Tom Nemat, J.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Beginnings Treatment Centers TOM NEMAT, JD. CEO

Tom Nemat is a co-founder and CEO of Beginnings Treatment Centers and the founder and principal attorney at the Law Firm of Tom Nemat. Tom brings his business and legal background to Beginnings along with an intense passion to eliminate the shame and stigma associated with addiction.

Prior to practicing law and pursuing his entrepreneurial dreams, Tom earned his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles with an emphasis in corporate law. Prior to law school, Tom graduated from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, Tom was involved in several consulting and entrepreneurial activities in conjunction with his business courses, including Technology Entrepreneurship and Strategic Planning/Consulting.

 

Ehsan Gharadjedaghi, Psy.D.

Chief Clinical Officer

ehsan-gharajedaghi

Dr. Ehsan Gharadjedaghi is a California-licensed clinical psychologist with specialites in couples and sex therapy, substance use addiction, complex trauma, and youth concerns. He is also the founder of multiple successful organizations including Norooz Clinic, a non-profit community mental health clinic; Therapy Impasse Exploration & Resolution Institute, a specialty training and research institute to help therapists improve their clinical skills; AlumniSuccess, a private practice startup organization for emerging pre-licensed and newly licensed psychotherapists, Couples & Sex Therapists of Orange County, a local Orange County, CA, based training institute for couple and sex therapy; TherapyCable.com, an online educational streaming media hub with the purpose of reducing obstacles to therapy and healing.

Dr. Gharadjedaghi is also on the part-time faculty of multiple OC-based private universities including Argosy University, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and the University of Phoenix. Furthermore, Dr. Gharadjedaghi serves on the editorial board of Who Is Who, Inc. Health + Medicine magazine, and on the Board of Advisors at the MACP program at Argosy University, as well as a member of Orange County Mental Health Board.

 

 

 

Joe Milligan

Chief Communications Officer

Beginnings JOE MILLIGAN cmo

Joe Milligan has been an active member of the recovery community for more than 20 years. A successful professional in the Healthcare and Hospital industries, he brings a new level of expertise and sophistication to Beginnings Treatment Centers as we create a new paradigm in the art and science of addiction treatment.

 

Tarek Greiss, M.D.

Chief Operating Officer

Beginnings TAREK GREISS, M.D. cmo

Dr. Tarek Greiss is the COO of Beginnings Treatment Centers. He received a BA in Economics from the University of Washington then his Medical Doctorate from The George Washington University. After completing his residency in Anesthesiology and fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesiology he went on to work in private practice for several years.


Dr. Greiss entered the world of addiction recovery through the front door, as a client. He is a recovered impaired professional who navigated the very difficult road to durable recovery through an intense trial and error period. Through an initial rocky course of recovery, Dr. Greiss identified the many shortcomings in traditional treatment and has worked with Beginnings Treatment Centers to develop a state of the art Impaired Professionals Program, designed to assist addicted professionals in maintaining or regaining their professional stature and attaining durable recovery.

 

Rafael Penunuri, M.D.

Medical Director

dr-rafael-penunuri

Dr. Rafael Penunuri has over 20 years of extensive experience in detoxification and general family practice.

He has been a trusted doctor in the Southern California medical community since 1985, and is board certified with the American Board of Addiction Medicine and American Board of Family Practice since July 1985.

Dr. Penunuri is a graduate of UCLA School of Medicine.

 

Shahrzad Jalali, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist
 
Dr. Shahrzad Jalali
 
Coming Soon!

 

Samira Vafadar

Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Samira Vafadar

Dr. Samira Vafadar is a Licensed Psychologist in California with over 10 years of experience working as a multicultural and bilingual in Farsi therapist in a broad range of settings. Dr. Vafadar completed a B.S. Specialized Honors degree in Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada. In Canada, Dr. Vafadar worked at clinical private practice with clients suffering from all sorts of mood disorders as well as providing assessments and therapy to injured adults suffering from PTSD.

