned at the City of Alexandria Child Protective Services Unit and did his clinical internship at the Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital where he worked with adolescent clients and their families. Donovan has his certificate in DBT, TF-CBT, and SMART recovery, utilizes motivational interviewing and aspects of Somatic Experience Therapy to help his clients. Outside of Embark Donovan enjoys spending time with his family, cooking, and finding ways to give back to the community.
Alexandra “Ali” Smith, MSW holds a Clinical Master’s degree in Social Work from George Mason University. Ali has worked extensively with adolescents as part of a youth leadership conference where curriculum focused on Conflict Resolution, Public Speaking, Diversity and Communication Skills and other future readiness skills. Ali is passionate about helping others and has held a variety of volunteer positions which include working in the child life department at a children’s hospital, a Guardian ad Litem working with children in the foster care system and as a reading partner with Reading Connection in Washington, DC. Before becoming a social worker, Ali worked for a non-profit focusing on bringing like-minded entrepreneurs together for experience sharing from all over the world. During grad school, she worked with families experiencing poverty empowering them to achieve their financial, career and education goals. She also worked in a school setting. Ali is an avid traveler and loves learning about different cultures. When she is not working, Ali is happiest when outside hiking, playing soccer and being near the water. She loves learning and growing and has recently taken up (indoor) rock climbing and learning to play the piano. She is excited to be a part of the Embark at Tysons Corner family working as both Case Manager and Therapist.
Alex earned her undergraduate degree in Social Work from James Madison University and her Master of Social Work from George Mason University with a concentration in Community Practice. She is passionate about fostering community partnerships to ensure the well-being and success of youth in our communities. Alex has previous experience raising awareness in education, foster care and adoption, and affordable housing, and is excited to bring her passion for community building to Embark to serve families in the DC Metro. Outside of work, you can find Alex embarking on long road trips, whipping up new recipes at home, or escaping to the mountains to reconnect with nature.
Courtney Macon-Arnold is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a Master of Science Degree in both Counseling and Psychology from Troy University. With over 16 years of experience with adolescent, adult and family counseling, Courtney has as developed a strong belief in restorative healing and positive change. She believes that every client is special and uses an integrative approach to therapy – blending elements from different concepts and tailoring treatment to meet each individual’s specific needs. Courtney has had therapeutic experience in a variety of settings – including mental health, substance use, life coaching and private practice, and is trained in several therapeutic approaches, including: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR); Cognitive (CBT and Dialectical (DBT) Behavioral Therapy; Motivational Interviewing; and Short – term Dynamic Therapy treatment modalities. In her spare time, you can find her volunteering at the neighborhood community center cooking meals for low income families, running, playing basketball and online video gaming.
MacKenzie is originally from St. George, UT where she first began her journey as a youth mentor at a program for teenage girls. She was there for several years and held multiple leadership positions while also learning how to facilitate lasting change in youth and their families. Mackenzie enjoys working with the whole family system and being able to witness the moments when the family shifts towards a life worth living. Prior to joining Lake House Academy, MacKenzie worked with families at Chrysalils beginning in 2018 as the Program Director.
MacKenzie is eager to explore all that the NC Mountains has to offer and expand upon her love of hiking, kayaking, travel or simply reading a good book.
“For some students, there is a moment where the lightbulb goes off and they just start to get it. For others, it comes more gradual and you are able to look back and see where they have been and how far they have come. Whatever the case, the opportunity I get to see a young woman come into her own, to begin to heal, to begin to believe in herself, and to see the light return to her eyes, is what makes Sunrise so deeply special to me. It is worth the sacrifice and hard work that is put into every single student.”
Amanda graduated from Dixie State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminology. She became interested in the field of criminal justice after seeing the need for more rehabilitation within the criminal justice world feeling there was the most opportunity to serve adolescents. She started working at Sunrise while finishing up her degree and found just what she was looking for. Amanda left Sunrise and moved to Texas where she worked as a 911 dispatcher and enjoyed working with Police, Sheriff’s, Fire, and EMS departments. After returning to southern Utah, Amanda was happy to come back to Sunrise and continue her growth here. Born and raised in Southern Utah, Amanda left Utah shortly after graduating high school and lived in New Mexico, California, and Texas. The youngest of seven children and she is blessed to say that she has a great relationship with all of her siblings and in-laws. Amanda is happily married and has two you boys. Her greatest joy is spending quality time with her own little family, and all of her extended family. Amanda enjoys camping and being in the mountains, exploring cities, and having shopping and lunch dates with her mom.
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living a heartbreaking, soul healing, amazing ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” -L.R. Knost
Cameron has worked in residential treatment settings since 1999. After working several years as a residential supervisor for boys and girls in different residential programs, he went back to school to advance his clinical expertise. Cameron’s unique perspective with students as a primary therapist with residential experience allows him the ability to build connections that dive deep.
He specializes in helping his students overcome depression, anxiety, oppositional-defiance, OCD, ADHD, and other behavioral health issues with incredible and consistent outcomes. A core belief he holds is that a therapeutic alliance of trust is at the base of all healing. He ascribes to the beliefs promoted in the book, “ Leadership and Self-Deception” –that seeing and validating a student’s humanity invites them to step toward a higher level of functioning, this intention promotes a positive space for growth.
Cameron has a Master’s in Social Work from Brigham Young University; Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Utah Valley University.
Katie has been passionate about serving others since at a young age. Katie’s first experience working in a service-oriented field began with adults with intellectual disabilities. She continued for several years while attending the University of Utah, ultimately obtaining a degree in Recreational Therapy, and a minor in psychology. Upon graduation, she felt drawn to the mental health field and completed an internship at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, working with veterans, adolescents, and individuals with substance use disorders. The experience brought a passion in working with adolescents and led to work at another residential treatment center for adolescent females.
Katie joined the Hobble Creek team in January of 2021, developing further experiential programming to provide to Hobble Creek clients. Katie is a firm believer in the power of experiential programming and the direct influence it has to develop resiliency, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.
Katie has had the pleasure of presenting her benefits research several times, at the Utah Recreational Therapy Association annual conferences, and is an active member of that professional organization. In her free time, Katie enjoys photography, walking her two corgis dogs, rock climbing, and trying new things.
Katie Burdett is Hobble Creek’s intern therapist and works under supervision of Lauren Disner, the clinical director. She will complete a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from North Central University in 2021. Katie is embarking on a second career, after retiring in 2018 from a long career as a full-time registered nurse and hospital administrator. She worked as a NICU and labor & delivery nurse and served as the Director of Maternal/Child health for eight years.
Katie is passionate about women’s health, both physical and mental, and is eager to bring her life experience to your therapy experience. Katie is a mom of three grown daughters and has four fabulous grand boys & two adorable grand girls! She and her husband, James have been married 34 years and often collaborate on projects involving the wellness of families. They recently moved from St. Louis, Missouri with their little dog, Lady, to be closer to their family.
Katie is an avid reader, a plant lover, and a loyal friend. Katie is thrilled to have the opportunity to work here at Hobble Creek with young women; being a part of them, with a goal of starting their future lives on a stable, healthy path. She is skilled in using DBT skills and is TF-CBT certified. She is available to be a primary or co-therapist to your daughter. Katie would love the opportunity to be part of your successful journey here at Hobble Creek.
