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Meet Our Staff

Our staff at Valley Recovery Center is dedicated to providing personalized treatment, and knows that everyone has a different story with different needs. Our team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors, who work to guide patients through their entire recovery process. They also provide one-on-one therapy, develop a personal treatment program for each patient, and help patients set goals and achieve lasting recovery.

We Are Here For You

Your Treatment Dream Team

Brenda Way, Primary Therapist

Brenda Way is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has worked as a mental health professional since 2007. She specializes in Addiction Recovery through the lens of trauma-informed care. Her approach is integrative and includes somatic grounding, meditation, and mindfulness training along with traditional therapeutic modalities.
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Mary Perelmutter, Clinical Director

Mary Lou was born and raised in New York City. Shortly after graduating from college Mary Lou and her young family relocated to Los Angeles. She went on to earn her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Phillips Graduate Institute and her Doctorate from The Chicago School for Professional Psychology. Aside from her Doctorate, she holds both a Marriage and Family Therapist License as well as being licensed as a Professional Clinical Counselor. Mary Lou brings to Ohana decades of experience in both
the Mental Health and Substance abuse fields across all continuums of care.

Rick Macrorey, C.A.D.A.C-C.A.S.

Rick Macrory is a certified Chemical Dependent Counselor who has had experience as a case manager and facilitator in many treatment facilities, as well as extensive knowledge on how to work recovery in his life. Rick attended Point Loma College in San Diego where he studied Business Administration. Rick has excelled in sports and developed the art of working as a team player. He brings to our program compassion, love of recovery and straight talk. He is passionate about recovery and about helping our clients change the direction of their lives. Rick creates a trusting, vulnerable environment for our clients to navigate the most difficult emotional work.

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Marlee Simon, MC-BC

Marlee Simon, MT-BC is a Board-Certified Music Therapist in Los Angeles, CA. She has been with us at Valley Recovery Center since we opened our Newhall residential care facility in 2015. Music therapy allows clients to explore their recovery process in fun, safe, noninvasive, and motivating ways through music. At Valley Recovery Center, clients participate in therapeutic, music interventions—such as receptive music listening, songwriting, lyric analysis and discussion, instrumental improvisation, and music and meditation—to express themselves, connect with peers, and develop coping techniques and transferable skills for recovery. Music therapy is an accessible modality of treatment for all ages and abilities; no prior music experience or skill is necessary to participate. “Music is a universal language that be used purposefully to motive, connect, heal, and inspire people. I am passionate about helping people to discover and actualize their fullest potential. It is my passion and purpose in life to provide opportunities for people to explore their sense of self and to enhance their quality of life with music.” Marlee received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy with a minor in Psychology from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and received her Associate’s Degree in Psychology from College of the Canyons in Valencia, California. For more information about Music Therapy, visit (Meli Music LLC – Los Angeles-based music therapy services) and (American Music Therapy Assocation).

Jennifer Poynter, Yoga Instructor

Jennifer Poynter is a yoga and meditation teacher who focuses on health and healing underserved communities and those impacted by trauma and abuse.  Her classes are held in studios, drug rehabs, homeless shelters, and prisons.  She has multiple certifications in yoga, meditation, yoga for trauma, and Tai Chi Qong.  The power of yoga has helped her grow stronger emotionally, physically, spiritually, and artistically.  Her care filled, balanced teaching style allows students to release tension and anxiety and open up to the knowledge, wisdom, and creativity that is already inside each of them. 

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Jason Harper, Program Director

Jason Harper came to us in 2016 with 12+ years of experience working in the alcohol and drug dependency profession. Jason’s passion is working with individuals beginning their journey with recovery. He shows empathy and compassion to all he comes in contact with his goal to make our clients feel safe and welcomed. Jason has the ability to calm all around him, especially in the time of need or in a crisis situation. Jason continues his education in Addiction Studies at Glendale and he himself has 16+ years of sobriety.

Melvin Riera-Chavez, Chef

Long before Melvin acquired his formal education in 2005 from Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts he has always had a love of food. After being a sous-chef in many high end steak houses and Fusion restaurants from coast to coast for many years, he decided to help others by focusing on a health and wellness lifestyle. By creating delicious, nutritious meals he is able to fuel your journey towards a better tomorrow. Using a healthy, season ingredient-driven menu along with local and international flavors, he will use good food to put you in a good mood.

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Emily Skelton, EMDR Therapist

Emily Skelton (she/her/hers) is a LMFT, Board-Certified Art Therapist and the Owner & Clinical Director of The Artful Healing Center. Emily provides inclusive, affirming, and creative counseling, with a focus rooted in the power of expression, neuroscience and the mind-body connection. Emily incorporates Art Therapy, her background in both EMDR and Trauma-Focused CBT, mindfulness, and somatic approaches to support clients in their healing process. Emily is a contracted art therapist with The William H. Hart School District, Valley Recovery Center, and Ascend Healthcare and provides trainings on
LGBTQ+ affirming mental health.

