Allison is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University Channel Islands. She furthered her education and earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Southern California.
Joseph is passionate about data-driven decision making, and pattern recognition of human behavior within the framework of medical research.
Daniel applies the latest developments in neuroscience and psychology with traditional Buddhist practices to help clients improve their lives immediately. Scientifically based, his strategies are stabilizing and expansive.
Daniel brings a strong educational background in attachment repair substance abuse, applied community psychology, and over 20 years of Buddhist practices to his work. As Director of Culture and Development, he connects our team by defining our shared language, establishing weekly intentions, facilitating daily staff meditation groups, holding space for staff process through support groups, identifying training opportunities, and acting as a clinical brand ambassador.
Daniel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Antioch university.
Her program includes a variety of eco-projects, like hiking, gardening, animal care, and even foraging and medicinal plant utilization.
Prior to joining Ascend, Laura was the Director of Health and Wellness with Destinations for Teens and played an integral part in the growth and development of their nursing staff. She has worked in many different fields of nursing, such as pediatrics and emergency care, but found her true calling working in adolescent mental health.
Laura also oversees Ascend’s wonderful team of nurses who provide care to our clients 24 hours a day. She works closely with support staff to ensure that all of her clients’ medical and physical needs are being met ethically and professionally.
David comes to Ascend as a veteran clinician having worked extensively in prestigious treatment centers establishing clinical programming and overseeing all aspects of treatment from intake to discharge. David has a wealth of experience leading process, didactic and psychodynamic-oriented groups as well as individual and family therapy. He understands that the impact of trauma or severe life stressors can be profound. To that end, he brings to the table a nonjudgmental caring approach that is practical and solution oriented. Clients have described David as being direct, in the most gentle way. His greatest passion is to bring healing to people, helping them find a healthy perspective and strengthening their relationships with self and others. As a native Californian, David continues to support his local community. He is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and earned his master’s degree at Ryokan College.
Almost 30 years, over 15 million records, and a #1 chart-topping single later, Hernst was searching for more. As a result, he found his purpose in educating young songwriters, producers, and creatives by teaching mindfulness in creativity. His aim is to shift the artist mindset and perspective away from the negative stigmas of the music business by implementing mindfulness meditation. This training, along with other health and wellness practices, can help clear the mind and body so that people may channel creativity at will from within, as opposed to relying on outside stimuli.
Hernst is excited to join the Ascend team as an educator, putting his years of experience as a musician and teacher to good use and encouraging future generations to thrive.
Damilola has a Master of Science in Nursing from Charles Drew University, as well as a certification as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
from National University, San Diego. He spent several years as a medical assistant, behavioral therapist, and clinical nurse at various facilities and hospitals throughout Los Angeles, building up his experience with patients of all ages and medical concerns.
While at Ascend, Damilola hopes to utilize his experience to ensure appropriate social and emotional support for all our clients during their time in our residential treatment facilities.
As the mother of a three-year-old boy, she hopes that her experience in child rearing will complement her traditional school learning and strengthen her passion for helping young people and family systems.
As she works with her clients on radical acceptance, she utilizes a number of modalities, including CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Solution-Focused Family Therapy, and Psychoanalytic Family Therapy. Her goal is to help teens and their families explore transgenerational trauma and find healing from its negative effects. \=
Kathlyn began her career working with children and adolescents but has experience working with clients of all ages. She has helped clients through various forms of trauma, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other related disorders. She has joined the Ascend team as a Primary Therapist to help our clients pursue their own healing in mind, body, and spirit.
While the arts were a large influence in Ameesh’s life, he was also interested in mental health and mindfulness. He volunteered at LA’s Mental Health Awareness summer event in 2018, which sparked an interest in working with teens on their mental health. On his journey to learn more, he attended classes in meditation, sound baths, and yoga, and has a certificate as a Master in Reiki. Ameesh hopes to start on a degree in Psychology during his time at Ascend to gain even more skills that will help his clients thrive.
Ameesh is excited to be part of the Ascend team and is committed to using all of these skills to support the clients of Ascend. He wants to provide comprehensive guidance, support, and encouragement for anyone in residential treatment in order to facilitate their personal growth and healing.
