Your Allies in Recovery
The road to recovery is not one that anybody can walk alone. At Dana Point Rehab Campus, you or your loved one will be able to lean on a compassionate team of addiction therapists and clinicians throughout the recovery process. Our interdisciplinary team closely works with each and every client to establish goals and develop a truly personalized treatment plan.
Every member of our staff is committed to our mission of providing the highest level of personalized care. Whatever fears you may have about tackling struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, at Dana Point Rehab Campus, you can count on our dedicated team to support you through every step of this journey.
Sanjai Thankachen, MD
Dr Sanjai Thankachen completed his residency in psychiatry in 2008 from Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in New York, where fifty percent of his rotations were at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. After his residency he worked at Ventura County, Medical Centers in an adult out-patient setting and now lives in Orange County, California.
Dr. Thankachen’s mission at Dana Point Rehab Campus is to provide world-class treatment that sets a high standard with science-based practices to treat mental and behavioral health issues. In addition to substance and alcohol abuse treatment, Dr. Thankachen is highly qualified to provide an array of care for secondary disorders, including depression, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, anxiety, and dementia related problems.
Dr. Loren Martin, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Loren Martin joined Alter Health Group as Chief Science Officer in the summer of 2021 after serving as Chief Data Officer and Director of Institutional Research for Azusa Pacific University. Prior to his role as CDO, Dr. Martin was a professor and director of research for the doctoral program in clinical psychology at APU for over a decade. He has mentored over 20 doctoral students in research and has published in several peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Martin has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and postdoctoral training from the UC Davis MIND Institute. He is excited to blend his expertise in clinical psychology, social behavior, and data science to help AHG improve lives and transform mental and behavioral health care.
Niloufar Nekou, LMFT
Niloufar Nekou is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California with several years of experience providing psychotherapy to adults. Niloufar believes every individual is unique and it takes a very hands-on approach to work with each individual. Her specialties include working with depression, anxiety, all types of trauma, substance and alcohol abuse, cultural diversity, and handling life’s transitions. She has completed training in EMDR and uses this technique to supplement the talk therapy, as needed.
Modalities that guide her treatment are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and solution-focused therapy. Niloufar received her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Charleston. Niloufar’s therapeutic approach is to create a compassionate and non-judgmental space to address the difficulties that bring clients to therapy.
Dr. Ryan Roemer, PhD
Clinical Director Virtual & Continuing Care
Dr. Ryan Roemer is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Healthcare Administrator with over seven years of leadership experience in Mental Health and Substance Abuse treatment services and clinical programs development. He has worked across the spectrum of clinical settings from traditional outpatient clinics, tertiary medical centers and emergency rooms, and acute psychiatric hospitals and post-acute clinics. Informed by his training in University Medical Centers and research experience, he has created and administered clinical databases to track program outcomes and monitor KPIs for clinical and business targets and championed the use of reports and visualization tools to leverage clinical data to guide treatment planning and promote patient engagement.
John Biroc, PhD, LMFT
Dr. Biroc has been a college professor, Clinical Director and Clinical Supervisor for recovery centers in Southern California. He has also been a consultant for the film industry and a motivational speaker for major corporations. When he initially started to run groups in addiction treatment centers, he noted that some key, engaging components were missing from the group requirements and he began to add some of his training and studies to enhance the empowerment and experience of the clients with a focus on improved outcomes.
He holds two master’s degrees (theatre and psychology) and a doctorate from USC in Psychology. Dr. Biroc blends the concepts of intellect and creativity in his approach to recovery and has taught at UCLA, California State University, Northridge, and Antioch University. In addition, he has worked as a contract therapist for mental hospitals in California. With a background and passion for theatre, he also worked with rock bands, has been acknowledged in articles in the Los Angeles Times, Boulder Times, the London Sunday Express, Toronto Star, Baltimore Sun, and the Orlando Sentinel, and appearances on MTV and radio shows around the country. He is pleased to be with Dana Point Rehab Campus and is helping to innovate and advance addiction treatment practices.
Kimia Anderson, AMFT
Assistant Clinical Director
Kimia Anderson has been a therapist for 3 years working with individuals of all ages and with various struggles including children as young as five years old with behavioral issues, men and women with addiction, and senior citizens with memory impairments and their families. She is trained in EMDR, Domestic Violence Advocacy, and Gottman’s Couples Therapy. For fun, she enjoys singing, playing the ukulele, and practicing American Sign Language. She also loves animals and has two cats, a dog, and a snake!
Larissa Kibort, CDAC
I bring personal experience with a strong passion and desire for helping others succeed and thrive. I happily relocated to California six years ago from Chicago and have found my path working in the Recovery field two years ago. I enjoy practicing yoga and hiking.
Heather Deranja, MA RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Heather is a registered dietitian nutritionist, author, cognitive behavioral specialist, personal trainer and founder of Nutrition Vixen. As part of our interdisciplinary treatment team, she utilizes a functional approach, helping our clients personalize their nutrition for optimal health by combining the science of nutrition with the psychology of eating to create lasting results. Through individualized nutrition assessments ,nutrition coaching and lab testing, individualized custom plans are created for each client. She shares her message with our clients in a way that is easy to consume and inspires sustainable action. She has a focus and specialization in gastrointestinal health, autoimmune diseases, and sports performance utilizing plant-based diet therapy, educating on benefits of gluten-free and dairy-free diet approaches. She uses her expertise in helping clients achieve the very best outcomes in their mental health and addiction treatment.
Katarena Arger, AMFT
Katarena Arger is a Marriage and Family Therapist who joined Alter Health Group in January 2021. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Government & Law, French, and Philosophy from Lafayette College in 2002 and her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. As a Marriage and Family Therapist she is trained to work with individuals, couples, and families using a systemic lens and is passionate about mental health inclusive of co-occurring disorders and their impact at the individual, family, societal level.
Katarena has extensive clinical experience working with a wide variety of disorders including problematic substance use. Prior to joining Alter Health Group she worked for a behavioral health hospital in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. Katarena is comfortable with multiple modalities including Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Cognitive-Behavior Therapy, and Attachment-based Therapy. She is formally trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy, Emotionally Focused Family Therapy, and Brainspotting. Katarena utilizes a post-modern, humanistic approach and applies an ecological perspective to provide uniquely individualized treatment for each client with the primary goal of facilitating recovery and assisting individuals and their support system to achieve optimum health and wellness.
Ryan Carpentier has a bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a focus on Mental Health from Cal State Fullerton. He is also over 6 years sober, with 5 of those years working in the treatment field, and is well acquainted with Alcoholics Anonymous. He utilizes a holistic approach with clients and provides case management for the various dimensions of wellness. Ryan is passionate about helping individuals build a recovery foundation and social support network through 12-Step recovery.