Our Team

Our team is comprised of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals dedicated to helping you as you find your way in the recovery process. Addiction can be devastating both for the sufferer and for their loved ones. Lives are ruined and relationships are strained to the breaking point. We bring the collective experience of over 25 years of helping people achieve successful recovery from drug and alcohol dependency. Utilizing time-tested methods combined with the latest advances in therapeutic techniques, we offer a comprehensive and thorough evidence-based treatment plan that best suits your individual circumstances. Our clinical and medical team, our therapists, drug and alcohol dependency counselors, coordinators, and our resident technicians work as a cohesive unit to give you the best possible experience in treatment and opportunity for successful recovery. We understand the struggle and we’re here to customize your treatment based on your specific needs.

Georgia Frabotta

CEO/Founder

Ria Koch

Co Executive Director & Co Owner- Villa California Treatment Center

Dr. Evelyn Kagan, Psy D

Clinical Director

Dr. Neda Javaherian, MD

Medical Director-Villa California Treatment Center

Beth Dewey

Director of Admissions

Jacob Akopyan, SUDCC II

Program Director-Villa California Treatment Center

Sasha Zabelovsky

Program Director-Villa Treatment Center

Christ Udtohan, LVN

Head Nurse

Christ came to The Villa with a wealth of experience in the Behavioral Health field. Having held two long-term positions in primary dual diagnosis treatment centers in Malibu he quickly became one of our rock stars who developed our staffing of licensed vocational nurses at both of our residential facilities. He is responsible for the development and execution of our medication management policies and procedures and assuring they our current with both state and Joint Commission standards.

Judy Waters, MA LMFT, ALSP

Program Director-Villa Outpatient Services

Judy has worked in the field of life transformation for over 25 years. Through The Agape International Spiritual Center spent four years becoming a licensed Practitioner (a spiritual counselor) with Agape. Simultaneously she was moved to join Sojourn Services for Battered Women and Their Children, where I helped run support groups for women who had survived domestic violence. I was so profoundly inspired and motivated by the work I was doing, I decided to become a Marriage and Family Therapist, training at the unique University of Santa Monica Spiritual Psychology Masters’ program. In recent years, she has  been guided to bring all of her training into the world of addiction counseling, helping those who identify as addicts to overcome their past traumas and their present challenges, freeing themselves to accept, honor, and ultimately discover a strength, wisdom and hope they never knew was possible. As a trauma informed therapist, she is devoted to helping people who have survived painful, difficult, even abusive experiences awaken to their true power and heal their suffering hearts. As a relationship coach, she inspires people to create a passionate life filled with profound peace, healthy, intimate love, and deep soulful partnerships. She strives to assist all of her clients in releasing old agreements and beliefs which have stood in the way of their freedom, peace, safety, and wholeness. She is Certified to provide EMDR and facilitates our trauma groups at all of our levels of care. Judy has created a huge footprint in the Villa community and we are grateful to have her.

Marco Pardo, MA, CATC IV

Spiritual & Grief Counselor

Marco Pardo, MA, is an addictions counselor whose areas of specialty are Spirituality and Grief Counseling for people in recovery. Marco first got involved with the work of recovery in 1978 as part of his studies for his Masters Degree in Counseling and Guidance from CSUN. In the 1980’s and 90’s, Marco pursued his interest in spiritual practice and studies by doing pastoral work and acquiring his Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology. In 1997, Marco was invited to start a group at a local treatment center to help the clients resolve concerns in spirituality that were obstacles to their recovery. A couple of years later he was asked to take over their Grief Group. He has done this work continuously from 2000 until the present. Marco has also done staff training sessions for several agencies on issues of Cultural Sensitivity, Professional Ethics, Spirituality in Recovery, and Grief in Recovery. He teaches in the Addiction Studies Program at Pierce College. Marco currently facilitates weekly groups at four local treatment facilities. He started facilitating groups and conducting individual counseling sessions at the Villa in 2014.

Shane Coyle, CATC II

Group Facilitator

Shane serves as a group facilitator at The Villa Treatment Centerm Villa California and The Villa Outpatient Services, where he focuses on clients struggling with dual diagnoses and trauma. Shane also serves as an EAGALA-trained equine therapist focusing on dual diagnosis challenges. Prior to joining The Villa, Shane worked as the Director of Community Outreach, at a Los Angeles based facility that helped young adults overcome substance abuse and as a counselor at an adult treatment center in West L.A. Shane is a graduate of Pierce College and is a certified counselor under the California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators, or CAADE. He is currently pursuing a degree in Psychology with a special focus on trauma and addiction.

Jennifer Espalin

Operations & Compliance Coordinator

George (Butch) Warner MA, CADC-II, LMFT

Psychotherapist/Group Facilitator

With over 22 years of recovery, and 17 years’ experience as a therapist, and as a professional writer and musician, Butch understands the monumental task of sustained recovery, and the value of creativity in the recovery process. Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Existential Therapy techniques, Butch offers a solution-oriented, “guided discovery” approach to help dual diagnosis clients gain insight and put it to work to achieve realistic goals. Butch has worked with clients from all walks of life, including musicians, actors, executives, athletes, and artists, “from Park Place to Park Bench.”