Dr. Vafadar moved to California in 2004 where she completed a masters and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University, an APA-Accredited school. Since moving to California, Dr. Vafadar has worked with a wide variety of clinical populations, including: criminal offenders and sexual offenders, at risk youth and children, chronically ill as well as work-related injured patients. Currently Dr. Vafadar works with victims of addictions and substance abuse and has a private practice where she works with individuals, couples and families. Dr. Vafadar also supervises and mentors interns that are in the process of becoming a psychologist.

Soren Shamsian, Ed.D

Clinical Care Coordinator

soren-shamsian

Dr. Soren Shamsian is currently working at Beginnings Treatment Centers as the Clinical Care Coordinator. Dr. Shamsian is in the process of obtaining his license as a Psychologist. He has obtained his B.A., M.A. and doctorate in the field of counseling psychology. He has worked over 8 years in the field of substance abuse.
 
Dr. Shamsian has experience working with adolescents and adults whom are battling with substance abuse as well as over 5 years of experience working male survivors of sexual abuse. He has also run his own private practice for over 4 years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing racket sports (i.e. Tennis, squash and table tennis).

 

Eima Mesgarha, M.A.

Psychological Assistant

eima-mesgarha

Dr. Eima Mesgarha is a psychological assistant who graduated with her Psy.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology. She is currently accruing her post-doctoral clinical hours for the California Licensure exam. Dr. Eima obtained her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University in 2011.

Eima has worked in the field of psychology for over 10 years, and in specialty area of Eating Disorders, Dual-diagnosis and Addiction for over six years. Her clinical experience encompasses all levels of care including residential and partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and school setting. She has also worked with adults, adolescents, families, and couple. Eima’s research has focused on the understanding and treatment of Bipolar Disorder, her professional presentations/dissertation topic was related to the utilization and comparison of psychological assessments in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Dr. Eima is also a yoga teacher, and she believes in integrating her knowledge and experience with eastern and western psychology into her current work today. Eima’s passion has always been to walk alongside of those who have struggled with finding hope. Her professional commitment is to assist individuals to discover and strengthen their spiritual connections to overcome life obstacles. She believes that pain is universal and that we all need occasional reminders that we are NOT alone in this journey, called life.

 

Joanne Scott Ed.D   

Psychological Assistant

Dr. Joanne Scott has over 10 years of experience working as a therapist in a broad range of settings. Originally from England, Dr. Scott completed a BA Hons degree in Contemporary Human Services at Nottingham Trent University and a Masters degree in Counseling Practice at the University of Nottingham.  In England, Dr. Scott worked with at risk youths in an inner city school, where a large portion of her caseload were victims of gang related crimes and child abuse.
 
Dr. Scott moved to California in 2007 where she completed a doctorate degree in Educational Psychology at Argosy University. Since moving to California, Dr. Scott has worked with a wide variety of clinical populations, including: the homeless, victims of human trafficking, chronically sick and cancer patients and victims of domestic violence.  Dr. Scott has also worked with individuals, couples and families in a private practice setting.

 

Erin Garibaldi, M.A.

Psychological Assistant

erin-garibaldi

Erin Garibaldi, M.A. is a Psychological Assistant, practicing counseling since 2008. She has worked with survivors of sexual assault, cancer patients and their families, college students, HIV patients and their partners, and drug and alcohol abusers.
 
Erin received her Masters through Antioch University Santa Barbara and is currently working on her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara. 

Bob Weathers, Ph.D.

Psychologist

bob-weathers

Dr. Bob Weathers holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and has over his professional career provided tens of thousands of hours of therapy and recovery coaching, particularly to those seeking recovery from addiction.

