Our Staff

Senior Clinical Staff::

Dr. Karlyn Pleasants, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist - Executive Clinical Director

Dr. Karlyn Pleasants, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist : Executive Clinical Director
Dr. Pleasants has a long-standing history with the Hanbleceya community dating back to 1997 when she first began as a psychological assistant. Over the years she has held many different posts before signing on in 2005 as Hanbleceya's newest director. She maintains a rich clinical background of experience with complex and challenging cases, including thought and mood disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders and traumatic stress. Dr. Pleasants believes in the ability to heal through the empowerment of personal strengths, encouraging the confidence to take risks and by teaching oneself to both give and receive support. She looks forward to advancing the Hanbleceya vision and continuing to provide a safe space for people to learn, grow and heal. Karlyn is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist (PSY19378).

Kayla Karesh, M.A.T., M.A., Licensed M.F.T. - Clinical Director

Kayla Karesh, M.A.T., M.A., Licensed M.F.T. : Clinical Director
A native San Diegan, Kayla moved to the Los Angeles area where she completed a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in Theology, and a master’s in Marital and Family Therapy with specialized training in Clinical Art Therapy. She began working in the mental health field in 2001 and has experience in residential, hospital, family clinic, school, and private practice settings. Kayla specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and accompanying mood, thought, trauma and substance abuse disorders. She primarily draws upon psychoanalysis, family systems, and attachment theory for case conceptualization, and she is skilled at using a variety of therapeutic techniques, particularly the modality of art therapy. Kayla seeks to foster an environment of warmth and safety where clients build on their strengths, heal from past wounds, and transform maladaptive patterns into healthy functioning. She enjoys, music, art, and outdoor adventures. Kayla joined the Hanbleceya team in December 2010. Kayla is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC48030) and Registered Art Therapist (11-018).

On-Site Psychiatry::

Mario Salguero, M.D., Ph.D. - Independent Psychiatrist

Mario Salguero, M.D., Ph.D. : Independent Psychiatrist
Dr. Salguero graduated from the University of Guadalajara Medical School after which he earned a Diploma of Clinical Nutrition at the National Institute of Nutrition and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in Medicine, with a focus on personalized medicine and the clinical applications of genetic polymorphisms and epigenetics. Mario completed his Psychiatry Residency at the University of California at San Diego, where he received, the “Best Resident Clinician” award three years in a row and the prestigious “Lewis L. Judd” Research Award for his research in implementing a mindfulness self-compassion intervention for residents. Mario has authored articles and chapters in scientific journals and in textbooks and fostered international collaborations, especially around integrative medicine. A Voluntary Assistant Clinical Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine, Mario supervises residents in training. In addition, he has a Private Practice with a focus in personalizing the relationship with patients, promoting self-healing and integrating treatments from different healing disciplines as evidence supports. He is also Attending and Director of ASU-1 unit at Aurora Behavioral Hospital in San Diego and carries weekly office hours at Hanbleceya. Dr. Salguero appreciates establishing a balance between work and spending time with his family. Together, they enjoy walks on the beach, riding bikes and playing soccer, and take pleasure in traveling, trying new food and meeting people from different cultures.

Dr. Aneita Rashford, M.D. - Independent Psychiatrist

Dr. Aneita Rashford, M.D. : Independent Psychiatrist
Dr. Rashford grew up outside Charleston, SC in a rural community. Both her parents are immigrants from the Caribbean and worked in the medical field. Early on, she developed a passion for medicine and helping people. She majored in psychology at Yale University for her undergraduate degree and obtained her medical degree at Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Rashford completed her psychiatry residency and child fellowship at UCSD. Since then she has worked extensively with child and adolescent populations in community clinics, residential facilities, specialized foster care programs, school based settings, and juvenile probation. Currently she spends part of her time working at the state prison and the school district. Dr. Rashford believes in a holistic approach to mental wellbeing that involves the individual, their family, and community. She is dedicated to seeing her patients overcome the challenges that accompany mental illness and help them achieve their best level of functioning. During off hours, Dr. Rashford volunteers as a clinical supervisor for UCSD Child fellowship program. She enjoys cycling, involvement in her church community, and traveling to the east coast to maintain her position as favorite auntie. She also travels abroad regularly to volunteer and consult at an orphanage in Guatemala and a children’s feeding program in Kenya. She is very excited to join the Hanbleceya team and participate in the great work that they do.