After experiencing life in a couple Midwest states, she came to Utah in 2014 to study psychology. While in Utah, she had the chance to work as a psychiatric technician at the Utah State Hospital and Utah Developmental Center for two years. She has stayed actively involved in my community and has volunteered at the Utah county Children’s Justice Center and the Family Support and Treatment Center.
After having the opportunity to live and serve communities in the country of El Salvador, she returned to the Utah mountains to obtain her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work. While in graduate school, she accepted the opportunities to speak at the 2017 National Resilience in Education Summit conference, where she was awarded the Resilience in Action Award in recognition of her advocacy of Collegian Mentoring programs for young adults formerly in Foster Care. This led to the opportunity to return to Rockford East high school in Illinois as the Commencement speaker for the 2017 graduating class. Since graduating with her MSW at Utah Valley University, she has obtained training in DBT, CBT, TF-CBT, Smart Recovery, EFT, Basic sand tray, and Motivational interviewing.
Her future endeavors include EMDR and Equine therapy certification. When she is not at Hobble Creek, she is enjoying life as an amateur rock climber, snowboarder, and wife.
S. Marie Lundeen had a change of direction in her life in 2007 – she made the decision to go back to school. Earning an RN degree from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, she is currently working on a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree through Western Governor’s University, with plans to continue education toward her PNP (Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner).
Marie loves her family of three daughters, one son, and four cats. Her son is married, and she looks forward to her first grand-baby later this year. She loves music, nature and being outdoors, which includes camping and traveling to new places. Marie learned to play the piano from her grandmother when very young. She finds cross-stitch and crocheting both relaxing and rewarding.
Marie has loved working with teenagers in treatment since 2016. Here at Hobble Creek, she gets a sense of working with family. “I feel like it’s another family – the girls are a lot of fun, my co-workers are amazing, and I feel like I’m making a difference in the lives of our students.”
Kayla joined Hobble Creek as a nurse in early 2021. She fell in love with adolescent mental health and have gained a passion for helping children with mental health struggles to reach their goals.
Kayla has worked in the nursing field for about eight years. She has worked in many different areas including urgent care, family practice, different hospital units and mental health. She is also currently gaining experience at a top children’s hospital in the area to expand her knowledge in emergency and trauma care.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with my family. She has a seven-year-old daughter, who is the light of her life! They enjoy going to sporting events (mostly hockey, Go Avalanche!), playing games, and doing crafts together. She is a huge advocate for music therapy, as she believes music can alter your mood in any situation and can be a great outlet!
“There is a moment during each student’s venture at Embark when something clicks, and they start to take their lives back. In that moment families start to find pure joy. This happens because of the hard work they put into building lasting, healthy relationships. Every day, I have the opportunity to work with a team that focuses on these beautiful families and bringing light back into their homes. The most special piece for me is during this journey – I get to help the students find their purpose and self-worth. I love being able to empower them to live their best life and to be their best self.”
Tiare has been a part of the Embark family for almost a decade. Tiare is from West Valley City, Utah, moved to St George, Utah at sixteen years old, and has lived in Utah for most of her life (minus a short intermission in Chesterfield, Virginia). She plans to live in Utah for the rest of her life with her amazing husband, dog Cosmo and future children. Her passions include spending time with friends and family, exploring new activities, and enjoying the small wins. She hopes to be able to travel the world someday and live a long healthy life.
” Be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Emily Berry, MSN, CRNP serves as a Nurse Practitioner for Embark at the Main Line. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Villanova University before pursuing a career in nursing. She then went on to achieve her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Nursing from Thomas Jefferson University. She has many years of experience working with the pediatric and adolescent populations and is passionate about caring for others. Emily grew up in the area and currently lives with her husband, son, and dog, Nimbus. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, spending time with loved ones, and learning new things.
Jessica Moore is one of the primary therapists at Embark Behavioral Health Main Line. Jessica graduated Temple University with a MSW Degree in Social Work, with a clinical specialization in children and families. Jessica has provided family and individual therapy, substance abuse, and mental health services to a variety of populations, including children, adolescents, and adults. She has worked in many different clinical settings, including dual diagnosis at an acute psychiatric hospital, residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs, and within the community. Jessica has always had a passion for helping others and continues to remain an advocate and support for individuals and communities. Through the diversity of her professional career as well as personal life experiences, Jessica has continued to grow her clinical skill set and promote strength-based services for all individuals. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, volunteering within her local community, and exploring new hiking trails.
Yun Jung Lee, M.A., ATR-BC, LPC is Registered & Board-Certified Art Psychotherapist, Licensed Professional Counselor & Certified adoption therapist.
She graduated from MCP Hanemann University (now Drexel University) with Master’s of Creative Arts in Therapy. She has over 20 years of clinical experience working with various populations. Prior to joining Embark, she worked as a Youth Partial Care program director at a community mental health agency in South Jersey.
In her practice she incorporates traditional verbal therapy and various nonverbal methods in treatment to meet each individual’s unique needs and to promote healthy and constructive expression. She supports individuals struggling with life transitions such as immigration and cultural adjustment, grief and loss, general mental health concerns, depression, anxiety, and trauma issue. Ms. Lee is also a bi-lingual and bi-cultural therapist (Korean) who is certified in Adoption Therapy to work with members of the adoption triad.
Coming from the largest medical provider in northern VA, Jamie recognizes the great need for accessible, amazing treatment Having worked in the medical field for over 15 years, she believes in providing the best care service possible to students and families.
From transitioning from a licensed massage therapist for over 10 years into office management, Jamie takes great pride in the relationships she has built along the way. She cherishes building strong connections and being a resource for those in need.
She takes great pride in improving clients’ quality of life, even in a small way.
Her hobbies include learning the guitar, reading, traveling, and finding the next thrill-seeking adventure.
Ranya Eid is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Virginia who holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She focused her education on psychotherapy with youth and families and is also qualified to provide clinical supervision to social workers obtaining licensure in Virginia.
During her career, Ranya has gained considerable experience serving the adolescent population in a multitude of settings including group homes, schools, and inpatient hospitals. She has focused on engaging clients in psychotherapy, utilizing mindfulness, strengths-based, and solution focused modalities.
Prior to joining Embark, she directed an adolescent unit at an inpatient psychiatric hospital and assisted with employee development and training, expanding and implementing best practices, and curriculum development. She is passionate about leadership and views it is an opportunity to serve and empower others.
Ranya grew up in the Northern Virginia area and enjoys yoga, hiking, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She is thrilled to be part of the Embark team and looks forward to serving clients at the Tysons Clinic!
John Pelletier is a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park with a BA in English. He has a long history of management and administration in companies both large and small in various industries including big box retail, local grocery and veterinary medicine. A former veterinary assistant, John continues to spend time volunteering with animals and enjoys gardening, meditating and reading.
Kelley York is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), obtaining her Master of Social Work degree from THE Howard University. She went to West Virginia University for undergrad, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Sociology. While there, she played for the school’s Women’s Lacrosse team and loved every second of it. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in a variety of settings, including in a hospital, a school setting, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and within the community. She enjoys staying active and is fond of expressive therapy as talking/talk-therapy is not always as easy as it seems (and you get to dance and pet animals!). She also enjoys Mindfulness and meditates every single day to help end her day stress-free. She loves her family, her cat, listening to music, the beach, and being silly, when appropriate. Kelley is excited for her new role as a therapist and looks forward to helping her clients realize their worth.
