AToN’s San Diego Addiction Treatment Professionals
Dr. Christian Small is uniquely board certified in both psychiatry (ABPN) and family medicine (ABFM), as well as ASAM/CSAM certified. Dr. Small is among a handful of doctors in the US who have completed additional training to acquire the skills necessary to treat full spectrum medical and psychiatric illness. His treatment philosophy is founded upon the idea of a mind-body connection, that true healing takes into account both the physical and emotional needs of our clients.
Dr. Small completed his residency training at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), where he currently holds the title of Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor. He continues to work part time as an addiction psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration in La Jolla and is a co-founding partner of BOLD HEALTH, an outpatient clinic specializing in personalized medical, psychiatric and addiction treatment in Encinitas.
Dr. Fitzgerald is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and has lived and trained in the Philadelphia, San Diego and Hawaii communities. He received his B.S. in biology at Villanova University, his M.D. at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and completed his psychiatry residency training at UCSD.He considers his breadth of professional experience in private practice, clinical trials, detentions psychiatry, community psychiatry and his work with both active duty military members and Veterans as well as in substance abuse to inform his view of human nature across a wide spectrum of health and illness.
He is licensed to prescribe Buprenorphine/Suboxone for opiate use disorders. Dr. Fitzgerald’s extensive experience with and passions for meditation, mind-body medicine, yoga and sports psychiatry further enhance his ability to help people in a more positive, strength-building manner than traditional Western medicine often allows.
Dr. Sanders, AToN’s Program Director, is a licensed clinical Psychologist with over ten years of experience. Originally from the east coast, she realized her passion for psychology during a high school psychology class and went on to graduate from Northeastern University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology. While living in Boston, Dr. Sanders worked for many years in residential care and community mental health. After moving to San Diego in 2003, Dr. Sanders enrolled in the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.
Her APA accredited program culminated with her dissertation on the opinions of child custody evaluators with regard to domestic violence and alienation. Throughout her graduate education, Dr. Sanders gained experience with many populations in multiple clinical settings such as inpatient assessment and short-term treatment, long-term insight oriented therapy with adults, trauma informed treatment with children, and child custody evaluations.Most recently she was a department director at a large private facility assessing and treating dually diagnosed in and outpatients.Dr. Sanders takes an eclectic approach, pulling from CBT and psychodynamic modalities to help individuals overcome substance use disorders, address underlying psychological conditions, and ultimately realize their full potential. As an active member of the San Diego Psychological Association she regularly attends committee meetings and conferences in order to stay current with community standards in the field.
Dr. Cannon is delighted to join AToN team as a Clinical Health Psychologist providing Biofeedback treatment to residents. Her clinical expertise in Psychophysiology and Biofeedback assists residents in developing and applying stress management skills for relapse prevention. She has been certified by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance since 2004 and is a Fellow. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University. She attained her Master’s Degree in Health Psychology and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego.
She has worked in multiple settings including acute inpatient settings to long-term outpatient settings. She has worked with child, adolescent, adult and geriatric populations.She has ethically treated individuals with many different diagnoses including but not limited to chemical dependency, mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders. She finds joy in instilling hope in those who are earnestly seeking relief from addictive diseases and mental illness, and enjoys the challenge of leading the clinical team.
Dr. Chad K. Cox is happy to join the AToN team of professional counselors. Dr. Cox has been involved in psychotherapeutic interventions for the past 11 years. Dr. Cox received his Bachelors in Science in Psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle. He then attended the California Schools of Professional Psychology in San Diego where he received his Doctorate in Psychology (Psy.D). Dr. Cox has had a variety of experiences that qualify him to attend to the needs of those suffering from addiction and psychological difficulties.
He has provided professional and ethical services diverse groups of patients. His training included counseling individuals, couples and families in a number of settings including a homeless shelter, crisis house, hospital and counseling centers. As a licensed psychologist he has spent the past 5 years providing proficient care in treating mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and others. He has also demonstrated success in treating patients in early and later stages of recovery from alcohol and substance abuse and dependency. His professional mission is to help people find their path towards health and happiness.
Dr. Kevin Murphy has worked in multiple Residential Treatment Centers, with addiction as a professional emphasis since graduate school. His professional history includes extensive individual and group therapy to treat those with dual diagnosis conditions; therapy with forensic populations; and psychological assessment. Dr. Murphy has completed approximately 3,000 assessments with individuals from a multitude of backgrounds, including those possibly needing detox or addiction treatment, veterans, those in crisis, geriatric patients, prisoners, and refugees.Dr. Murphy often facilitates in-services for professionals on a range of topics, from depression and crisis intervention to risk assessment and cue exposure therapy. Specialties include: addiction treatment, cue exposure therapy, insight-oriented therapy to treat depression and anxiety, Rogerian support, psychological assessment, supervision and psychoeducation related to the interplay between neurobiology, diet, addiction and mood.