Clinical Leadership::

Breanne Dargon, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. - Program Director

Breanne Dargon, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. : Program Director
Born and raised in Southern California, Breanne graduated from San Diego State University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. During her education at San Diego State University she studied abroad in Florence, Italy where she realized her passion for culture and diversity. It was through Breanne’s education and experience that sparked her interest in working with the mentally ill population. It is from these experiences at Hanbleceya a general desire to help others has been achieved. Breanne received her Masters in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of San Diego. Breanne joined the Hanbleceya team in September of 2007. Breanne is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT99204).

Stephanie Coyle, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. - Lead Clinician of Milieu Services

Stephanie Coyle, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. : Lead Clinician of Milieu Services
Born and raised in Edwardsville, Illinois, just outside St. Louis, Missouri, Stephanie left home to attend the University of Colorado in Boulder where she received her Bachelor’s Degrees in Psychology and English. After several years of working in marketing and sales, Stephanie moved to San Diego in 2008 and worked as the director of a national communication and assertion program for families, based on Carl Rogers’ humanistic approach. It was at this point she decided to pursue a career in therapy where she could work more closely with families. Stephanie then returned to school to receive her Master’s in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy. Stephanie joined the Hanbleceya community in August 2010. A competitive rower, she also enjoys skiing, cooking, and playing the piano in her free time. Stephanie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT85956).

Core Clinical Staff::

Jeff Williams, LCSW - Clinical Supervisor

Jeff Williams, LCSW : Clinical Supervisor
A California native, Jeff moved to San Diego in 1994 to attend Point Loma Nazarene University, where he earned undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Theology. In 2005, he relocated to Virginia where he attended Virginia Commonwealth University and earned his MSW. His work in the field began in 2002 and includes experience in residential, primary care, community services, and in-home settings. Over the years, Jeff has come to a firm believe that family healing can lead to individual healing. Safety, acceptance, and identity are a few themes he finds particularly powerful within the therapeutic process. In his free time, Jeff enjoys time with family and friends, working in the yard, music, and imagining random possibilities. Jeff is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCS 28894).

Diandra Medina, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. - Therapist

Diandra Medina, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. : Therapist
Diandra was born in San Diego, but grew up in central California. She returned to San Diego to complete her Bachelors in Psychology at UCSD. Her work experience with Hanbleceya started in 2008 when over the course of a couple of years she held different roles in the community including milieu staff support and house management. In 2010, she moved to Portland, OR where she worked with severely emotionally disturbed children. Prior to returning to Hanbleceya as a clinician in 2015, Diandra worked with the dual diagnosed population throughout multiple programs in the San Diego county as well as completed her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Alliant International University. Diandra is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT 96724).

Moises Estrada, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. - Therapist

Moises Estrada, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. : Therapist
Moises received his BA in Psychology from California State University Sacramento and his Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University in San Diego. He is currently studying at the California School of Forensic Studies program pursuing his doctorate in Clinical Forensic Psychology. Moises has worked in various community-based settings in San Diego and is experience in providing treatment for at-risk adolescents and their families as well as individuals with chronic mental illness. He has worked in an acute psychiatric facility and at Donovan State Prison providing individual and group therapy, as well as structured psychological evaluations for inmates. Prior to joining the clinical staff at Hanbleceya, Moises worked in a long-term IMD setting conducting comprehensive behavioral health assessments, group therapy, treatment planning, and orchestrating weekly treatment team meetings with clients to discuss their progress. He has a passion for providing treatment for individuals with chronic mental illness and has aspirations to one day have his own private practice and administer psychological testing as a consultant and expert witness. Moises is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT100386).

Jason Stein, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. - Therapist

Jason Stein, M.A., Licensed M.F.T. : Therapist
Jason was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Butte, Montana and Aurora, Colorado. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and his Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has worked in several residential settings including High Plains Youth Facility, New Alternatives, Inc.’s Herrick Children’s Center, and the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital, as well as outpatient settings such as AIDS Project Los Angeles, and Community Research Foundation’s Isis and Vista Balboa crisis homes. He has worked with children, couples, and families from various ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds for over 20 years. He has been a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT43428) for over ten years, and is happy to be a part of Hanbleceya’s therapeutic community.