In addition to having served as founding clinical director of two nationally recognized residential drug and alcohol treatment centers, and now serving as consultant, trainer, and group facilitator to Beginnings Treatment Centers, he also has more than 35 years of experience in educating graduate-level clinicians. Formerly a professor of clinical psychology at Pepperdine University, he has also taught in graduate psychology programs at Loma Linda University, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Argosy University, and California State University, San Bernardino. For the past ten years, he has been Academic Effectiveness Coordinator for the School of Behavioral Sciences at California Southern University in Orange County, including helping lead the university toward full regional accreditation this past year.

Known to his clients and students as Dr. Bob, one area of career-long passion for him centers around holistic, or integrative, approaches to therapy and recovery coaching --- where the entire spectrum of human experience, from body to mind to soul and spirit, is drawn upon for its resources and nourishing contributions to healthful living. Related to this area of career interest and expertise, Dr. Bob has published numerous articles in a broad cross-section of professional books, journals, and edited volumes.

A sought-after speaker, as well as prolific writer, Dr. Bob’s current research areas of interest focus on reducing shame and stigma in addiction and recovery by means of instructing clients and their families about addiction and the brain. His lifelong commitment to education also motivates his constantly working toward creating and sharing success strategies for online learning and recovery-directed aftercare, including providing openly accessible, internet-based resources for training in mindful awareness practices.

Along with his vocational pursuits, Dr. Bob has maintained an active, lifelong involvement in music, including performing locally as a jazz drummer and world music percussionist. Related to this artistic passion, Dr. Bob regularly applies his having studied popular and ethnic drumming for over fifty years by performing and lecturing widely, to both professional and general public audiences, on the connection between musical creativity, personal spiritual development, and emotional well-being.

 

Paul Van Zevmeren, M.A.

CATC Addiction Specialist

PAUL VAN ZEUMEREN

Paul received his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Ashford University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He completed his Master’s Degree at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (Irvine Campus) in clinical psychology with a focus on marital and family therapy and is currently in the dissertation phase of his Doctorate studies. While completing practicum training for the aforementioned program, Paul also completed the required training hours and educational criteria to become a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor through the Breining Institute. Paul has recently completed his required internship hours and will be taking his licensing examination shortly.
 
Paul’s interest in working with individuals suffering from addiction problems was sparked while working as a culinary arts instructor at a local private high school for “at risk” teens called Costal Mountain Youth Academy. This school provided treatment for teenagers who were having difficulty completing both the educational and relational requirements of high school because of addiction problems and other mental health issues. Paul promptly changed his major to psychology and began working closely with the school’s therapist by aiding in process group’s and as a mentor. Following the desire to be helpful and hopefully aid in the recovery of usefulmlives, Paul continues the process of becoming a licensed therapist, and is currently focused on that path.

 

Mark Awanyai, CADC, M.B.A.

Career Counselor

Mark Awanyai

Mark Awanyai has extensive financial and business management experience that spans over 20 years including the accounting, budgeting/financial analysis, and the substance abuse/mental treatment professions.

Mark obtained a BSBA degree in business management from the  University of Nebraska-Omaha Nebraska, and MBA in financial management from National University-LaJolla, Ca. In the last 5 years, Mark has worked as a Certified Substance Abuse/Career Rehabilitation Counselor for substance abuse and mental treatment programs.

 

  Honey Dixit, Ed.D.

Marriage and Family Therapist 

Honey Dixit
 
Honey is a Marriage & Family Therapist at Beginnings and has extensive professional experience in working with a variety of populations who have had severe emotional and behavioral problems, particularly in the field of mental health, substance abuse, and dual diagnosis. The experience from working with at-risk populations of all age groups and different multicultural backgrounds brings additional insight in how the addiction process negatively impacts the overall emotional health of the family system. Honey is passionate about counseling individuals, who struggle with addiction-related issues. Her vision is to have a serene place for individuals and families to meet their needs and achieve their goals.
 
Honey has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, where she has also recently completed her doctoral dissertation. Prior to receiving her Masters, she graduated from University of California, Irvine with Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Psychology and Educational Studies.