Ann has a gentle yet direct approach. She realized that she likes working with adolescents while she was a health coach. She has done a significant amount of family work, especially in the realm of eating. Ann likes to work with adolescents as part of a family unit and teaching families how to empower themselves. Ann tries to work from a strength-based perspective, helping teens to find their voice based on their strengths, and empowering them to advocate for themselves. She meets clients where they are at and has a gentle, collaborative approach to empower teens to be able to help themselves.
One of her favorite things to see is when teens are finding a way to advocate for themselves within their family. She helps kids find their voice and become a full partner in family structures, ensuring families strive to take ownership of their own part in family dynamics.
Her client-centered approach to treatment involves creating an environment of respect and collaboration that empowers clients to be active participants in their therapeutic journey. More recently, Xena has undergone formal training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, an evidenced-based approach used to help individuals process and heal from trauma.
Xena currently serves as a primary therapist at Empress House, where she provides specialized support to teenagers struggling with substance use, behavioral challenges, and underlying mental health conditions. Her role involves working closely with adolescent clients who struggle with anxiety, depression, and trauma, recognizing that these conditions often contribute to their substance use. Her goal is to create a safe and supportive environment where her clients can heal and learn healthier coping skills to manage their mental well-being more effectively.
Melissa has experience providing individual therapy in a private practice setting to adolescents and adults experiencing mild to moderate mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, mood disorders, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Melissa was also a Rape Crisis Advocate for survivors of sfexual abuse and sex crimes in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
With an approach rooted in the mind-body connection, Melissa utilizes psychoeducation with individuals and families to inform and normalize their experiences. She utilizes evidence-based interventions including CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, and solution-focused approaches to generate meaningful change and encourage clients to draw upon their resiliency and strengths to cultivate healthy coping strategies.
Desteny currently holds an Associate Degree in Elementary Teacher Education and has been working with neurodiverse children for five years in both classroom and non-traditional class settings. She aspires to provide a safe space for all the teens at Ascend and use her experience to help them find the support they need to continue growing and thriving.
Kristina has an empathetic approach to therapy that is rooted in highlighting client and family strengths and their potential to reach their ultimate goals. She approaches all sessions from an intersectional lens, highlighting the importance of tailoring each treatment plan to the individual’s cultural background, race, identity, and life experience.
Kristina received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Channel Islands, and went on to achieve a Master’s Degree in Social Work from California State University, Northridge. Kristina is currently working towards licensure in the state of California.
Brittlyn’s therapeutic approach is based on empathy, understanding, and strengths. She also enjoys using motivational interviewing, CBT, DBT, and SFBT approaches and interventions as needed to meet client needs. She believes that each person has a story that makes them who they are today.
She is currently working toward becoming licensed as a clinical social worker in California.
Jenna serves her community and her Ascend clients with empathy and compassion, focusing on communication to build trust and rapport with teens and their families. She hopes to continue her education and become a true expert in her field.
Katy is an IATP Certified Clinical Trauma Professional that is also certified in Seeking Safety and Trauma Resiliency Model – Level 1, is working towards level 2, and then eventually becoming a trainer. Katy incorporates a strengths-based approach when using evidence-based modalities that are tailored to the individual client and family’s needs, such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Attachment-Based Family Therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis, Trauma Resiliency Model, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Katy believes in meeting clients and families where they are at, in a creative and empathetic manner to truly ignite change.
Katy is a Licensed Clinical Social worker who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Master’s Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University.
Daniel trained in IFS through IFSCA with two years of ongoing mentorship by Robert Falconer. He completed his undergrad work at SUNY Purchase and earned his Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. He is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. AMFT #130172.
In addition to working with adolescents at Ascend, Daniel has also founded over a dozen non-profit Mens Meditation Recovery groups in Los Angeles, where he hopes to transform how men view mental health and self-care.
Miriam marries empathy, curiosity, and humor with a clinical style rooted in mindfulness-based practices, attachment theory, psychodynamic theory, and depth psychology. She takes a holistic approach to her work, considering the mind, body, and spirit as she invites clients to explore blockages and challenges and create new paths and possibilities. Miriam utilizes depth and narrative therapy techniques, coupled with IFS, CBT, and DBT to assist clients in discovering and befriending their shadow side, learning to trust themselves and align with their values and purpose, breaking free of old wounding and thought patterns holding them back, establishing and nurturing healthy relationships, increasing self-esteem and self-worth, and creating the change they want to see in their lives.