Kaely Hall, MSW, ASW - Therapist

Kaely Hall, MSW, ASW : Therapist
Having grown up in a military family, Kaely spent the majority of her years in New Jersey. In 2006, she attended Rutgers University where she double-majored in Social Work and Cultural Anthropology. Her passion for helping others led her to working with various populations including children diagnosed with emotional/behavioral disorders and intellectual disabilities, gang-affiliated teens, individuals struggling with homelessness and adults with disabilities. During college, Kaely became interested in Applied Medical Anthropology, which seeks to understand how cultures define health, disease and illness and the healing practices that result from those understandings. In 2008, this interest led her to Kenya where she studied local healing practices. Kaely completed her Bachelor’s Degree in 2010 with honors. While pursuing her Masters of Clinical Social Work at Fordham University, and having developed a passion for making an impact in the lives of others, she interned at a mental health center for survivors of recurrent trauma. In 2015 she completed post graduate coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. Kaely brings a whole-person therapeutic perspective to her work with clients, seeking to understand how they define well-being while combining behavioral activation and psychotherapy techniques into the therapeutic process. Kaely is an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW33777) under the supervision of Kayla Karesh, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC 48030)

Taylor Stead, M.A., MFTI - Residential Program Manager / Therapist

Taylor Stead, M.A., MFTI : Residential Program Manager / Therapist
Taylor was born and raised in North County San Diego where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Counseling at California State University San Marcos. As a student she devoted her time to volunteering as a case manager working to connect the homeless to resources in the area and providing support for survivors of sexual assault. Through her education and experiences, she discovered her passion for helping others and decided to pursue a career in counseling. Taylor graduated with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family therapy from the University of San Diego. She has experience in public mental health, which includes work with individuals, couples, and families affected by chronic mental illness. In her free time Taylor enjoys running half marathons, reading fiction novels, watching football and spending time with her pets and family. Taylor joined the Hanbleceya staff in August 2015. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern (IMF 88306) under the supervision of Kayla Karesh, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC 48030).

Brooke Stephens, M.A., MFTI - Therapist

Brooke Stephens, M.A., MFTI : Therapist
Brooke was born and raised in Southern Kentucky and moved to Knoxville, TN where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Pre-Medicine Concentration. During her education at the University of Tennessee, Brooke discovered her passion for helping others through volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Clinic Vols. Through her work as a case manager and a Child Protective Services Investigator, Brooke gained extensive experience in public mental health and in the state judicial system, which includes work with children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and families. She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology, specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, San Diego. In her free time, Brooke enjoys going to the beach, hiking, and spending time with family and friends. Brooke joined the Hanblceya team in August of 2015. Brooke is a Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern (IMF94588) under the supervision of Kayla Karesh, M.A.T., M.A., LMFT (MFC 48030).

Rob Martin, M.A., MFTI - Therapist

Rob Martin, M.A., MFTI : Therapist
Rob grew up in New Hampshire and California. This dynamic experience exposed him to all that the East and West coast cultures have to offer. He earned his BA at San Jose State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Business Management. He earned his MA in Counseling Psychology with a Specialization in Professional Clinical Counseling at John F. Kennedy University. Rob spent 2 years studying Ayurveda and Yoga followed by a one year internship with a local practitioner. Rob has also been an avid Buddhist practitioner for 13 years and spent 6 of those years living and studying in a Buddhist meditation house. Rob was fortunate enough to be able to teach various psychology classes at several high schools in Santa Cruz over the course of 5 semesters. Rob is passionate about helping others relieve their suffering and learn how to continuously work towards their healthiest and happiest selves. His professional experience began working with children/teenagers aged 6-18 and their families. During this time Rob was able to work with many good people including those recovering from trauma, experiencing depression, anxiety, ADHD, defiant behavior, autism, psychosis, gang-affiliation, homelessness, and poverty. In his free time Rob loves to play guitar, listen to live music, go hiking, travel, and consume various genres of books and movies. Rob is a Marriage and Family Therapy Registered Intern (IMF86470) under the supervision of Supervised by Jeff Williams, LCSW (LCS 28894).

Caralie Hammer, M.A., MFTI - Therapist

Caralie Hammer, M.A., MFTI : Therapist
A San Diego native, Caralie received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from San Diego State University. Having a deep passion for relational work and helping others, she continued her education in Marriage and Family Therapy receiving her Master’s Degree at Alliant International University in San Diego. Prior to joining the clinical staff at Hanbleceya, Caralie has worked with diverse patient populations both in the San Diego area – at a local substance abuse treatment center, family clinic, private practice and an Intensive Outpatient Program – and abroad, facilitating couple’s workshops in Malaysia. Her experience helping a variety of populations has provided cultural understanding and deep empathy for those struggling with severe depression, trauma and family discord. As a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (#89480), Caralie specializes in couples, families and individuals who have struggled with substance use, trauma, anxiety, depression, infidelity, and dual diagnosis disorders.

Caralie believes in cultivating a warm and supportive therapeutic environment that provides encouragement and safety throughout the therapy process. She believes in the healing power of positive human connection, and draws upon attachment theory and experiential techniques to foster growth and transformation. Caralie is inspired daily by the resilience of the human spirit and the bravery her patients demonstrate in embarking on the difficult but necessary work of self-examination. She is committed to helping patient’s achieve total healing – mind, body, and spirit – and is delighted to work with a collaborative group of exceptional practitioners. In her free time, Caralie enjoys traveling, cooking, yoga, and spending time with friends and family.

