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Clinical Staff

Oscar Perez, M.D.

Medical Director, El Paso

Oscar PerezOscar Perez, M.D., is the Medical Director for the Sovereign Health facility in El Paso, Texas. Dr. Perez received his B.S. from Autonomous University of Chihuahua in Mexico and earned his M.D. from the Universidad Nacional Autonma de Mexico, School of Medicine. He also completed an intensive course in postgraduate medicine from the University Of Miami School Of Medicine and a postgraduate course in Population and Public Health in Virginia. He completed his psychiatric residency at the Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma and at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. Dr. Perez is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and with the American Board of Addiction Psychiatry. Prior to being the Medical Director at Sovereign Health’s El Paso facility, he has held past positions as President of Medical Staff, Medical Director and the Medical Co-director of various residential treatment programs. Dr. Perez utilizes his experience and educational background in treating patients at Sovereign Health.

Maria S. Spitz, Ph.D.

Director of Clinical Neuroscience, Corporate

Maria S. Spitz, Ph.D.Maria Spitz, Ph.D., is the Director of Clinical Neuroscience at the San Clemente facility and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in New York State and California (eligible). Dr. Spitz received her Bachelor of Arts in child development from California State University, Chico, continuing to earn a Master of Arts in psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York. She is responsible for overseeing the neurofeedback program as well as the continued development and oversight of the company’s clinical neuroscience services at both the corporate and individual levels. Dr. Spitz is passionate about understanding people and seeing the social support of Sovereign Health impact their lives. Her top three priorities for the neurofeedback program include: growth in the neurofeedback/nontraditional treatment programs, assessing the progress of our patients and the effectiveness of our treatment, and unifying all the Sovereign Health sites under the same vision. Throughout her career, Dr. Spitz has learned and continues to share with others that without feedback, we cannot move forward. She works with the neurofeedback program and others at Sovereign Health to improve the program in the best ways possible.

Monica Powers, Psy.D.

Director of Clinical Development

Monica Powers, Psy.D.Dr. Powers earned her doctorate in Applied Clinical Psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Phoenix. She did her internship at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, where she ran the Healthy Way L.A. program. This program provides mental health services to the underserved population in Los Angeles County. Dr. Powers continued her postdoctoral work at Sovereign’s Los Angeles facility. Under Dr. Powers’ guidance, Sovereign’s Los Angeles facility has grown to meet the challenges of a vast metropolitan area. At present, Dr. Powers is transitioning from her successful tenure as Group Program Director to training incoming directors and clinical supervisors at other Sovereign locations.

Bobbi Carlson, Ph.D.

Site Training Director, Los Angeles

Bobbi Carlson, Ph.D.Dr. Bobbi Carlson is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Carlson specializes in treating individuals with multi-faceted issues stemming from substance abuse or mental health conditions. She is a patient advocate, often serving as an expert witness in court. Dr. Carlson is a tireless campaigner for treatment, not incarceration. She works extensively with individuals dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and individuals with dissociative identity disorder—commonly known as multiple personality disorder. In addition to running Sovereign’s Los Angeles facility, Dr. Carlson is a nurse and teacher.

Helen Kienzle, Ph.D.

Program Director, Palm Desert

Helen Kienzle, Ph.D.Helen Kienzle. Ph.D., is the Program Director for both the dual diagnosis and mental health programs at the Sovereign Health facility in Palm Desert, California. Dr. Kienzle received her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the School for Professional Psychology at Alliant University in Los Angeles, California. Her experience includes clinical internships at the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and the Behavioral Health Center at Alhambra Hospital. In her career, she also completed a doctoral thesis on the social support needs of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Following the completion of her doctoral work, Dr. Kienzle focuses on providing individual therapy to patients and families, psychiatric crisis intervention and resolution; including the development and implementation of group therapy program curricula. Under Dr. Kienzle’s direction, the Palm Desert facility will ensure that patients experience their treatment with the necessary resources to continue their treatment after their recovery. Dr. Kienzle is excited to offer patients innovative treatment modalities as Sovereign Health continues to grow.

Sandra J. Lee, M.D.

