Nikki Rollo, PhD, LMFTview bio >>
Nikki Rollo, PhD, LMFT
Nikki has a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology, with an emphasis in psychotherapy and is a licensed marriage and family therapist in both California and New York State. She has worked in various aspects of eating disorder treatment over the past ten years, utilizing her experience as a clinician and passion for the idea that relationships are healing to inform her efforts in program development, training staff, admissions, business development and clinical outreach aspects of her work. Integral to her clinical philosophy is her personal practice of yoga and meditation including completing a Yoga teacher training with an emphasis on trauma-sensitive mind-body movement. She is the founding chair of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, San Diego Chapter, and has served on several chapters over the past eight years. She currently serves in the role of National Director of Program Development where she is responsible for developing the Reasons philosophy and ensuring consistency across all programs through oversight of clinical and operations, as well as development and expansion efforts.
Norman Kim, PhDview bio >>
Norman Kim, PhD
Norman completed his B.A. at Yale University where he studied music and psychology, and was the recipient of a Mellon Fellowship for Research in Psychiatry. He completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at UCLA, where he was the recipient of an individual National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health to study the neurobiologic underpinnings of emotion recognition and understanding in Autism. Most recently he has been involved in a multi-site, longitudinal study of children and adolescents at risk for developing bipolar disorder.
In conjunction with his research, Norman has developed an expertise in treating and teaching about psychiatrically complex populations, multi-modal treatment, and diagnostic assessment. While rooted firmly in empirically supported approaches, he has incorporated practices emphasizing somatosensory integration and that draw from eastern and traditional medicine with our current knowledge of the neurobiologic and cognitive processes underlying anxiety, mood, trauma and eating disorders. He has endeavored to develop a clinical approach that focuses on the exploration of meaning as a path to healing and that honors an individuals’ own narrative and journey.
Norman is a frequent, national speaker and educator, and is a passionate advocate for eating disorder awareness and translating research into clinical practice. He is on the Board of Directors of the Eating Disorders Coalition, the Eating Disorder Advisory Council for the Joint Commission, and the Clinical Advisory Board for Tikvah V’Chizuk.
Director of Clinical and Nutrition Services
Lisa Arroyas, RDview bio >>
Lisa Arroyas, RD
Lisa is a registered dietitian practicing in many areas of dietetics including eating disorders, chemical dependency, diabetes, PCOS and weight management. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach and has extensive experience working with female and male adolescents and adults with disordered eating and with issues related to weight management. She also has a background as a personal trainer, which allows her to use an approach that meets the unique needs of individuals struggling with poor body image and disordered eating. Lisa’s focus is on nutrition therapy using a non-diet approach, providing nutrition counseling and exercise education. She specializes in working with Athletes and Compulsive Exercisers, Food Addiction, Binge Eating Disorder, Obesity, Compulsive Overeating and Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). Lisa has been working with adolescents and adults with eating disorders for over 10 years in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She is the co-founder of the Reasons Residential Program and served as the Director of Nutrition for a multi-site substance abuse and dual-diagnosis program. She is extremely passionate and dedicated to helping individuals struggling with food and body issues.
Wakelin McNeel, MDview bio >>
Wakelin McNeel, MD
Dr. McNeel received his BS in Chemistry from Central Michigan University, his MS in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his MD from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed his Residency and Child Psychiatry Fellowship from the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center. He is board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and has over 10 years of experience working with patients with eating disorders.
Dr. McNeel is an active research physician and is the principal investigator in numerous Phase I-IV Clinical Trials. He is currently the Medical Director of BHC Alhambra Hospital, and has been the Chief of Staff and the Medical Director of the Eating Disorder Programs for over 10 years. Dr. McNeel practices on the principle that respect of the patient’s individual beliefs on medications is of utmost importance and does not impose medications, rather makes recommendations which support the therapeutic process of recovery.