Dr. Siri Khalsa, Medical Director

Dr Sirisat Khalsa is a board certified Addictionologist with over a decade of experience as a specialist in detoxing and treating patients with alcohol and substance use disorders. As a graduate of USC medical school and Harbor UCLA residency, she spent 10 years a Family Practitioner before discovering her passion for caring for patients struggling with addictions. Her approach is to safely detox patients as comfortably as possible and to then focus on caring for the anxiety and depression and other mental health issues that typically accompany substance use disorders while simultaneously crafting plans to sustain long term sobriety. Dr Khalsa has extensive experience working with patients at all levels of recovery from detox, residential and outpatient.
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Chris Nelson, Lead Technician

Chris has worked in the field of addiction for over three years, working on his Associates of Science in Addiction Studies, and plans on continuing his education to become an LMFT. He has a wide range of experience in substance abuse, including motivational interviewing, CBT, and relapse prevention. Chris has great success in meeting clients where they are mentally and emotionally and building rapport with a diverse population of clients towards personal growth. Chris has been an active member in the recovery community for over seven years and is greatly experienced in the 12 steps.

Michael Flesher, Group Facilitator

My name is Michael Flesher. I am a Group Facilitator and Sobriety Coach at Inneractions IOP. I have a Masters Degree in Education from University of California Santa Barbara, and an RADT. My goal is to meet you wherever you may be in your journey and first and foremost, listen to you. I have struggled with Addiction in the past, and I was even a client at Inneractions. In other words, I’ve been there. I will collaborate with you, utilizing innovative strategies from a variety of therapeutic modalities, to design a personalized plan of action to help you stay sober for good.  

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Daniel Hebert, Counselor

Daniel has been with VRC since January of 2021. Daniel has a wife named Brittany, two children and a dog named Charlie.

Daniel has also been coaching high school basketball at a local private school for over a decade and is an avid sports fan. Hobbies include: fantasy football, making lists, watching sports, playing with his kids, and cooking.

Daniel loves working at VRC because of the familial environment with the staff and the rewarding nature of helping others.

Kim Parkinson, Nurse

Kim has 28 years of nursing experience in all types of medical specialties. Started with General Practice, Cardiology, Urology, Urgent Care and now Recovery. She is well versed regarding withdrawal, recovery and medication management. Enjoys teaching recovery education in regards to Acute & Post withdrawal symptoms, Medication Management, Anxiety & Depression. Enjoys the caring atmosphere we provide clients and loves being part of the team. Also, enjoys her large family, reading, gardening and traveling with her husband.
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Kinnzie Taylor, Case Manager

As the Case Manager at the Valley Recovery Treatment Center, I take great pride in helping maintain a safe and supportive environment to assist clients in their treatment. I engage with clients on a daily basis, asissting clients with work arrangements, financial responsibilities, and or advocacy on the client’s behalf, if necessary, in order to achieve wellness and autonomy for each individual. In return, clients can focus on recovery and self-care. Clients are genuinely encouraged to be mindful and to embrace the steps they are taking, nevertheless, successfully promoting the goal of long-lasting recovery. My very own journey through sobriety as well as my diverse understanding and experience has allowed me to compassionately help our clients in recovery. This being one of the hardest times of their lives, enhances my passion and has become my greatest mission and ultimate personal gratification.

Christine Hoyle, Lead Technician

Christine joined Valley Recovery Center of Agua Dulce in 2021 and came into the field of recovery because of a strong passion to help those suffering from addiction. As an adult child of an addict, Christine has seen what addiction does to a person and their family as well as what
amazing changes recovery can bring. As lead technician, she trains all technicians within the facility to provide the best quality of care for all clients. Christine shows compassion to everyone she comes in contact with and spends quite a bit of her time at the facility getting to know
clients. Christine is RADT certified and is currently pursuing an education in AODs as she is on her way to becoming a drug and alcohol counselor.

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Akira Funahasi

Akira Funahasi, Breathwork Therapist

 Dr. Akira Funahashi, OTD, OTR/L, is a breathwork facilitator on the Breathwork for Recovery team, an occupational therapist, turntablist, and healer. Breathwork is instrumental in Akira’s healing journey. Grateful for what breathwork provides her, Akira is inspired to share the power of breathwork with others who are open and ready to heal. As a transgender female, Akira has particular interests in helping others in the LGBTQ community, as well as individuals who struggle with childhood and sexual abuse trauma. Akira earned an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Cal Poly Pomona and a Master’s and Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She has over a decade of experience as a clinical and school-based occupational therapist, specializing in pediatrics. With over 20 years of professional and competitive DJ experience, Akira is deeply passionate about turntablism and devotes her life to the DJ arts. She is driven to fuse her love for DJing and her experience as an occupational therapist to develop new forms of expression and healing. Akira is currently completing David Elliot’s, Healer Trainings, certification program. Her core values are education, awareness, and empowerment.

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