Dr. Murphy’s approach can be described as blended, as he combines dynamic (insight-oriented) therapy with an informative process that integrates current research as applicable to depression, anxiety and addiction. Philosophically, he believes that therapy is fruitless without positive, unconditional regard for those that he works with.
Dr. Sarah Zucker started working at AToN in May of 2016. Although she has several areas of interest, her primary passion has always been treating addictive behaviors, helping clients resolve substance use concerns, and supporting clients in achieving long-term recovery. Dr. Zucker believes that everyone has their own unique journey and that recovery is not one-size-fits-all, so she was very excited when the opportunity arose to work at AToN where treatment and recovery is tailored to the individual.
Dr. Zucker studied psychology and LGBT studies at UCLA for her undergraduate education. While there she volunteered at the UCLA Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Intensive Treatment Program, performing exposure therapy with clients who had severe OCD. Working with clients quickly confirmed that she wanted to be a practicing clinician as opposed to a researcher. It was an honor for Dr. Zucker to support people in their most vulnerable moments and witness their determination and growth. After graduating from UCLA, she attended the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University where she obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology. Throughout her graduate studies, Dr. Zucker worked and interned in inpatient and outpatient settings, always gravitating towards substance use disorder treatment.
Prior to AToN she worked at Counseling & Psychological Services at San Diego State University where she utilized a grant to build the university’s first collegiate recovery program. A particularly important part of that role was developing a recovery ally training which she used to educate professors, the campus police department, administrators, and students on how to reduce stigma on campus and how to be allies to students in recovery.
Dr. Zucker has a passion for recovery, mindfulness, intersectionality, healing shame, and empowering people. She also loves animals (especially dogs), tennis, yoga, and meditation.
Dr. Kirsten Helgager earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Literature from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and her Psy.D. at The Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. She completed her internship at Sutter Center for Psychiatry, where she worked in inpatient, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient settings. Following her internship, Dr. Helgager worked in private practice at Applied DBT and received post-doctoral training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) with adults, adolescents and families.
She has experience in a variety of settings including schools, residential treatment, inpatient, mental health day programs, juvenile hall, skilled nursing and as a health coach in primary care. She uses a mindfulness-informed approach, with elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT), as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Her areas of specialty include mood and anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, process addictions, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, self-harm and suicidality.
Dr. Fuhr earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Suffolk University, in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including inpatient and outpatient hospitals, forensic settings, university counseling centers, substance abuse treatment programs, and private practice. Dr. Fuhr completed her APA accredited internship at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC. She has also worked with bariatric surgery patients, both in pre-surgery evaluation and post-surgery therapeutic support.Her research has focused on ego development, positive personal growth, gender differences in relationships, and medical health risk-perception and decision-making. Dr. Fuhr is committed to integrating treatments that research shows to be effective. Her therapeutic approach combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with psychodynamic and humanistic principles.
Dr. Fuhr uses proven techniques to help clients to identify and understand what causes negative feelings and current behaviors. She tailors her therapy work to an individual’s goals and personal experiences in order to help clients manage these feelings and make lasting behavioral changes. In addition to working at AToN center, Dr. Fuhr works in private practice.
Dr. Grame received her B.S. in Psycology at the University of Arizona and her Ph D. at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychologist. She completed an APA approved pre-doctoral internship at Sharp Mesa Hospital in San Diego, CA where she participated in a rotational internship. She worked in the inpatient as well as partial hospitalization (day treatment) programs for both children and adults. She was rigorously trained in providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to individuals with a myriad of diagnoses, including but not limited to addictions, depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and PTSD.
Dr. Grame has a diverse background of experience which includes treating children, adolescents and adults in the following settings: inpatient partial hospitalization (day treatment), residential treatment settings as well as groups with children and their families who have experienced trauma related issues, where she was the clinical supervisor and only treating psychologist on staff for almost 7 years.
Dr. Grame has specialized in trauma related issues and has been certified in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR).Dr. Grame is also trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Theraphy (TF-CBT). In addition, she has also been trained in Parent Child Interactional Theraphy (PCIT) to effectively coach parents in evidence based parenting techniques. Dr. Grame currently has a private practice in Solana Beach, where she enjoys utilizing her broad based training background of experience to treat children, adults, families and couples with different and challenging mental health issues.
