Melinda Drake, QCSW, LISW CP & AP (SC), LCSW (HI & NY), Program Director
Dr. Melinda Drake earned her master’s degree in social work in 1997, her master’s degree in computer resources and information management in 2003, and her doctorate degree in business administration in 2000. She has more than 20 years of experience in behavioral health. Her work in the behavioral health field began with the Williamsburg County Department of Social Services and the Governor’s Office of South Carolina’s Continuum of Care. In 1996, as a clinician working with co-occurring psychiatric and developmental disorders, Melinda was involved with day-to-day interventions at Willowglen Academy, a residential facility in South Carolina. She has been developing program milieus since 1998 when she became a program director for Willowglen’s day program, and she has been involved in developing systems of care since 2007 when she became the executive director at Willowglen. After spearheading CARF accreditation for Willowglen, she joined CARF in 2007 as an administrative and program surveyor.
Anna Aslanian, MS, MFTi, Primary Therapist
Anna Aslanian obtained her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with an additional professional emphasis in Body Image Concerns/Eating Disorders from University of La Verne, following a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge. She has worked with a variety of clients including children, college students, couples and families struggling with relationship problems, and individuals with acute psychiatric disorders.
Anna specializes in working with couples (focusing on problems such as infidelity and recovering after an affair, intimacy problems, separation and divorce, improving communication, codependency, parenting, addictions affecting relationships); individuals going through difficult life phases; grief and loss; individuals who have experienced trauma in their past, and feel depressed or anxious.
Her therapeutic approach is geared towards meeting the unique needs of her clients while empowering them to transform their lives and improve their relationships. She uses a variety of psychotherapeutic modalities. Additionally, Anna is licensed in the states of FL and NY, and speaks Armenian and Russian for clients who have those language needs.
Amanda DiGuilio, MFTi, Primary Therapist
DiGiulio brings a long standing career as a Film Producer and a depth oriented approach to her clinical work as a therapist. Her journey began retelling human interest dramas that explored lives marginalized through criminal negligence, sexual abuse, and addiction. Through this work, she discovered a growing need to see through the wound toward a deeper understanding of what motivates the human spirit. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Counseling & Depth Psychology at the Pacifica Graduate Institute and is working toward LMFT licensure.
Rodney Aquino, Patient Care Coordinator
Rodney Aquino received his Bachelor of Science in health administration at California State University at Northridge in 2015. He has 10 years of experience working in the healthcare field. Prior to The Canyon at Santa Monica, Rodney worked for an outpatient laboratory service for six years. He also created an exercise program for a senior and disability center focusing on health prevention. Rodney is active in various sports and enjoys powerlifting. He also has a passion to care for the need by setting an example in promoting a healthier lifestyle.
Joel Morris, Consulting Psychiatrist
Though he hails from New England, Dr. Joel Morris completed his schooling in the Midwest, which included extended training in geriatrics and forensic psychiatry. Additionally, Dr. Morris studied acupuncture in New Zealand and China, which he continues to practice. His work with a diverse group of cultures has deepened his understanding and empathy for others. Throughout his psychiatric career, he has worked with people struggling with addiction within inpatient, residential and outpatient settings. In addition to psychopharmacologically, he supports the individual to co-create his/her own life with a strength focus. He believes that to create a ground where addiction no longer has deep roots, one needs to bring in elements of creativity, transcendence and the possibility of rewriting one’s own narrative. The Chinese symbol for crisis is the same for opportunity. In the same way, each addiction crisis brings about the possibility to deepen and change one’s life in a more meaningful and self -directed way. Additionally, Dr. Morris believes that it is the responsibility of the practitioner to be a model and vehicle for change, meeting the client in dialogue, compassion and patience.
Deborah Rosenberg, Office Manager
Deborah Rosenberg attended California State University, Bakersfield, and began her career as a consultant in the health insurance industry 25 years ago. While working as the vice president of a financial services organization, Deborah saw the need to teach clients how to navigate through the insurance company systems. She then created a specialty in health insurance advocacy and became one of the first brokers in the state of California given permission to use this designation.
Lynn Marie Saso, MA, LMFT, ATR, Clinical Director
Lynn Marie Saso received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology with a minor in fine arts at Chapman University and her master’s in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy, specializing in art therapy, at Phillips Graduate Institute. She began her work in the field of psychology by utilizing art therapy, working with children, families and adolescents in a hospital setting, and then moving on to community mental health, working with adults who were chronically mentally ill. From working with adolescents, mental health patients and intricate family systems, she found that co-occurring disorders were a common thread. Through this, Lynn Marie developed a passion to support and help patients express their emotions, needs, concerns and milestones throughout the life cycle with expressive art therapy. She is excited to bring her knowledge of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), art therapy and many other therapeutic modalities to her work with patients, supporting their recovery and helping them find their voices.