Best Southern California Addiction Treatment Staff
Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Orange County
The Spirit of Healing.
The Power of Possibility.

Meet Our Team

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.

 

Team Members

Sanjai Thankachen, MD | Medical Director

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.

Tami Tucker, PhD | Executive Therapist and Clinical Strategy

Tami L Tucker, Ph.D. is an Industrial Psychologist. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Management Consultant. She has been a licensed psychologist for over 25 years and began her research in the area of Industrial psychology prior to that. She consults to large Fortune 100 companies and small organizations as an Executive Coach and Management Consultant specializing in the pre-hiring assessment. She brings her dedication to performance optimization and assessment to the field of recovery in an effort to expand the approach and tools used to treat addiction. Dr. Tucker has developed a program that is specialized for each client through psychological assessment not only to determine underlying co-occurring disorders but to also assess cognitive and personality variables as we seek to optimize knowledge and skills within our clients as they fight addiction.

John Biroc, PHD, LMFT, Clinical Director and Therapist

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.

Ashton Hart | AMFT (Associate Marriage and Family Therapist)

Ashton Hart  is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT#122756) who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services in 2016, from University of Phoenix.  During this time she worked for Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno California, alongside the social work team supporting patients and families with trauma. Ashton’s professional and academic experiences have afforded her the ability to effectively work with adults struggling with addiction and co-occuring mental disorders. Ashton interned for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center in Fresno California and worked directly with the deaf community to support and empower wellness within their community. Ashton is comfortable with a variety of modalities including solution-focused brief therapy, internal family systems, cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychology, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing. While Ashton most often employs a collaborative and humanistic approach, she tailors the therapeutic process to meet the unique needs of her clients’. Ashton completed her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University and during that time she worked locally at a Western Youth Services, a nonprofit organization for children and families providing therapy and support services, in Mission Viejo California.  Ashton’s primary focus is to provide excellent clinical care by authentically connecting with clients to help them break free from their addiction and strive to reach their personal goals.

Brian Harpst | AMFT (Associate Marriage and Family Therapist)

Brian Harpst is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT #108298). He grew up in Tehachapi, CA where he gained a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Brian graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2005 with a Masters in Musicology. He later went on to Pepperdine University graduating in 2018 with a Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Brian’s completed his clinical training experience at the Pepperdine Community Counseling Center in Irvine California. Brian developed a passion to serve in the substance abuse and mental health populations in grad school and has been involved with helping those populations since that time. Brian uses a variety of psychotherapy modalities in sessions including person centered therapy, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and positive psychology. Brian blends creativity with deliberate narrative practices in a collaborative effort to help clients gain hope and strength. Brian finds purpose in helping clients reclaim their lives and achieve their goals.

Heather Deranja | 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.

Sanjai Thankachen, MD | Medical Director

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.

Tami Tucker, PhD | Executive Therapist and Clinical Strategy

Tami L Tucker, Ph.D. is an Industrial Psychologist. Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Management Consultant. She has been a licensed psychologist for over 25 years and began her research in the area of Industrial psychology prior to that. She consults to large Fortune 100 companies and small organizations as an Executive Coach and Management Consultant specializing in the pre-hiring assessment. She brings her dedication to performance optimization and assessment to the field of recovery in an effort to expand the approach and tools used to treat addiction. Dr. Tucker has developed a program that is specialized for each client through psychological assessment not only to determine underlying co-occurring disorders but to also assess cognitive and personality variables as we seek to optimize knowledge and skills within our clients as they fight addiction.


John Biroc, PHD, LMFT, Clinical Director and Therapist

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.

Ashton Hart | AMFT (Associate Marriage and Family Therapist)

Ashton Hart  is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT#122756) who earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services in 2016, from University of Phoenix.  During this time she worked for Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno California, alongside the social work team supporting patients and families with trauma. Ashton’s professional and academic experiences have afforded her the ability to effectively work with adults struggling with addiction and co-occuring mental disorders. Ashton interned for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center in Fresno California and worked directly with the deaf community to support and empower wellness within their community. Ashton is comfortable with a variety of modalities including solution-focused brief therapy, internal family systems, cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive psychology, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing. While Ashton most often employs a collaborative and humanistic approach, she tailors the therapeutic process to meet the unique needs of her clients’. Ashton completed her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University and during that time she worked locally at a Western Youth Services, a nonprofit organization for children and families providing therapy and support services, in Mission Viejo California.  Ashton’s primary focus is to provide excellent clinical care by authentically connecting with clients to help them break free from their addiction and strive to reach their personal goals.

Brian Harpst | AMFT (Associate Marriage and Family Therapist)

Brian Harpst is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT #108298). He grew up in Tehachapi, CA where he gained a deep appreciation for the outdoors. Brian graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2005 with a Masters in Musicology. He later went on to Pepperdine University graduating in 2018 with a Masters in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. Brian’s completed his clinical training experience at the Pepperdine Community Counseling Center in Irvine California. Brian developed a passion to serve in the substance abuse and mental health populations in grad school and has been involved with helping those populations since that time. Brian uses a variety of psychotherapy modalities in sessions including person centered therapy, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and positive psychology. Brian blends creativity with deliberate narrative practices in a collaborative effort to help clients gain hope and strength. Brian finds purpose in helping clients reclaim their lives and achieve their goals.

Heather Deranja | 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.

Real Stories From Real People

Recovery Stories
  • “I am proud of both myself and the friendly CRC staff for helping me get my wings back! Thank you, I will never forget how selfless and kind you all were in helping me throughout my journey!”

    Cale M.
  • “I was a difficult client but received the individual attention you promised. The Psychologist on staff was a great help to me. I received the care I was promised and have much hope for the future. I would recommend Dana Point Rehab Campus to anyone.”

    Nursing Professional
  • “Dana Point Rehab Campus helped me to find my purpose to live a happy and healthy life I have always dreamed of.”

    Jonathan H.
  • “The custom-tailored approach and the competent and caring staff made me both comfortable and productive.”

    M.E
  • “I will pray for you to continue to have the zeal u will need, to keep saving people from despair and addiction”

    Mother of Alumni
  • “It’s given me a strong base and confidence in my current recovery, as well as more enjoyment of day-to-day life”

    Retired CEO
  • “This place helped me start to find the cause of my addiction and managed to sincerely save me from myself while providing me the training and skills needed to combat this in the future.”

    Producer
  • “Coming to DPRC was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.”

    Mark H.

You'll Feel At Home

Recovery Starts Here
  • Serene Views

    Perched on a hill overlooking one of the most picturesque locations in Southern California.

  • Empowering Transformation

    Therapy custom tailored to deliver lifelong success by empowering change within.

  • Cutting Edge Treatment

    Research-proven, evidence-based addiction recovery therapies.