Terra Tuono-Shell is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the states of Maryland and Virginia and a Certified Counselor Supervisor. She earned a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Psychology from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a Master of Arts Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Maryland, College Park, and a Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology from Marymount University. Terra started her career specializing in assisting adolescents with learning disabilities to navigate Individual Education Plan development and acquiring accommodations in education and work environments. Throughout her career, Terra gained a variety of work experience with adolescents and adults in outpatient mental health, residential treatment, outpatient substance abuse, Federal government, non-profit, and education settings. Prior to joining Embark Behavioral Health, Terra worked in private practice providing treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma, and family discord. Terra Tuono-Shell has extensive experience in critical incident response, suicide prevention/intervention and curriculum development that she gained while working for a Federal law enforcement agency. Overall, Terra has spent her entire career providing assistance for adolescents and adults with the hope they will be able to have a balanced life, connected relationships, and optimal performance in any setting.
Matthew is the Executive Director of Embark Behavioral Health in the Main Line located in Berwyn, PA. Matthew received his Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services from the Pennsylvania State University and then went on to receive his Master’s degree in Education from La Salle University. Over the past 20+ years, Matthew has dedicated his life to Behavioral Health field, serving in multiple capacities as a Clinician and an Operational Director in both inpatient and outpatient levels of care.
Matthew is a patient focused leader that believes very strongly in a patient first centered approach. Over the course of his career, he has dedicated himself to improving system processes and access to treatment, to provide quality and accessible care to all populations in need. The development and implementation of Key Performance Indicators has helped him guide his teams to achieve positive clinical outcomes for their patients and families.
Matthew is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia Metro area and currently resides in Bucks County with his wife and two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys distance running and cycling and takes frequent trips to the Jersey Shore with his family.
Renae Anguiano did not plan to focus on adolescent girls when she started working in mental health. However, she quickly realized how much she loved it. This came about unexpectedly when she took her first job in treatment after getting a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Studies.
At a previous facility where she worked, many of the girls were struggling with overwhelming depression, abuse and trauma. Renae found she loved the experience of supporting and mentoring young women–particularly those who were considered tough cases. While at times the demands of her work were exhausting, Renae felt she gained much valuable experience and understanding. Additionally, learning opportunities soon presented themselves during an internship for Renae, working in a trauma center for children and families.
In May 2020, Renae started at Hobble Creek. She was looking for a broader opportunity and more involvement in the overall workings of residential treatment. From the opening of the facility and the admit of the first student, Renae has enjoyed seeing all the layers and elements of running a quality program come in to play and become a reality.
Renae loves to go on activities with the students, find ways to laugh with them and see their amazing successes. She feels that getting to know each one’s personality and their individual needs is the challenge that matters most to her. Renae brings warmth and insight to her position from experiences raising her own children. She loves mountains and beaches, reading a good book and hiking with her family.
Dr. Elmer Cupino was born in the Philippines and is a graduate of Walla Walla University, Washington. He earned his medical degree from the University of Montemorelos, Mexico, and completed his residency in Psychiatry at Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine, and his Child & Adolescent fellowship at University of Massachusetts.
Dr. Cupino has almost thirty years of hospital inpatient and outpatient psychiatric practice in both general psychiatry and child/adolescent psychiatry in DuBois, PA., Pottsville, PA., and currently at Tower Health in Pottstown, PA. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and good standing member of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. He has served as a clinical assistant professor for Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, DeSales University in the Nurse Practitioner program and Physician Assistant program, Drexel Nurse Practitioner program and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
He and his wife, Dorothy, call southern Berks, PA. their home. Their two sons have flown the nest. The eldest son Andrew, a practicing radiation-oncologist lives in MT with his wife and three sons while their second son, Alan, a Ph D candidate in Epidemiology lives in CA with his wife and is employed by the Los Angeles county as a supervising epidemiologist.
Katie Holahan graduated from Marywood University with an MSW degree in Social Work, with a concentration in Behavioral Health. She has been working in the field for 15 years and has been acknowledged internationally as a certified trauma therapist. Katie has provided family and individual therapy, substance abuse, and behavior modification to a wide variety of populations such as children starting at the age of 5 to adults 60 and over. She has treated individuals diagnosed with autism, mental health illnesses, intellectual disabilities, and comorbidity.
Kylie Waters joined Embark at Hobble Creek at it’s opening in May 2020. Kylie has always found joy in serving and helping others, with many opportunities in her life to do so.
Mental health has been a challenge within generations of Kylie’s family and she is always looking for ways to help, motivate and positively impact those who also struggle.
One of her main passions is influencing others to see the worth they possess – particularly the admits here at Hobble Creek.
Currently working on an undergraduate degree in Statistics at Utah Valley University, with plans to pursue a Master’s Degree in the same field, Kylie hopes to work as a statistician for major sports teams, politics or mental health. Her interests include many sports, which love she shares with the students and staff. Basketball has been a favorite for most of her life, and she played on the Pleasant Grove High School basketball team. Kylie also enjoys hiking, traveling, reading and is a huge sports-fanatic!
Lee Lovett III, LMSW, holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where he concentrated in clinical, behavioral health, and sub-specialized in Employee Assistance Programs. He is also a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, and believes that Hypnosis is an effective way to promote long-lasting behavioral changes. In his work with clients, he utilizes a range of therapeutic interventions from theoretical orientations including but not limited to: mindfulness-based stress reduction, psychoanalytic, dialectical and cognitive behavioral therapies, and motivational interviewing. Lee has always been fascinated with people and their stories. He comes from a humanistic, person-centered approach, believing that the storytellers are the experts in their lives. He strongly believes in the cathartic value that creative endeavors bring and likes to help people tap into that inherent part of themselves. He is a very active person, enjoys being outside for hikes and runs, and has a good sense of humor. While he takes his work seriously, he doesn’t take himself too seriously; he likes to have a good time and joke around, when appropriate.
Dr. Amanda N. Nicholson, Ph.D. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in Sex Therapy. Dr. Amanda specializes in individual, family therapy, coaching, and couple’s therapy. Her areas of specialty include sexuality, religion, relationship issues, anxiety, trauma, and depression. Dr. Amanda received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Behavior Analysis with a minor in Africana Studies from Savannah State University, Master of Family Therapy from Mercer University, Master of Education in Human Sexuality Studies with a concentration in Sex Therapy from Widener University, and Doctor of Philosophy in Human Sexuality Studies with a concentration in Sex Therapy from Widener University. Dr. Amanda is a trauma informed therapist who is trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Having a family theory informed approached Dr. Amanda enjoys using Narrative, Emotional Focused, and Structural therapies in her therapeutic approach while collaborating with her students and families about their care. Dr. Amanda is also a college instructor with five years of teaching experience in the University System of Georgia.
In her free time Dr. Amanda enjoys reading books that whisk her imagination off to new places, practicing yoga, eating food good for the soul, watching movies that make her laugh until she cries and enjoying life to the fullest.
Natasha is an alumnus of Georgia State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration degree with a concentration in Managerial Science. She also Graduated from Georgia Military College Phi Theta Kappa Cum Laude with an Associate in Science, Business Administration degree. Natasha has a passion for human service and has expended over twenty years of her career working for the State of California, Department of Health and Human Services. She worked as a leader in her church, Friendship Community Church where she was a facilitated young adult and children and youth groups. Natasha has a desire to make difference in all she does and have a positive impact on the lives of people she has interactions with.
