Alyson Pena, LPCC joined Embark in 2022 as Clinical Director at the Newport Beach Clinic. She is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, and has resided in Orange County for almost 10 years. Here, she has practiced as a licensed clinician in a variety of settings and populations including substance abuse, working with Marines on Camp Pendleton, specializing in family and couples counseling, and having a passion and knack for group therapy. Alyson began her career at CALO in Lake Ozark, Missouri in 2010, one of the original residential treatment centers for adolescents at Embark Behavioral Health. There she started as a residential coach and worked her way up to shift lead, eventually returning to school to complete her master’s in mental health counseling from Walden University. Her passion for working with adolescents and families sparked, and she has been focusing on relational therapy as a foundation ever since. Before embarking into the mental health world, Alyson was an elementary school teacher living in Arizona in 2008. There she taught kindergarten, 3rd, and 2nd grade for two and a half years. Leading, teaching, and training have always been attributes she has had personally and professionally. After 7 years practicing as a clinician, she stepped into a director role in 2020 and has been a Clinical Director the past two years. Alyson’s natural ability to connect with adolescents, staff, and families has been essential to her success as a director. Her attention to detail, relationship first approach, and ability to guide those around her with empathy and curiosity has served her in being a part of the Orange County therapy community. Alyson resides in Orange, California with her husband and two orange tabby cats. She enjoys cooking new recipes, running, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.