We Give Hope

Hope by the Sea has helped, healed and given hope to thousands through our accredited addiction programs and services.
The miracle of recovery can be yours too.


Our Staff


Our addiction treatment center staff at Hope By the Sea consists of caring professionals committed to excellence. We work together to provide a safe and confidential environment while communicating with clients one-on-one and in group settings to help them achieve their addiction recovery goals. Our staff utilizes a team approach to ensure that all clients receive a comprehensive, in-depth treatment experience. Each client works with a select group of professionals over the course of his or her addiction treatment to achieve the maximum results. Our staff takes pride in the success of our patients and the many ways our Orange County drug and alcohol rehab benefits their lives.


The staff at Hope By the Sea provide experienced drug and alcohol counselors who have successfully worked the recovery tools, the guidelines of which are found in the Twelve Step philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These staff members provide meaningful examples of what can be accomplished with sobriety if the steps are made a part of the person's daily routine. In addition, there are trained, professional staff members who have seventy-five years of combined experience working in the field of addiction treatment. The breadth of this experience have shaped our team’s thorough understanding of the challenges, accomplishments, and needs of patients undergoing drug and alcohol treatment.


Hope by the Sea’s professional staff includes a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed marriage and family therapist. All staff members are hired, first, because of their ability to show love and compassion and, secondly, for their professional expertise. With these priorities, we believe our staff has as much, if not more, experience working with substance abuse as any dual diagnosis recovery program. Our staff members are ready and willing to talk with interested parties about our goals, methodology and treatment services for various addiction and behavioral health issues. We will never be too busy to explain our roles and philosophy. We will always be available to listen to and guide our clients and their families. That is why we have been instrumental in helping patients overcome drug and alcohol abuse and form new and healthy ways to handle life and it's ups and downs.


Our staff members believe strongly in our patients’ success. Clients instantly sense our staff members’ genuine concern and dedication to the recovery of our patients. Our belief in every patient’s ability to succeed means a lot to our clients and their loved ones. Our staff understands why patterns of drug abuse occur, why they are difficult for individuals to stop, and what steps anyone can take that will lead to lasting life changes - beginning at our California drug and alcohol rehab.

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.

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". 

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.

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 before turning her focus to helping adults with addiction. She currently is the head of the Insurance Billing department as well as oversees the Human Resources division.

Cyndie Dunkerson, Drug Rehab California CounselorCyndie J. Dunkerson, B.A.S, CATC III, CA-CCS
Vice President of Admissions (Certification # 122981-III / 12079)


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. Cyndie enjoys speaking at conferences and guest lecturing in various colleges.

Robin K. Lovell, CATC, California Drug Rehab Program DirectorRobin K. Lovell, CATCI
Vice President of Program Services

Robin is a dedicated and highly motivated individual certified by the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Educators. Robin has been working in the chemical dependency field since 2006 both in in-patient and out-patient settings; she has a passion for working with individuals and families suffering from the disease of addiction. As the Vice President of Program Services, she helps in the guiding the infrastructure that supports the clinical services team. Robin is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor who completed the Alcohol and Drug Studies Certificate Program through Saddleback College. Prior to working at Hope by The Sea Robin worked alongside the Orange County Heath Care Agency in the DUI field. While working in the out-patient court related system Robin found that her abilities were limited; her true passion lies in residential settings and helping people reclaim their lives. Working at Hope by The Sea has allowed her to guide others in overcoming drug and alcohol addiction and ultimately leading productive, substance-free lifestyles.

K. Mitchell Naficy, Drug and Alcohol Rehab MD

Valeh Karimkhani, D.O.
Medical Director and 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.

K. Mitchell Naficy, Drug and Alcohol Rehab MD

K. Mitchell Naficy, M.D., FAAFP

Dr. Naficy is a Board Certified specialist of Family Medicine whose style of patient care involves caring for the person as a whole, rather than just treating a particular symptom or illness.  His credentials include a Bachelors degree in Microbiology from Rutgers University followed by obtaining his medical Doctorate in Puerto Rico.  Dr. Naficy completed an internship in 1990 at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles and then 3 years of residency at UCI Medical Center in Irvine, CA.  

Aaron Estrada, Drug Rehab California Case ManagerAaron Estrada, CADCII
Program Director


It has been Aaron’s passion to work in the field of addiction since he became sober himself in January of 2011 after completing treatment at Hope By The Sea. Aaron began working in the field of recovery as a House Manager, followed by a year-long internship while earning his credentials. His area of expertise includes providing comprehensive case management services to clients including treatment planning, progress reporting, and after care planning. By using his personal experience and clinical training, his goal is to help each client begin the process of reaching their full potential through spiritual progress and learning to live life sober one day at a time. Aaron has become an integral part of the Hope By The Sea team; in service as the Program Director Aaron provides direction and support to the clinical staff ensuring that client needs are met.