Director of Nursing and Operations
Corinne Elliott, RN, BSNview bio >>
Corinne Elliott, RN, BSN
Corinne holds a B.S. in nursing and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Corinne joined Reasons as the Director of Nursing in 2011 and has been dedicated to ensuring patient safety and delivering quality care. Her dual background in psychology and nursing is brought to bear daily in her roles of both advocating for and coordinating and providing care to our patients in what are often their most vulnerable moments. She continues her education in nursing and in the specialization of eating disorders through on-going training and a passion for learning from our patients. She currently serves as the Director of Nursing and Operations for all of the Reasons programs, bringing her experience with staffing, training, and organizational management to ensure everything is running smoothly for both staff and patients.
Director of Admissions & Business Development
Alyson Lischer, MS, LMFTview bio >>
Alyson Lischer, MS, LMFT
Alyson completed her undergraduate studies at Saint Louis University where she attended on a volleyball scholarship and studied criminal justice and psychology. She continued her education at Mount Saint Mary College in Los Angeles, receiving her M.S. in counseling psychology and was elected to represent her class at the Graduate Accolades Ceremony.
Over the last 9 years, Alyson has focused her career on clinical outreach developing relationships with clinicians, treatment centers, universities and being actively involved in several professional organizations including, iaedp (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals), WAAT (Women’s Association of Addiction Treatment), and CAMFT (California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists). Alyson has been working in Admissions for the last 5 years, where she has become passionate about walking clients through the admissions process and assisting them in identifying the treatment options which most appropriately fit their clinical needs. In addition to working for treatment centers in business development and admissions, she has worked as an intern marriage and family therapist in private practice and completed her clinical traineeship at a non-profit counseling agency. She is currently a licensed marriage and family therapist and in her role at Reasons she directs the admissions into all of our programs as well as all of our business development and community outreach activities.
Program Director, Inpatient and Partial Hospitalization
Anna Governale, LMFTview bio >>
Anna Governale, LMFT
Anna Governale completed her undergraduate degrees in psychology and religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002. She subsequently began working in the mental health field as a mental health worker at a residential treatment center for eating disorders for 5 years, while acquiring her master’s degree in clinical psychology. Anna completed her master’s program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. After graduating, Anna began working at a community services agency, serving underprivileged communities in the inner cities of Los Angeles, providing in home services to children, adolescents and families. After gaining experience working with this diverse population for 3 1/2 years, Ms. Governale realized that working with eating disorders was her true calling and something she was genuinely passionate about. Anna began working for Reasons in May of 2011 as a program therapist, and has also served as interim program manager for the partial and intensive outpatient programs. She is currently the program manager for Reasons inpatient, partial and intensive outpatient programs at BHC Alhambra Hospital. She is DBT trained, and pulls from a variety of therapeutic orientations in her work with clients to assist them in their journey to wholeness and healing.
Program Manager, Inpatient at Fremont Hospital
Ashley Acle, IMFview bio >>
Ashley Acle, IMF
Ashley Acle obtained her Masters in Family Therapy from Drexel University, after completing her Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College in Psychology. Ashley has experience working with women and adolescent girls with eating disorders in various levels of care. She also has experience working with adults, adolescents and their families in inpatient behavioral health settings, children and couples in outpatient therapy. Her clinical style is focused upon connecting with clients with a culturally sensitive, creative and strengths-based approach to empower and support clients in developing a greater sense of understanding and compassion to promote healing. Ashley is also passionate about outcomes research and bridging the research-practice gap in the treatment of eating disorders.
Program Manager, Partial Hospitalization Program & Project Manager
Christina Ojeda, MA, MFTIview bio >>
Christina Ojeda, MA, MFTI
Christina first joined the Reasons team in 2011 as a Mental Health Worker and later moved on to work as a Clinical Case Coordinator. Christina went on to obtain her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in trauma studies; during her program she completed an internship at an outpatient clinic, serving children and their families. Throughout her internship Christina knew that working with the Eating Disorder population was her true calling and upon completion of her program, Christina re-joined the Reasons team as a program therapist/ project manager, facilitating in the opening of Hancock Park RTC. Christina is passionate about the work she does and is truly grateful and humbled to be working in this field. Currently, Christina is the Program Manager for the PHP/IOP Program.