 

Jenny Fang, M.A.

  EMDR Specialist

 

Jenny Fang
 
Jenny Fang is a doctorate level quadrilingual marriage and family therapist who has been training and practicing psychotherapy for seven years in various academic, private, for-profit, and nonprofit settings providing individual, couple, and family therapy to populations with diverse ethnic, cultural and SES backgrounds. Her world traveling experiences has opened doors of opportunities to encounter accomplished individuals who proactively seek her psychotherapeutic services to struggling individuals who are referred by psychiatrists and clinicians to her services as a result of her specialties and effectiveness in treating individuals with issues of trauma, relationship intimacy, resilience, identity, and spirituality.

Professionally as a trained marriage and family therapist, Jenny has had the honor to journey with countless individuals, couples, and families in their healing process. In her clinical work, she highly values the integration of evidence-based therapies with alternative, holistic approaches in ensuring treatment effectiveness and client growth. As a certified EMDR therapist, she is trained to provide an extensively researched and proven effective integrative psychotherapy approach for the treatment of trauma, complex trauma, and psychological stress. Her passion in conducting EMDR has not only helped reduced the long-lasting effects of distressing memories in clients, but has also elevated client experiences by replacing such painful recollections with newly acquired images and experiences on the physiological, emotional, and mental levels. Over the years, she has collaborated with individuals on restoring lost, confused identity and self-worth and has witnessed the powerful impact psychotherapy and EMDR have had on transforming and enhancing the lives of individuals and their relationships.

Having the privilege to cross paths with individuals from all corners of the world and learning about their unique lived experiences have further deepened her insights into the distinct struggles and needs of individuals with themselves and their valued relationships. In journeying with each soul, she has had the honor to provide therapeutic support and healing in their times of need. Each exclusive adventure has unfailingly opened up her eyes to the unimaginable potential of their existing resilience and triumph that had been awaiting to be discovered and exercised with the support of gifted clinicians despite their experienced pain and suffering. This acquired understanding has further ignited and expanded her passion in assisting individuals to heal and in empowering them to thrive emotionally, relationally, and professionally, regardless of their backgrounds and experiences.

 

Jeshuel Alamo, Ph.D.   

Psychological Assistant

jeshuel-alamo

Jeshuel Alamo is a Therapist – Psychological Assistant in Southern California. Jeshuel works at various Centers that help individuals who can benefit from psychotherapy. He has several responsibilities such as conducting one-on-one sessions, group sessions, career counseling, and psychological assessments among other psychological services. Jeshuel worked for over 15 years as a counselor for a non-profit organization.

Jeshuel provides the client with unconditional positive regard and empathetic listening. Jeshuel strongly believes that in order for a client's condition to improve therapists should be warm, genuine, and understanding. In addition, he believes that for people to grow and fulfill their potential, it is important that they are valued as themselves.  Furthermore, as a therapist he offers a genuine caring for the client. 

Jeshuel has worked with families, individuals, and children. He has experience working with people who suffer of common conditions such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and severe addictions among other conditions.

Jeshuel believes that clients regardless of their age or background have the ability to create and choose a better future. He also has confidence that clients can seek to discover and explore what they really want in their lives and how they are currently choosing to behave in order to achieve their goals. At the appropriate time, as a therapist, he enjoys focusing on helping clients to find solutions to their circumstances rather than on problems.

Jeshuel is fully bilingual in Spanish and holds a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology, and is completing his PhD degree in Clinical Psychology.  He currently resides on the coast of Southern California. In his free time, Jeshuel enjoys going to the beach, the gym, practice yoga, and watching foreign films.

 

Feliciana Guanzon 

  Practicum Intern

feliciana-guanzon

Feliciana is a case manager at Beginnings and has extensive professional experience in working with children and adolescents who have had severe emotional and behavioral problems and were at risk of being removed from various residences. The experience from working with at-risk youth and their families brings additional insight in how addiction-related problems may have been developed within the family system.

