Helping You Rediscover Your Purpose In Recovery

Meet Our Team

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Philosophy

While society struggles to face an epidemic of addiction, the scourge of which seems very much a novel crisis, it is likely that our present conflict has its origin in our collective emotional history, a legacy which speaks to the limitations of our psychological development as a people. Early accounts dating from antiquity such as Homer’s The Odyssey detail the use of a magical drug, nepenthe, acquired from the Egyptians that was famed to quell all pain and strife and induce forgetfulness of every ill. Fittingly, the literal translation of nepenthe is “not sorrow” or “anti sorrow”. Its name and its fame offer us insight into the very compelling human drive to drown out or escape life’s suffering.

Equally popular in ancient times and famously celebrated in the cults of Dionysus was the potion, wine. Wine was believed to be a magical elixir that could lift one from the realm of the mundane into new heights of joy and ecstasy. Reverence for wine suggests another powerful and compelling human drive, to gain pleasure. Distinct though these potions were, nepenthe and wine, there was also much in purpose that they shared. Each provided a means of using something external to change how one felt and to thus get outside the limits of their own responses to life, each provided ways of working out challenges with powerful affective energies be they of sorrow or joy, and finally, each provided temporary, ineffective solutions to more enduring psychological challenges. While our culture is presently addicted to new and unique potions, the source of our addictions is not different from people of ancient times. We, like peoples of the distant past ignore latent and powerful capacities within our own hearts and minds and continue to rely heavily on mood altering substances to meet the vicissitudes of life.

Michael

Michael Nolan, CADC-II, ICADC

Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer
Michael’s passion for service began when he was in his early 20’s. Michael struggled with addiction and anxiety for years before entering treatment at The Sequoia Center on August 8, 2007. Michael had been to other addiction treatment centers, but did not find true healing until he began working with Dr. Barry Rosen and The Sequoia Center. Michael has maintained continuous sobriety since August 8, 2007. Michael did the majority of his recovery work through Alcoholics Anonymous. Michael completed the 12 steps through Alcoholics Anonymous and also recognizes that recovery comes in many forms. Michael attended the Landmark Forum in San Jose, has an active meditation practice, and continues to explore new avenues for spiritual growth.

Michael completed Bethany University’s Addiction Studies program in 2010 and became a certified addiction counselor level II in 2012 (certification number A011980315). Michael’s work with his clients has been inspired by such pioneers in the addiction treatment field as Dr. Barry Rosen, as well as the works of John Bradshaw, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Pia Mellody, Brené Brown, Charles Whitfield, and Eckhart Tolle.

In Michael's words, "In recovery I have been blessed with marriage, three beautiful children, a stable career, the ability to pay bills on time, and an experience of self-love that eluded me for years. I wholeheartedly believe that a life of recovery and service creates a greater sense of life-fulfillment, purpose, gratitude and inner peace."
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Greg Vorst, LMFT

Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Greg received his Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Southern California. Greg received further training in addiction and recovery from The Meadows and the Center for Creative Growth. Greg is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (Lic. 115498) in the State of California. As a therapist, Greg has gained valuable experience working in a variety of clinical settings including outpatient and residential facilities. A skilled group facilitator, Greg also led a successful IOP program that utilized evidence-based early recovery and relapse prevention skills, family education groups, and mindfulness-based meditations.

Greg is versed in several therapeutic approaches including DBT, family systems, CBT, inner child work, depth, gestalt, and mindfulness-based relapse prevention. In addition to his work as a therapist, he’s s a skilled practitioner and instructor of Sundo, a Korean, Taoist form of yoga, breath work, and meditation. In his own words… “I am deeply passionate about assisting clients in the transformative work of recovery. While I fully enjoy therapeutic process itself there is probably nothing more rewarding than to see clients achieve their goals.”

Richard Cicinelli, M.D.

