Meet Our Team
Jessica’s background and expertise are well suited to serve the young adults at OPI. She holds a BA in psychology from University of California at Santa Barbara and has a Masters degree from Phillips Graduate Institute in Marriage and Family Therapy.
She received Training in Mentalization-based Treatment Approach in Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder through UCLA Semel Institute. She also has training in Treating Multiple Severe Disorders with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy with Michael Hollander, Ph.D., from Harvard/McLean Hospital. Additionally, Jessica has participated in Social Skills and Violence Prevention Training from the California Family Counseling Center.
She has served as a Marriage and Family Therapist with the California Family Counseling Center, has worked in several Los Angeles Unified School District elementary, middle and High Schools and has maintained a small private practice.
Ms. Breton is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, as well as Evolving Women.
At her heart, She is a passionate clinician. Jessica strongly believes that the relationships we build with clients and staff members helps to create an environment conducive to growth, healing, and change.
When not at work, Jessica loves spending time with her husband and 2 small boys.
She began her work at the California Counseling Center providing therapy to children, adolescents, couples and families. She also served as a child therapist, for the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she conducted both individual and group therapy for students at an elementary through high school level.
Her passion for the mental health field began as an undergraduate student at UCSB where she volunteered as a Paraprofessional Counselor, for the Family Service Agency Suicide Crisis Helpline. She also worked as a research assistant at Verdugo Mental Health Clinic.
She has had extensive training in Social Skills and Violence Prevention/Anti-Bullying and has run countless social skills groups and parenting workshops.
Alisa is enthusiastic about the work that she does at OPI and the opportunity to help young adults on their journey to independence. She believes in the importance of finding joy and balance in life and building a healthy repertoire of skills to manage day-to-day life.
When Alisa is not working she is focused on her other passion which is her family. She loves spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Nicole has been a part of the Optimum Performance Institute family since 2008. She began at OPI as a residential staff member, later transitioning to the life coaching department and department of staff development. Her current position as Residential Director enables her to combine her passion with therapy/coaching and program/staff development. Nicoleenjoys collaborating with staff and brainstorming creative ways to best support our participants in leading successful independent lives.
Originally from Los Angeles, CA, Nicole enjoys traveling, skydiving, scuba diving, working with animals, and pulling the best pranks on her coworkers!
Shannon and her family enjoy living in the San Fernando Valley and doing activities with their twin boys. For fun, you may see Shannon at the RC Car track, baseball field, or even jumping in a race car.
She has been recognized for excellence in leadership, clinical care, and dedication to service. She is currently the President-Elect of the Southern California Psychiatric Society, a professional organization representing over 1,000 psychiatrists in Southern California.
Also in the SCPS, Dr. Red has served as Treasurer, Secretary, Regional Councilor, Early Career Representative, and Resident/ Fellow Member Representative.
Dr. Red completed an Adult Psychiatry Residency at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, followed by a subspecialty fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Red received her MD degree from the University of Texas at Houston Medical School. Her undergraduate degree was in biology and chemistry at Howard Payne University in Texas.
Dr. Red is also a member of the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
During her academic time with CSUN Rebecca worked in the Child and Family Studies Center which acknowledges the needs of the individual child and the values of the family with the provision of a safe and nurturing environment. She trained with New Directions for Youth during her graduate program working with court referred adolescents in therapy.
Rebecca participated in Behavioral Tech’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy 10-Day Intensive Training Course© as well as several other DBT trainings such as, Using DBT on the Front Lines.
Rebecca has worked at OPI in both the residential and clinical capacity and assisted in the development of the Intensive Program.
In her down time she enjoys activities with her husband and daughter as well as with friends.
After completing his master’s education in counseling psychology at California Lutheran University, John began working as an outpatient therapist at Hillsides in Pasadena, CA. There, he provided community-based therapy to children and families, working in their homes and school. John also taught a Positive Parenting Program to help develop healthy parenting skills to families involved with social services. In addition to providing therapy, John was also the outpatient referral coordinator, and often the first contact for families seeking outpatient services from the agency.
John then brought his skill set to OPI to help young adults achieve goals towards independent living. He provides individual, family and group therapy for participants, including facilitating DBT Skills groups.
Outside of OPI John loves to spend time with his family, going on adventures, cycling, martial arts, playing guitar, and relaxing to records.