Feliciana graduated from Argosy University with a Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Prior to receiving her Masters, she graduated from University of California Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Psychology.

 

Jen Austin
Aftercare Coordinator
 
Jen Austin
 
Coming Soon!

Jennifer Cunningham, LVN II

Director of Utilization Review

jennifer-cunningham

Jenni attended Indiana University in Bloomington Indiana from 1998-2001 receiving her Bachelors in Liberal Arts. She received her Nursing Diploma in 2006 through Concorde College in San Diego, California. Jenni worked as a detox nurse at Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach from 2007-2011 then became the Nurse Assessor for the Chatham County Drug Court Program in Savannah, Georgia from 2012-2014. During that time, Jenni became a certified specialist in Rapid HIV Testing and Early Intervention Education.

She returned to the state of California in 2014 where she continued detox level nursing as a private contractor in addition to starting her own company C.U.R.E. that specializes in utilization review consulting services for small private facilities.

Jenson Olinger

 

jenson-olinger

Bio coming soon!

 

Justina Ibach, RADT1
Detox Assistant Manager
 
Justina-Ibach
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Andrea Wiens, CADC, RADT1
Client Care Coordinator

Andy Weins
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Chandler Burton, RADT1

Client Care Coordinator

Chandler-Burton
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Tessa Sarvis, RADT1

Client Care Coordinator

Tessa Sarvis
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Taylor Reichelt, RADT1

Client Care Coordinator

Taylor Reichelt
 
Coming Soon!

 

Kyle Garmen, RADT1
Client Care Coordinator
 
Kyle Garmen
 
Coming Soon!

 

Amanda Wancura
Client Care Coordinator
 
Amanda Wancura
 
Coming Soon!

 

Casey Wasinack
Client Care Coordinator
 
Casey Wasinack
 
Coming Soon!

 

Camille Cox, RADT1
Client Care Coordinator
 
Camille Cox
 
Coming Soon!

 

Leo Salas, RADT1      
Client Care Coordinator
 
Leo Salas
 
Coming Soon!

 

Maria Morris, RADT1      
Client Care Coordinator
 
 
Coming Soon!

 

Tammy Johnson   
Psychiatric Technician  
 
Tammy Johnson
 
Coming Soon!

 

Nicole Smith, LVN III  (Nurse Nicky)
Nursing Supervisor
 
Nicole-Smith
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Noelle Swanger, LVN, RADT-1

Nurse

Noelle Swanger
 
Coming Soon!

 

April Marquez, LVN II 
 Nurse
 
April Marquez
 
Coming Soon!

 

Catherine Heger   
 Detox Medical Assistant
 
Katie Hegel
 
Coming Soon!

 

Ruben Lopez
Shift Lead
 
Ruben Lopez
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Amber Gonzalez
 Counselor 
 Amber Gonzalez
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Devona Riverra
 Case Manager
 Devona Riverra
 
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Bridgette ThePup

Messenger of Joy and Laughter

Bridget Thepup
 
Coming Soon!

 

Jeff Hamilton

Director of Operations

jeff-hamilton

Jeff Hamilton is the Director of Operations at Beginnings Treatment Centers.  He brings 26 years of experience in the treatment field with him to Beginnings.

Jeff started in 1990 with one of the largest treatment centers in Orange County, and was instrumental in developing their operations team. Being an Orange County native, Jeff spends his off time surfing and playing beach volleyball.

 

  Marcel Barton-Sabo

Admissions Director

Marcel Barton-Sabo
 
Coming Soon!