Helene has extensive experience in the delivery, management, and administration of behavioral health services. Over the span of her 30-year career, she has developed programming in various adult and adolescent treatment settings including inpatient care, partial hospitalization, IOP and outpatient. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker herself, she is passionate about person-centered, quality treatment. Helene seeks to build genuine relationships with the individuals and families she serves. Her training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT and Multi-Systemic Family Therapy provides a clinical framework that is solution-focused. Prior to joining Embark, Helene operated a Private Practice, had been an adjunct faculty member at Alvernia University and currently serves on several community advisory boards.
Helene is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania. She received her BSW from Bloomsburg University, MSW from Temple University and attained her MBA from the University of Scranton. Helene and her husband own and manage a local pizzeria. In her free time, Helene enjoys traveling, walking, hiking, spending time with family and loves to relax near the East Coast beaches.
Sabrina Hansen is the Director of Marketing and Outreach at Embark Behavioral Health- DC Metro. Her passion for creating a culture of helping through communication and outreach can be traced back to her pre-professional days, whether it was as a member of her high school student council or through serving as a university ambassador during her undergraduate studies where she served as a student liaison for prospective students. While earning her Master’s in Social Work, Sabrina joined a telehealth pilot program serving vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Sabrina has also served as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society for over 7 years.
In her professional career, Sabrina has had opportunities to spread her mission of compassion and well-being in her work as a people and business leader for a leading global cosmetics company, a 4-diamond luxury destination spa focusing on wellness, nutrition and fitness, and most recently, a leading nonprofit healthcare organization.
Sabrina enjoys exploring new running, hiking and adventure paths both locally and internationally. She is happiest when she is making memories with her husband, friends, family and her two cats.
Maylan Peterson has spent the last 9 years gaining knowledge by working with youth in many different types of programs.
Maylan has had experience working at other programs as a mentor and a supervisor, before leaving to expand her knowledge in various new organizations.
Maylan has always had a passion for helping people heal and grow into healthy versions of themselves. She enjoys supporting adolescent females overcome challenges as they flourish as adults.
In her free time Maylan enjoys spending time with her family, especially her dog, Trigger.
She enjoys spending time in nature, hiking, and most of all she loves being an aunt to her many nieces and nephews!
Sophie is a licensed professional counselor and a school counselor with a MA from Lewis University. She has eight years of professional experience working with families and youth in a variety of settings. Sophie uses an eclectic approach often combining the practical solution focus of brief therapy techniques, client-centered therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy modalities allowing for tailored treatments for clients of varying individual needs.
Sophie has a keen ability to listen and truly understand her clients. As a counselor, she desires that each individual feels that they are being heard, not only through their struggles and adjustments, but also through their successes and self-awareness. Sophie is committed to helping her clients create fundamental changes that are lasting while teaching them to be self-sufficient by using developed strengths and personal resources to solve major problems that life brings.
Sophie has a unique passion for motivating, inspiring and empowering others to achieve their dreams as she walks with her clients on their journey of discovering their strengths and potential. She understands that each person has a unique story and sees the beauty in helping clients through their transitions. Life experience, education and a passion for others inspired her mission to help others. Her passion and innate ability to understand the challenges of youth and families empower clients to regain confidence and successfully work through obstacles in their lives.
In her free time, Sophie enjoys running, hiking, golfing, traveling with her family and enjoying many genres of live music.
Steve White is a prime example of someone who has followed his passion. Throughout a highly successful career managing several regional departments of a national diesel manufacturing company followed by oversight of marine operations and repairs of large, ocean-going vessels Steve could not get away from his true calling as a chef. So, he went back to school, completed a culinary four year degree and began refining his natural talents into a career where he is noted for his versatility, professional knowledge, and for his unique ability create delicious and nutritious meals that range from mouth watering American fare to several variations on international cuisine favorites. Working with our dietician, Steve is able to address unique dietary needs of our some of our clients while appealing to all of our staff and clients with his rotating menu. Steve is also a great teacher who hopes to light the passions in our clients when it comes to becoming more versatile, less fast food dependent, and more competent as they move into adulthood.
Lauren Disner brings her extensive background as a therapist, clinical leader, entrepreneur, educator and treatment innovator to Potomac at Hobble Creek. From her early work in direct care responsibilities in an adolescent treatment program to her more recent leadership of a successful group practice and an adult recovery center, Lauren is at home working with families with challenges. Lauren’s work and interest areas, both personal and professional, have allowed her to connect powerfully with clients while utilizing a rich set of clinical skills, including DBT, CBT, Motivational Interviewing, family systems approaches, addiction recovery strategies and focused trauma work. Fluent in both Spanish and English, Lauren’s life outside of work encompasses a wonderful multi-cultural family, musicianship, a regular mindfulness practice and a variety of other interests.
Lauren and her husband Carlos are parents to four kids. She and her family enjoy learning new skills in handicrafts and homesteading, engaging in a variety of sports such as baseball and soccer, practicing dance, reading popular fantasy series books aloud, and watching historical fiction dramas.
New Vision Wilderness Chief Clinical Consultant/Co-Founder Brainspotting International Senior Trainer Heartmath Interventions & Resilient Heart Programs Co-Author Wellbriety Mending Broken Hearts Trainer
Steve is a dual licensed psychotherapist filled with passion and knowledge surrounding the intervention and change process. His experience comes from two decades of intervention with tough to reach client populations in therapy settings ranging from residential, community based, outpatient and wilderness therapy. He is a trained trainer of several unique therapeutic models including Brainspotting, and HeartMath. Steve cofounded New Vision Wilderness Therapy programs with a trauma informed and clinical focus with 3 locations spanning the country. He continues to work as a core therapeutic training development staff with the Institute of HeartMath receiving their Humanitarian Heart award in 2018 and he is a leading active International Brainspotting trainer. Along with his training of Phase 1 and 2, he developed the Developmental Trauma Focused Model of Brainspotting. Steve’s Native focused work is as a Wellbriety Mending Broken Hearts trainer and Generation Red Road facilitator. Steve spends time amongst trauma focused treatment master’s like Gabor Mate and Bessel Van Der Kolk. Steve’s trainings are recognized nationwide for cutting edge therapeutic techniques, science, and inspiration.
William “Will” Hughes holds a Master of Science in Counseling Degree with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health from Prescott College. He is currently working towards his LGPC licensure in the state of Maryland. Will specializes in mindfulness-based counseling techniques and psychoeducation for young adults experiencing challenges commonly associated with the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: attention-seeking; substance use; guilt; avoidance; depression; executive functioning; ect. Empowering teens and young adults with scientific knowledge of why they feel, behave and react in ways that don’t serve them and offering skills to help them maintain vigilant awareness of their symptoms and choices of response is his focus. He believes strongly in experiential and adventure-based learning, often taking clients into nature, where they may experience their immediate mental reactions to subtle stimuli. Will’s other passion is counseling adults through difficult career and life-stage transitions, utilizing the Pro Discovery assessment tool as a foundation. Clients experiencing feelings of identity loss, diminishing self-worth, hopelessness and catastrophic thinking respond well to the authentic personal reflection and Positive Psychology perspective Pro Discovery provides them. He is Founder and Director of the Family Legacy Project (on-going), an adaptation of this instrument for application with multi-generations of families seeking unity, purpose, identity and flourishing. Will is a Cancer survivor, adventure travel enthusiast, professional-level Chef and avid skier.