Heather Spann, M.A., MFTI - Therapist

Heather Spann, M.A., MFTI : Therapist
Heather was born and raised in Southern California. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts/Studio Arts with an emphasis in Sculpture. During her time living, working, and studying for her graduate degree in Fine Arts in Eskisehir, Turkey at Anadolu University, Heather recalled her interest in Art Therapy and the viable need for treating the whole being. At this point Heather returned to graduate school at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles to pursue a rigorous study program in Marriage and Family Therapy and Art Psychotherapy. Through her work as a therapist with children and adolescents in gang culture in Los Angeles, her extensive experience working in a hospital setting with all populations including chronic mental illness, military, children, adolescents, and geriatric, as well as her experience working with addiction, couples, and families, Heather has found herself here with the Hanbleceya team. Heather has additional training/experience in Hypnotherapy, Intuitive Counseling, Yoga Therapy, Trauma, and Social Anxiety. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time in nature, dancing, viewing and making art, reading, and continued learning within varied workshops and trainings. Heather joined the Hanblceya team in May of 2017. Heather is an Art Therapist and Marriage & Family Therapist Registered Intern (IMFT 78197, ATCB# 13-073) under the supervision of Kayla Karesh, M.A.T., M.A., LMFT (MFC 48030).

Dr. Danielle Dellner, Ph.D. - Therapist

Dr. Danielle Dellner, Ph.D. : Therapist
Dr. Danielle Dellner is a licensed clinical psychologist who brings over a decade of experience working with individuals and families in mental health settings. Danielle graduated from UCLA with a degree in Anthropology and Education before receiving her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology (Alliant) in Los Angeles. Danielle worked as a clinician at Hanbleceya for many years, including her role as Associate Program Director from January 2014-August 2015 and Clinical Director at Helix Healing & Recovery from September 2015 to April 2016.

Danielle is a National Outdoor Leadership School alumnus and is a behavioral health provider for Wounded Warrior Project supporting Project Odyssey retreats and offering individual and family therapy for combat veterans. Danielle is an experienced hiker, backpacker and skier who is passionate about bringing clinical expertise to the outdoors and getting clients outside and grounded! Danielle’s current goal is to become an American Mountain Guide Association certified instructor.

Marquis Leauma, B.A., MFT Trainee - Therapist

Marquis Leauma, B.A., MFT Trainee : Therapist
Being raised in a military family, Marquis spent most of his years in Seattle, WA, Monterey, CA and moved permanently to the San Diego area in 2003. In 2010, Marquis completed his BA in psychology and a minor in communications from Tabor College in Kansas. Upon his return to San Diego, Marquis’ professional experience began working with at risk youth in the juvenile system ages 9 to 18 years of age. From there he serviced the elderly population with moderate to severe Alzheimer’s. Thereafter, his work as a case manager at the San Diego Regional Center provided him with extensive experience with county health services that included working with persons with dual diagnosis, autism spectrum disorder, and mild to severe intellectual disabilities. Currently, Marquis is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology; specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, San Diego. In his free time Marquis enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and spending time with his family and pets. Marquis is a Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee under the supervision of Karlyn Pleasants, PsyD (PSY19378).

Joey Guzman-Kuffel, B.A., MFT Trainee - Therapist

Joey Guzman-Kuffel, B.A., MFT Trainee : Therapist
Joey is a Southern California native; born and raised in Los Angeles. He began working in the service of others as a medical interpreter for Spanish-Speaking clients in 1997. Simultaneously, he worked as a licensed cosmetologist helping to improve his client’s self-confidence by creating physical makeovers that improved self-image. In combination with verbal counseling many of his cosmetology clients reported an increase in self-esteem. His experience as a medical interpreter and licensed cosmetologist fed Joey's passion for helping others and led him to pursue a Psychology degree. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University, Los Angeles in 2012. Following graduation, Joey remained in the Los Angeles area and became a full time Behavior Specialist for autistic children applying ABA techniques and as a Child and Family Specialist providing behavior interventions for at risk youth. Joey is currently attending Argosy University, San Diego pursing a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. In his free time, Joey enjoys traveling, hiking, spending time with family and dancing. Joey is a Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee under the supervision of Karlyn Pleasants, PsyD (PSY19378).

