The Need for Leading Clinicians and Experts

Addicts and alcoholics require treatment that accounts for both the physical and mental facets of their condition. Unfortunately, with many state-run facilities currently underfunded, good help can be hard to find. The benefit of privately owned treatment centers is that they are able to hire leading clinicians and experts to head up their staff, ensuring a qualified treatment team that can help addicts recover on all fronts. Note that a quality treatment team should have at least two components: therapists who can help with the mental symptoms of addiction, and a medical staff who can monitor and treat addicts on a physical level. These leading clinicians and experts work to bring addicts and alcoholics to a state of full recovery from substance use disorder.

Treating Physical Symptoms of Addiction

Drugs and alcohol wreak havoc on our bodies, resulting in complications that can range from simple high blood pressure to infectious diseases such as hepatitis C. Furthermore, many withdrawal symptoms require monitoring, as the side effects can be quite severe. The leading clinicians and experts on your treatment team should be able to quickly diagnose such issues, offering medications to help combat the side effects of addiction. They also help by offering physical solutions to mental and emotional problems, including co-occurring disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression. Medications help normalize the sufferer’s brain chemistry, allowing our leading clinicians to focus on their recovery without worrying about mood swings or unmanageable bouts of negative emotions such as anger and depression.

Treating Mental Symptoms of Addiction

Even once medication is prescribed, addiction still constitutes a mental health issue that necessitates a therapeutic approach by leading clinicians to ensure long-term recovery. A treatment team staffed with leading clinicians and experts in their field will not neglect the need for treatment methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy. They also provide feelings of safety and compassion, allowing addicts and alcoholics to open up about the consequences of their addiction and the thought processes that led to it. Many addicts and alcoholics have suffered abuse, loss, and other traumas that medication alone will not help them to cope with. Providing a treatment team of leading clinicians and caring mental health professionals allows them to begin moving past these issues, focusing on constructing a new life for themselves one day at a time.

Ray Calixterio, MFTI, LPCCI

Ray is currently working at an intensive outpatient treatment center called Aspire as an MFT Intern. Ray joined the company in September of 2017. Ray is both dedicated and passionate and is committed to his profession of supporting individuals through their mental health issues. Ray’s main areas of mental health practice and specialization are childhood disorders, addictive behaviors, educational psychology and sports psychology. Ray’s current interests include health psychology and mood disorders.

Prior to joining Aspire, Ray has had experience working with and treating individuals who had addictive gambling behaviors from 2012-2013. Ray then gained experience working with children with childhood disorders and autistic spectrum disorders from 2014-2016. Ray has also worked with children dealing with trauma from 2016-2017. Ray is currently a member of CAMFT and is currently certified in CPR and formulating childhood treatment plans called ICARE. In 2014, Ray was also part of a research writing team called the Pediatric Research Group, researching and writing peer-reviewed articles on the treatment of childhood obesity and parental research practices.

Ray was born in Los Angeles and raised in Loma Linda, CA. He obtained a BA in cognitive psychology and BA sociology in 2010 from the University of California Irvine. He then received his Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology in 2017 from Pepperdine University. Ray’s hobbies and personal interests include playing basketball, playing football, reading, traveling, cooking, and eating.

M.A. (clinical psychology) Pepperdine University, 2017
B.A., (cognitive psychology), University of California Irvine, 2010
B.A., (sociology), University of California Irvine, 2010

Alexander Dunn

I struggled with addiction for over a decade. I had gone from having an academic scholarship to the University of New England where I was on the basketball team to being homeless, hospitalized repeatedly and completely cut off from my family. When I went to Canyon View for treatment I had nothing and nobody except a trash bag full of clothes. I was broken.

At Canyon View Treatment Center something clicked. From day one, I felt comfortable and welcome there. I was wanted and accepted. I always felt like there was something wrong with me that I couldn’t stop using. I remember my therapist told me “You are so normal.” I believed her and that one sentence changed my life. My therapist worked with me to identify some unresolved Core Issues that kept me stuck. Armed with this new information about myself and the Willingness I received through desperation, I slowly began to gain Self-Esteem. I realized that there are no small things. Every choice I make all day leads me either closer to Recovery or Relapse.

I have an amazing life today. The gifts of sobriety are bountiful and the promises of Recovery are coming true. My life is full today with friends, work and family. I am fully self-supporting. I am able explore my passions in fitness and music. It all came full circle for me when I got the opportunity to work at the same place that changed my life. I began working at Canyon View and Aspire in June 2017 and it has been a blessing. Nothing is as rewarding as seeing the light turn on in people’s eyes when that shift in perception take place. I am so grateful for the life I have developed here, but Gratitude is an action and one can’t keep the gift without giving it away. Every day we work to keep our community strong so we can lift each other up and enjoy our Recovery together.

Jennifer Mitzel

I work with clients who are feeling stuck. My treatment focuses on empowerment and coping with daily life. I provide a safe, nonjudgmental space to explore, challenge, and create new ideas and behaviors and to build strength and resources. My experience working with individuals from all ages and backgrounds has given me insight and experience in how presenting issues are conceptualized and treated to produce change. I am passionate about helping others and getting to the root of problems so change can occur.

My educational background includes a M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northcentral University, a COAMFTE accredited institution. I have a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

When it comes to treatment, there is no single approach that is the right one for every individual, and so I am trained in a range of modalities that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Family Systems Theory, and Psychodynamic Family Therapy.

I have a specialized interest in addictive disorders such as substance abuse and I have seen the positive benefits therapy has had on individuals and families dealing with substance abuse and I have deep respect and passion to provide services to those in need in the community. I work with clients and their families to shift away from frustration over behaviors and help them navigate the treatment process and engage in recovery on their terms. Recovery is a personal process and journey, and I am honored to be a part of that work.

Jason Curren

Jason obtained counseling credentials from Mt. San Antonio College, then adding to his education through Breining Institute and then finally through CAADE. Since 1992, Jason began working in the field of behavioral health with an emphasis on chemical dependency and addiction. He has had the opportunity to work in a spectrum of settings from Admissions, In-patient, Residential, IOP, OP and Detox. He has extensive experience connecting with individuals and their families in various modalities including substance abuse, addiction, psychiatric and behavioral health. After receiving the priceless gift of recovery since 1988, Jason has dedicated his life to becoming one of the leading clinicians in the field and helping others to find this same gift.

Tom Graham

Thomas is a certified culinary specialist working in the field of substance use and recovery for the last 3 years. Tom’s experience ranges from working as a kitchen manager to executive chef in facilities servicing varying populations. From working with clients dealing with substance use disorder to incarcerated populations, Tom is able to connect with diverse populations of clientele. With a degree in culinary arts, Tom’s passion for learning is apparent through his continued education within the field. In addition to his culinary specialties, Tom is also a registered drug and alcohol technician and takes pride in utilizing his life experience to bring more than just healthy meals to his clients but also to teach them life skills and simple nutrition. Tom’s passion for recovery and food are evident in the care and preparation that goes into each and every meal he prepares and every group he runs.