Dr. Jennifer S Moravec is board-certified in general psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry. She treats mental health problems, behavioral problems and emotional problems with a family-centered, evidence-based treatment approach. She utilizes a holistic, integrative medicine model to evaluate, diagnose and treat children of all ages, adolescents and adults. She provides individual therapy, family therapy, psycho-education, neurofeedback, and medication management. Her treatment and research interests are Mindfulness-based psychotherapies, including Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (MBCT) and Mindfulness-Based Meditation.
After assisting with the merger of Innerchange and Calo Programs throughout the last year, Dustin Tibbitts, LMFT, the former CEO of Innerchange with 25 years’ experience, will lead this esteemed team as the CEO of Potomac Programs. Dustin is based at Embark’s headquarters in Arizona.
Amanda Marlar, MS, NCC joined the Embark family in 2016 and has been in the behavioral health care field for 10 years. She was formerly with Vive Family Support Program and has a passion for admissions. Amanda is located in Florida and now heads up in-home services as the National Coordinator.
Kathleen Goughler, an experienced behavioral healthcare executive, has most recently led outreach efforts for New Vision Wilderness. Kathleen is based in Pennsylvania and will coordinate our local and national referral relationships, sales training, and advise on marketing methods.
“I love to work at Sunrise because it is interesting, challenging and an enjoyable experience to work with young people who have significant psychopathology and who are striving to make improvements in their lives.”
Dr. Nielsen has practiced psychiatry for almost 40 years. He is from Pocatello, Idaho and is married with 4 children and 6 grandchildren. He received his bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and his M.D. from George Washington University. He did his child, adolescent and adult psychiatric training at the University of Utah Medical Center. He is board certified in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
“It is always a learning experience.”
Janet Martin, M.D., Ph.D. is a Board Certified (ABPN) psychiatrist with over 10 years of private-practice experience, committed to helping patients using psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. She completed her residency training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in 2006, where she was Chief Resident of the Consultation & Liason service. She received her M.D. from UC Irvine, where she also completed a Ph.D. in neuroscience research, studying neuropathology in dementia. She completed her undergraduate education at UCLA, where she majored in Psycho biology, graduating magna cum laude.
Dr. Red is a board-certified adult psychiatrist who sub-specializes in children and adolescents. Her specialized training allows a big picture view of development over a lifespan. She believes that a person is a “whole person,” and practices medicine with this in mind. She has a thoughtful approach and uses evidence-based medicine to compassionately help others.
She has been recognized for excellence in leadership, clinical care, and dedication to service. She is currently the President-Elect of the Southern California Psychiatric Society, a professional organization representing over 1,000 psychiatrists in Southern California.
Also in the SCPS, Dr. Red has served as Treasurer, Secretary, Regional Councilor, Early Career Representative, and Resident/ Fellow Member Representative.
Dr. Red completed an Adult Psychiatry Residency at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, followed by a subspecialty fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Red received her MD degree from the University of Texas at Houston Medical School. Her undergraduate degree was in biology and chemistry at Howard Payne University in Texas.
Dr. Red is also a member of the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Simon is a triple board-certified psychiatrist in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He completed his undergraduate degree at Creighton University, then continued his education at the Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Utah. Dr. Simon has presented on topics including eating disorders, somatization disorders, and difficult diagnoses in patients and families. In 2003, he was honored as a nominee for the physician of the year at Primary Children’s Hospital . In 2005 and 2012, he was awarded teacher of the year by the triple board and child psychiatry residents. He approaches students in a holistic, strength-based manner to foster greater resilience. Although he used to enjoy mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, and photography, his time has now been replaced with raising two boys.
Dr. Nair, completed her Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at AMU in India in June 1983. She came to the United States and completed her Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology at Ohio State University. She followed that educational phase with an externship in Psychiatry at the MU’s Mental Health Center. She then continued with a 5 year combined residency in General Psychiatry and fellowship in Child Psychiatry at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Dr. Nair has been Board Certified in General Psychiatry for 20 years and in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry for the last 15 years. Doc is a member of many psychiatric associations and stays current on all modalities in her field to help children needing psychiatric help. She left a position as Medical Director for Burrell’s Psychiatric program to join us. She has desired to specialize in a subset of the struggling preteen and teen population, healing the effects of childhood trauma using a relationship paradigm. What better place to do this than Calo? She is where she wants to be…at Calo… advising our psychiatric services while ensuring we utilize the very best practices for our kids and families.
Shellina Jenkins is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia and a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor. Shellina gained interest in helping individuals fight the battle against substance abuse and mental health as a young child. She was eager to find a way to help those in need very close to her. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology from Georgia State University, and her Master’s Degree from Fort Valley University. Shellina has a variety of work experience with adolescents and adults in corrections, drug court, foster care, mental health clinics, working with individuals struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Prior to joining Embark Behavioral Health, Shellina has held leadership positions in mental health clinics and corrections. She has also worked in private practice settings to assist in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, SPMI and substance abuse. Shellina has provided training on suicide prevention/intervention, substance abuse and mental health in community-based settings and in corrections.
Shellina’s philosophy on behavioral change involves several treatment modalities such as role modeling / teaching to encourage positive thoughts & behaviors, focusing on positive outcomes utilizing CBT, DBT, solution focused approach etc.
A New York State Mental Health Counselor, David Diaz has worked with many populations and specializes in working with adolescents and young adults with co-occurring disorders and exploration of client’s gender identity and sexual orientation (LGBTQ).
David uses evidenced-based practices to pave a path in providing therapy towards achieving client-oriented goals. Modalities include, but are not limited to, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Gestalt Therapy, Trauma-Informed Care (Seeking Safety), Feminist Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, Multicultural Therapy, and Art Therapy. David has assisted clients in overcoming sexual abuse/intimate partner violence through the use of the Power and Control Model and other evidenced-based practices.
David focuses on guiding the client in identifying their needs, strengths and goals while in therapy in order to work towards the positive outcome they desire and enable the change from within.
David enjoys swimming, soccer, and reading.
Marisol Bucio is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She obtained her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Adler University. Marisol is a bilingual therapist (Spanish) and has experience working with a culturally diverse population. She has worked in different settings such as not-for-profit organizations and community agencies where she assisted in reunifying families. Marisol believes that every individual can benefit from therapy and works to create a safe, trusting, non-threatening environment for each client. Marisol specializes in helping children, adolescents, and adults with work-life balance and transitions, depression, stress, anxiety, self-esteem, grief/loss, trauma, and self-harm. Using a collaborative and integrative approach with clients, Marisol utilizes cognitive-behavioral, client-centered, and Adlerian therapy to meet the unique needs and desires of each client. During her free time she enjoys traveling, eating at new restaurants, and watching Netflix.
Ryan Weinstock is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master of Social Work degree from Loyola University Chicago. From an early age he developed a love for the outdoors and a passion for playing sports. He is an avid distance runner and was captain of the Cross Country team at his alma mater, Kenyon College, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in sociology. Ryan has nearly 10 years of experience working with at-risk adolescents and young adults in a variety of settings. He uses outside the box thinking to conceptualize creative, often experiential strategies to connect with youth. He is a firm believer in meeting clients where they are at in their therapeutic process. It is this client-centered approach along with a knack for active listening that has allowed him to make a strong connection with so many young people. In his free time, Ryan enjoys volunteering, hiking, and kicking around the soccer ball. When he is not off exploring the trails Chicagoland has to offer, he is spending quality time with his girlfriend Rachel, with whom he has plans with to someday amass a family of dogs together.