Medical Director
As a specialist in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, I feel privileged as a psychiatrist to be working in the field of recovery. Being in recovery myself the past twenty years, I try to inspire those just entering recovery to persevere in a process that ultimately brings unlimited happiness and a deep sense of fulfillment.
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Hyunmoon Kim, Ph.D.

Education and Programming Consultant
Dr. Kim is the founder of Sundology, a Master's Degree Program (MS) created in 2003 under the Department of Natural Health Management and Health Promotion Graduate School of Hanseo University (www.hanseo.ac.kr), South Korea.

Dr. Kim has taught such courses as the psychology of Carl Jung, Humanistic Psychology, Integral Counseling, Comparison Study of Eastern Thoughts: Hinduism/Budhism/Taoism, Reading and Comprehension of Tao Te Ching, Mind-Body Therapy, Meditation and Brain Science, as well as Meditation and Psychotherapy.

Dr. Kim holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Hartford, an M. Ed in Integrated Education from Cambridge College, and a Ph.D. of Philosophy in Psychology from Saybrook University. He retired as full-time faculty in 2018 and still serves as a Guiding Professor for the department that he founded at Hanseo University.

In addition to his extensive academic background, Dr. Kim is also one of twelve Sundo Masters sanctioned by Taoist Hermit Be-kyung and has been teaching since 1980 in North America, South East Asia, and Europe. He is also the founder and a President of the International Sundo Association, a US federal 503(C)(3) tax-exempt, educational non-profit organization.

Teaching the potential for human development and consciousness, Dr. Kim makes authentic Sundo practice readily accessible to people and in an effort to improve the quality of their lives.
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Brianne Smith, LMFT

Program Therapist
Brianne is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT 105848) in California. She received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from University of California, Santa Barbara. Brianne has provided therapeutic services in the Bay Area for the past 7 years with a recent focus on individual and group therapy in intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). She has completed Level II Ecotherapy certification through the EarthBody Institute to support her use of nature connection in her work with clients. Brianne is a student and an instructor of Bikram yoga and she is passionate about guiding others to use body connection for emotional and spiritual healing.

Brianne began her personal journey of healing after hitting her bottom in a lifelong battle with addictions. She found refuge in sobriety from substance use in October 2015. Her recovery is rooted in 12-step programs and has deepened to focus on emotional sobriety, inner child reunification, and the roots of family dysfunction. Her own transformation inspires her work with clients. Brianne believes in the interconnection between mind, body and spirit and in the restorative powers of the natural world. She draws upon an array of energies to support growth including spirituality, movement, art, psychotherapy, meditation, nutrition, human community and connection with more-than-human beings. Her definitions of sobriety, health and recovery are ever evolving and she supports each person’s unique path to discovery. Brianne is grateful and ecstatic to be working alongside like-minded individuals in the Embodied Recovery community.

Nick Stavrides, RADT

Recovery Counselor
Nick graduated from Tufts University with a degree in English and continued on to a career in Finance in New York City for 20 years. Shortly after moving to California, Nick was forced to confront his struggles with addiction and decided to enter treatment. There, a seed was planted that would grow into a new career and outlook on life.

In addition to being a graduate himself of the Embodied Recovery program, Nick is a certified HeartMath Practitioner and a Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician. Nick is also currently working toward attaining his CADAC I certification.

Nick is inspired by the newfound vitality that recovery has afforded him. He’s motivated by the hope to be free from not only addiction, but also from the emotional turmoil that plagued him and the opportunities to help others with similar struggles. Nick believes that addiction, if confronted and realized, can be the gateway toward a happier healthier life.
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Tengfei Li, AMFT

Program Therapist
Tengfei is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California. Tengfei received his Master‘s Degree in Psychology, concentration on Marriage and Family Therapy from Golden Gate University, a second Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Psychology from Sofia University (previous Institute of Transpersonal Psychology), and a Bachelor degree in applied psychology from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine in China.