Dr. Jean Sullivan earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish from Marquette University in Milwaukee Wisconsin. She was selected as a Professional Psychology Trainee at the Devereux Foundation serving persons around the nation with emotional, developmental and educational disabilities.She was awarded a scholarship and research assistantship with DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois where she completed a Master’s and Doctoral degree. After serving in the USN for 15 years and being promoted to the rank of Commander, Dr. Sullivan opted to stay home and raise her young son. She returned to work at the AToN Center and brings with her extensive experience in treating individuals, couples and families as well as expertise in treating serious addictive and mental health problems using a variety of evidence-based approaches.
Kristin Colton is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor, and is also Certified in Corrections and Criminal Justice. Kristin has been helping people in addiction / recovery treatment since 1997 and has continued to find her work exciting and purposeful. She completed her studies and certifications at Saddleback College in Orange County, CA and has also studied life coaching course work with Mastering Life’s Energies and Give Wings to Your Dreams. Since beginning her personal recovery in 1995, she has continued to grow in her compassion and drive to help others on their journey. Kristin has broadened her studies on addiction to include Eating Disorders and Food Addiction, as well as other behavioral and process addictions.
Kristin is skilled in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness to treat cross addictions and co-occurring disorders. She believes in a holistic approach to addiction treatment and teaches Yoga and Meditation as a form of Spiritual Recovery. Kristin is a Certified Yoga Instructor as well as certified in teaching Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga. Kristin is an Ordained Minister and has previously worked as a Pastoral Counselor in treating addiction from a Christian/ Spiritual perspective. Kristin loves living an active lifestyle including surfing, stand up paddle boarding, and snowboarding and is excited to be enjoying the beaches of North County San Diego after relocating from San Clemente, CA in 2011.
Kate Judd is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC)-II, and completed the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Program at UC San Diego. She has a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with an Emphasis in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from San Diego State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in English, with an emphasis in Professional Writing from UC Santa Barbara. Kate is currently pursuing a License in Professional Clinical Counseling (LPCC). She played on a successful intercollegiate Division I Women’s Basketball team at UCSB and won the Golden Eagle Award for Academic/ Athletic excellence. As a Gaucho, Kate’s team made it to the NCAA tournament every year, going as far as the Sweet 16. With over 5 years of personal recovery, Kate believes that recovery is possible for anyone who is willing to commit to making a positive change.
Kate started out working in non- profit addiction counseling with the homeless population, people involved with Child Protective Services, people on probation, and people with co-occurring disorders. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing, BreakFree Intervention Skills, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, Smart Recovery, Twelve Step and is Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) informed. Kate is passionate about helping people recover from addiction using an individualized approach and finding their healthy balance using a variety of modalities. She believes in meeting clients where they are at with a collaborative approach and promotes self-efficacy, development of intrinsic motivation and assertiveness skills. Kate maintains an active and athletic lifestyle, which includes running, cross training, weight lifting and other fitness activities.
Chris is a retired high school principal and is the CEO of his own educational consulting firm. He has completed his CADAC Drug and Alcohol Counselor coursework and his internship and is a Registered Recovery Worker. Chris has worked in the recovery field for over three years as a therapeutic Surf Coach for Naval Hospital Balboa’s servicemen and women suffering from PTSD, amputations, and/or dual-diagnosed addictions.Chris has also worked with recovery work at the Navy’s Intensive Out Patient facility at Camp Pendleton and the Navy’s Intensive Inpatient facility at Naval Base Point Loma.Chris and his family moved from New York seven years ago, after vacationing in San Diego for 14 summers before that. Chris enjoys surfing, golf, canyon running and travel.
Johnina is a certified CADC-II counselor, and has worked in the substance abuse field for 15 years. With 16 years of recovery, Johnina understands the negative effects that addiction can have on one’s life. Johnina received her BS degree in Health and Human Services from the University of Phoenix. She has worked with homeless women in recovery and homeless Veterans. She is now very happy to be part of the AToN Center team.Johnina was born in Manchester, England and moved to the US in 1980. When it comes to having fun, Johnina loves playing racquetball, painting and walking her son’s Boxer dog.
Director of Intake/Operations
James brings with him over a decade of experience in intake and 20 years of administrative experience. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force where he worked on medical surgical units as a medic. He was quickly promoted to managing several clinics as the non-commissioned officer in charge.James began working in intake/admissions 10 years ago and it is there that he discovered how much he enjoyed helping people and families in need. James has worked in several levels of care including hospitals, residential treatment facilities, outpatient programs, and physician’s practices and always prefers to work directly with patients and their families.