Dr. Sharnell Myles, Psy. D. is a licensed psychotherapist and certified clinical trauma professional who specializes in the treatment of complex trauma. Her dedication to serving children, youth, and adults has spanned over 20-years with a focus on utilizing trauma-informed services to treat a continuum of trauma experiences, including domestic minor sex trafficking and community-based trauma. Dr. Myles is the Executive Director of JoyUs Beginnings Child & Family Wellness Center and The Urban Trauma Positive Impact Center, Inc., an exclusive trauma-informed treatment and advocacy center located in Atlanta, Georgia. Services include trauma informed therapies, trauma assessments, group treatments, gender specific social justice initiatives for girls of color and PeriCare a 2-Gen maternal fetal behavioral health treatment and advocacy initiative. Dr. Myles served as the first Clinical Director for youthSpark, Inc. and was to serve vulnerable youth who experienced exploitation, abuse, and other victimizations within the Fulton County Juvenile Court (FCJC), the largest juvenile court in the southeast region. Throughout her career, Dr. Myles has consulted with systems of care, such as East Cleveland’s MyCom, Inc. and Minnesota’s Robbinsdale Area Schools, to develop trauma-informed systems of care, policy, programming, and training on trauma and equity. In December 2018, Dr. Myles collaborated with Atlanta Public School Board Member Erika Mitchell – District 5 and co-authored the first Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking (DMST) Protocol for schools in the state of Georgia and has trained hundreds of school social workers on this policy. In addition, she has trained over ten thousand individuals on the impact of trauma DMST which includes Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, corporations, law enforcement, mental health providers, educators, lawyers, governmental officials, community members, and youth.
Dr. Myles has accepted many leadership positions throughout her career. She is the current Advisory Board Chair for the DeKalb County Juvenile Court Mental Health Court – Journey Program, a member of the Georgia Statewide Multi-Disciplinary Team for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Board Chair for Breaking the Cycle, Inc (Philadelphia), and was the Vice Chair of the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Taskforce Survivors Supported and Protected workgroup. Dr. Myles is a subject matter expert and provides expert testimony in legal cases involving child and adolescent trauma. She has presented at various conferences and has experience in vast settings such as clinical, juvenile justice, Department of Defense, and community-based settings.
Sheryl Walden is a Clinical Licensed Social worker with a Master of Social Work from Boston University.
Sheryl has experience working with adolescents, adults, couples and families in office, home, hospital, and community-based settings. As a professional and a parent of grown children, Sheryl understands the adolescent years and knows the challenges of parenting. Sheryl has experience helping families balance the tension between a teen’s need for greater independence, a secure home- base and parental adjustments and flexibility toward ongoing changes. Sheryl believes each family is unique but all experience times when therapy can provide added support, increased communication and greater understanding of family dynamics.
Sheryl is a fan of Motown, movies and Mexican food. She has been married for 30+ years and a native to California.
Julianne has worked in outpatient, home and community-based, and residential settings. She has experience working with individuals and families presenting with a range of mental health concerns- including eating disorders, co-occurring mental health disorders, and autism-spectrum disorders. Before pursuing mental health counseling, Julianne received her B.S. in Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University. While working as a research assistant in a Counseling Psychology lab, she became especially interested in the interplay amongst one’s family, relationships, and behavioral health. After graduating and working in homes with special needs clients and their families, Julianne went on to earn her Masters in Couple and Family Therapy from Drexel University. She is currently working toward licensure as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).
Julianne strives to provide clients with a safe therapeutic environment, utilizing Dialectical Behavior Therapy and a variety of family systems approaches, such as Contextual and Structural Family therapy. Julianne approaches her work with individuals in the context of their relationships, with the ultimate goal of helping them gain self-love and compassion.
In her free time, Julianne enjoys being active outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and reading.
Elizabeth has worked with adolescents, young adults and families for over 10 years. After earning a Masters of Social Work from Columbia University she has dedicated her life to helping clients make real and effective changes through a family-systems and strength-based therapeutic approach. Elizabeth strives to build a compassionate, caring and safe environment to help clients identify what is causing havoc in their life. She combines client centered and motivational interviewing with evidence-based treatment methods such as CBT and DBT.
Elizabeth enjoys exploring the natural beauty of DC with her husband and with her dog, Roxy, spending weekends at the Delaware beaches, and spending plenty of time with family and friends sharing laughs and making memories. She and her husband recently had a skateboard ramp built in their backyard.
Benjamin Zeoli has many years of facilities management in primarily holistic settings. He has also worked very closely, as a technician, alongside doctors in the fields of human holistic health care and holistic veterinary care. Seeing to a clean, safe, healthy and properly functioning work environment will be Benjamin’s focal points at Potomac Pathways. For the past 33 years, Benjamin has been a practicing Buddhist. He enjoys gardening, decorating, music, cooking, spending time with family and friends and has a tremendous love of animals.
Christopher Hodgson received a BA in psychology from the University of Georgia in his hometown of Athens. He has a diverse background in administrative, customer service and management roles with various businesses ranging in size from “mom and pop” through an NYSE mutual fund corporation. After relocating to Maryland, Christopher met his partner in 1997 while living in Baltimore and they now reside in Western Montgomery County surrounded by the lush greenery of the Maryland Agricultural Reserve. During his personal time he enjoys audio books, cooking, learning about American Sign Language and deepening in the practices of Vajrayana Buddhism.
Grant Gamble is a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CCDC) with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He started working in dual-diagnosis treatment in 2015 as a primary case manager for a residential young adult program. Grant received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from California State University of Northridge. He has completed training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), and is a Certified SMART Recovery Group Facilitator. Grant has experience working with clients diagnosed with both substance abuse and mental health diagnoses. He has a great interest and understanding of the recovery process for young adults. Grant believes in an entire mind and body connection in order to maintain long-term recovery. He focuses on helping steer client’s focus to their individualized treatment plan by supporting them in five major competencies he believes are essential to the life long recovery process (Life Skills, Recovery, Fitness, Productivity, and Emotional Well-Being). Grant is an avid swimmer, live music attendee, and lover of all things ocean-related!
Dr. Gill is the Medical Director of Behavioral Health Services, Suburban Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine and MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center. Prior to his appointment with Suburban Hospital, Dr. Gill has served as the Medical Director, Behavioral Health Services, of Providence Hospital in Washington, DC. He is presently also Clinical Assistant Professor at George Washington University Department of Psychiatry as well as St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatry Residency Training Program.
Originally from Croatia, Dr. Gill came to the United States to pursue study and research of the brain function. After obtaining his double-major Doctorate degree in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience from Iowa State University focusing on brain mapping of visual imagery process, Dr. Gill served as Chief Medical Officer with the State of Iowa Department of Human Services Medicaid Agency. He has worked closely with (then) Health Care Financing Administration (presently Center for Medicare Services) on the development of quality of care measures for Medicaid and Medicare Managed Care. His continued interest in quality of care as well as providing optimal care to patients needing psychiatric care led to founding of the AXIS Healthcare Group that attracted a team of experts sharing the same mission.