Tengfei has a wide range of training/working experiences in counseling/therapy in different settings in China, i.e. kindergarten, early childhood development center, and hospital. When he moved to the U.S, he worked in elementary school, middle school, private practice, and residential program as a mental health clinician/psychotherapist. He believes that psychotherapy is not just a way for individuals to learn how to cope and manage their struggles, but also a path to cultivate their potential and deepen the process of individuation. By applying Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness approach, Sandplay therapy, psychoanalytic approaches, as well as spiritual explorations to people with different needs, Tengfei believes individuals can uncover the true self and clear their barriers of self-realization through body-mind-spirit connection.

Benita Oshana, AMFT, APCC

Program Therapist
Benita is an Associate Marriage Family Therapist and an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor. Benita received a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from California Baptist University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Stanislaus

Benita has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of age group in many different settings, such as working at a university, a non-profit organization, a residential treatment, and a PHP/IOP program. Benita has experience working with children, teenagers, and adults. Much of Benita’s work has been influenced by utilizing modalities such as DBT, CBT, and Family Systems.

In Benita’s words, “I have a special place in my heart to work with survivors of trauma. I am firm believer that our past tells us where we come from, but it doesn’t have to determine where we are headed to. I believe if we can identify the barriers that stand between us and our higher selves along with a healthy support system, we are headed towards healing, growth, and tranquility.” Benita immigrated to the United States in 2002 and has found her experience as an immigrant beneficial in her work with minorities. Prior to that, she lived in two different countries, which have impacted her view of culture, and the importance of acknowledging and incorporating cultural influences in one’s mental health. Benita is also very passionate about the integration of mind-body-spirit and having a holistic approach in therapy. In her words, “I love psycho-educating clients on the importance of nutrition, physical activity, spirituality, and in what way each aspect of ourselves impacts the other.”

On her time off, Benita enjoys being in nature, engaging in activities such as hiking, camping, going to the beach. She also enjoys photography and writing. Benita is currently working on her very first book that will be titled “Above the Waves.”
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Maya Goytia, RADT

Recovery Counselor
Maya graduated from Arizona Global Campus with a Bachelor's degree in Health and Wellness. With over 10 years of experience in a teaching capacity, combined with her own experience in recovery, Maya is passionate about sharing the dimensions of health and wellness with the community. Her personal recovery journey is strongly rooted in the 12-Steps through NA and draws strength from various spiritual traditions and teachers. Maya's experience has taught her that it is possible to overcome the physical, emotion, and spiritual plague of addiction and find a new way to live. In recovery Maya has found her passion for life and commitment to health through dance, exercise, meditation, and staying connected to the natural environment.

Maya joined the Embodied Recovery team as an administrator. She supports the team with intake, billing, and records. She is also moving into Alcohol and Drug Counseling at the center. Currently, she is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician. She is applying course work done at the Christian Institute and the work done at Embodied Recovery towards obtaining her CADC Certification.

Dr. Aruna Peters, L.Ac

Licensed Acupuncturist
Aruna holds a Professional Doctorate in Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University, and is licensed to practice acupuncture and herbal medicine in both California, and nationally, as well. She is a long time practitioner and instructor of the Yogic Sciences which deeply guides her perspective and approach to treatment. Aruna values the holistic approach to Asian medicine and its emphasis on living in harmony with nature and our surroundings. She is greatly influenced by her study and travel abroad, and the extraordinary mentors she has encountered along the way.

Aruna is a general practitioner with wide range of skills in working with many of the physical and mental disharmonies we experience in modern living; pain, stress, anxiety, digestive issues, insomnia, allergies, nervous system disorders, etc. She enjoys working with herbal medicine and has a special interest in woman’s health.

Here at Embodied Recovery, Aruna offers a weekly group acupuncture session, focusing mainly on specific points of the ear that have been proven through decades of research to aid with addiction recovery and mental and behavioral health issues. Ear seeds instead of acupuncture needles are always available. She is also available for private sessions. Aruna feels immensely grateful to be involved in a program where self cultivation is a daily practice by both the participants and the staff.
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