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.

Bryan Krause, Drug Rehab California Director of OperationsBryan Krause
Payments and Insurance Billing


Along with his own personal recovery experience, he brings over 5 years of operations and management experience in the recovery field. Bryan has worked in multiple treatment settings, from hospitals, to both inpatient and outpatient programs, and finds the work that he does extremely fulfilling. Bryan has exceptional skills and abilities in dealing with the issues that present themselves for people going through treatment. Bryan has worked in several positions at Hope By The Sea, most recently he has transitioned to the finance department. He is attentive, supportive and informative to our clients and staff making him an invaluable resource at Hope By The Sea.


Clinical Staff

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

Frank Buffa


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.


Dale Tatum, Christian Rehab CaliforniaDale Tatum
Ordained Pastor
Spiritual Guidance and Christian Counseling


Dale has a tremendous love for people and a desire to facilitate their spiritual growth. He brings the love of God through His Son Jesus Christ to every client on a personal and individual basis. Dale believes that to lead clients to successful recovery, God’s grace, forgiveness and love must be conveyed at the deepest spiritual level. When asked why he loves this calling he responds simply, “I want to do for others what God has so lovingly done for me!”



Sharon Stafford, Drug and Alcohol Rehab Clinical DirectorSharon Stafford PhD
Therapist (PSY18759)


Dr. Stafford is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with years of experience working in in-patient and out-patient treatment settings. Her professional experience includes being a research coordinator, conducting research in the area of chronic pain, being the Program Director of in-patient psychiatric treatment for children, working in crisis management in an emergency room setting, serving as school consultant, and is currently employed as Clinical Director. She also has her own  private practice.

Amanda Jaworski, Drug Rehab California ACSWAmanda Jaworski, ACSW
(BBS Reg No: ASW 30872)

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.

Julianne PiascikJulianne Piascik, LMFT
Clinical Director (License # MFC51265)


Julianne is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. Julianne joined the Hope By The Sea team in 2014 and quickly became a part of the “Hope Family”. Julianne’s commitment to her clients is evident in her work, as she goes above and beyond to ensure the quality of care her clients receive. Julianne offers insight that reaches her clients even in the depths of their struggles. Julianne has experience working with children, families, individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders and mental health conditions.


“I am passionate about what I do and I love to see people get healing through recovery.” - Julianne

Victoria Rodgers, M.A., MFTI
Therapist (Certification: IMF82349)


Victoria has obtained her Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chapman University and draws upon her knowledge of family systems to assist clients in gaining awareness to how an addiction affects individuals as well as their families. With experience working in more acute residential and outpatient settings, Victoria assists clients in processing underlying core issues leading them to abuse substances. Victoria utilizes a range of therapeutic modalities to meet the client where they are at emotionally in order to work through barriers, obtain healthy change, and practice beneficial coping skills. She believes in experiential practices in helping clients see their story from a new perspective to gain insight into personal struggles. Victoria is passionate in providing hope to individuals in need and is grateful for the opportunity to work with individuals on their journey to recovery.

Tiffany R. AgraTiffany R. Agra, MS, MFTI
Therapist (Certification: IMF66373)


Tiffany has an extensive history working with individuals struggling with drug addiction and co-occurring disorders. In 2005, she was a peer counselor for Health Education and Promotion before graduating from the University of California, Davis, with two Bachelor's degrees - one in psychology and one in sociology. From there, she went on to obtain her Masters degree from the California State University, Long Beach, while interning for Orange County Health Care Agency, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, running the clinic's Seeking Safety - PTSD and drug addiction - program, under the guidance of Service Chief, Tim Shaw. Her post-graduate hours were obtained at Catholic Charities of Orange County; ITF, the only county inpatient psychiatric hospital in Riverside county; Sovereign Health; and Orange County Health Care Agency, Adult and Older Adult Mental Health Services. She has since found her home at Hope By the Sea, where she can employ the therapeutic approaches she feels work best, guaranteeing a unique treatment plan tailored to the needs of each individual. Her specialties lie in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Family Systems, and Narrative Therapy. Tiffany is a client advocate first and foremost and enjoys empowering her clients to find their own strength and grow well beyond their personal expectations.


"I once told Tim Shaw that I couldn't imagine working with people suffering from addiction. Now I can't imagine working with anyone else."

