Meet Our Team
OPI Executive Director Jessica Breton shares with us her thoughts on the passionate and skilled team here at OPI. Several team members have been with OPI for more than 10 years, and all team members focus on our core values of empathy, service, trusting relationships, and growth.
Jessica Breton is the Executive Director at the Optimum Performance Institute and has been with OPI since 2009, holding the positions of licensed therapist and Clinical Program Director.
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 Master’s 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.
Alisa received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Phillips Graduate Institute. She has a strong passion for the field of psychology and for supporting others on their life path through the power of therapy.
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.
Mario has been with the Optimum Performance Institute since 2008. He started as an Independent Living Specialist and transitioned to a Site Supervisor/Fleet Manager role. Mario works closely with his fellow supervisors and scheduler to ensure all participant transportation needs are met on a daily basis.
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.
Sal has been with the Optimum Performance Institute since 2005. He started as an Independent Living Specialist and transitioned to a Site Supervisor/facilities manager. And is now our Director of Operations.
Sal works closely with his fellow site supervisors to ensure the safety and security of participants and staff. As Director of Operations, 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.
Admissions and Outreach
April came into the field of mental health inspired by her own life experiences. As the daughter of a family member who endured decades worth of unsuccessful treatment stays, April knows firsthand the importance of finding quality treatment, not just for the participant but for the entire family. This life experience is what fuels her passion to only advocate for the absolute best treatment providers who operate with the most upstanding integrity. As she will tell you, she knows exactly what it’s like to be the family member believing in a treatment center with your whole heart and hanging on to every word with the hope that “this time it will work”.
"When the opportunity arose to work for OPI and she met Jessica and team, April enthusiastically jumped aboard! April previously worked for InnerChange and established many long and enduring friendships along the way. She is thrilled to back in the family!
April grew up on a farm in Arizona and attended Arizona State University where she obtained her degrees in psychology and business. Go Sun Devils!!! She now resides in Orange County where she can be found cheering from the bleachers of her daughter’s volleyball games, rescuing kittens for OC Small Paws, raiding the nearest Sephora, or cooking up some of her favorite Mexican recipes."
Tiwi Nicks joins OPI after having worked for many years in the
therapeutic industry through various admissions and outreach
Prior to that, she worked in the public school sector for a
large school district, meeting the needs of diverse learners and
their families. This aided her ability to relate to the therapeutic
field and furthered her compassion to help families in need. Tiwi
has a master’s degree in Education from Arizona State
University, but her interest in therapeutic programs has been
developing for a great deal of time, with many of her family
members having worked in the industry. She has always had a
passion for helping people and fulfilled this by coaching,
teaching, and through her admissions and outreach roles.
Tiwi was born and raised in North Idaho, but now calls Phoenix,
Arizona her home. When she is not working, she enjoys
spending time with her husband and two daughters and
watching their many athletic pursuits.
Alexa has a passion for helping and mentoring others. With a BA in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz, she has experience in working with at-risk populations of all ages and high school athletes in skill building and mental toughness. She began her journey at OPI in 2020 and has held multiple leadership roles in the residential department. Now as an Admission Counselor, Alexa can bring her knowledge and experience about OPI directly to families in need. In this role, she serves as the first point of contact for families seeking quality treatment. Her warm and empathetic demeanor creates a welcoming atmosphere for those who may be experiencing vulnerability and uncertainty.
Alexa was born and raised in Downtown Los Angeles. In her free time, she does CrossFit and spends time with family and friends. She enjoys trying new restaurants and tasting different types of foods throughout LA, attending concerts, and traveling.
Janet Martin, M.D., Ph.D. is a Board Certified (ABPN) psychiatrist with over 10 years of private-practice experience, committed to helping patients using psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. She completed her residency training at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in 2006, where she was Chief Resident of the Consultation & Liason service. She received her M.D. from UC Irvine, where she also completed a Ph.D. in neuroscience research, studying neuropathology in dementia. She completed her undergraduate education at UCLA, where she majored in Psycho biology, graduating magna cum laude.
Marianna Jong is a Registered Nurse, who has been practicing for 21 years. She has a Bachelor of Nursing degree and a Master of Business Administration degree with a minor in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University.
Marianna has a multitude of experience across the Nursing realm, to include Hospital Acute Care Nursing, Case Management, Utilization Management, Hospice and Behavioral Health, which is ultimately the area that Marianna has found to be extremely rewarding. She loves working with Behavioral Health Participants of all ages, providing support, encouragement and gentle guidance to OPI Participants.
Marianna enjoys reading, playing the piano, golfing, hiking, mountain biking and loving her two white lab puppies!
