“There is hope. There is help. This is the message I want clients to hear.”
Sharon Volner, LMFT
Clinical Director Chemical Dependency Programs, Thousand Oaks
“My philosophy is that people, whether they are struggling with mental health or addiction issues, need to know their reality. With a loving, supportive, and caring environment people can get through anything.”
Sharon brings a broad range of experience to her role as the Clinical Director of La Ventana’s Thousand Oaks Chemical Dependency Program. She has over twenty years experience working with at-risk youth, couples, families, and adults in the field of mental health and addiction. She has worked at various rehabilitation centers with youth and adults struggling with issues of addiction and their underlying psychological causes. Sharon has worked as a trainer and operator on a crisis suicide hotline. Sharon has worked directly with the homeless population in assisting them in stabilizing severe and persistent mental health and substance dependence as well as gaining housing and employment. Sharon maintains a private practice in Westlake and is a Clinical Supervisor to registered interns working towards their licensure. Sharon’s approach is multi-modal: she addresses the biological, psychosocial, spiritual, and nutritional aspects of addiction and treatment. Sharon earned her MS in Counseling with Distinction from California State University. She is a member of CAMFT, and a Co-Leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop in efforts to help young girls develop empowerment and leadership.
Director of Detoxification and Chemical Dependency Programs, Thousand Oaks
“If I can make a difference in one person’s life, restore hope to an addict’s heart, my job is done. One person can make a profound difference.”
After Gwendolyn got clean and sober in 1997, she worked at Cri-Help, Inc. for over a decade in a variety of direct care and administrative roles while attending Drug and Alcohol Studies at Pierce and Mission Colleges. Since 2002, Gwen has been tied to the recovery community through her considerable experience as a sober coach and by conducting “extreme interventions” (defined as “recovery by any means necessary”). She has her own business, Recovery Services Unlimited LLC and, notably, was featured on A&E’s “Relapse, the Sober Coach Chronicles.”
Identifying integrity as the underpinning of her approach, Gwen considers herself very lucky to be trained by some amazing mentors for whom she has always had a tremendous respect.
Having worked at several treatment facilities, Gwen now passionately devotes all of her professional efforts to her role as Detox Program Coordinator at La Ventana. She believes she was meant to do this work and loves doing it. When Gwen is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and singing her heart out.
Residential Detoxification Manager, Thousand Oaks
Christine joined the La Ventana family in 2012 as a weekend Detox Supervisor. She is now working full time as the Detox Manager. She has been in recovery since 2003 and is an active member of NA. She has over a decade of Detox experience and has worked with a wide range of populations—from homeless to professionals and everything in between. Christy graduated with a degree in Addiction Studies from Glendale Community College. She is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor and a member of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Educators (CAADE). She is passionate about the treatment process, and the joy she finds witnessing alcoholics and addicts transition to actively working toward a better life.
Chemical Dependency Residential Treatment Center Housing Manager, Thousand Oaks
Anya has been with La Ventana since 2013. She graduated from UCLA in 2005 to pursue a career in law. However, through her own personal journey of recovery, Anya discovered her true calling and devoted her professional career to helping other individuals on their path of recovery. Anya is currently finishing up her coursework in addiction studies and will be certified as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor in December, 2015.
Anya’s positive attitude and sense of humor, along with her strong, no-nonsense commitment to her personal recovery, inspires everyone she comes in contact with. She is thrilled to be a part of the La Ventana family.
Michelle believes that neuroscience is at the center of healing. While training to become certified she experienced her own transformation and at that time she knew she had found her life’s passion. Because of her own struggle with Depression, Trauma, and complicated reactions to medications she prefers a natural approach to healing. Michelle’s favorite quote is “every brain deserves this chance”. She begins each day eager to help others, and with gratitude for the healing in her own life. Michelle has worked with trauma survivors and with adults who suffer chronic emotion dysregulation, as well as co-occurring eating and substance use disorders. The most common issue clients struggle with is anxiety, which is substantially reduced in the first session or two. Her focus is in helping those new to Neurofeedback to understand the process, benefits, and ensuring that they feel safe as they begin their journey. She also emphasizes the importance of educating clients about brain health as they continue with treatment.
Shawn Wilson, M.A. MFTI
Shawn Willson M.A. MFTI, Has been with LA Ventana Treatment Programs since August of 2014. Shawn’s career with the Los Angeles Co. Probation Dept. is where he realized his passion for helping others through the challenging times in life. Shawn graduated from National University with his Masters Degree in Psychology and completed his training at the Center for Individual and Family Counseling.
Tony Gomez is a professional with over seven years of dedicated experience in the Substance Dependence Treatment field. He has extensive knowledge in facilitating Relapse Prevention Groups , Crisis Intervention as well as applying Individual Counseling Techniques and is passionate of the services he provides to the client. Mr. Gomez attended Los Angeles City College where he earned his Addiction Studies Certificate and Is Registered with CCAPP as CADC-I (in-progress). Now as CD Floor manager for La Ventana he enjoys working closely with clients applying his skills and providing a safe environment where they can grow. When not working he enjoys spending time with his family and exercising on a regular basis as a form of self-car
Clinical Director of Substance Use and Mental Health Programs
Esther Gobrial is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has earned her Masters of Science degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University. She has over ten years of experience working with individuals with substance dependence, co-occurring disorders, mental health disorders, offender population, trauma, anxiety, depression, self-harm, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional and financial), homelessness, cultural diversity issues, child, family, group, and couple’s therapy. Esther has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Esther has a passion for teaching; she teaches part time as a Professor at Loyola Marymount University teaching students at the graduate level.
Esther is extremely motivated and passionate in helping all individuals. She believes in being open minded and following a multi-disciplinary approach in treating clients. Esther views clients in a holistic perspective (mind, body, social, environment). She is a strong advocate of self-care and educates clients on the importance of adding self-care into their lives in addition to safe and healthy coping skills.
During her free time, Esther loves to travel the world, spend time with her family, go shopping, play soccer with her dog, laugh, watch movies and great TV, and relaxing at the beach.
Alison Guydan, MFTI
Alison Guydan is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who earned her Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California. Alison also earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She has experience working with individuals with substance dependence, co-occurring disorders, mental health disorders, trauma, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional, and financial), homelessness, depression, anxiety, cultural diversity, group, family, and individual therapy.
Alison is passionate about providing comprehensive, individualized, and holistic treatment to all individuals. Alison loves to spend time with her dog, go to the gym, shop, meditate, and spend time with her friends and family during her free time.