Dr. Barshack is a graduate of Haverford College and the University of Maryland Medical School. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco. Dr. Barshack has been working with teens and their families for more than thirty years including both inpatient and outpatient psychopharmacology. He finds that many of the adolescents who come to Paradigm are over medicated rather than undereducated. He is devoted to responsible titration when appropriate and insuring that young people are treated as a whole, rather than simply treating their symptoms. He share’s Paradigm’s philosophy that medication should be a last resort rather than a quick and easy fix. In addition, Dr Barshack is an avid SF Giants and Forty Niners fan and enjoys cross country bicycle trips in his free time.
Leslie has fifteen years of experience working as a psychotherapist with adolescents and families experiencing complex trauma, depression and anxiety, and substance abuse in institutional, private, and community settings. Leslie founded and directed four California non-profits programs serving adolescents with mental health needs, and promoting the health and well-being of youth in the justice, child welfare, and education systems. She is also Founder and President of National Girls Health and Justice Institute (NGHJI), and author of the Girls Health Screen (GHS). The GHS is the only scientifically validated health and trauma screen for incarcerated girls nationally. Leslie holds a BA with honors from Yale University, and Masters degrees in Counseling and Psychology from the University of San Francisco. She is a licensed California MFT and the recipient of the Stoneleigh Fellowship Award and the International Hero of Compassion Award from the Dalai Lama. Acoca is proud to be a first-generation immigrant, born in Panama, and a mother of two.
Lucy helms all clinical treatment directives, programs, and services across Paradigm Treatment’s southwestern territory, and provides ongoing clinical group supervision specifically to our Southern California staff. Lucy also worked extensively with young adults in a private practice setting. She also treated children and teens with emotional and behavioral needs at multiple school sites as a therapist. Lucy has comprehensive experience as a behavior interventionist working with teens with developmental disorders, and as a therapist at an intensive outpatient program for mental health and substance dependency. Additionally, Lucy has a background that includes working at a residential facility that uses dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to treat borderline personality disorder.
Lucy is passionate about helping her clients discover their own strengths and use their unique qualities to create a more fulfilled life. She integrates the practical components of various cognitive-behavioral approaches with the gentle practice of mindfulness, compassion, and cultural sensitivity. Lucy received her Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis on Clinical Mental Health at California State University, Fullerton. She also received an Excellence in Research Award studying parent-adolescent relationships when she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine.
Aine Fitzgerald earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Dominican University of California and is currently completing her Master’s of Arts degree in Social Work at California State University East Bay. She worked with women as an Addictions Counselor for several years, and through this work became dedicated to inspiring clients to follow a more empowering and enriching path. Aine believes in promoting the resiliency of young people through psychoeducation, modeling emotional intelligence, open communication techniques, and self-efficacy. She also greatly believes in the power of positivity and the magic of a life lived with intentionality. When she isn’t working at Paradigm, Aine enjoys exercise, cooking, reading, playing music, and going to the beach.
Hannah Twomey earned her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Neuroscience from Saint Mary’s College of California. She worked as a Hurricane Relief Volunteer with youth who were impacted by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. In that role Hannah interacted with the youth and explored the mental health resources that were available for those struggling in the hurricane’s aftermath. She also worked as a Health Promotion Volunteer with underserved youth. In this capacity, Hannah led activities that involved teaching students about the importance of staying healthy and active. She also led lessons that emphasized the importance of an active lifestyle and its positive impact on mental health. Hannah believes that teens should be supported and gently guided as they discover their unique path and passions. Hannah particularly enjoys supporting each and every Paradigm client’s journey towards healing and growth, and finds the process of working with clients to be deeply enriching and meaningful.
Seamus studied Performing Arts at Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont, California. As a clinician working with youth, he believes that teens exponentially benefit from an environment that fosters encouragement, nurturing and a sense of value. As such, Seamus infuses his work as a clinician with these ideals in mind. He worked in the child care sector for two years, and also served as a summer camp counselor in his youth. A long time member of the recovery and mental health communities, Seamus brings a sense of enthusiasm, curiosity and open-mindedness to Paradigm’s teens. When he is not working, his main interests are theatre and film.