Dr. Khoubian is originally from Los Angeles and received his bachelor’s degree in biopsychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. During his undergraduate studies, he focused on the biology of the brain and researched how the medication olanzapine stimulates new nerve growth in the brain. He received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and completed his residency at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina. While there, he learned advanced treatments such as transcranial magnetic therapy (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In addition, he incorporates techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy into his practice. He has worked in several settings, including Cedars Sinai Medical Center and The Julian F. Keith Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center. He enjoys logic puzzles, reading, podcasts, and trying new restaurants in his spare time.
It is my absolute pleasure and honor to still be considered a part of the OPI family . I have been fortunate to work with OPI for several years, and have the utmost respect for the entire team, and for the unparalleled work they are doing, helping to relaunch young adults, toward a future of success and wellness.
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
Katherine earned her master’s degree in Social Work from Brandman University after completing her undergraduate degree in sociology.
Katherine’s passion for helping others through therapeutic modalities began after a college internship at the Bridge to Home homeless services agency. Since then, Katherine has held positions with various non-profit agencies and has worked with children, adolescents, teenagers, young adults, and seniors.
Katherine’s training includes human trafficking advocacy, domestic violence advocacy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Therapy and individual and group therapy modalities. Katherine’s passion is helping individuals recover from trauma.
Katherine proudly volunteers as a crisis counselor for a non-profit organization that focuses on suicide prevention amongst LGBTQ+ youth.
Katherine resides in Los Angeles with her wife and toy poodle. Katherine loves spending her spare time with her friends and family on off-roading adventures, surfing, hiking, and travelling. Katherine is also currently pursuing her Psy.D in the hopes of becoming a licensed psychologist in 2024.
Before I became a therapist, I made my living as a performer. I have sung, acted, and "danced" (I'm more of a mover than a dancer, though I love it) in California and overseas. Performing is where I first found my voice and sense of self, which is what drew me to not just eventually become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, but to study Drama Therapy and infuse the theatre arts into my therapy practice.
In the past 4+ years after graduate school, I have honed my skills as a clinician and learned so much about being a therapist and about myself. For instance, I learned that working with children and adolescents is not my jam, but I love, and am good at, and am at my best when working with young adults, adults, and families! I have experience working with trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, unpacking childhood pain as it is held and experienced by adults, understanding issues specific to women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ communities and working with families to better understand the functioning and dysfunction of the family system.
I am passionate about people, their stories, and healing into the wounds of the past to allow for more freedom and beauty to flow in the present.
For fun, I love to travel, eat, drink, go to the movies, take my family to Disneyland to play and watch friends perform, spend time with friends and loved ones doing whatever, and doing nothing. I'm very good at doing nothing.
Arianna holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology, with an emphasis in Drama Therapy, from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Drama Therapist and storyteller at heart.
Arianna specializes in the treatment of individuals suffering from the weight of being human, and all the ways that society’s issues can manifest as personal pain and mental illness. Before coming to OPI, Arianna worked in private practice and community counseling. Arianna brings the practice of using metaphor, symbolism and play to her work at OPI. She supports her clients in returning to the past, to bring forward what is useful and necessary, and let go of what no longer serves them.
In her free time, Arianna enjoys reading fiction, working up the nerve to someday play DnD, and seeing Lizzo in concert when opportunities permit.
Beradin, who has been a therapist for the past 8 years, specializes in using attachment theory and emotion-focused therapy as the foundation of her practice. She serves as a secure attachment base for her clients, guiding them in exploring their past behavioral patterns and underlying emotional experiences, with the ultimate aim of alleviating human suffering. Beradin is known for her direct and compassionate approach, emphasizing that emotions convey valuable information about our environment and ourselves when properly understood.
I hold a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University and received my Bachelor's degree in Psychology from California State University Northridge. Additionally, I have an extensive background in fashion and the like, which contributes to my "out-of-the-box" interventions when my clients are not benefiting from traditional talk therapy.
As a relational therapist, I utilize a compassionate yet direct, strength-based approach; fostering a place for clients to gain insight into their identity and navigate life while remaining authentic to their core values. My "unique" is helping clients find purpose in suffering and use their experiences as fuel for positive change and new thought processes. I also believe that community and supportive communication within those communities are major contributors to developing a secure identity and forming healthy attachments with others. Depending on my client's unique needs, I pull from DBT, CBT, Narrative Therapy, Logotherapy, and Motivational Interviewing, and love incorporating Psychodynamic concepts like dream interpretation.
When I'm not seeing clients, I get my cup filled through daily practices that foster mental, physical, and spiritual wholeness, such as writing, reading, learning about anything and everything, spending time with loved ones, and interacting with nature.