Director of Training and Program Director, Reasons Residential Hancock Park
Owen Petersen, PsyDview bio >>
Owen Petersen, PsyD
Owen received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles. He utilizes a holistic approach integrating empathy, principles of psychodynamic theory and the mind-body connection to promote and facilitate change that can lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life. He worked for 8 years as senior mental health practitioner at UCLA Medical Center and provided care to child, adolescent, and adult clients with eating disorders; in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In addition to providing milieu management, he also co-led recreational and occupational therapy groups, provided counseling for daily, acute needs, and assisted in program development. After receiving his Masters in Psychology, he began at Reasons as Program Therapist, and having years of outpatient experience, was utilized in consultation to develop the Partial Hospitalization Program at Reasons. Naturally, Owen then served as their first Program Director. He has recently completed his pre and post-doctoral internships at the Saturday Center where his training focused on a private practice model with an intersubjective orientation that utilizes parallel process and an emphasis on the relationships that exist between clients and clinicians to inform the therapeutic work. He is currently continuing private practice, while also serving as Director of Training and Program Director of Reasons Residential.
Program Manager, Reasons Residential Pasadena
Jessica Gillespie, MAview bio >>
Jessica Gillespie, MA
Jessica Gillespie received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. She graduated with honors and is a member of Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society. Jessica started her internship with the Pepperdine Community Clinic where she was trained in Narrative Therapy. She continued her work at Orange County Rescue Mission/Village of Hope providing counseling services to homeless individuals, couples and families, and leading a support group for women with Methamphetamine addiction. Jessica joined the Reasons team in 2013 where she has worked as a Program Therapist in the Inpatient, Residential and Partial Programs. Her clinical style is a collaborative, strengths-based approach, pulling from attachment theory, humanistic psychology, a postmodern framework, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – highlighting the clients’ inherent resilience and fortitude. Currently, Jessica is the Program Manager for the Pasadena Residential Program.
Senior Admissions and Referral Coordinator and Creative Marketing Specialist
Ashley Bullock, BSview bio >>
Ashley Bullock, BS
As Admissions and Referral Coordinator, Ashley is the first point of contact for all admissions inquiries including insurance related questions and patient financial responsibility. Her passion for helping others led her into the field of eating disorder treatment nearly seven years ago and she has been a valued member of the Reasons team ever since. Ashley exhibits a natural ability of connecting with individuals of all backgrounds, a quality which is particularly important when conducting initial interviews with potential clients. “The admissions process is a very delicate & important part of the bigger picture, so I try my best to make every individual comfortable enough to openly share their story. I learn so many great things from our clients.” In her spare time Ashley enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends doing just about anything, whether its barbequing, hiking, or collecting records. She graduated from FIDM with a degree in Merchandise Marketing, and is currently pursuing a second degree in Psychology.
Ashley also posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus for Reasons. Follow us to see her amazing inspirational posts!
Admissions and Referral Specialist, Reasons Inpatient at Fremont Hospital
Megan Riley, LMFTview bio >>
Megan Riley, LMFT
Megan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Admissions Specialist at Reasons at Fremont Hospital. Megan has worked in the treatment of eating disorders since she began her initial post-graduate internship in 2008. Since that first training position, she has worked in small private clinics and large HMO provider settings and hospitals, in all levels of eating disorder care.