Shari A. Ferguson, CIP, is a Southern California native that has helped families and people struggling with addiction find recovery for over 12 years in positions ranging from Admissions to Business Development. As an intervention specialist, she founded Inspire Interventions and continues to help families find affordable, appropriate treatment solutions to meet their loved one’s individual needs. Shari, a University of Washington graduate, is a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP). She has trained with the leading interventionists in the industry; Judith Landau MD, BRI-II, Brad Lamm, John Southworth and Ken Seeley, Intervention 911 and with Jane Mintz MA, LPC, BCPC, BRI-II. She is also a member of AIS (Association of Intervention Specialists). When she isn’t helping people find treatment, Shari can be found sailing off Point Loma on Secondwind.
Keith brings with him four years of experience between intake and business development in the addiction treatment field. His overall goal is to provide resources to those individuals suffering from substance abuse and help them find freedom from their addiction. Keith finds great purpose by assisting others into recovery to build their new lives. Keith keeps busy with his wife and two sons in high school. Keith keeps active running half marathons and weight lifting.
Intake & Alumni Coordinator
Lauren grew up in Encinitas before departing to Harvard University where she attained a BA in Psychology and Sociology. After a few years, she settled back in San Diego and is thrilled to be a part of the AToN team and helping people make a positive change in their lives. Lauren is an avid soccer fan and when not at AToN, can be found either watching or playing the world’s game.
Gregory enjoys the early morning conversations he shares with the residents. He appreciates being able to contribute to clients’ recovery process during this relaxed time. Gregory served four years in the Navy as an aviation electrician and is now attending CSU San Marcos. He hopes to pursue a career in psychology. During his time off he enjoys playing poker, pool and golf with his friends as well as spending time with his family.
Director of Human Resources
Kristen was born in Massachusetts before moving to Encinitas, CA in 2000. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has been working at AToN Center since January 2011. She is currently taking classes at UCSD-Extension towards obtaining a certificate in Human Resources Management to help further her Human Resources knowledge. In her free time Kristen enjoys volunteering, playing soccer, and spending time with her friends and family.
Reina is thrilled to join the AToN Center team and expand on her passion for healthcare and administration. She has been a superb administrative professional for 17 years. Outside of her dedication to her career, Reina enjoys spending time with her beloved family. She is blessed to share her life with her husband, children and Shih Tzu; whether at the beach, having BBQ’s, or at home loving and appreciating life. She is a San Diego native and lifetime Chargers and Padres fan. She is also a supporter of the San Diego Susan G. Komen 3 day Breast Cancer walk, participating yearly since 2006.
Claims and Collection Specialist
Sandra has her degree in Administrative Healthcare Management, and since has worked in the mental/behavioral healthcare industry. She is originally from the San Gabriel Valley, where she raised four children. Sandra has recently relocated to San Marcos to join the AToN Center team, as the Claims and Collections Specialist. In her free time she enjoys, gardening, cooking and maintaining a healthy style of living.
Desiree is a Clinical Medical Assistant and obtained her AA in Medical Specialties at California College San Diego in January 2012. She joined the AToN Center team in February 2012. Having family experience with the power of addiction and sobriety, she hopes to bring her knowledge to help enrich the AToN residents’ recovery process. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in the hopes to specialize in criminal behavioral health. When not dedicating her time at AToN, she enjoys her life with family and friends.
Nikki moved to San Diego in 2007 to attend college at San Diego State University, where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She opted to take a break before graduate school to gain some work experience, and has been working in the addiction field ever since. Her hobbies include food (less the cooking part, more the eating part), researching ideal sleep positions in the name of science, and shopping for clothes that will enviably remain in her closet for months with the tags still attached.
Ms. Fritschy brings more than 10 years of experience to her practice helping people achieve optimum health and well being. Nationally certified in Acupuncture and Herbology, Jennifer graduated from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. While receiving her Masters Degree, she interned at El Sanctuario, an integrative oncology clinic and at The Santa Fe Women’s Clinic treating OB/GYN problems. Jennifer also had the opportunity to observe and practice Eastern medicine in Eastern Asia while interning in Beijing, China for head trauma, strokes, and paralysis.After passing her California State Boards, Jennifer’s passion for medicine and social responsibility led her to open Mobile Medicine, a non-profit healthcare organization that provided free medical services to San Diego residents who could not afford healthcare. Jennifer also has extensive experience incorporating her Acupuncture style within the science of Sports Medicine, working on professional athletes from the San Diego Chargers, the Woman’s Tennis Association, and the International Skydiving Association.She also specializes in Obstetrics, and Alcohol and Drug Detoxification. Currently, she is co-owner of Indigo Dragon Center for Health & Wellbeing. Jennifer works with people who want to get to the heart of the matter. She knows that true improvement begins when one looks at how a health concern is affecting the body, mind, and spirit. She not only relieves the symptom but also fosters the exploration into how one thinks about the issue. By using simple steps she helps people discover that they can truly live a happy, healthy life.