Medical Director, Rancho San Diego

Sandra J. Lee, M.D.Dr. Lee is the medical director and psychiatrist for Sovereign Health’s adolescent programs at the Rancho San Diego facility. She received her M.D. from Wayne State University in Detroit, where she specialized in mental health and addiction treatment services for children and adolescents. Dr. Lee was chief resident at Loma Linda University and was granted a fellowship from the University of California, San Diego, for child and adolescent psychiatry. She has also held several leadership positions focusing on the psychiatric care of chronic drug and alcohol addictions at various treatment centers, corporations and medical facilities throughout the course of her 25-year career.
She is committed to the care and treatment for children and their families. Dr. Lee provides outpatient treatment at her private practice using a variety of methods. She has previous inpatient experience at San Diego’s Mesa Vista Hospital. As the treating psychiatrist for foster youth and sexually reactive children, she has demonstrated her expertise in trauma-based care. Dr. Lee is also a consultant for school-based programs that assist in support for educational success of children with mental health needs.

Jason Hennick, MSW, LCSW

Program Director, Rancho San Diego

Jason Hennick, LCSWJason Hennick, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), is the program director for the Sovereign Health facility in Rancho San Diego, California, and specializes in adolescent care. Mr. Hennick obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Oregon and his Master of Social Work degree from San Diego State University. Mr. Hennick has been working in the field of adolescent care since 1997, starting at Jasper Mountain Center in Oregon. Prior to joining Sovereign Health, he worked in the field of child and adolescent care with organizations such as New Alternatives, Fred Finch Youth Center and San Diego Youth Services. As Program Director, Mr. Hennick ensures that adolescent patients at the Rancho San Diego facility receive treatment for any underlying issues, in order to continue a healthy and positive life after treatment. As of March, 2016, the Rancho San Diego facility opened a new eating disorder program, which treats eating disorders and any co-occurring conditions. This program encourages positive solutions to problems instead of shame. Mr. Hennick is inspired by watching his patients heal, become healthy and learn to appreciate their own self-worth.

Kelly Vickrey, M.A., LISAC

Program Director, Chandler

Kelly Vickrey, M.A., LISACKelly Vickrey is the Program Director at Sovereign Health’s facility in Chandler, Arizona. Ms. Vickrey earned her master’s degree in counseling from the University of Missouri and is a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor, (LISAC) as certified by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. Ms. Vickrey has extensive experience in the treatment field, having been the director of Gila River Human Services prior to joining Sovereign Health. In this position she managed outpatient and residential substance abuse counseling, along with prevention programs for several locations throughout the community. Ms. Vickrey creates a safe and stable environment in order to treat women struggling with trauma and possible co-occurring conditions. A mission of the trauma treatment program at Sovereign Health is to empower women and give them a life-changing experience, helping them create a renewed life and sustain positive healthy relationships following treatment. In her spare time, Ms. Vickrey enjoys hiking, bicycling and geocaching in the Arizona outdoors. She is excited about offering a superlative standard of healing for women and helping open a new women’s intensive outpatient treatment program with sober living. Ms. Vickrey encourages all women to step out of the shadows and know it is okay to ask for help.

Jennifer Feriola, M.S.

Program Director, Fort Myers

Jennifer Feriola, M.S.Jennifer Feriola is the Program Director at the Sovereign Health facility in Fort Myers, Florida. Ms. Feriola obtained a bachelor’s s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Western American University. She has over 18 years of experience with management in substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment at several outpatient and inpatient facilities. In the past, Ms. Feriola has been the Program Director of a large housing unit within the prison system and has worked as the Program Director for a psychiatric hospital and other substance abuse facilities. She is also well versed in policy and procedure, including the state of Florida guidelines, the Joint Commission and the Department of Children and Families. Ms. Feriola’s clinical experience and passion for mental health services makes her an excellent addition to the Sovereign Health team. She utilizes her experience and training to solidify facility operations and train staff in order to provide the best patient care possible. Ms. Feriola leads a team of clinical staff who share a commitment to provide patients with the top-level treatment modalities available.

Justin Nielson

Program Manager, Delta

Justin NielsonJustin Nielson is one of the founders of White River Academy, which was established in July 2002. As school administrator, he is responsible for setting and maintaining the philosophy and tone of the academy, making insightful decisions that impact parents, staff members and students in positive ways. He was instrumental in developing WRA’s vision, goals, standards, policies and procedures, in accordance with its mission statement. Justin greatly enjoys working with people and has been very supportive of all the staff members and leadership, including counselors, shift managers and teachers.
Prior to White River Academy, Justin set up an admissions agency for world-wide therapeutic programs for at-risk youths and he also directed another school in Southern, Utah. Justin brings over 16 years of professional, caring experience and dedication in working with at-risk youths. In the past, he worked in targeted case management and as a psychiatric technician and an assistant recreational therapist. For over 10 years, Justin also effectively partnered with Organization for Family Advancement (OFFA) and coordinated educational opportunities between foster parents, the state of Utah and OFFA.