He is a naturally present and empathetic clinician that has joined the OPI team after 6+ years of providing direct therapeutic services to young adults, adolescents, and their families. He has experience providing group, individual, and family therapy in Intensive Outpatient Programs, community counseling centers and in private practice.
Darin has a passion for helping young people find their own path into adulthood. He enjoys the process of connecting with each individual and trying to help them learn the skills and self confidence they need to achieve their goals.
In his free time he can be found cavorting outdoors with his wife and two sons, coaching his boys’ basketball teams, listening to music, or “geeking out” on random psychology books, the NFL, and the NBA.
When Azra is not at work, she enjoys hiking, painting, attending concerts, and taking road trips with friends.
I have been a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for almost 25 years. My experiences range from working in a locked psychiatric unit of a hospital (for over 10 years), running and working at various residential and outpatient mental health and drug and alcohol programs, to having a successful private practice. I am passionate about helping individuals get unstuck, reconnect with their true self, find hope again, and start to see their life full of potential and promise.
Most people seeking treatment (if not all), have some history of trauma, and this trauma is impacting their present ability to be as effective as they would like to be, and often gets in the way of them reaching their personal goals. OPI does amazing work in providing its participants with many tools, a safe environment to practice them, and support and guidance to help move them forward, in all areas of their lives. There are times when one’s trauma becomes an obstacle to continued growth. When this happens, I am here to help.
EMDR allows me a way to work with a client that is being controlled by the impact of their past. EMDR is an evidence based approach proven successful in helping people suffering from PTSD, and other symptoms of trauma. As a certified EMDR therapist, I have been able to help people work through trauma, that they long ago gave up hope of ever doing. I have learned to trust the process of EMDR, and have seen miraculous results.
May you be happy, may you be at ease, may you be free from suffering; as you pursue your life’s journey.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified EMDR Therapist
As Director for Volunteer and Career Services, Jenny works with participants to use volunteering as an opportunity to build transferable skills, to obtain work experiences and professional references, gain confidence, and set and meet short term goals. Jenny helps participants in all phases of career counseling including exploration, career related tool building and the job search process. She coaches participants in the value of networking, professional image and mock interviewing. Jenny also coordinates the monthly community service events in various service areas and industries.
Jenny earned her Master’s of Science degree in Counseling and Guidance, College Student Personnel from California Lutheran University, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from California State University, Northridge, and a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University.
Michelle is passionate about education and enjoys helping participants obtain both their short and long term educational goals. As Director of Education, Michelle works with participants in all aspects of educational counseling including college major/vocational exploration, school and class registration, obtaining disability accommodations, detailed college search, college application assistance, college essay review, etc. She focuses on meeting the participants where they are academically, so whether they are interested in taking the HISET/GED, getting their high school diploma, applying to college, grad or vocational school, she can help them through every step of the process. Participants have been accepted to USC, Palo- Alto/Stanford’s Psy.D. program, Pierce College, Moorpark College, Santa Monica College, West Valley Occupational, MUDD make-up school, etc.
Michelle is from the Caribbean and was raised in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and NYC. She enjoys art, travel and fun beach days in Malibu with her family.
Whether it is exploring past hobbies, maintaining current joys, or sparking new found curiosities, Jenna is a true believer that motivation sparks from passion. She strives to influence positive motivation through encouraging support and realistic goals for each participant. Jenna charismatically reminds participants that fun, healthy activities are crucial for self-improvement, healthy living, and happiness. In the Extracurricular Activities Department, participants engage in OPI in-house clubs, participate in individual activities, build confidence in the kitchen, and socialize at weekend outings to best strengthen their OPI activity adventures.
Born and raised in the “City of Trees” Jenna has a strong love for nature and outdoor adventures. When she’s not busy at work, Jenna most enjoys yoga, hiking, dancing, traveling, camping, and making memories with her family.
Ryan brought this passion to OPI in 2014, joining the company as an Independent Living Specialist, helping to motivate and coach participants through their treatment experiences in the residential setting. In his first year at OPI, Ryan joined the Addiction Counseling Services Department, taking over as Director in 2015. In this role, he educates participants on substance use disorders as well as behavioral addictions, enhancing motivation and exposing participants to the advantages of a life of sobriety. Through groups, individual check-ins, and recovery meetings in the community, Ryan helps participants build a plan tailored to meet the unique needs and desires of each individual, from 12-Step and SMART Recovery meetings to physical fitness, digital detox and beyond. Ryan’s favorite part of working at OPI is the opportunity to help young people distance themselves from old behaviors that don’t serve them anymore and build a new perspective on life.