Ashley Lanahan was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. It was her love of the outdoors and passion for helping people that moved her west to Colorado. Ashley attended the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies – a school specializing in Western herbal medicine. She also studied Natural Cookery and practiced as a whole foods personal chef for families with health and dietary requirements.Ashley’s passion for natural medicine continued as she moved further west to Washington State. It was at Bastyr University in Seattle where she earned a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She spent her final semester abroad in China practicing at Integrative Hospitals in both Shanghai and Nanjing.
It was at Bastyr where she had the opportunity to work in a variety of clinics specializing in pain management, women’s health, chronic fatigue, immunodeficiency, hospice care, and addiction recovery. She furthered her specialization in drug and alcohol detoxification and rehabilitation support with an internship at the Lincoln Recovery Center in New York City.It was in the South Bronx where she was certified in the NADA Five Needle Auricular protocol – a technique now practiced worldwide in the treatment of addictions and trauma recovery.
After moving to Southern California, she met her friend and future business partner Jennifer Seine. They combined their passions for natural medicine and founded the Indigo Dragon Center for Health & Wellbeing located in beautiful Encinitas. Indigo is the color of the throat chakra and the Dragon is a symbol of power and strength. These two combine as the centers philosophy to help people find their true voice and optimal path.In practice Ashley combines acupuncture with hands-on care through the use of sound vibration (Acutonics), Cranio-sacral, and Qi Gong therapy.
Her goal is to treat the area of discomfort while looking at the whole person in order to get to the root of the real issues. Ashley provides a safe and nurturing space for the patient to completely relax and drift into the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing a moment for mindfulness and presence to open the doors to healing.When not providing acupuncture and herbal services, she can be found surfing, hiking, golfing or spending quality time with her husband and two young children.
Mr. Pyrke, a master hypnotherapist, specializes in helping individuals overcome addictive behaviors. He also has sub-specialties in stress-related problems and pain management. Mr. Pyrke says “hypnosis is a state of focused consciousness. Your hypnotherapist will assist you in learning how to achieve this state by guiding you into it. Once this state has been achieved, you will then receive what are called hypnotic suggestions. These suggestions will enable you to use the power of hypnosis in your life and make the changes you desire.”
Mr. Pyrke’s college degree is in psychology. He counseled others while obtaining that degree from McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. His career path led him to operating several businesses. One business designed commercial furniture, and another created and serviced computer networks for medium sized businesses.After retiring from these ventures Mr. Pyrke launched his career in hypnotherapy.Mr. Pyrke has a broad background in hypnotherapy, including being a Certified Hypnotherapist, a Master Hypnotist, a Certified 5 Path Hypnotherapist, and a Certified 7 Path Hypnosis Instructor. He is also Pain Management Certified and a Member of the National Guild of Hypnotists. For many individuals struggling with addiction, stress or pain, hypnosis offers a new opportunity to feel better and move forward in life.
Gal, was born and raised in Israel; he left at the age of 22 to travel the world. After his travels it was a job that brought him to San Diego and that is how he found Body Mind College. After only a few classes he knew that this is what he was destined to do. Letting go of his old job he started working at the school clinic to pursue his schooling and body work career full time. Gal focused from the start on therapeutic applications of body work, and his work is revolving around Deep Tissue and Structural Integration.Gal along with his BMC training as HHP also went through our Nutrition Program and completed a 10 month yoga teacher training with Mind Heart Yoga (Viniyoga). Gal has been massage instructor at BMC since 2009. When not at work Gal enjoys surfing, playing music and spending time with his family.
Yvonne joined AToN Center in May 2012 and is grateful to be part of the holistic team. She earned her undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Master of Education degree from Boston University. She studied Yoga in Costa Rica at Samasati Nature Retreat under Marianne Wells.Yoga has helped her find balance, maintain strength/flexibility and sense of calmness. Yvonne offers private and group classes to the residents and staff of AToN on the beautiful Yoga Deck. She believes that Yoga is for every body and can serve as an outlet for those in recovery. Nothing is more rewarding than to hear that a resident is going to continue their yoga practice after AToN! Namaste-
Meditation, Mind Trainer Rachel teaches meditation as a form of mind training to help with behavior and engender emotional growth through a variety of exercises. Her traditional degrees and educational background are within Creative Writing and Biology.