Erin McCarthyErin McCarthy, MSW, ACSW



Erin McCarthy comes to Hope by the Sea with extensive experience in substance use and co-occurring disorders. Several years after graduating from University of Washington with a BA in both Psychology and Sociology, Erin counseled clients at a treatment center for over two years. During her Master of Social Work program at University of Southern California, she had the privilege of working with diverse populations including victims of child abuse and domestic violence as well as individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders and other mental health challenges. Erin has also assisted with the management of SAMSHA's National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare and has taught at the college level assisting students procuring their drug and alcohol counseling certification. She now has the honor of working with clients at Hope by the Sea while accumulating her hours for licensure as an Associate Clinical Social Worker.

Peter SalernoPeter Salerno, M.S., MFTI
Therapist (Certification: #IMF76952)


Peter earned his Master’s in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University and has worked with clients who suffer from addiction and co-occurring disorders since 2011. His professional experience ranges from working with high school and college students in both outpatient and inpatient settings to working with individuals, couples, and families in private practice. Peter has years of experience working with people who struggle with unresolved issues of grief, loss, and trauma. He utilizes a variety of therapeutic modalities and techniques to assist clients in identifying negative core beliefs about themselves that contribute to mental distress and lead to substance abuse, and he aids them in developing adaptive coping mechanisms that work to sustain sobriety, emotional health, and well-being.


Case Managers

Pete HernandezPete Hernandez, CSAC 1
Case Manager (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.

Wendi NicholsWendi Nichols, CADCI
Chemical Dependency Counselor


Wendi came to Hope By The Sea after many years in recovery and recovery related work. Before getting sober herself, she spent much of her time traveling and working construction related jobs. After finding recovery in her personal life and beginning to work with others, she realized she had finally found the sort of fulfillment she thought she could only dream to have. Wendi set out to accumulate her credentials and became a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor so that she could help others the way that she was helped. She spent a number of years bouncing around the treatment industry acquiring experience in several different modalities that include but are not limited to eating disorder treatment, substance abuse treatment, and the treatment of adolescence in recovery. Wendi came on board at Hope By The Sea and quickly realized she had found her home. She feels Hope By The Sea offers her the opportunity to help those in need the way she would like while making the transition as comfortable as possible during the process.

Jose Franco, RAS
Chemical Dependency Counselor


Jose's has been in recovery since July of 2008. Jose has a passion for helping others overcome the bondage of addiction. Jose knows and understands the struggles of addiction and what it takes to have victory over active addiction with willingness, determination, and a desire to follow direction. Jose is a Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS), Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC I & II), Christian Drug Alcohol and Addictions Counselor (CDAAC), Anger Management Counselor, BA in Pastoral Counseling & Care, and has been a Licensed Pastor since 2010. Jose believes that anyone, no matter how far down the road of addiction they may have gone, they can recover from the wreckage that addiction causes and live a joyous and fulfilled life.

Derrick B. HarveyDerrick Bruce Harvey, RAS, CATC
Chemical Dependency Counselor / IOP Program Facilitator (#H126051918)


A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Derrick brings two decades of experience in Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery. Over the twenty years he has served as counselor and facilitated process groups of abused and addicted women; counselor at a residential dual diagnosis facility; case manager and program director in a Psychiatric Chemical Dependency Hospital; and Executive Director of an organization providing residential treatment for women and children, men, outpatient for adults and adolescents, and DUI programs. In addition, he served as consultant to the State of California providing valuable information about the treatment needs of African Americans throughout the state. Derrick believes that his role is now to educate newly recovering people on relapse prevention skills and techniques.

Richelle SeguraRichelle Segura, CATC II
Chemical Dependency Counselor


I've always had the passion and vision to do life alongside others. I received my bachelors in psychology at Cal State Fullerton. Shortly after becoming sober in 2008 I wanted to help others "make a message out of their mess" as I had done with the help of those who invested so freely into me. I attended Mt. San Antonio college alcohol and drug counseling program graduating in 2010. My approach stems from utilizing the experience of having a very diverse hands on background in animal rescue,facilitating wolf therapy and working with a wide demographic from adolescents and men,to counseling women rescued out of human trafficking. I am also certified in Rapid Resolution Therapy™ which works to shift the way mind has been processing past experiences and ultimately get to a more beneficial understanding of what occurred.I believe what we value determines who we are...people matter and I am blessed to be doing life alongside every client I meet.

John MallettJohn Mallett, CATC1
Chemical Dependency Counselor


John has been working in the recovery field since 1994 and has been sober since 1980. John is a dedicated Addiction Counselor with years of experience working for many outstanding treatment centers and considers Hope By The Sea one of the best. His passion lies in helping people identify their self defeating behaviors and learning to let them go. John has committed his life to working with and supporting those seeking recovery.


Operations Staff

Shannan FiorenzaShannan Fiorenza, R.N.
Director of Operations


As Director of Operations for Hope By the Sea, Shannan brings over 14 years’ of critical care nursing experience. Shannan spent much of her career as an ER nurse in local Orange County Hospitals. Her ability to manage multiple functions of our program ensures that our clients receive the best possible care during their treatment with us. Shannan’s focus is insuring each clients needs are met both medically and emotionally. Shannan is an Orange County native and has raised her three handsome boys with the same love and commitment evident in her work.