At Ascend, Miriam works with individuals, families, and groups
Prior to beginning her doctorate, Kaylin also completed a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology. During this time, Kaylin worked with adolescents involved in the criminal justice system, as well as individuals in forensic hospital settings. Throughout her career, Kaylin worked with children and families in outpatient clinics and inpatient hospitalization programs, as well as youth in the foster care system and their families. Kaylin holds a certification in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) in and completed her doctoral project on the impact of childhood trauma on adolescent self-harm behaviors and suicidal ideation. Her work with adolescents and families is motivated by a desire to help others use their strengths to accomplish their therapeutic goals.
At Ascend, Kim is a Program Coordinator and also facilitates a weekly horticulture and insect group called “Bug Out!”
As she approaches therapy through a relational lens, Margaret relies heavily on the power of human connection. She incorporates CBT, DBT, ACT, Motivational Interviewing, and Family Systems interventions into her therapeutic approach to provide the leading evidence-based care for her clients. In guiding her clients with compassion and honesty, Margaret seeks to empower adolescents to overcome challenges, discover their true worth, and live boldly according to their values.
Erin has experience providing individual, couples, and family therapy in an outpatient setting to children, adolescents, and adults experiencing mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, eating disorders, disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders. Erin has also worked with the County of Los Angeles focusing on adults with severe and persistent mental illness, including mood, personality, bipolar, dissociative, psychotic, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. She has volunteered in various mental health settings since 2015, ranging from music therapy at rehabilitation centers, mentoring at risk homeless youth, and with individuals in crisis.
Erin is a compassion focused therapist and works from a strength-based and client centered framework. She incorporates CBT, DBT, solution focused therapy, family systems, and motivational interviewing into her therapeutic approach.
Along Erin’s journey, she has been passionate about working with adolescents. She joined the Ascend team as a Primary Therapist to help our clients rediscover their worth, raise their self-esteem, gain confidence, and create a life worth living.
As a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Ascend Healthcare, Torri believes in providing a holistic, patient centered, and individualized approach. She does this by collaborating closely with caregivers and therapists, obtaining thorough evaluations, reinforcing adaptive coping mechanisms, and closely monitoring responses to medications through weekly follow-up appointments.
At Ascend, Elika provides nutrition counseling to adolescents struggling with eating disorders and co-existing medical and psychiatric diagnoses. She customizes her approach to align with each client’s individual needs and circumstances, creating a safe space for them to explore their thoughts and emotions surrounding food and exercise.
Elika is dedicated to continuous learning and professional development and is currently in the process of earning her Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDs) credential. She is committed to staying up to date with the latest research and best practices in nutrition counseling, as she aspires to continuously refine her skills and better support her clients.
Anjuli currently holds a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music and hopes to incorporate music into her therapeutic work with the youth. Anjuli is deeply committed to utilizing every skill she’s acquired to better support Ascend’s clients, providing inspiration and encouragement as they navigate their treatment process.
Amy holds a Master’s of Social Work degree from Columbia University, and she also participated in a two-year post master’s extension program at a psychoanalytic institute in Los Angeles. Amy is a skilled psychotherapist who also works in private practice, specializing in anxiety and depressive disorders, family systems, trauma, and chronic and progressive illnesses.
Dr. Breitbart’s diverse experience includes serving as psychiatrist to Refuah Health Center, a community clinic in upstate New York; supporting the mental health of college students at the USC Engemann Student Counseling Center; serving as treating psychiatrist at The Achievable Foundation, a federally qualified health clinic serving individuals with developmental disabilities; and guiding a team at Liberty Healthcare transitioning adults from developmental centers into community settings.
Dr. Breitbart values the importance of working with interdisciplinary teams and partnering with family members and caregivers, an approach she initially developed in her first career as an oncology nurse and later refined as a psychiatrist to vulnerable populations. In addition to comprehensive clinical care, she provides relatability, empathy, and a strong focus on psycho-education. Her aim is to empower individuals to own their mental health trajectories.
Favorite quote: “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
A perpetual student, Laura has enjoyed studying trauma-informed care and multiple evidence-based modalities to inform additional approaches to her treatment methods. In groups and therapy sessions, Laura’s laid-back style and warm approach help to create safety for Ascend’s diverse client population.
Laura holds a Masters’s Degree in Social Work from New York University. Her experience is surpassed only by her desire to build rapport with clients so they may feel seen and heard as their authentic selves.