James Hanson, B.A., MFT Trainee - Therapist

James Hanson, B.A., MFT Trainee : Therapist
James was born in Northern California and grew up primarily in Idaho. He moved to San Diego 11 years ago to be closer to family. James received his Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University San Marcos and is currently a graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Degree program at Alliant International University in San Diego California. James found his passion for helping others in the mental health area of study in his undergraduate program. Prior to joining the clinical team at Hanbleceya, James worked as a residential caregiver in our Milieu support staff. In his free time, James enjoys activities centering around the ocean or rock climbing. He also loves cooking for friends and family and is an avid runner. James is a Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee under the supervision of Stephanie Coyle, MA (LMFT 85956).

Julia Simone, B.A., MFT Trainee - Therapist

Julia Simone, B.A., MFT Trainee : Therapist
Julia is originally from Napa, California. As a high school and college student Julia was on several athletics teams including soccer, basketball, baseball and softball. Through her experiences as a team member and youth coach she realized her love of empowering others thorough strength-based learning. Julia earned her B.A. at UC San Diego in Communications. After years in this field, she realized her true happiness stemmed from volunteer work with foster youth, older adults and the LGBTQ community. She is currently a student in the Masters in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Alliant International University in San Diego. Julia spends her free time with friends and family, performs improv comedy and enjoys the many outdoor activities San Diego offers. Julia is a Marriage and Family Therapy Trainee under the supervision of Stephanie Coyle (LMFT85956).

Lead Residential Team::

Stephanie Marsella, B.A. - Residential Operations Coordinator (ClearBridge)

Stephanie Marsella, B.A. : Residential Operations Coordinator (ClearBridge)
Born and raised in San Diego, Stephanie adventured up the coast to attend the University of California, Santa Cruz where she earned her Bachelors degree in Psychology. During her undergrad, Stephanie volunteered at a homeless shelter helping run the after school program and interned at a residential facility for adults with severe mental illness. Her education and experiences shaped her passion of helping others as well as her belief in the importance of being part of a community for at risk and mental health populations. In her spare time, she enjoys anything beach related, hiking, running and spending time with family and friends.

Mary McWalters, B.A. - Residential Operations Coordinator (VisionQuest)

Mary McWalters, B.A. : Residential Operations Coordinator (VisionQuest)
Mary was born in San Diego and graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. During her time as a Triton she was a member of the women's collegiate soccer team. On top of her academic and athletic commitments she enjoyed volunteering for various organizations in the local community including the American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), and R.E.I.N.S. (equine therapy for individuals on the Autism spectrum). She also interned at a counseling center that provided intensive group therapy for sexual offenses and domestic violence. Some of Mary's hobbies include meditation, world travel, the beach, finding unique local eateries and spending time with her family. Her passion for the field of mental health has motivated her to pursue her Master's Degree in Social Work in the near future.

Billal Michael - Residential Medication Coordinator

Billal Michael : Residential Medication Coordinator
Billal, a native to southern California recently joined the Hanbleceya Team in August of 2016. Coming from a non-profit organization, he worked as an Enrollment Specialist serving San Diego’s low-income and homeless population by enrolling them in county programs such as Calfresh, Medi-Cal and Covered California. He has experience working with developmentally disabled adults in both treatment centers and in residential facilities. He loves working for Hanbleceya because its unique culture promotes personal empowerment and a balanced life for its clients. In his spare time he enjoys almost anything Sci-fi related, concerts, basketball, and spending time with his family.

Healthcare Team::

Daja Cayetano - Medication Support Coordinator

Daja Cayetano : Medication Support Coordinator
Born and raised in San Diego, Daja is our Medication Support Coordinator. She joined Hanbleceya after having worked multiple years with geriatric patients with Alzheimer's and dementia. Daja hopes to pursue her goal of becoming an RN with a specialization in pediatrics. In her free time she enjoys spending time at the baseball field with her husband and two kids.

Susana Rubio - Healthcare Coordinator

Susana Rubio : Healthcare Coordinator
Susana is a San Diego native who has been working in the administrative medical field for over 19 years. Most recently she worked for a small private group of oncologists in the south bay; There she worked in a diverse oncology/ hematology office for twelve years with a passion for being of assistance to others in need. She is excited to join the community based Hanbleceya culture and believes in the loving, supportive and openness of the Hanbleceya philosophy. Her favorite things are baseball, cooking, walking her bulldog Luna, her two boys, painting, music and exploring beautiful San Diego.