Dr. Gill also completed training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy with the Washington Center for Psychoanalysis where he also chaired and taught in the Neuroscience and Psychotherapy course. In his private practice Dr. Gill provides psychiatric and therapeutic services. His interest in education of both professionals and lay audiences led to developing the educational branch of the AXIS Healthcare Group. He continues to promote psychotherapeutic intervention as essential component of treatment both through his clinical work as well as his ongoing teaching.
Nicole is one of the founding members of Calo. She has worked for over 25 years with adolescents and their families as a youth leader, therapist and Admissions Director. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Master of Arts degree in Counseling from Denver Seminary. Her graduate focus was in child, adolescent, and family psychotherapy, and course work allowed her to complete all academic requirements for licensure as a Professional Counselor in the State of Missouri. Nicole’s clinical experience includes work in community and crisis counseling centers, national youth service and ministry organizations, long-term residential treatment programs, and short-term behavioral health care facilities. In these environments she has provided a broad range of mental health and general support services including individual, group, and family psychotherapy, clinical assessments, treatment planning, case management, and referral services. Her areas of clinical expertise include facilitation of adolescent behavioral interventions, treatment of mood and motivational difficulties, eating disorder treatment and prevention, and family crisis management. Nicole is a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. As a trained and experienced clinician, she provides a depth of expertise to families and referral sources. As one of original founders of Calo, she has been with the program since the beginning, serving in many capacities, including admission and business development. Currently, she serves as the program CEO.Nicole and her husband Matt, live in Osage Beach, Missouri with their three children, Jacob, Abigail and Matalyn.
Jeanni, a native of Racine, WI, is a woman of purpose and defender of the disenfranchised. She has worked with the some of the most vulnerable populations locally and internationally. She recognizes the importance of civic engagement as a tool to impact change. She is a champion of education, having earned a bachelor’s in communication and two master’s in education and social work. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in social work at Howard University. Jeanni is a 2015 graduate of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an organization with a longstanding reputation for advocacy, change, and societal progress. She served as the co-chair for the Inaugural Social Work Student Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, raising awareness around the Social Work Reinvestment Act. In the summer of 2014, she served as a White House Intern in President Barak Obama’s Administration. Jeanni believes in striving forward while reaching back to cultivate strong leaders in future generations. In her spare time, she is an avid traveler, enjoys cooking, crafting, live music, and spending time with her family, friends. and dogs (Riley and Rocco).
Mona has a doctorate in Leadership and Change through Antioch University where her research focused specifically on young adults in treatment. She is also a graduate of Portland State University with a Master’s in Social Work and a graduate of Prescott College with a B.A. in Human Development and Wilderness Leadership. She has worked with a variety of populations, including women survivors of breast cancer and Native Alaskan teenagers dealing with substance abuse issues. Mona has led therapeutic wilderness trips taught college-level outdoor courses and wilderness skills such as rock climbing, skiing, kayaking, glacier travel, and backpacking. Her graduate internships included working at hospice, a drug and alcohol outpatient program and as a counselor at Oregon Institute of Technology. While at OIT she received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Suicide Assessment and Prevention.
Mona loves working with people and is a natural-born therapist with a gift for helping young adults “let go” and accept their situation so they can begin building meaningful lives. Mona has a clear understanding of family dynamics and an ability to help families move from crisis into stability. She particularly loves program development and creates an environment where staff and students alike engage in the process of growth and change.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Kaci worked in health care for 15 years in Emergency Medicine and Cardiology. As her two sons entered High School, she began looking for a deeper connection to the service industry. Honored to be part of the development of a new University of Wisconsin collaborative program, Kaci continued her education in Community Health and Wellness. With her extensive knowledge of the medical environment and passion for the outdoors, wilderness therapy became the perfect fit. Finding New Vision Wilderness has allowed her to bring her outdoor adventures to work right here in the north woods.
Landon has devoted most of the past 20+ years serving children, teens, young adults, and their families. Landon began working in residential treatment in 2005. Unsatisfied by the lack of specialized treatment for adopted students, Landon began co-creating Calo in 2006. On January 1, 2007, Landon began full-time efforts to open Calo as the co-founder, Clinical Director, and Chief Operations Officer (COO). Over the years Landon has been part of the company growth including expansions of Calo Preteens, New Vision Wilderness, and Calo Young Adults. He has held positions of Chief Clinical Officer (CCO) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Calo Lake of the Ozarks. Currently, Landon is helping all Embark programs fulfill the company’s Core Purpose of Creating Joy and Healing Generations by serving as the Chief People Officer (CPO). This position allows Landon to focus his energy around the “people” side of the business such assisting program leaders and hiring managers to improve employee processes and systems such as hiring, promoting onboarding, engagement, culture, development, communication, training, and much more! Landon is originally from Jacksonville, Florida and enjoys many sports and outdoor recreation including football, tennis, basketball, golf, camping, hiking, working out, and fly-fishing. Top on his list of interests is spending time with his beautiful wife, Jill, and their three children (Tanner, Kambrie, and Bryelle). The Kirk’s reside in Gilbert, Arizona.
As the son of missionaries, Alex grew up in Peru working, playing and living alongside the troubled youth and desolate orphans of Lima’s slums. Alex’s childhood shaped his professional and personal aspirations. Prior to joining InnerChange Programs, Alex lived in California and was the Managing Partner of an investment fund, which he founded, focused on acquiring and leading mission-driven businesses. Prior to Lia Capital, Alex lived in Boston and was the Associate Director of Firm-Wide Operations – working directly for the President and COO – of Cambridge Associates, the world’s largest global investment advisory firm to not for profit organizations. Alex also has experience in public service having worked at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a U.S. government agency that mobilizes private capital to help solve critical, global social and poverty challenges. And he worked on the Capitol Hill in Washington DC for a Minnesota Congressman. Alex has also earned a Certificate of Public Management from Stanford University. And, while at Stanford, was a Rising Fellow at the Hoover Institution, a world-renowned public policy think tank. Alex loves the ocean and is a certified open water diver. He has served as a Board Fellow at one of the most enchanting Aquariums in the world, California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. Alex spends his free time reading up on foreign affairs and international politics. Alex graduated with Honors from American University with both an Economic Theory and International Relations degree and he earned an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Alex is on the Board of Peruvian Partners, a nonprofit established to connect North Americans in a real and significant way with Peruvian families that live in abject poverty. Alex lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is happily married to his wife, Maria-Paz, who has the most important job in the world, raising their two beautiful children.
Thomas A. Ahern, MA is Chief Marketing Officer for Embark Behavioral Health. He has been working in behavioral health marketing leadership roles for over thirty years. Thomas obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Boston University, a Master’s Degree in Education, Sixth Year Professional Diploma in School Psychology and an Educational Leadership Certificate all from the University of Connecticut. Thomas, began his career as a School Psychologist and has been a dedicated advocate for improvements in the treatment and understanding of mental health issues for decades. He is the founder of several partial hospital programs, a youth service bureau, and innovator of multiple public-private behavioral health collaborations designed to improve the continuum of care for adolescents. An enthusiastic presenter/teacher, he has provided training at the local, state and national levels. An adoptee in reunion, Mr. Ahern serves as the President of the Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children (ATTACh), and as an advisor to Classes4Classes. A competitive tri-athlete he resides in Arizona with his wife Belinda and their therapy dog Nando.