Ella MartellElla Martell
Operations Manager


Ella was born and raised in England, where she was schooled in Holistic Medicine and Business Administration. Her Holistic studies had a strong emphasis on mental health and addiction. Ella has a strong work ethic and believes in setting clients and staff up for success. Both compassionate and methodical, Ella is able to utilize her skillset here at Hope by the Sea. She is heavily involved in the Orange County Chapter of Young Peoples Recovery, dedicating herself to helping those trying to attain, and those that are in recovery, lead productive substance free lives, in additional to advocating for substance abuse to be better understood.


Admissions Staff

Corey RichmanCorey Richman
Admissions Coordinator


Corey joined the Hope By The Sea Team in 2014. He is new to working in the Recovery field but possesses more than 5 years’ experience in management, strong leadership skills and exceptional work ethic. Corey is emotionally invested in helping others, whether it be his staff or our clients. Corey is a graduate of San Diego State University, with a major in Business Management Technology and a Minor in Business Administration. His personal ties to the recovery and the loving support he provides to our community have made him a valuable asset.

Stephanie Deutsch, California Drug Rehab Accounts ReceivableStephanie Deutsch
Admissions Coordinator


Stephanie’s experience has been spread over multiple roles in the field of recovery. She holds positions such as accounts receivable, women’s sober living manager, drug test supervisor and intake specialist. She primarily works closely with the clients and their families on the financial portion of the clients care. With her own recovery story beginning at Hope By The Sea in early 2012, she strives to help others achieve freedom from addiction.

Victor Georgescu
Admissions Counselor


Currently working on certification for his A.S. in Alcohol & Drug Studies from Saddleback College, Victor's passion for treatment and recovery was founded by his own journey into sobriety starting in March of 2012. Through education, internship, and volunteer work, Victor has extensive experience in professional standards of care and incredible empathy for the ones entering into treatment. With vision towards welfare and hope for every client, his mission is to embrace the ability for anyone to live a healthy sober lifestyle.

Therese Chavira

Therese Chavira
Intake Specialist/Family Program Coordinator


As a recovering addict and alcoholic, Therese brings her personal experience and success and is able to pursue her passion for helping clients & their families get the help they so desperately need to start the healing process of recovery. She enjoys working at Hope By The Sea because she strongly believes in its core values, and appreciates the opportunity to work with a team who shares similar aspirations. In her words, " Doing admissions and working with families on a daily basis allows me to witness the progression in our clients recovery and see first- hand the difference we make which in itself -is a true miracle."

Rebecka Eviston
Intake Coordinator


Rebecka grew up around 12-step programs due to loved ones struggling with addiction. This provided her with sufficient knowledge of how to support someone who is trying to maintain sobriety. She entered treatment herself in 2011, and has been around the field of recovery ever since. She is a licensed Cosmetologist who has multiple years of experience in management and customer service. She has also worked as the head of a sober living here in Orange County. These skills give Rebecka the ability to cater to client needs upon their arrival. She uses her own experience with addiction and recovery on a daily basis to give our new clients something to relate to. Her warm and loving personality along with her positive outlook on life help to provide our clients with hope for their future.

Brittanie Blanchard
CARF Program Manager


Brittanie recently took over the position of CARF Program Manager in February 2015. Having had previous experience working in treatment at all different levels of operation from entry level positions to Director of Operations, combined with an affinity for detail, she is able to provide the quality work that CARF requires. Being a recovered addict herself, Brittanie manages the tasks of CARF Program Management with a level of personal attention and care that showcases Hope by the Sea's compassionate concern and quality care given to the recovering addict.


Chef Staff

Collin FlynnCollin Flynn


Born and raised in South Carolina, Collin is fluent in the art of coastal southern cuisine. He trained at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte North Carolina, where he studied culinary arts. Shortly after Collin began his career at the Orient Express hotel at Charleston grill, a five diamond hotel, and Michelin Star rated restaurant. He then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana post Hurricane Katrina, to volunteer his time with AmeriCorps doing Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. Shortly after, he began a Career as Chef de Cuisine of the Blue Bayou Bar and Grill at the Silver Slipper Casino in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi. There he received numerous accolades, including; a food and Wine featurette as one of the Gulf Coasts best chefs, gold medals in the American Culinary Federations Gulf coast food competitions, and a number of New Orleans Magazine food reviews. His journey took a different route in 2015 which landed him in Orange County where he attended Hope by the Sea. He is a current alum of the program, and has continued his progress as a Chef at Hope by the Sea.

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.


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