Nutrition Sub-Program::

Ursula Ridens, RDN - Lead Dietitian

Ursula Ridens, RDN : Lead Dietitian
Born and raised in San Diego, Ursula graduated from San Diego State University in 1999 and became a registered dietitian in 2000. Her work experience, including clinical dietitian for Sharp Healthcare, Nutrition Director for a residential eating disorder treatment program, and private practice dietitian, gives her an appreciation of working collaboratively with the Hanbleceya team. Ursula’s passion for connecting with clients and understanding their health goals is fundamental in leading to positive outcomes. Her non-diet approach provides a unique look at lifestyle choices and movement towards balance between food and activity. Ursula’s specialty areas are working with those who struggle with eating disorders and weight issues. Knowing that changing eating and exercise patterns can be overwhelming and daunting, her authentic and compassionate ways help clients to take realistic steps towards mindful eating, challenge unrealistic expectations and irrational food beliefs, as well as build body confidence. Ursula is a Registered Dietitian (CDR877959).

McKenzie Damuth, RDN - Program Dietitian

McKenzie Damuth, RDN : Program Dietitian
McKenzie was born and raised in Texas. She graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Samford University in Birmingham, AL, in May 2014 and is now a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. While working in a treatment center for eating disorders, her interest in mental health and the healing process grew. She is currently working on her masters in public health and has an interest in preventative health and wellness within the community. Her passion for delicious, yet healthful food push her to teach others about incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their daily lives. In her free time, McKenzie enjoys exploring San Diego, eating new foods, exercising and participating in her local church.

Addiction Sub-Program::

Ben Krause - Addictions Program Coordinator

Ben Krause : Addictions Program Coordinator
Ben, originally from Minneapolis Minnesota, attended St. Johns Northwestern Military Academy where he learned leadership, discipline and graduated with 4 years of JROTC training. He became an ISA certified arborist and traveled the country nurturing his love for climbing trees, logging, nature, and the outdoors. After years of misfortune with his own mental illness and chemical dependency, he committed his life to giving back to those who have yet to overcome the same struggles he has faced. His extensive life experience helps him to connect to those in need, which has made him a great asset to the team when he began his journey at Hanbleceya. Ben was hired on as Milieu Support Staff and was quickly promoted to CD case manager, then to Senior CD Case Manager and is now the Chemical Dependency Program Coordinator. He is currently enrolled in college and working on his degree in the AODS program (Alcohol & Other Drugs Study). He volunteers his time in the community helping others and is an active member of a Recovery Convention Committee. He enjoys surfing, snowboarding, rock climbing, golfing, and volleyball.

Keith Pratt, CADC-II - Addictions Counselor

Keith Pratt, CADC-II : Addictions Counselor
Keith was born in Worthington, Minnesota, and has an older brother and sister.  The family moved to California in 1960, so Keith was raised in San Diego.  His early interests were in how things worked, which usually involved taking things apart.  Ultimately, he received a BS degree in computer science, and was building a successful career in the software development field.  Keith then encountered a rough patch of road in his personal and professional lives.  After finding his path of recovery, with the help of caring professionals, he realized he was much more interested in how people worked vs. how things worked.  Keith returned to school for certification in alcohol and drug counseling, and is now a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-II #A022200616).  He has been working in the field for several years.  Keith is grateful to have the opportunity to help others find their path in recovery.  He makes his home in North County, and enjoys hiking and photography, as well as reading fiction.  Perhaps his most notable hike was to Havasu Falls with his sons (twice!).  Keith is blessed with two sons and two grandsons.

Lauren Sampson - Addictions Counselor - Registered Student Intern

Lauren Sampson : Addictions Counselor - Registered Student Intern
Born and raised in San Diego CA, Lauren is currently attending San Diego City College, where she is majoring in Psychology and working towards her degree in the AODS program (Alcohol & Other Drug Studies). Throughout various life experiences, Lauren gained a sense of empathy, compassion and insight towards helping others. Lauren also has extensive experience working with the 12 step model of recovery treatment and applies her life experiences to helping those who are struggling with the same problems she once faced. In her pursuit to help others, Lauren has volunteered her time with various homeless outreach programs and throughout the community. Some of Lauren’s hobbies include hiking, yoga, meditation, painting and spending time with her family. Lauren is an Addictions Counselor Registered Student Intern #10221-R.

Equine Therapy Sub-Program::

Kathy Plaisted, M.A. - Equine-Assisted Psychotherapist

Kathy Plaisted, M.A. : Equine-Assisted Psychotherapist
Kathy holds a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Organizational Psychology. She is an active member of the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and holds certifications in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine-Assisted Personal Development. Kathy has worked in a number of settings including private practice, colleges, churches, and other non-profits and is known for her success with clients who have failed to thrive in the traditional “office therapy” environment. She has a long history of providing support within the community including more than 25 years of counseling and outreach services to youth and young adult survivors of trauma, those suffering from mental health disorders, the blind and disabled, as well as those just wanting to overcome life’s challenges. Kathy has been a part of the Hanbleceya community since 2007.