Megan is a member of the Association of Professionals Treating Eating Disoders (APTED) and California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). She is trained in both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and she strives to utilize her knowledge and experience to be a resource to families through the admissions process
Clinical Outreach and Admissions Specialist (Southern California)
Christie Tcharkhoutian, LMFTview bio >>
Christie Tcharkhoutian, LMFT
Christie Tcharkhoutian is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and clinical outreach/admissions specialist at Reasons Eating Disorder Center. Christie received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Music Industry from the University of Southern California and her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy also from USC. Christie brings her kindness, warmth, passion & expertise of the eating disorder industry to her work at Reasons. Drawing upon her clinical experience, she is dedicated to assisting patients through the admissions process with empathy, respect & devotion to advocating for appropriate treatment. She is passionate about building relationships with fellow clinicians and sharing the quality, holistic, person-centered treatment provided by Reasons. She is an active member of the community, holding leadership positions for the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists, the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals and the Armenian American Mental Health Association.
Clinical Outreach Specialist (Western Region)
Shannon Braasch, MAview bio >>
Shannon Braasch, MA
Shannon Braasch is a Masters level clinician and Clinical Outreach Coordinator at Reasons Eating Disorder Center. Shannon received her Bachelor's degree in Human Rehabilitative Services from the University of Northern Colorado and her Master's degree in Counseling from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. She brings 12 years of combined healthcare and eating disorders experience, and is passionate about helping people heal their mind, body and soul. Shannon's values align with Reasons person-centered approach, which guides her while building authentic, meaningful relationships with fellow clinicians, patients, alumni, families and the community. She finds balance by spending time with her family, singing karaoke, floating on the lake in a kayak, and volunteering. Shannon says that connection and balance inspire her to thrive.
Community Outreach Specialist (Northern California)
Jessica Floyd, BAview bio >>
Jessica Floyd, BA
Jessica Floyd received her Bachelors degree in English with a specialization in Literature and the Mind from UC Santa Barbara. Her experience includes health psychology research at UCSB as well as social psychology research at Stanford. She also has a background in marketing and has worked as a college writing tutor. Jessica believes the power of human connection and self-compassion nurtures a positive mind-body relationship. She hopes to expand her knowledge in the mental health field through additional experience and by furthering her education.
Jillian Szafranski, RYTview bio >>
Jillian Szafranski, RYT
Jillian Szafranski began her work in the healing arts as a dancer, competitive gymnast and actor. Her training is rooted in Alexander and Linklater Techniques which she learned while attending Emerson College in Boston. Drawing enormous inspiration from the ever-developing field of neuroscience, Jillian uses her her knowledge of anatomy and somatic integration (a therapeutic technique that combines the mental, emotional, spiritual to the physical body) to craft a proprietary hands-on approach to yoga that is informed by her own experiences with physical trauma and illness. With primary emphases alignment, mindfulness, and intuitive sound and movement. She uses grounding techniques to train her students how to self-regulate and navigate through potential triggers that may otherwise lead to flashbacks or unhealthy cycles of behavior, all of this with careful consideration to not re-traumatizing the patient. Over time she teaches her students not to avoid physicality, but to combat old fight-or-flight responses by engaging the initial response and creating new muscle memory in the brain and body grounded in safety and strength.
Jillian co-created yoga programs for Reasons Eating Disorder Residential Center and BHC Alhambra Hospital in 2009, where she works with adolescents and adults. She also founded the office yoga programs for NPR (National Public Radio) in Culver City and MTA (Metro Transportation Authority) in Downtown Los Angeles. Jillian works privately as a yoga therapist and bodyworker. She is Yoga Alliance certified.
Neurologic Music Therapist
Melissa St John, MM, MT-BCview bio >>
Melissa St John, MM, MT-BC
Melissa received her bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She completed her clinical internship at the Central Wisconsin Center, serving children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics with a range of developmental disabilities and mental health needs. Melissa received her master’s degree in music from Colorado State University, with a focus in Neurologic Music Therapy. She also completed specialized training in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT Certification). Melissa is very passionate about using music to support others. Emphasizing a client-led approach, Melissa pays extra attention to each client's unique needs, preferences and goals.
Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and Certified Laban Movement Analyst
Deva Connett, MA, BC-DMT, GL-CMAview bio >>
Deva Connett, MA, BC-DMT, GL-CMA
Deva Connett is a board certified dance/movement therapist and certified Laban movement analyst. She graduated from Wittenberg University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and minored in theater and dance. After briefly working in business, she returned to school and received her master of arts from Columbia College Chicago in dance/movement therapy and counseling. In Chicago, Deva worked with various populations including clients with traumatic brain injuries, substance abuse, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. At Riveredge Hospital where she worked for 3 years, she helped to create an intensive outpatient program for adolescents and focused her work in the program on utilizing creativity and relationships to help her clients grow, learn, and heal. While in Chicago, Deva danced professionally with Tiffany Lawson Dance until relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. In therapy, Deva utilizes a holistic approach that helps clients connect and integrate the mind and body.
Director, Reasons at Fremont Hospital and Medical Director, Fremont Hospital
Vikas Duvvuri, MD, PhDview bio >>
Vikas Duvvuri, MD, PhD
Dr. Vikas Duvvuri is Director of the Reasons Eating Disorder Center at Fremont Hospital and Medical Director of Fremont Hospital. Dr. Duvvuri is also a Stanford-trained neuroscientist who has dedicated his professional career to the treatment and research of eating disorders. He believes that promoting brain research and advocacy is essential to reduce stigma. He has helped establish multiple eating disorders programs at various levels of care. He partners with patients/ families to target the underlying anxiety that drives behaviors while helping them build a support system unique to their circumstance across the care continuum.
He served on NIMH's panel on drug discovery through stem cell technology to share his expertise in brain chemistry and translational research. His NIH-funded research received wide press coverage as the first to use stem cell technology to model Anorexia Nervosa and to link the disorder to an anxiety gene.
He serves on the Social Media committee of the Academy of Eating Disorders and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.
Psychiatrist, Reasons Residential Hancock Park
Howard Askins, MDview bio >>
Howard Askins, MD
Bio coming soon.
Nurse Practitioner, Reasons Residential Programs
Allison Gutierrez, NPview bio >>
Allison Gutierrez, NP
Bio coming soon.
Nursing Manager, Reasons Residential Pasadena
Heather Johnson, RNview bio >>
Heather Johnson, RN
Heather is a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She has always had a passion for helping others. It was this passion that motivated her to join the Peace Corps as an educator and advocate for children in Ukraine. After the Peace Corps, she gravitated towards a career in the mental health field and began working at a local non-profit mental health agency. Here, she realized that helping the under-served was her calling. It also inspired her to pursue a degree in registered nursing in order to additionally assist this population within a medical capacity.
She is committed to creating an environment that supports a healthy mind and body as well as aid in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
Nursing Manager, Reasons Residential Hancock Park
Alexa Witcofsky, RNview bio >>
Alexa Witcofsky, RN
Alexa joined the Reasons team in early 2017 after a cross country move. She holds a B.S. in Nursing from James Madison University in Virginia. Upon graduating college, Alexa worked in an operating room to expand her knowledge of the human body and its function. She quickly realized that her job was very involved in supporting individuals during a challenging and vulnerable time. This sparked Alexa's interest in mental health nursing and eventually eating disorders. She worked at an inpatient eating disorder treatment center, providing nursing care and support to patients of all ages. Alexa seeks to provide the highest level of care to all patients, and looks forward to continuing her growth as a nurse at Reasons.
Registered Dietitian, Reasons Inpatient
Hanna Huiberts, RDNview bio >>
Hanna Huiberts, RDN
Hanna graduated from California State University, Los Angeles with her Bachelors in Science. During her undergrad, She worked as a Diet Tech at Reasons Residential in Pasadena. After graduating, Hanna worked in community nutrition at Public Health Foundation WIC for two years where she was able to successfully complete her dietetic internship and become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Hanna's passion is working with eating disorders and helping clients repair their relationship with food.