Introducing participants to the world of work to become job-ready is something that Jenny strives to do in the Department of Volunteer and Career Services. Jenny has been the Director since 2010 and previously worked with the Los Angeles Community College District working at both Pierce and Valley College in the Job Placement Center, Disabled Student Services, and EOPS.
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.
Janet has been working at OPI since 2015. Starting as an Independent Living Specialist, Janet soon moved in to the Clinical Site Supervisor position. Having over 5 years experience in addiction treatment and recovery, Janet joined the Addictions Department as an addiction specialist, working side by side with the Director of Addictions, facilitating addiction workshops, doing addiction check ins and coordinating community meetings and support.
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.
Tricia graduated with her Bachelors in Business Marketing and Minor in Studio Art from Sonoma State University. She joined the OPI team in 2010 as the receptionist and has since transitioned to Office Manager where she enjoys being part of the vibrant OPI team. As Office Manager, Tricia works closely with the administrative assistants to ensure the office is running smoothly and efficiently.
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.
Young adults each face a variety of unique challenges on their paths to independence. Madison is passionate about standing alongside our young adults to provide support as they learn to navigate their own unique challenges. Madison sees herself as a helper, and she takes great pride in her drive to facilitate growth and healing by establishing trusting, collaborative relationships with the individuals she works with. Madison began working as a life coach at OPI in 2019 and currently serves as the Life Coaching Coordinator.
Madison holds a BASc in Applied Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Duluth and is in the process of earning a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University. Her research involves studying the impact of one's caregivers’ parenting styles on the way one copes with trauma as an adult.
In addition to her work at OPI, Madison engages in practicum training at a variety of sites in the area. These sites have included the California Lutheran University Community Counseling Centers as well as New Beginnings Counseling Center in Santa Barbara. At these sites, she provides therapy to individuals with a wide range of ages and backgrounds. She has also received training on addressing the behavioral health needs of those impacted by COVID-19 and other disasters, as well as SafeZone Training in diversity and multiculturalism.
When not at work, Madison loves to travel and to spend time with her partner and their dog, Bruiser.
Lauren Winters graduated from the George Washington University with a B.A. Organizational Science and Theatre. She has been an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer for 10 years. She has worked with a range of clients, from young high school athletes to seniors with Parkinson's. She is currently pursuing a health coach certification through Precision Nutrition-L2. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor sports, learning about neuroscience, and traveling.
Alex has been with OPI since 2009 and began working as an overnight Independent Living Specialist. Alex was soon promoted to Clinical Site Supervisor.
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.
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Isaias graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology. Isaias joined the OPI team in 2015 as an Independent Living Specialist and transitioned to Clinical Site Supervisor. In his free time Isaias enjoys the many privileges and opportunities that come along with living in the great city of Los Angeles.
Monica graduated with a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology. She began working at Optimum Performance Institute as an Independent Living Specialist since 2009. After few months, Monica transitioned to Site Supervisor. Throughout the years of employment, Monica has collaborated with the development of OPI’s Policies and Procedures in different areas such as medications, safety, and emergencies, One of Monica’s greatest passion is to bring healing to people who have been through a traumatic/stressful experience.
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.
Marvyn has been with OPI since 2015, starting off one of our drivers. He later became an Independent Living Specialist, then transitioned to a Lead Overnight ILS, and soon after promoted to Clinical Site Supervisor.
Marvyn builds strong, trusting relationships with our participants and staff. He knows that no single approach is right for every individual, seeking to understand each person by listening and engaging. He is able to encourage participants to complete daily goals and is helps them out when they are faced with challenges. Marvyn's humor makes him very approachable, which makes the participants feel they can come to him with any concerns
Marvyn loves to cook, and in his spare time explores ways to fuse different dishes and perfect his recipes. He is also a comic book fanatic and can talk hours about the Marvel Universe. He likes long walks on the beach and equally long naps.
Arleida has worked at OPI since 2021. She started out as an ILS staff and quickly moved from ILS to Lead ILS, and then on to Supervisor. She graduated from California State University-Stanislaus with a BA in Criminal Justice and with a concentration in juvenile justice. Her passion is to work with at-risk youth.
Arleida is a hard worker but loves to also have fun. She loves going to the beach, practicing self-care, exploring new foods, and cooking foods from her culture with her family. She is also a licensed facilitator for the Body Positive Institute and brought the group to OPI. She loves interacting with OPI participants and thinking of different activities to engage them. She is well-loved by the young adults she works with, and her passion for her work is evident in her well planned out adventures!