 

Johnnie Aicher
Assistant Director of Operations
 
Johnnie Aicher
 
Johnnie is the Assistant Director of Operations at Beginnings Treatment Centers. Johnnie grew up in Southern California and has undergone great struggles in his life since early childhood.  Johnnie’s untreated addiction robbed him of many years of his life.  Today with his sobriety he loves giving back to people and he finally feels that he doesn’t have to wear a mask anymore.  Johnnie knows that by leading a sober life he can put the tough guy stuff away and just finally be himself.  Sobriety keeps him from being complacent and he continues to strive for better things. Johnnie’s greatest gifts are his patience and tolerance.  He loves to work with troubled young people because he can relate to their struggles.  During Johnnies years of using he has seen a lot of death and lost a lot of friends to this disease.  He knows that for an addict continued using will only lead to jail, institution or death.  

Johnnie’s goal when working with clients is to break the revolving door of recovery.  His goal is to not see clients constantly yo-yoing in and out of treatment and sober living.  One of his strengths is that he doesn’t judge others as there is not a lot that people have done that will shock him.  Johnnie believes that he went down such a bad path in life and was placed here in order for people to learn from his story.  His greatest hope is that his experiences will enable other people to learn and make different choices without having to experience everything he went through.  Johnnie is well aware that money cannot make you happy as he grew up with a privileged life.  Johnnie says his greatest blessings today are his sobriety, his freedom, and the people that he considers his family today. Johnnie is very proud to say that his mother has 31 years sober and is his best friend today.

Addiction tore Johnnie and his family apart for many years and now with sobriety he has been able to get his family back.  Everything Johnnie searched for as a child he has now and he would never have it if he and his mother weren’t both sober.  He made bad choices most of his life trying to be part of something or trying to be someone he wasn’t in order to fit in.  The path that Johnnie took ended up taking his freedom away from him.

Today Johnnie says he loves who he is.  He doesn’t act on impulse anymore.  Sobriety has enabled Johnnie to hear the word no and be ok with it.  He says he has learned in life that it no longer a me thing but a we thing. With recovery, he now feels able to get through any traumatic times and daily trials and tribulations. For so long Johnnie said he used to just sit on his problems and make bad choices but now he is able to think things through and live in the solution and not the problem. While everyone who meets Johnnie can see his intelligence and innate abilities it is obvious he could work in so many different fields.  His heart and passion is with helping those in early recovery just as so many reached out to help him in the past.  Johnnie knows the importance of family involvement in recovery and is diligent about staying in touch with families and helping to ease the transition into sober living and then back home again.  For Johnnie this isn’t a business - this is about saving lives.

Beginnings Treatment Centers in Orange County, California is Johnnie’s home and he goes above and beyond to make everyone feel loved and welcome.  Just like a good parent though, Johnnie knows the importance of saying no and setting limits. But he is able to do it in a loving way and teach our clients to learn to set limits for themselves, and to ask for help when needed.

 

Brent Percy
Program Manager
 
Brent Percy
 
Coming Soon!

Ashley Garner

Toxicology and EMR Liaison

ashley-garner

Through her own road to recovery, Ashley found a passion for helping alcoholics and addicts achieve the same goal of long-term sobriety. With determination and drive, she began working in the treatment field as Support Staff and through her diligent and conscientious efforts has became the Toxicology and EMR Liaison for Beginnings Treatment Centers.
 
Ashley hopes to help show Beginnings Treatment clients that recovery is possible while also being a part of the team that provides them with the care that they need.

Nancy Soto

Billing Specialist

nancy-soto

Nancy Soto is bilingual, speaking fluently in both English and Spanish. She is the Billing and the Collection Manager of Beginnings Treatment Centers. Nancy is enthusiastic and motivated with extensive Medical and Substance Abuse Billing experience, and a strong background in collections.
 
Nancy maintains a high level of personal drive, a confident nature and an aggressive attitude in achieving results. She earned a Medical Billing and Terminology Certificate from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, and is a current Student of Medical Coding at Allied Business School.

 

  Heather Bastio, RADT1

Operations Assistant

Heather Bastio
 
Coming Soon!

 

  Jay Alayon

Head Chef

Jay Alayon
 
Coming Soon!