“I love working at Sunrise because of the relational work environment and the way in which the needs of individuals are met. Sunrise provides girls the opportunity to safely learn from their mistakes and find lasting change.”
Brad received his Doctoral Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee, a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University, Idaho. He has worked with families, couples, and adolescents in acute inpatient, intensive outpatient, outpatient and residential settings. He is Intensively Trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and served as the regional representative for the Mountain West Region of SMART Recovery for 3 years. He has taught courses at the university level in Marriage and Family. Brad loves running, hiking, mountain biking, lifting weights, long boarding, and spending time with his family. He’s also a big fan of spectator sports of all kinds.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to chose one’s own way.” – Viktor E. Frankl
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Corey earned his undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation from Brigham Young University and is a certified therapeutic recreation specialist. After several years of working as a recreation therapist and serving in leadership roles in residential treatment settings, Corey completed a master’s degree in human resources from Utah State University. His desire to study both recreation and organizational leadership came from a deep belief that, in order to help students achieve positive growth, the organizational culture must provide them with an enjoyable, healthy environment conducive to change. Early in 2015, Corey accepted the position of executive director at Chrysalis School in Eureka, Montana.
True to his profession as a recreational therapist, Corey lives to recreate! Corey’s hobbies include distance running, golf, camping, snowboarding and wakeboarding and visiting America’s national parks. He is passionate about college football. He and his wife, Jessica, have three energetic young children, and they love living in an area that has so much in the way of outdoor recreation.
Nikki is the Executive Director of Fulshear Treatment to Transition, a transition program near Houston, Texas, for young adults. Nikki received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah; she then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Social Work from Brigham Young University. Throughout the past 12 years, Nikki’s professional responsibilities have included providing treatment for adults facing mental illness at the Utah State Hospital, running an intensive out-patient program at a drug and alcohol treatment center for adults, and supervising both clinicians and residential staff in several residential facilities. Since 2006, Nikki has served as the clinical director for a large residential treatment center for adolescent girls. Additionally she has maintained a private practice for many years.
Nikki is a gifted clinician who is passionate about helping others. She has received training in a variety of mental health techniques including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Mindfulness, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), healing attachment, working with eating disorders, and family system approaches.
Nikki is best known for living a life of commitment and compassion. Her energy is contagious, and her enthusiasm has helped to motivate both the clients she serves and the staff she supervises. She is inspired by helping the clients she is working with achieve lasting change.
In her spare time, Nikki enjoys reading and riding her bike. She loves spending time with her family and vacationing anywhere there is a beach.
Jessica Breton is the Executive Director at the Optimum Performance Institute and has been with OPI since 2009, holding the positions of licensed therapist and Clinical Program Director. Jessica’s background and expertise are well suited to serve the young adults at OPI. She holds a BA in psychology from University of California at Santa Barbara and has a Masters degree from Phillips Graduate Institute in Marriage and Family Therapy.
She received Training in Mentalization-based Treatment Approach in Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder through UCLA Semel Institute. She also has training in Treating Multiple Severe Disorders with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with Michael Hollander, Ph.D., from Harvard/McLean Hospital. Additionally, Jessica has participated in Social Skills and Violence Prevention Training from the California Family Counseling Center.
She has served as a Marriage and Family Therapist with the California Family Counseling Center has worked in several Los Angeles Unified School District elementary, middle and High Schools and has maintained a small private practice.
Ms. Breton is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, as well as Evolving Women. At her heart, She is a passionate clinician. Jessica strongly believes that the relationships we build with clients and staff members helps to create an environment conducive to growth, healing, and change.
When not at work, Jessica loves spending time with her husband and 2 small boys.
After earning his BA from Utah State University, John went on to Brigham Young University to earn his Masters of Social Work. He is an approved supervisor for interning social workers. John has been practicing in the mental health field for twenty-five years, specializing in addictions, attachment, mood disorders, trauma-related disorders, experiential work, and therapist training. John developed an effective trauma model for families who suffer from PTSD. He served as the clinical director at our New Haven program for ten years, and was most recently its executive director for the past five years.
Before New Haven, John developed and managed intensive outpatient and general outpatient programs for drug and alcohol services. He worked for ten years at a private, non-profit drug and alcohol agency as a therapist, clinical director, and an executive director where he was engaged in doing therapy, training interns and professionals, and developing programs. In addition, he developed and directed Crisis Line services prior to involvement in the mental health field.
John has been involved in community-based youth organizations for the past thirty years. John had the privilege of serving on the Board of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP). He is fortunate to be married to a wonderful woman, with whom he has three sons, a great daughter-in-law, and the cutest grandsons ever born. John loves to travel and be in the outdoors, camp with his kids, and is a geography wizard. He is a fantastic cook.
Of special note, John received NATSAP’s 2015 Lifetime Leadership Award at its national conference held in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jeana’s career with InnerChange began at one of our partner programs, New Haven, in 2006 where she worked for several years as both a therapist and clinical director. She took some “time off” to have three children in the span of four years and start an outpatient clinic. She “came home” to InnerChange in 2016.
Jeana is passionate about ensuring that the families we work with get the best quality care in the world and that the changes they make are lifelong. She loves working closely with the clinical, residential, academic, nursing and adventure directors at our partner programs.
Jeana earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Utah State University and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Brigham Young University. Her ideal day would start with a run and end on a beach or in the mountains with her awesome husband and three perfect children.
Rob Gent is the Chief Clinical Officer and founding members of Embark Behavioral Health. Rob has led the Embark organization in clinical development and growth of numerous programs and is the lead developer of the proprietary CASA Developmental Framework which is pervasive throughout Embark’s programs. Through his dedication to the advancement of clinical development, practice, and research, he has become a nationally recognized expert in the field. His specialization in clinical development is enhanced by his therapeutic expertise and has yielded such accomplishments as the development of; The CASA Developmental Framework, Vive Family Intensive Program, Calo Preteens, Canine Attachment Therapy-Transferable Attachment Program, and other specialized programs. Rob’s dedication has led him to the pursuit of his PhD in Psychology with an emphasis on development and attachment. He remains passionate about neurological, psychological, and physiological development and continues to focus on the advancement of research and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
Andrew brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to New Vision as the Program and Business Specialist. His background in both the outdoors and the business world make him a great fit for this position. Andrew received his BA in Marketing with a Certificate in International Business at The University of Milwaukee before working as a Direct Sales Manager for a large corporation. After that he earned his MA in International Business at The University of Warsaw while completing an internship for the U.S. State Department. Andrew has been exploring the wilderness for years through canoeing, fishing, hunting, and hiking. He is currently a licensed charter captain and fishing guide and has a passion for teaching his skills.
Drew Hornbeck, CEO/President/Co-founder of NVW was born and raised in Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Drew launched a 20-year career in adventure and wilderness therapy. Drew has worked in a variety of academic and therapeutic settings across the U.S. In addition to overseeing all aspects of NVW, Drew currently serves as the Membership Committee Chair for the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council (OBH), as well serves on the Oregon Outdoor Youth Program (OYP) Advisory Council. Drew has spoken at national conferences on topics ranging from wilderness risk management to mental health. Drew champions the strong culture at NVW, with a focus on empathy, leadership, and best in class services and practices. Drew is proud to collaborate with such an amazing team of professionals at NVW and considers it a privilege to serve children and families. When not at work, Drew enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wonderful wife and two beautiful daughters.