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If you feel like God is far away,

ask yourself “who moved?”

 

 

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Our Christian Rehab Administrative and Clinical Staff

When you choose Christian addiction treatment at Celebrate Hope, you receive the highest level of individualized care from trained experts committed to excellence. We strive to provide a safe, supportive, and confidential environment where clients can comfortably communicate and learn to cope. Each individual enrolled in our comprehensive, in-depth Christian drug and alcohol rehab program will work with a team of loving, compassionate professionals who have a strong commitment to helping clients attain freedom from addiction.


Our dedicated staff has a combined 75 years of experience in addiction recovery, behavioral health, and treatment of co-occurring disorders and dual diagnosis. This expertise affords us intimate knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of those undergoing treatment. Our Christian counselors utilize proven therapy techniques that adhere to the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous programs. Drawing from personal success stories of staff members who have dealt with their own addictions, our Christian rehabilitation team infuses renewed hope for the fulfilling life that God intended.


Your success is our priority! That’s why we only employ clinical professionals who have not only demonstrated a proven track record of performance—but have profound compassion for our clients and their healing process. Our faith-based addiction treatment counselors include a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed marriage and family therapist. By working in both one-on-one and group settings, we uncover each participant’s strengths and gifts that will help him or her flourish in a drug-free life.


From the time you walk through our door to the time you leave our California Christian rehab center, rest assured that we will do everything in our power to address all of your concerns—day or night, 24/7! Our genuine concern, exceptional credentials, and superior care will facilitate life changes and promote lifelong sobriety.

 

Robert (Bobby) Nicholl, Christian Addiction Treatment InterventionistRobert (Bobby) Nicholl
Admissions and Interventions

 

Bobby has spent over 15 years in the development and operations of several residential treatment centers in California. He is a Certified National Drug & Alcohol Interventionist, as well as a Registered Addiction Specialist. Mr. Nicholl is personally involved in Celebrate Recovery at Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, California. He says, “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to him.” As Bobby says: “I’ve recently learned what really matters the most in life: God, my relationships, and my integrity. There is nothing more important!”

 

“If you have a hole in your life and your very inner being (your soul) feels empty and hungry? Then welcome, to Celebrate Hope, you’re at the right place for healing and restoration of mind, body, and spirit; we will provide you with a dignified setting and surround you with loving people. You’re going to get everything you need and even some of your wants while Celebrating Hope. Everywhere you look you’re surrounded by people who believe in you and believe you have what it takes to recover, heal, and be WHOLE. We believe in and love you because He (God) first believed in and loved us.” From day one, Bobby has focused treatment services on “What is in the best interest of the client?” With that in mind, the treatment team develops individualized treatment plans with each client’s specific needs in mind.

Penny Carlson, Drug Rehab California AdministratorPenny Carlsen, R.N.
Chief Financial Officer


Penny Carlsen is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Nursing. After graduation she spent the next few years working at Loma Linda University Medical Center on the Neurosurgery, Neurology and Rehabilitation Units. She later served as the business manager for Medical Imaging Specialists, Inc. She has an extensive background in both clinical and administration. She is a warm and loving person and is considered by the clients to be the "resident mom". 

Ernest Carlsen, Drug and Alcohol Rehab Founder Ernest Carlsen, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Board

 

Ernest Carlsen is the co-founder of Hope By The Sea. In 1972 Ernest Carlsen, Ph.D. developed the technique and equipment for what is known as "Grey Scale Imaging." This pioneering technological breakthrough has revolutionized diagnostic ultrasound. He has a dual Ph.D. one in bio-physics and one in nuclear medicine. Dr. Carlsen was a Graduate from the Loma Linda University school of medicine in 1969.

Kelly Carlsen, Drug Rehab California DirectorKelly Carlsen
Vice President of Finance


Kelly Carlsen has been with Hope By the Sea since its inception. She spent several years working as an intervention aide for troubled elementary students. She currently works as our Director of Human Resources as well as working directly with the clients in job development skills and personal growth. 

Ryan Kelly, Rehab for College Students DirectorRyan Kelly
College Program Director

 

Ryan began working in the field of education advisement in January 2009. As an enrollment advisor, Ryan effectively enrolled more than 250 students with a 91% continuation rate (meaning only 9% dropped out). He earned his Bachelor's of Arts in Management while working full time, and successfully finished his final class after completing a 90 day treatment program at Hope By The Sea. Having previously attended Saddleback Community College from 1998 - 2001, Ryan is extremely knowledgeable with all aspects of the school that is the main focal point of our college program.

Candy Carlsen, Drug and Alcohol Rehab Medical LiaisonCandy Carlsen, RN
Chief Operating Officer

 

Candy Carlsen has worked in the field of nursing for several years.  She worked at UCLA Medical Center in the neuro/surgical trauma ICU and also at Hoag Memorial in the cardiac ICU.  She has extensive training in psychopharmacology and works very closely with Hope By the Sea’s physicians.  She educates clients and families on the importance of proper medication management and compliance, when necessary.