Taylor Lessor graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. Her clinical focuses include anxiety, depression, Bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Taylor is passionate about working with adolescents to become knowledgeable and empowered with regard to their mental illness, to face it honestly and openly, while also understanding that it does not define them. In this way, she views teen’s time at Paradigm as a time of discovering and understanding their identities and aims to support teens to become more clear and confident in the way they see themselves and their lives. Taylor will soon be pursuing her Master’s Degree in Social Work, with a focus on equine therapy.
Megan Bruehl is currently pursuing a degree in Therapeutic Recreation at California State University, East Bay. In addition to being a certified yoga instructor (RYT – 200), she has extensive experience as a tutor and in teaching English as a Second Language. Megan believes in intentional recreation and she is dedicated to helping teens develop and explore a range of personal interests and leisure activities as tools for improve self-confidence, sense of purpose, and overall wellness. Some of her own leisure pursuits include dancing, creative improvisation games, and outdoor adventure.
Natalie Mandeville earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University with an emphasis on child psychopathology and cognitive functioning. She is a Board Certified Behavioral Technician with experience in cognitive skills assessment and recovery, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and electrophysiology. Natalie believes that teens are deserving of wellness, healing, and empowerment and that a multidisciplinary approach is vital in achieving effective care. She hopes that her firsthand experience working with teen anxiety, trauma, and depression allows for a trusting relationship with youth, such that they feel supported and empowered to advocate for their own wellness.
Elise Hound is pursuing her Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Her academic experience is coupled with clinical experience in individual, family, and group therapy to teens and children. Elise’s work is informed by Existential-Humanistic approaches that emphasize authenticity, presence, and choice. She has a deep appreciation for autonomy and individuality which she finds as especially important in adolescent development. Understanding how overwhelming the feelings of trauma, depression, and anxiety can be, Elise looks for ways for and moments of humor and silliness as means of fostering connection. Elise enjoys her family, dog, and exploring different avenues of self-care.
Alex Weinstein received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Rhetoric from the University of California – Berkeley. In his undergraduate studies, he was particularly interested in how our implicit values shape our language, both for the individual and society. After graduation, Alex traveled the world and started a business. In addition to his work at Paradigm, Alex is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Touro University. Beyond the scope of mental health, Alexa’s main passion is the dance form Contact Improvisation, which he has taught on four continents. He is also a certified yoga teacher, immersive experience designer, and believes in approaching life with compassion and curiosity.
Jed competed his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, and earned a Masters of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Touro University Worldwide. He is trained in a diverse variety of psychotherapeutic modalities including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and the Hakomi Method, a mindfulness based somatic psychotherapy.
Jed brings a holistic approach to mental health treatment, and has extensive experience providing individual, group and family therapy in outpatient and residential settings. He has served many different populations in a variety of roles. As a family therapist at Paradigm, Jed works intensively with youth and their families to repair unsupportive patterns that get in the way of healthy family relationships and functioning. He serves as the parent coach and teacher of the ongoing parenting skills course at Paradigm, and he is passionate about supporting parents of adolescents. In addition to his work with families, Jed has spent years supporting adults and youth to resolve trauma, create healthier and more fulfilling relationships, and develop a deep sense of life purpose and intrinsic motivation.
Brian Polis attained his Master’s Degree in Counseling from California State University, Northridge where he focused on Professional Clinical and School Counseling. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development at the University of Maryland. Brian is passionate about working with adolescents and he has developed his therapeutic approach as a counselor in a variety of K-12 institutions as well as with a local agency dedicated to treating childhood trauma and preventing child abuse. His clinical interests include childhood trauma, teen depression, and working with youth who struggle in school and/or academics.
Brian approaches therapy with a humanistic mindset, believes in the power of narrative therapy, and emphasizes developing authentic communication with each teen. His goal is to foster and emphasize the unique strengths of each youth.