Physical Wellness Sub-Program::

John Malcolm - Physical Wellness Coordinator

John Malcolm : Physical Wellness Coordinator
A native of San Diego, John has committed himself to a life of health and fitness. He believes the only way to true physical health is through a combination of healthy eating and regular physical activity. John received his Personal Training Certification in 2009 and shortly thereafter became the MMA Director at a local San Diego athletic club. In his fitness career, John has taught over 4000 fitness classes and has been training and teaching the martial arts since 1990 (Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Wrestling, Judo, Self-Defense). He gets tremendous joy from teaching women's self defense classes. In his spare time, John enjoys reading a good book, spending time with his beautiful fiancé and paling around with his canine compadres.

Lead Support Staff::

Yvonne Walsh, L.P.T. - Director of Milieu Support Services

Yvonne Walsh, L.P.T. : Director of Milieu Support Services
Yvonne began working at the Hanbleceya program in October 1989, one month after being licensed as a Psychiatric Technician. As a key member of the Hanbleceya Line Staff support team, Yvonne provides an important source of support for clients who struggle to stay in balance on a daily basis. Her efforts toward making special activities and outings a success are invaluable. Yvonne's talents are many and varied. Her current role in the company is to provide semi-independent living services to our clients in addition to acting as a sort of liaison between the client and their Psychiatrist. Her empathic and compassionate way of connecting creates a sense of safety and consistency for all those she interacts with. She is frequently successful in reaching people others cannot. Yvonne's worldview and spirituality make her the natural person to be our community's "Keeper of the Traditions." It is her knowledge of Native American philosophy and symbolism, as well as her understanding of the principles upon which the Hanbleceya community was formed, that enable us to remember and celebrate our roots. Our celebrations and ceremonies all reinforce the concept of community - many people helping each other. Yvonne is a Licensed Psychiatric Technician (PT27612).

Kevin Bullard, A.S. - Facilities Director

Kevin Bullard, A.S. : Facilities Director
Kevin has dedicated his life to giving back to the community and helping others. Earning an A.S. degree in criminal justice, Kevin graduated salutatorian of his class. Today he continues his education in pursuit of a B.A. in psychology. Kevin has extensive knowledge of the 12 step-recovery model and volunteers his time as a member of San Diego's public information committee for young people in which he visits schools and speaks to students on the seriousness of drug addiction and alcoholism. A member of the Hanbleceya team since April 2008, Kevin's life experiences and past challenges are a source of inspiration to both himself and those he supports around him.

Michaela Zermeno - Milieu Director

Michaela Zermeno : Milieu Director
Michaela was born and raised in San Diego, but lived in Mexico for some time. She has worked in the banking, real estate, mortgage and property management industries. She also started a small business from her home and worked as a contract mobile notary specializing in mortgage documents while working on her undergraduate studies in psychology. She is currently working on obtaining a Bachelor's degree in psychology and enjoys helping clients learn new skills and helping them use the skills they already have to be productive in treatment and in life. In her spare time, Michaela enjoys spending time with her family, exercising and cooking.

Keely Johnson, B.S. - Work Development Coordinator

Keely Johnson, B.S. : Work Development Coordinator
Keely was born and raised in Montana. However, her small town life style did not stop her from graduating from Rutgers University in New Jersey in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. During this journey, Keely gained experience as a research assistant for a Emotion and Psychopathology lab and as an intern for Rutgers Adult Inpatient Unit. Keely moved to San Diego in 2015 and became apart of the Hanbleceya team. She enjoys helping clients to develop skills related to work, school, and independent living. Her hope is to attend graduate school for psychology and continue her education. In her spare time, Keely enjoys paddle boarding, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Administration & Admissions Staff::

Kerry Paulson, B.S. - CEO

Kerry Paulson, B.S. : CEO
A native of San Diego, Kerry graduated from San Diego State University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science. After 6 years working in corporate America, Kerry co-founded Fitness For Her, a small chain of women's health clubs in the San Diego area. For one decade his health clubs provided a safe and upscale environment for women to stay fit and enjoy exercise. Kerry's extensive business background along with his own 12-step recovery experience has played a significant role in helping him guide the growth of Hanbleceya. Kerry has a daughter, three black Labrador sons, and a psychologist wife. In his spare time he enjoys working out & eating, playing golf and spending quality time with his four-legged (and two-legged) family members.