Cyndie Dunkerson, Drug Rehab California CounselorCyndie J. Dunkerson, B.A.S, CATC III, CA-CCS
Certification #: 122981-III
Vice President of Admissions

 

Cyndie has been with Hope By The Sea since the beginning and holds a strong passion for the field of addiction. As the Vice President of the Admission's Department, she helps potential clients and their families to take their first steps in the recovery process. She holds a Bachelors degree and is currently state certified with the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Educators as a Chemical Dependency Counselor and Clinical Supervisor. She has been working in the field of addiction since 2002 and also brings to the table her own journey of recovery. Since starting in the field of addiction she has maintained success working with the criminal justice system in getting defendants sentenced to treatment in lieu of jail. Cyndie is currently working towards obtaining her Doctorate in forensic psychology.

Valeh Karimkhani

Valeh Karimkhani, D.O.
Psychiatrist


Dr. Valeh Karimkhani, D.O. is an adolescent and adult psychiatrist. She is board certified in Psychiatry as well as Addiction Medicine. She is the founder of Orange County Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine.


Dr. Karimkhani is dedicated to serving the psychiatric needs of her community. She has extensive experience in substance abuse, dual diagnosis, PTSD, mood and anxiety disorders, and emergency psychiatry. She is also one of a select few psychiatrists offering TMS treatment.


In addition to clinical duties, Dr. Karimkhani is an adjunct professor, teaching medical students during clinical rotations from Midwestern University.


Dr. Karimkhani is also a Major in the Army Reserves, completing three tours of duty in the Middle East. She is dedicated to helping and healing our armed forces and their families.

Frank Buffa, Drug and Alcohol Rehab, Bio-Psycho-Geneologist

Frank Buffa
Bio-Psycho-Genealogist

 

Working in the field since 2005, Frank came to Hope By The Sea bringing with him his knowledge of the Co-Occurring Disorder population.  He specializes in working with clients who suffer from sexual trauma and anger control issues.  In addition, he enjoys helping clients identify and change old behavior patterns to implement healthy change and create a solid base to continue successfully into their future.

 

Amanda Elsasser, Drug Rehab California ACSWAmanda Elsasser, ACSW
BBS Reg No: ASW 30872
Therapist


Amanda is an Associate Clinical Social Worker with a bachelors in Psychology from James Madison University and a Masters in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. She specializes in working with clients who have co-occurring disorders. Her focus is on helping clients to accept their emotions while learning to love themselves. Amanda facilitates individual, couples therapy, as well as family therapy.

Julie Ritkes, Drug and Alcohol Rehab ChefJulie Ritkes
Chef

 

Julie graduated from Laguna Culinary Arts Professional Chef Program in 2006. She is also a Chef Instructor, Private Chef and Caterer. Part of her talent is to construct creative menus that give the clients the very best nutrition. "I believe the role of good nutrition in a residential treatment center is an important part of the healing process".

Sandy Busby, Drug and Alcohol Rehab Office ManagerTaylor Weyer
Intake Specialist/Family Program Coordinator


Taylor Weyer born and raised in San Clemente, stepped into the field of Recovery approximately two years ago. Taylor has had a passion for giving hope to young women and being active in youth recovery. On a daily basis Taylor is involved with family reconciliation and coordination of the Family Program. This opportunity has helped her not only in her own recovery but also has enhanced her outlook on life. She has realized that family support is a core healer in recovery and has a heart to continue in mediating and mending. Watching miracles on a day to day basis inspires her to grow more in her spirituality, career, her own personal relationships as well as hobbies. Taylor's desire is to continue to motivate, remain humble and trustworthy, reliable, and continuously up lift those around her

Sandy Busby, Drug and Alcohol Rehab Office ManagerSandy Busby
Office Manager


Sandy brings her exceptional organizational and communication skills to the complex world of recovery to the facility. She has a driven attitude in work ethics and her experience shows it well. She joined the team soon after her own personal recovery journey began with Hope By The Sea in 2008. She took on office management with ease and her area of expertise includes administration, accounting, finance, and insurance. Her professional manner, personal experience, and love for the field of recovery make her an invaluable asset to both our clients and staff.

Crystal MunroeCrystal Munroe
Licensed MFT

 

Crystal obtained her Masters of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Alliant International University; California School of Psychology in Irvine, CA. Crystal has several years of experience in working with addiction and co-occurring disorders (anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, etc.). Crystal is an advocate of couples and family therapy. She has worked with clients of all ages and uses various tools and interventions to meet the individual needs of each client. Crystal excels at quickly and concisely understanding a client’s underlying issue with addiction to help optimize their stay in treatment. She approaches therapy from an eclectic standpoint and utilizes various modalities such as Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, Solution-Focused therapy, Family systems, and Object Relations therapy.

Pete HernandezPete Hernandez, CSAC 1
Certification# CORPHQ-042

 

Pete is a bilingual certified Christian substance abuse counselor with more than 5 years experience in the recovery field. His passion for helping others combined with his extensive personal experience make him an indispensable asset to Hope By The Sea. Pete's professional skills coupled with his knowledge of both recovery and Christianity drive his relentless ambition of inspiring others to achieve their goals.

 

 

 

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Connect With Our Campus Pastor

Our Christian counselors and campus Pastor walk with clients in their journey of recovery and reconnection to God.


 

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Contact Us at (800)708-3173

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