Amanda obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree in Neuroscience from Central Michigan University. At Paradigm she is responsible for day-to-day coordinating of San Francisco facilities, supporting Paradigm Treatments mission, goals, and professional standards. With over 10 years in the treatment industry, Amanda has a unique combination of experience in direct care, management, admissions, long-term residential treatment settings focused on dual diagnosis, and interventions. Amanda also works with youth in animal assisted therapies and coordinates the alumni events. Her philosophy on treatment is to provide the best care and provide families with the education and resources they need to become an integral part of the healing process. She is an empathetic leader who creates teams that people want to be a part of. Amanda understands the difficulties our youth face today and is passionate and devoted to being a part of a team that can providing the best treatment available. She was the Lead Clinical Assistant before moving into her current role and is interested in pursuing a degree as a mental health nurse practitioner. Amanda is passionate about helping individuals learn that they are more than their current lifestyle, thoughts and behavior.
Born and raised in the bay area, Francesca Guillen-Velazquez has spent most of her professional years working with youth with an array of needs and in a variety of settings. In working with youth at Paradigm, she enjoys drawing upon her own unique journey in order to allow her insights and wisdom in providing support, guidance, and understanding to youth as they pursue their own growth and recovery. She strongly believes in the importance to help contribute to creating and protecting a safe, positive healing environment at Paradigm, in order to maintain the utmost quality of care and so that teens get the most out of their time here.
Erin Campbell is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Communications. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist and certified Yoga Instructor who is passionate about working with youth who are struggling with mental health and substance use issues. Erin believes that supportive and holistic, recovery-based approaches are most effective in helping teens find effective ways to address the unique challenges they face today.
Kenneth Stamper is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a Master’s of Arts degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Before joining the Paradigm team, Ken provided individual and group therapy to adolescents and families in private practice and through a community-based clinic. His therapeutic approach to working with children and teens is grounded in mindfulness-based methodologies. Ken is passionate about the use of awareness and mindfulness to help youth develop resilience and a sense of feeling fully alive in the world. He especially enjoys working with clients whose depression, grief, anxiety, or trauma leave them struggling to find their voice. As a trained stage actor, Ken draws upon his experience in theater as well as gestalt-informed therapeutic approaches to assist youth in uncovering their authentic voice and a positive sense of self.
Jordyn Bonanni holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master’s of Arts in Holistic Counseling Psychology with an emphasis on Depth Psychotherapy at John F. Kennedy University. She has over five years of experience working with teens in a variety of settings including school art programs and teen helplines. Jordyn’s clinical interest is in adolescent addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma-related disorders. Her approach integrates person-centered therapy with techniques from family systems theory, psychoanalytic theory, narrative therapy, mindfulness, expressive arts, dreamwork, and nature-based therapies. Her goal is to contribute to a unique healing experience for each teen and to foster stronger relationships and communication with their families. Jordyn has many interests, including the outdoors, traveling, painting, and creative writing. She encourages each teen to explore their interests as they move toward self discovery, individuation, and overall health.
Melissa obtained her Master of Arts degree in Somatic Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Previously she worked to support families and children in both school and private practice settings. Melissa brings a holistic approach that supports people in developing a healthy relationship with food, from her extensive time working in community nutrition. She is passionate about connection and believes strongly in meeting teens where they are.
Melissa uses a range of relational and somatic therapeutic approaches to establish an environment that feels safe, supported and open to inquiry. When she is not working with her clients at Paradigm, Melissa enjoys hiking and reconnecting to nature whenever possible.
Amy received her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Notre Dame De Namur University. She has worked as a school counselor for middle school students using art therapy as a tool to communicate, process, and evaluate the growth of self. Amy also has experience developing and working with socio-emotional learning as an educator and clinician. She is an empathetic and committed therapist who is dedicated to providing a safe space for teens and their families. Amy strongly believes in partnering with clients to create the best path forward in treating teen depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, addiction, disordered eating and other emotional health issues.