To collaborate with clients, Maya utilizes evidence-based practice interventions, while also focusing on the traditional principles. She also brings to the room her rich personal experience of
meditation and mindfulness from a Buddhist background.
Maya holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Washington, Seattle. She received her
M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles. Maya completed an
intensive psychodynamic internship at Airport Marina Counseling Service where she gained
experience working with young children, teens, adults, groups and families, experiencing a range of mood disorders, personality disorders, PTSD, Complex-PTSD, parenting issues, LGBTQIA+ issues, intergenerational trauma, and issues from a spectrum of abuse. She has also worked in the field of behavioral and mental health for children and their families in various schools across Los Angeles. Maya is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT 129588) registered to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.
Mary’s education includes expertise in a variety of evidence-based treatments, including DBT, CBT, ACT, and FBT. Her therapeutic approach is based in psychodynamic work with a strong focus on how the past informs the present. Mary incorporates skills and techniques from a multitude of modalities in order to individualize treatment and highlight a client-centered approach.
Since entering the field, she has been passionate about working with adolescents and setting individuals up on a healthy and happy trajectory towards adulthood. Mary recognizes this period of life as one marked with plasticity and opportunity for resilience, and is driven to work with clients to enact meaningful change.
Antonia is honored to be doing this work and is particularly excited to be working with teenagers, as they are at such an important crossroads in their lives. She loves deepening her understanding of humanity and finding new ways towards resilience and growth. She takes an eclectic approach to therapy and tailors her treatment plans to suit each individual and their needs. Antonia draws upon a vast well of past research and methodology including evidenced-based practices such as DBT and CBT; along with her training in relational-gestalt therapy, internal family systems therapy, and narrative therapy.
Antonia’s approach is trauma-informed, and she has experience working with clients who suffer from PTSD and complex PTSD. She has a special interest in attachment concerns and family dynamics.
Antonia is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT 134702) and an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC 12814).
After college, he worked in schools and homes as a behavior therapist assisting students with overcoming their academic and/or social challenges. In this position, he was able to identify evident disparities within the school district. This experience furthered his intent to assist those who are not able to access the necessary tools for a sustainable life. It was during this time that Derrick proposed developing a nonprofit to assist at-risk youth make better life choices. Derrick went back to school and received a Master’s in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding.
While at Ascend, Derrick is working on developing his nonprofit so he can help improve the socioeconomic health of communities and reduce the recidivism rate of at-risk youth while supporting them in becoming functioning members of society.
Marissa is skilled in treating individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, and trauma. She approaches therapy through a client-centered and strength-based approach. She believes that connecting to clients and providing them a safe space is one of the most essential parts of treatment. Marissa incorporates CBT, DBT, motivational interviewing, and family systems into her therapeutic approach, providing evidence based care for her Clients while building authentic connections.
During his career, Emmanuel has conducted intensive individual and group counseling work utilizing Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. In addition, Emmanuel has also provided Solution-Focused and Narrative Therapy to students and families of the San Bernardino City Unified School District to enhance their understanding of student social, emotional, and physical well-being, including awareness of depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, and other mental health barriers.
As a psychotherapist, Emmanuel uses a neutral, strength-based, relational approach through DBT, ACT, CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and/or Narrative Therapy. His goal is to ensure clients feel empowered to create meaning in the life that they live, guiding adolescents, families, and adults to regulate their emotions, tolerate their distress, and process hardships. In his role as a Therapist at Ascend, he strives to maximize every client’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being through mindfulness, patience, accountability, hope, and connection.
During his leisure time, Emmanuel enjoys hiking in nature, traveling on road trips, backpacking in different countries, physical fitness, raising his Siberian husky, and embracing the present moment through laughter with loved ones.
Stephanie is a compassionate and dedicated therapist with experience in supporting individuals with anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. She has a strong commitment to cultural sensitivity and inclusivity, creating a safe and non-judgmental environment for clients and families to feel valued and understood.
Stephanie recognizes that each client’s journey is unique and tailors her approach to meet individual needs and preferences. She remains committed to promoting mental wellness and empowering clients and families to overcome their challenges with her support.
Taylor hopes to foster a safe place for each individual kid to express themselves and rediscover their talents. She believes that if young people can find their determination to learn no one can stop them. Taylor strives to maintain a positive environment for these kids to grow while also upholding the structure they need to learn discipline. She hopes to continue to support and help kids and teens for many years to come.