She studied both at New York University and then Kansas University. She has studied under a shaman from the Apache tribe as well as a Tibetan Buddhist lama. She has also worked with both Christian priests as well as those within esoteric Judaism. Ms. Gobar studied and practiced different forms of meditation since the age of thirteen. Currently she helps clients with addictive behaviors, trauma, spiritual growth, cancer patients, and mothers coping with pregnancy and raising children.
She uses a variety of techniques tailored to meet each individual’s needs.Emotions can be experienced partly as bodily sensations (e.g., we may feel fear in our stomachs, or anger in our hands), influenced as well by our beliefs. Often we are tempted to push away emotions that we don’t like. But this rarely works and will manifest in unhealthy ways. What does work is to build a relationship with our emotions using the body as a communication tool.
The goal is to evolve emotional awareness and intelligence within us. We are not taught how to grow emotionally at different developmental stages. Unfortunately, most of us learn to react to our feelings from those around us and quite often, those around us are not taught how to deal with their emotions. Meditation or mind training is a way to help build awareness and development within this area. Ultimately, it is a way to build dialogue between the subconscious and conscious mind using the body, because the body will never lie to you. There are several methods of mind training. All these methods work in a symbiotic relationship with traditional therapy.
Taylor Krippes was born and raised in Southern California. She received her bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Barbara in psychology. As a former competitive gymnast and cultivating a passion for health and fitness, she then moved forward with her education at San Diego State University and holds a double masters degree in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Taylor has since helped spread her love of health and wellness as a certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher and, most recently, a personal trainer at AToN Center.
Evan Laveist was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He received a Bachelors Degree in Communications from Cal State San Marcos with plans to become a sports broadcaster for one of the most influential networks in the country. He then found his love for helping people cross comfort zones and breakthrough mental barriers. With a varied background in competitive fitness including Collegiate Sports and National Bodybuilding competitions, Evan’s passion is to help transform his clients by empowering them and equipping them with the tools for growth and change through hard work and patience. Using his creative skill set, he transforms lives at a state-of-the-art health facility in San Diego. One of Evan’s favorite quotes from Milton Berle is; ”If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
Classically French trained Jeff Bonilla is the award-winning Executive Chef, Executive Pastry Chef and Micro Green Farmer in San Diego. A native of Southern California, Jeff started young by watching his mother create immaculate cakes, pies and seasonal goodies in their home kitchen. In his free time, Jeff enjoys spending time with his wife, surfing and playing string instruments.
Dee was born in Da Nang, Vietnam and came to the U.S. when he was around 3 years old. Throughout his childhood he moved throughout the U.S. until finally residing in Boston, MA in 2000. In Boston, Dee found his passion for cooking and began his training at Le Cordon Bleu, graduating in 2011. His first job after graduating was at Blue Ginger, which was owned by Chef Ming Tsai. After meeting his wife, Dee moved to California and began working as a Sushi Chef. Dee currently lives in San Diego with his wife and three wonderful kids. Dee is thrill to join the AToN Center team and further his culinary training and passion.
With over 10 years experience in food and hospitality, Evan Gonzalez is committed to bringing locally grown food and organics to our residents. Evan is honored to work alongside the incredible staff at AToN Center and is excited to be making a positive impact on people’s lives through healthy sustainable cuisine. When he’s not in the kitchen, Evan enjoys spending time with his family and making music.
Facilities / Hospitality Assistant
Laura was born and raised in Oaxaca, Mexico. She came to the U.S. in 2004. Laura graduated from Carlsbad High School in 2007, and plans to attend college in the future. Laura began working at AToN Center in September 2015. In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with her family.
Facilities / Hospitality Assistant
Rosa joined AToN Center in October of 2016 and is thrilled to be a part of AToN Center’s team. Rosa is from Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. in 2003. Rosa graduated from Carlsbad High School in 2006. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her girls and family.
Resident Assistant Supervisor / Facilities Manager
Schuyler is a certified EMT-B and obtained an AS degree in Fire Technology. He plans to attend school in the fall to further his education and eventually become a licensed Physical Therapist assistant. He worked as a wildland firefighter/EMT for 8 years prior to coming to AToN, including 4 years on a U.S. Forest Service Interagency Hotshot crew. Schuyler grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County, having only moved to San Diego 2½ years ago. He enjoys the beautiful climate and endless outdoor possibilities the city offers. Hobbies include Surfing, bike riding, running and tennis. Schuyler is proud and grateful to work with such a great team at AToN and enjoys the opportunity to help our clients better themselves and fulfill their potential.