Claudia Viadro is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who received her Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy University’s Holistic Studies program. She is trained in EMDR and trauma-informed care. Claudia has extensive experience working with teens and their families through the provision of individual, group, and family psychotherapy in intensive outpatient, school-based, and community mental health settings. While supervising school-based counseling programs, providing intensive outpatient therapy to adolescents in a day treatment program, and coordinating an evidenced-based, mental health and substance abuse prevention and early intervention program for teens, she focused on a range of adolescent mental health issues, including mood disorders, anxiety, addictive behaviors, personality disturbances, and traumatic stress. Claudia’s approach to psychotherapy is informed by Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, Attachment, and Systems Theory.
Stephanie Holdenried graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is the 6th generation of a California ranching family and a nationally-certified (CEIP) equine-facilitated educator and nutritionist. She creates and facilitates a wide range of equine therapy programs, including experiences for women, youth, and recovery groups, with the goal of helping individuals find greater self-awareness by connecting to their own intrinsic wisdom. Stephanie is also the founder of GUTS-y Girls, an equine-led life skills and leadership group for 10-12 year olds, and co-founder of Networking at the Barn, in Marin County. Beyond this, she is developing leadership and team building programs for organizations through her licensing with Horse Dream in Europe. Stephanie’s grounded presence combined with her own experience growing up on a ranch and being an avid horsewoman allow her unique insights and understanding to create space for profound equine therapy sessions that allow Paradigm youth to open and connect with themselves and others in a deep, meaningful way.
Judy Weston-Thompson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified equine interactive specialist. Judy holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from Sonoma State University and completed her Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy studies more than a decade ago. She was among the first graduate class of psychotherapists to be certified as an equine interactive professional mental health (CBEIP.org). Judy also holds a therapeutic riding instructor certificate from and is an active member of, the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.). Over time, Judy has developed her own unique form of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy, which has proven especially effective for the treatment of teens struggling with anxiety, interpersonal relationship building, depression, trauma, and PTSD. Combining several different types of psychotherapy treatments with various horsemanship and horse-related practices (natural horsemanship, animal communication & horse massage), Judy has developed her own treatment modality; based on a true partnership beneficial to both human and horse.
Daniel Rauck completed his teacher training at Greenpath yoga in SF and has been a yoga instructor for more than a decade. Since his very first yoga class, he was inspired at yoga’s potential for healing and transformation. Daniel has taught over 10,000 classes and brought the practice of yoga to folks from a wide variety of backgrounds. He has worked with a full spectrum of physical abilities, from athletes to the differently-abled. Regardless of one’s current physical and emotional state, Daniel teaches yoga in a way that meets each adolescent where they are, in order to help the teen find their own path to balance and empowerment. Augmenting his yoga teaching are studies in Yoga Nidra, restorative yoga, and yin yoga, as well as being a NASM corrective exercise specialist.
Ian Wilkerson is a Board Certified Music Therapist who has refined his musical skills through years of practice, extensive study, and performance. A person-centered therapy provider, he specializes in supporting creativity, self-expression, and self-empowerment through music. he is the founder of Bay Area Music Therapy, and he is also a passionate singer/songwriter. Ian received a Bachelor of Music with dual majors in Music Therapy and Songwriting from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Before graduating with honors, he sat as President of the Board for the New England Region Music Therapy Association for Students. Additionally, he received his certification training in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) from the Center for Biomedical Research in Music (CBRM) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Ian has been a faculty Music Therapist at a Bay Area Music Center and a Music Therapy Coordinator. He is an active member of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), and he is a trained REMO Health RHYTHMS Facilitator. He specializes in helping people find their own unique and empowered voices through improvisation and songwriting and focuses on youth abilities and preferences to meet the individual teen’s needs.
Brittany Schiro obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from the California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. Her experience includes providing community-based individual and group counseling to teens struggling with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and trauma and providing counseling and group facilitation in a substance abuse treatment program. Brittany believes every teen deserves to feel empowered and she strives to be a support to adolescents as they define their personal journey. Her own pursuits and passions include music, hiking, and swing dancing.
Miri manages the development, implementation, and execution of Paradigm’s forward-facing strategy and efforts in marketing and outreach. She is also responsible for ensuring consistent messaging across all categories of the business and affiliate relations, including partnerships and multi-platform initiatives.