As Director of Life Coaching, Melissa hires and trains all life coaches at OPI to ensure participants are receiving one-to-one support and attention from our life coaching team. Life Coaches help participants define and work toward their goals, by creating small action steps that are accomplished and measured through a system of accountability. As a Therapist, Melissa works one-to-one with participants to work though the emotional obstacles keeping young adults from actualizing their full potential.
Melissa earned her Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Phillips Graduate Institute. Prior to that, she earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Promotions and Disease Prevention Studies with a minor in Psychology from the University of Southern California. Her experience outside of OPI includes working as a Behavioral Interventionist, utilizing her training in Applied Behavioral Analysis in her work with children and adolescence on the Autism spectrum. Additionally, Melissa offered counseling and crisis management with female adolescent foster youth living in group homes. Melissa holds a membership with the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
As the Human Resources Generalist for Innerchange/OPI Krista helps with the new hire onboarding process; this includes recruiting, orientation, and welcoming the new staff to our family. Krista assists with employee relations and development, creation of policies and procedures, and is familiar with HR rules and regulations.
Krista earned her Bachelors degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She went on to pursue her Masters degree in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach. Krista is from the South Bay. She enjoys going to sporting events, concerts, hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.
Tricia was born and raised in Southern California and enjoys traveling, hiking, baking and spending time with her husband and friends when she’s not at work.
Alex has an incredible ability to engage and connect with the participants and really push them to meet program expectations. Alex is a master tour guide for visitors coming to OPI and ensures that all new participants feel at home and comfortable with their environment.
Alex recently took part in OPI’s first Casa Hogar trip to Mexico and also went on the first OPI camping trip. Alex actively encourages participants to join him in workouts and other outside physical activities. He has been a sports coach for over 20 years and a Karate teacher for 13 years. Alex enjoys the opportunity to be positive every day, and when he is not at the gym he enjoys spending his free time with his wife and kids.
Janet is a certified instructor in non-violent crisis intervention and instructs and certifies the OPI team. Janet is a bit of a Renaissance woman. She loves experiencing new adventures and is a sponge for information. She has a broad knowledge base and is able to connect with a diverse population of people in a variety of situations.
Along with her husband Chops and their kitty Kona, Janet likes the beach, dancing, scuba, and shopping. She has been skydiving, bungee jumping and loves roller coasters! Her favorite is visiting her baby grandson Jay and her 23 year old son Phoenix, who is a Staff Sergeant in the US Army.
Mario grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Psychology. In his spare time Mario likes to spend time with his family and fixing things around the house.
As self-care, Monica has found a passion in Crossfit. She loves working out and shares her experience with coworkers/participants. She has participated in several competitions. Other things she enjoys is to travel around the world, hikes, camping, parasailing, zip line, massages, and concerts.
First generation born in America to Haitian immigrants Yanik enjoys traveling, spending quality time in nature, free style dance, creative writing, filmmaking and exploring the magical world of tea!
Sal works closely with his fellow site supervisors to ensure the safety and security of participants and staff. As facilities manager, Sal ensures all apartments are up to JCAHO standards. This includes monitoring the apartments for safety concerns, training staff on emergency preparedness, and training all staff on CPR and First Aid. Sal is intensively trained in DBT through Behavioral Tech.
Sal grew up in southern California and graduated from California State University, Northridge with a degree in Psychology. In his spare time Sal enjoys working out and watching movies with his son.
Elizabeth worked at CSU Channel Islands Police Department assisting the Director or Parking in promoting Alternative Transportation. She also worked directly with Sergeant Jetton assisting with the organization of Peace Officer’s training files and TIM’s Software. Elizabeth has brought skill sets to better assist participants in their residential journey. Elizabeth is lovingly direct and enjoys holding participants accountable for their actions.
When Elizabeth is not at work she is at Crossfit, spending time with family, or traveling.
Marc is able to build a great rapport with all our participants and is able to keep them motivated and driven to succeed in the program.
Marc leads an indoor rock climbing club that challenges our participants, takes them outside of their comfort zones but also builds self confidence and courage.
When Marc is not working he enjoys backpacking, running marathons, free diving, and flying single engine planes.