Lead Resident Assistant
Geanna is a licensed vocational nurse who is proud to become part of the team at AToN Center. After schooling, she was hired as an LVN in home healthcare and hospice care. She is currently working on progressing towards becoming a registered nurse. Geanna has always had a passion for helping others. In her spare time she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, snowboarding, as well as spending time with family and friends.
Lead Resident Assistant
Mitch was born in Armidale, Australia and spent 12 years living Down Under before moving to the United States. Mitch has always wanted to help people, and the opportunity to work at AToN was too perfect to pass up. Prior to becoming a proud member of the AToN team, he graduated with a BA in Psychology from California State University, San Marcos. When not at AToN, Mitch can be found playing pool, supporting his sports teams and spending time with friends.
Ms. Banez is a licensed vocational nurse. Merica was born in the Philippines and raised in beautiful Oceanside, California after her father retired from the U.S Navy. Merica entered the nursing field with the purpose of impacting peoples’ lives in a positive way. On her spare time Merica enjoys relaxing at the beach, spending time with friends and family, and taking advantage of outdoor activities that San Diego has to offer. Merica is proud to be part of a great team here at AToN and hopes to contribute to a therapeutic healing environment.
Rainier is a Registered Nurse desiring to make a positive impact in people’s lives. He enjoys helping others and seeing people succeed. As a result, Rainier is humbled and grateful to be a part of the team at AToN Center, and wishes to contribute to its services of helping others. During his spare time, Rainier enjoys spending time with family and friends, movies, football, and enjoying what life has to offer.
Jordan is a Licensed Vocational Nurse. She plans to attend school to obtain her RN. She enjoys being a nurse and being apart of the curative process. In her free time she enjoys being a mother, playing board games with her family and reading science fiction novels.
Johnnie is a Licensed Vocational Nurse who began her career as a Veteran’s Hospital nurse specializing in hospice, rehabilitation, and pre/post surgery. She loves to devote her time to helping others and giving back to her community. Johnnie is also continuing her education to become a registered nurse. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and going to the beach.
Brittney is a Licensed Vocational Nurse. She plans to further her education and obtain her RN. She loves helping others and making a difference in their lives. She enjoys being a mother and reading books in her spare time.
Steven is a Licensed Vocational Nurse that was born and raised in Southern California. He has had two years of experience as a charge nurse in nursing facilities and in behavioral health. He is currently pursuing his RN and hopes to have experience in all fields of nursing. Steven is happy to be a part of the AToN Center team and is eager to learn of alternative measures of therapy and how it affects the individuals he works with. In his free time he dances, plays instruments, does DIY projects for his new apartment, and goes to the gym.
Natasha is a licensed vocational nurse who was born and raised in Encinitas before moving when she joined the military. After finishing her time in the navy, she went to school for nursing and started her career at the veterans health administration working inpatient psyche. Natasha loves to help others and finds nursing to be a very rewarding career in that sense. She plans on furthering her education and getting her RN within the next 5 years. In her free time, Natasha likes to take her family out for hikes, outdoor adventures, snowboarding, swimming and loves taking pictures. Natasha is very excited to be part of the AToN Center team and to learn alternative therapy measures to help people recover and reestablish their lives.
Lynda is a Licensed Vocational Nurse who recently moved to San Diego from Massachusetts. She is very excited to join the AToN Center Team. In Massachusetts, she worked for 30 years on a Dual Diagnosis Unit and enjoyed it very much. Recently married, Lynda enjoys spending time with her husband, family, and extended family. Lynda can often be found reading outside in her free time.
Kristen is a licensed vocational nurse who is passionate about watching positive transformations in people’s lives. She is excited to be a part of the AToN Center team, where she can witness personal growth on a daily basis. In her free time, she can be found riding her horse, surfing, or hiking with her dog.
Bri was born and raised in San Diego. She is currently attending UC San Diego, pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and a double-minor in psychology and healthcare, social issues. Bri loves dedicating her time to helping people with their medical needs and making a difference in their lives. Once she graduates from UCSD, she plans to apply to medical school to receive her MD. In her free time, she enjoys running on the beach and spending time with family and friends.
Melissa grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, California and moved to San Diego to attend University of California, San Diego. She has always been passionate for medicine, in which she obtained her B.S. in Human Biology. Currently, she is applying to graduate programs to become a Physician Assistant. In her free time, she loves to be active and hopes to travel around the world. You can always find her at the beach or in the kitchen baking.