Miri has over 15 years of professional experience in marketing, strategic brand development, turn-key content creation, broadcast hosting, writing, public relations, and workflow management. She also worked as a therapist trainee at the Southern California Counseling Center, serving a diverse client population with a variety of mental health needs. Miri holds a Masters of Applied Psychology degree from Antioch University Los Angeles and completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. As a writer and communications specialist, Miri has long believed that storytelling is a way in which to discover ourselves and find meaning in our lives. Her dynamic experience in marketing and mental health bridges her drive to connect with others through the stories we tell, while effectively helping those in need.
As Paradigm Treatment’s Admissions Coordinator, Sydney handles all incoming admissions requests including questions pertaining to insurance and related financial matters. Sydney also interfaces with clients, families, and our internal team to ensure that our admissions processes are running smoothly and that our programs are accurately messaged to both clients and affiliates.
Sydney has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Addiction & Recovery from the University of Alabama. She is currently pursuing her Master of Arts in Counseling at Cal Lutheran University. Sydney is passionate about assisting individuals and their families navigate their unique challenges and circumstances so as to best achieve their goals. When she isn’t working, Sydney enjoys hiking, traveling, and international cuisine.
Avonlea Ware holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University, where she also earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. She joined Paradigm as a Clinical Assistant and worked with young clients for a handful of years before moving into her current position. She is a high energy team player who has a broad range of interpersonal and administrative skills and who strives to meet the needs of clients and families. Having traveled and lived throughout Europe, India, and the Middle East, Avonlea developed a focus on conflict resolution and communication skills, which she believes are assets to teens struggling to find their place in the world. When Avonlea is not working she enjoys spending time at the beach, gardening, and connecting more with the world around her.
Born and raised in Ventura County, Marcelina is a seasoned admissions expert with nearly a decade of experience working in a variety of mental health settings. She also worked in the addiction field as a Registered Addiction Specialist Intern and has extensive knowledge of substance use issues, eating disorders and working with co-occurring mental health problems. As a parent herself and someone in recovery, Marcelina knows firsthand the experience of making the call to ask for help, and as such she brings an incredible amount of empathy, compassion and understanding to her work. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her children aged 14 and 4. Marcelina also loves Disneyland, hiking, and going to the beach.
Jennifer Cassetta is a graduate of Fordham University in New York and holds a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut. She is a Certified Nutritionist and a Holistic Health Counselor who is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In addition, Jennifer is a certified personal trainer, a Senior Black Belt Instructor, a World Pro HapKiDo Federation instructor, and a VSK Jujitsu Black Belt Instructor. A popular educator and lecturer, Jennifer has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, E! TV, The Bethenny Show, The Doctors, in Marie Claire, Women’s Health Magazine, Fitness Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, New York Post and on National Public Radio. As a Holistic Health Counselor, Jennifer works to assist youth in integrating all aspects of their physical and emotional health. She educates and counsels teen participants on issues ranging from nutrition to exercise and meditation. One of her specialties is an instruction in Han Su Do breathing techniques. These techniques stem from the ancient Korean art of Hapkido and are scientifically proven to lower anxiety and improve concentration.
Pricilla holds a degree from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in 2012. She grew up in Alameda, California. Before joining Paradigm San Francisco she served as the manager at a renowned Latin restaurant in the bay area. Priscilla enjoys sharing her love of food with teens and helping them learn to make healthy eating choices. She believes that what young people eat can have a profound impact on their physical and mental health. She works closely with Paradigm’s on-site nutritionist to ensure that the dietary needs of each client are met.
Kira Brown is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, and has worked as a chef for the past twelve years in a number of realms, including award-winning restaurants, catering, and private residences. She attended Diablo Valley College, where she studied the culinary arts, with an emphasis on baking and pastry. Kira’s passion for food inspired her to take courses in nutrition and holistic health, with the intent to provide the very best experience for her clientele, by combining nutritious ingredients to create incredible tastes. At Paradigm, she greatly enjoys that her role allows her to combine her love of cooking with helping young people feel their very best.