Registered Dietitian, Reasons Inpatient
Sara Petersen, RDview bio >>
Sara Petersen, RD
Bio coming soon.
Nutrition Manager, Reasons Inpatient at Fremont Hospital
Claire St John, MPH RDview bio >>
Claire St John, MPH RD
Claire St John, MPH RD, Nutrition Manager at Reasons Fremont Hospital, brings compassion and understanding to her nutritional counseling practice. Claire has worked with men, women and children suffering from eating disorders at all levels of care, leading guided meals, restaurant and snack outings, nutrition groups and multi-family nutrition groups. With a dynamic understanding of eating disorders and how they impact individuals and families, Claire is passionate about repairing broken relationships with food.
Claire holds a Master’s of Public Health Nutrition from Loma Linda University, and after completing her rotations at Eisenhower Medical Center, passed the exam to become a Registered Dietitian. Working with eating disordered clients from the outset, she has developed a method of practice that includes exposure and response therapy, motivational interviewing and compassionate understanding paired with firm encouragement.
Helping people reconnect with food and normalize their eating patterns is the most rewarding part of working with eating disordered patients for Claire. Encouraging people to be able to make peace with food, enjoy meals with loved ones and move through the world without fear is why Claire chose the field of eating disorders.
Claire enjoys reading and writing and hiking and cooking, and spent seven years as a newspaper reporter, covering the school beat and the City Hall beat. She enjoys learning about her clients’ passions -- what they’re reading, what they’re studying in school and what their hobbies are, taking a whole-person approach to treatment.
Registered Dietitian, Reasons Residential Hancock Park
Angela Storck-Petersen, RD LDview bio >>
Angela Storck-Petersen, RD LD
Bio coming soon.
Registered Dietitian, Reasons Residential Pasadena
Alyssa Davis, MS, RDview bio >>
Alyssa Davis, MS, RD
Bio coming soon.
Clinical Services Coordinator, Reasons Residential Pasadena
Christina Edwardsview bio >>
Christina Edwards graduated from Citrus College earning her Associates Degree in Language Arts with an emphasis in psychology. Shortly after Christina earned her bachelors degree from California State University of Northridge, majoring in Sociology. During and after her studies Christina has worked in the educational field assisting teachers in special educational classrooms and mentoring at risk youth in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Christina has always had a passion for helping, healing, supporting and gaining understanding of those who are suffering. Christina also looks forward to gaining more knowledge of the mental health field as the Clinical Services Coordinator at Reasons as she pursues her Masters in Social Work.
Client Services Coordinator, Reasons Residential Hancock Park
Kayla Truffa, BAview bio >>
Kayla Truffa, BA
Kayla Truffa earned her Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, majoring in psychology with an additional focus on social work and social welfare. Following graduation, she worked as a behavioral health specialist at a residential treatment center outside of Chicago, specializing in eating disorders and comorbid psychiatric disorders in women. She then went on to gain experience in a hospital setting working as a behavioral counselor on a geriatric psych unit treating patients with dementia characterized by behavioral disturbances. Kayla moved to Los Angeles in April of 2016 to start with Reasons, and before officially starting her role as Clinical Services Coordinator at our Hancock Park Residential facility, she worked as the care coordinator for our PHP/IOP program. Kayla plans to further her education and knowledge in the mental health field by pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Patient Care Coordinator, Reasons PHP/IOP
Jannelle Mowarinview bio >>
Jannelle graduated from Oklahoma State University where she earned her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences with a focus in Allied Health. Within this program she found that she was passionate about nutrition, as well as comprehensive healthcare. She gained experience in patient care through a clinical pharmacy internship at the University of Oklahoma. As the Patient Care Coordinator Jannelle uses her background in nutrition to help patients cope with the transition from higher levels of care to the PHP/IOP program. Additionally she works closely with each patients' treatment team to optimize success for life after treatment. Jannelle plans to further her education and knowledge in patient care by pursuing a Masters degree in Public Health and Healthcare Administration.