Tim is passionate about helping people get back on the right path and is honored to be part of the outstanding team at the AToN Center. He has nine years experience working as a licensed vocational nurse, and has contributed in many diverse fields to include mental health, clinical research, and teaching. History and Psychology are his educational pursuits and he enjoys reading, writing, fitness, chess, and hiking.
Victoria was born and raised in Northern California. She is currently attending San Diego State University where she is majoring in Sociology and was previously a member of the Women’s Track and Field Team. During her free time she enjoys working out, spending time with her dog, and spending time with family and friends.
Joshua was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States shortly after. His father was in the U.S Air Force, which allowed him to go to school and graduate from Brightwood College with a certification as a Medical Assistant/X-Ray Technician. Joshua looks to further progress in the Medical field and continue to help people. In his free time, Joshua likes to do anything relating to music, and also enjoys spending time with friends & family. He is very happy to be part of such a cohesive and supportive team here at AToN Center.
Justin was born and raised in Carlsbad, California. He received his bachelors degree in psychology from California State University, San Marcos. He plans to further his education and attend graduate school. In his free time, Justin enjoys surfing, working on motorcycles, and spending time with his family.
Toby was born and raised in San Diego. She attended Humboldt State University and earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work with honors. Toby loves spending her time helping people in need and knows this is her calling in life. She plans to go back to school and earn her Master’s in Social Work and eventually her LCSW. In her free time, Toby enjoys cooking, baking, exploring San Diego, eating new cuisine, and spending time with her family and friends.
Alejandra grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. She attended San Diego State University majoring in Biology, B.S. Her passion for helping others and improving their quality of life, led her to pursue a career in the medical field. She is currently taking a break from school to work on her applications for medical school. Alejandra enjoys spending time with her family, studying other languages, baking, and traveling with friends.
Kathryn is a Registered Nurse who values holistic care and is excited to join the team at AToN Center. Kathryn’s experience in multiple fields, such as women’s health, mental health, and chronic disease management, has allowed her to understand the important role that nurses fulfill in providing care and assistance to those who are recovering. Kathryn’s favorite thing about being a nurse is the ability to provide unconditional support to others. In her free time, Kathryn enjoys spending time with her husband, traveling, cooking, playing tennis and hiking with her beagle.
Danielle is a Registered Nurse who was born and raised in Southern California. She plans on continuing her education and earning her MSN. Danielle believes we have all had our lives touched by addiction and is very passionate about assisting people with their recovery. In her free time, Danielle enjoys traveling to new places, camping in the wilderness, and long walks down the cheese aisle at Whole Foods.
Ivy Link is a Registered Nurse (RN) at AToN Center. She grew up with her family on the snowy east coast and in blazing Arizona. Soon after college she settled in sunny San Diego with her husband. Ivy has achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fine Art from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Grand Canyon University. She is also a certified Yoga Instructor.
Throughout her 10 years of patient care experience, Ivy has worked in various medical settings and has provided care for multiple patient populations to include home health, outpatient health care centers, and behavioral health. In 2010 Ivy became a Charge Nurse where she gained experience with individuals having complex medical and behavioral needs. Ivy firmly believes in holistic medicine that focuses on managing the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person together so that a person is treated as a whole. Before coming to AToN, Ivy served as an Infectious Disease Preventionist collecting and analyzing data in order to prevent healthcare-associated infections by isolating sources of infections and limiting their transmission. She also works as a Yoga teacher helping her students stay grounded while in and out of class. As a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing, Ivy is proud to support like-minded nurses advancing world health. When she’s not helping others, Ivy is traveling, adventuring in San Diego with her Husband and her dog, or practicing yoga at the park.
Ian is a Registered Nurse (RN). Before becoming an RN, Ian worked as a caregiver for a home care agency. He enjoys being in the healthcare field because he likes helping people get better. Ian is currently attending San Diego State University in the pursuit of his bachelor’s degree in nursing. In his spare time, Ian enjoys movies, outdoor activities, traveling and spending time with his friends and family.
Lamance is a licensed EMT and runs a nonprofit organization for youth athletics. Additionally, Lamance is a freshmen football coach at Steele Canyon High School. Lamance has been in the medical field for 5 years and enjoys helping others. Lamance joined AToN due to the family atmosphere and the opportunity to continue his training as a medical professional. He plans to attend school to obtain his RN license. When not at work, Lamance enjoys spending time with his 2 children and watching football.