Meagan Benner, B.A. - Director of Admissions

Meagan Benner, B.A. : Director of Admissions
Born and raised in a small town in Maine, Meagan moved to San Diego in 2008 after receiving her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Holistic & Integrative Studies from the University of Maine. She has served in many different capacities including supervisor at Hanbleceya's VisionQuest Adult Residential Facility and Milieu Support Staff Supervisor. Because of her dedication and knowledge of the program, Meagan was the perfect choice for Director of Admissions. Dedicated to continuing her work with helping the mentally ill population, she hopes to return to school to earn her degree in Naturopathic Medicine. Meagan's career goal is to open a practice that utilizes conventional medicine, natural healing modalities and behavioral therapy. Meagan joined the Hanbleceya team in May of 2009. Meagan is also a certified Feng Shui consultant, which she practices in her spare time.

Katherine Wheaton - Admissions Coordinator

Katherine Wheaton : Admissions Coordinator
A native of San Diego, Katherine joined the Hanbleceya team in July 2011. With 30 years of administrative, marketing and business, Katherine has worked for a variety of companies, including Fortune 100s and non-profits. Combined with her own extensive experience of 12 Step recovery and meditation/mindfulness training, Katherine brings a unique skill set to the team. Passionate about helping others, she is very active in the local recovery community and volunteers with groups freely sharing meditation/mindfulness practice. Katherine is also a classically-trained musician and enjoys playing guitar in her spare time.

Christian Bumpous, B.S. - Admissions Coordinator

Christian Bumpous, B.S. : Admissions Coordinator
Christian Bumpous was born in Germany where he spent the first twenty years of his life. He joined Hanbleceya after having worked with a variety of populations ranging from children and young adults with developmental disabilities, to people with serious mental illness, to flight attendants and pilots having suffered from traumatic experiences to hospice patients. Christian has dedicated his professional career to help people live a rich, fulfilled and meaningful life. Having worked at other therapeutic communities, Christian knows that true recovery can only occur in a community. In his spare time, Christian is a passionate triathlete and finds joy in playing the piano, guitar, and spending time outdoors with friends and family. Christian joined the Hanbleceya community in February 2014.

Tanya Lutz, CADC-II - Director of Administrative Operations

Tanya Lutz, CADC-II : Director of Administrative Operations
Tanya has been a dedicated employee of Hanbleceya since September 2006. Her educational background includes a Psychology major at Mesa College, a Certificate in Phlebotomy, and extensive personal knowledge of 12-step recovery programs. Working as a professional, she has supervision experience at a residential dual diagnosis treatment facility, and has acted on the fund raising board for Turning Point Recovery Home for Women. Most notably, Tanya enjoys helping clients learn semi-independent living skills so they can live a well balanced, fulfilling, and productive life. By focusing on the safety and well being of each client and their individual needs, Tanya has created great value for herself in the Hanbleceya community. Tanya is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (A020500815).

Nathalia Luz - Adminstrative Coordinator

Nathalia Luz : Adminstrative Coordinator
Nathalia Luz was born in Brazil and spent the first 19 years of her life there until she moved to San Diego in 1999. Before joining Hanbleceya, she spent 9 years working in the Administrative field, including working as an Administrative Coordinator and Bookkeeper for a Software Engineer and Administrative Assistant in a Law Firm.

Diane Worley - Assistant Administrative Coordinator

Diane Worley : Assistant Administrative Coordinator
Diane, a native to southern California, joined the Hanbleceya Team in March of 2014. Coming from Corporate America and new to working in the Mental Healthcare Community, Diane has eased into her position as Administrative Support nicely. She brings a smile to the Reception Desk and enjoys helping staff and interacting with the clients. Hanbleceya is fortunate to have such a helpful and friendly person in such a vital role. In her free time Diane likes spending time with friends and family, relaxing on the beach and listening to music.

Milieu Support Staff Personnel::

In addition to the above core staff positions, Hanbleceya employs more than a dozen full-time Milieu Support Staff personnel whose duties are assigned and directed by our clinical staff. The Milieu Support Staff personnel have significant interaction with clients and often act as the “eyes and ears” of our clinical staff. Milieu Support Staff personnel travel to each house multiple times daily: In the morning to ensure that all members of the household are out of bed with hygiene completed, and are off to begin their daily structures; randomly throughout the day to confirm that household chores have been performed and the house is in acceptable condition; and in the evening to make sure nutritious meals have been prepared and any conflicts have been resolved. Weekly house meetings facilitated by the Hanbleceya House Manager are conducted at the facility. In these meetings, the weekly meal plan and chore rotations are scheduled, and housemates are supported in practicing assertive and healthy interpersonal skills while learning the important tasks of efficient household management. From fixing a broken fixture to assisting in the intervention on a client in a crisis, from confirming medications to leading camp outs or even attending a movie, Milieu Support Staff personnel provide a vital role in the everyday function of Hanbleceya’s community as a whole.