Daniel Sanderson, Ph.D.

Clinical Director, Delta

Daniel Sanderson, Ph.D.Dr. Daniel Sanderson is an internationally known forensic and clinical psychologist specializing in psychological assessment, neuropsychology and more than 25 years in outdoor and residential treatment design. He is a well-respected and tactical clinician for wilderness therapies, and considered a pioneer in wilderness treatment modalities. His many years of experience in the field of psychology include a wide array of treatment options for children, adolescents, and their families.
Dr. Sanderson is an innovator who implements groundbreaking interventions, specializing in wilderness therapy for sexual, process and technology addictions. He is also known for creating the “developmental vacation” treatment model – a highly successful and unique method for adolescents and young adults with difficult, treatment resistant, emotional and behavioral health problems. Under his direction, White River is the first therapeutic boarding school in the world to integrate both the positive peer culture and developmental vacation treatment models in a residential setting.

Wesley Geer

Founder of Rock to Recovery

Wesley-GeerWesley Geer is a professional musician with more than 20 years of experience. He founded the punk rock band Hed P.E. and toured the world, serving as guitarist, songwriter and producer. After eight years, Geer felt the need to change his lifestyle. He left the band entered himself into drug abuse treatment. With three years of sobriety under his belt, he joined Korn to serve as their touring guitarist, headlining events in 42 countries. His music has been featured in a wide range of media, from feature films and video games to radio and television shows. Having experienced the power of music to effect positive change in his own life, Geer founded Rock to Recovery in 2012 to help others overcome their challenges.

Mary Berst, Ph.D.

Associate Program Director, Palm Desert

Dr. Mary Berst, Ph.D. is the Associate Program Director for both the dual diagnosis and mental health programs at the Sovereign Health facility in Palm Desert, California. Dr. Berst earned her Ph.D. in psychology through the School for Professional Psychology at Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Arizona. Dr. Berst’s experience includes a clinical internship at Morongo Basin Counseling and Recovery Center in Yucca Valley, California. Her doctoral thesis was focused on treating PTSD using a biologically based treatment model called the Community Resiliency Model. While studying for her licensing exam, Dr. Berst continues to focus on providing individual therapy to patients and families, psychiatric crisis intervention and resolution, and the development and implementation of group therapy program curricula. Dr. Berst has lived in the Coachella Valley since 1991 with her husband, where she enjoys spending time with her family, church community and her dog, Mason.

Donna J. Hugh, MFT, CIP

Program Director, Los Angeles

Donna J. Hugh, MFT, CIP, is the Program Director at the Sovereign Health facility in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Hugh received her Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Antioch University in Los Angeles, California. Ms. Hugh is certified as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) and as a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP). She has an extensive history of experience starting with a position at a city health clinic. Ms. Hugh has experience working at UCLA as a Research Assistant with the Drug Abuse Research Center and as a member of the Community Counseling Center at Antioch University. She was also employed at Creative Care, Inc., prior to joining Sovereign Health. In addition to previous experience as a Clinical Director, Ms. Hugh has experience in the field of addiction with many diverse populations, working on the East Coast with homeless individuals, gang members, adolescents, local community hospital’s facilitating emergency psychological services and private practice. She applies all of her education and experience into helping patients recover and continue a better life after treatment.

Stacey Sugar

Associate Director of Patient Services, Corporate

Stacey Sugar is Associate Director of Patient Services at the Sovereign Health Group. Ms. Sugar received her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in clinical community counseling from the Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Not only is Ms. Sugar a licensed clinical professional counselor, but she also has 14 years of experience in mental health and dual diagnosis treatment with therapeutic and leadership capacities. Throughout her career, Ms. Sugar has provided substance abuse and mental health evaluations for court-ordered clients, as well as offered group, individual and family counseling services. She also has experience providing dual diagnosis counseling for patients in her private practice. Prior to joining Sovereign Health, she played an integral role in the program and policy development for multiple outpatient treatment facilities in the Maryland area. Ms. Sugar is passionate about reducing the stigma of addiction and fostering a nonjudgmental environment for patients to engage in deep self-exploration in a positive changing process. Ms. Sugar ensures that patients feel cared for throughout their entire recovery by implementing supportive and innovative patient services.

Sovereign Health provides behavioral health treatment programs for substance abuse, mental health and co-occurring disorders. For more information about Sovereign Health, please call 888-530-4614 to speak with a member of our team.

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