DaMarcus Morton

Facilitator

DaMarcus is a co-facilitator at The Villa Treatment Center and The Villa Outpatient Services, where he brings an in-depth knowledge of addiction and recovery. In addition to his work at The Villa, DaMarcus is a life coach. During his time in Washington state, DaMarcus served on the Training Advisory Board for Law & Ethics for Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Professionals and in the Department of Social and Health Services. He is a graduate of the University of Akron in Ohio, where he studied Sociology, and was trained in addiction studies in Los Angeles.

Mihal Coyle, LMFT

Staff Therapist & Group Facilitator

Mihal joined The Villa team in 2019. She earned a BA at the University of Southern California and then her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. She has extensive experience working at all levels of care in the Dual Diagnosis treatment space including working with adolescents and families. She maintains a private practice. Her approach is mixed modality, mainly humanistic, cognitive behavioral, mindfulness experiential and existential. she puts the highest value on an authentic collaborative connection between herself and her clients. When asked why she works at The Villa Mihal stated, "The Villa provides  comprehensive treatment in a professional and compassionate way, and I love that. I also love collaborating with a group of skilled and caring clinicians, case managers, group facilitators, nurses, and technicians. Great team!" Mihal has been an excellent addition to that group of skilled and caring clinicians!  

Mercedes Cusick, CATC IV, LMFT

Trauma Therapist

Mercedes Cusick is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with the Board of Behavioral Sciences and an CATC IV from California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators. She obtained her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena specializing in Trauma. She has nearly a decade of addiction and mental health experience working in various capacities in residential treatment centers, outpatient treatment centers, transitional livings, sober livings, homeless shelters and counseling centers. She works from an eclectic theoretical perspective with a focus on psychodynamic psychotherapy. When emotional injuries are unable to heal on their own, they predispose us to the development of depression, anxiety, and addictive disorders. This is particularly true of emotional injuries resulting from traumatic events or chronic stressful experiences from our childhood. The goal of psychodynamic psychotherapy is to heal these types of emotional injuries and gain insight into the way they affect our current patterns of thinking, feeling, and behavior. Some of the other approaches she works with closely with includes: Attachment-Based, Cognitive Behavior, Mindfulness, and Trauma-Focused. Most importantly, she comes from a humanistic point of view, perceiving and respecting you as a unique individual. In addition to being a therapist and group facilitator at The Villa Treatment Center, she maintains a private practice as an LMFT in Encino helping people who suffer from addiction, trauma or any areas that are blocking them from living a fulfilled life.

Sandy Kraehling

Head Chef

Sandy graduated from The French Culinary Institute and has worked for largest the global food company; informing her professional career. An Entrepreneur at heart she was an owner and partner in the New York City restaurant The Vermont Cafe. Sandy adheres to a “ sun created” cuisine and believes that good nutrition and food made with love plays a vital role in the recovery process. A Culinary Professional for over 2 decades, Sandy loves her residents and feels blessed to be part of The Villa Team. She envisions expanding her role to include our gardens at Villa California as a tool and food source into incorporate this into a group process with our residents. We feel very fortunate to have Sandy at the Villa. She has raised the standard and made our kitchen one of the favorite places for our residents to pop in and out of between groups and sessions.

Leslie Ackerman, LMFT

Staff Therapist and Family Group Facilitation

Mike Beychok, MA

Facilitator

Amy Dalgleish, CSLC,SHS

Spirtual Life Coach & Group Facilitator

Amy is a Certified Spiritual Life Coach and Energy Practitioner. For almost two decades Amy has dedicated her life to helping others work through the things that hold them back from living to their full potential with certainty and courage. She has the ability to see in others the parts of themselves that they have suppressed and bring out the best in them.  Amy knows a side of suffering that helps her relate. It is also useful in guiding people that have adversity on a very deep level.  Amy’s passionate about being a Life Fulfillment Coach and Intuitive Energy Healer specializing in trauma. She helps her clients look at their belief systems, deconstruct destructive behaviors and teaches them to live passionate, joyful lives. Her unique group approach has been invaluable to our trauma program.

Sarah Jean Vick, CATCII

Group Facilitator

 

Melissa Peinada, LVN

Nurse, Villa California

Melissa came to The Villa as a new licensee in the beginning of 2020. The behavioral health space was her first choice. She had always known that she wanted to help people in life, initially interested in being a doctor but realized that interactions with doctors are too impersonal and she wanted more of that connection between herself and patients. In her own words, "I wanted to witness the changes firsthand and see how my actions can make a difference in someone's life. That's part of the reason why I chose to work in treatment. A lot of the times clients come in at the lowest point in their life and being able to witness that dramatic chnage in someone's life, for the better, is amazing." Melissa loves the team dynamic at The Villa and she has certainly been a great addition to that team.

Meegodage Perera, LVN

Nurse, Villa California

Vivienne Kove

Resident Technician

Nancy

Yoga Instructor