Santa Barbara Eating Disorder Staff
Andrea Kulberg, Ph.D
“No foods are dangerous; you are not a dangerous person around food; you were simply misusing food to cope with your feelings.”
Dr. Kulberg is a licensed clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience, specializing in eating disorders, severe anxiety disorders, and patients with neurological problems, including developmental and learning issues, as well as traumatic brain injury and degenerative diseases. Dr. Kulberg has years of expertise utilizing Exposure with Response Prevention (ERP) therapy for severe anxiety disorders (including Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder & Panic Disorder & Social Phobia), as well as treatment of disorders related to OCD (including Hair Pulling and Skin Picking Disorders) using Habit Reversal Training (HRT). She has a passion for empowering parents to turn-around a child’s eating disorder or other mental health problem through Family Based Treatment (FBT) Dr. Kulberg received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Alliant International University in San Diego and has worked in various inpatient and residential treatment environments, while also maintaining a private practice.
Dr. Kulberg is currently the Clinical Director of La Ventana’s PHP/IOP program in Santa Barbara, where she resides with her husband and two children.
Athena Cameranesi, RDN
Athena earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After gaining years of experience as a cook and nutrition counselor she decided to further her education and become a Registered Dietitian. So, she went on a grand adventure to New Orleans, Louisiana for Tulane University’s Dietetic Internship where she learned much beyond dietetics.
For as long as she can remember Athena has loved cooking and human sciences so nutrition seemed like the natural path to pursue. She wanted to choose a line of work where she could sincerely make a difference in people’s lives which eventually landed her at La Ventana. La Ventana is a locally owned company that offers a family feel to both staff and clients. The staff truly cares about each client and provides personalized, well-rounded care. Athena values her healthy relationship with food and is motivated to help empower others to restore their own relationship with food. She feels privileged to be able to help others on their road to recovery.
Marlee Simon, MT-BC
“Music is a universal language that can be purposefully used to motivate, connect, heal, and inspire people. It is my passion and purpose in life to provide opportunities for people to explore their sense of self, to develop their fullest potential, and to enhance their quality of life through music.”
Marlee Simon, MT-BC, is a Board-Certified Music Therapist located in Los Angeles, California. Music Therapy is utilized to help clients explore their recovery process in fun, safe, non-invasive, and motivating ways through music. At La Ventana, clients will participate in therapeutic music interventions (such as song sharing and process, songwriting, lyric discussion, instrumental improvisation, and music and meditation) to express themselves, engage with peers, and develop coping techniques and transferable skills for recovery.
Marlee received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy with a minor in Psychology from Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, and received her Associate’s Degree in Psychology from College of the Canyons in Valencia, California.
Santa Monica Eating Disorder Staff
Erica Ives, MFT, CEDS
“My passion is to bring a balance of mind, body, and spirit into structured treatment with a strong value on the transformational process of achieving wholeness along with a gaining a rich understanding of purpose.”
Erica Ives has been practicing as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT# 34566) since 1997 and specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, women’s issues, and addiction. She earned her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University in 1994 and is currently pursuing a Doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. She demonstrates a passionate devotion to this significant field of healing.
Erica has extensive experience working in all levels of care within the areas of eating disorder treatment, substance dependency, and trauma. Her work as a therapist began with the treatment of adolescents who suffered from depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and self-mutilation predominately as a result of some form of trauma. Erica sought out extensive training in the area of trauma and its correlation with the development of eating disorders and various other addictions.
Her many years of training continued along this path and developed into her current specialties, all of which are very closely connected. She has consistently been in private practice while simultaneously working closely with other professionals and clients in multiple arrays of environments. Erica has worked as a Clinical Director of Mental Health, Eating Disorder, and Addiction treatment centers, as well as an Adjunct Faculty member, teaching Trauma and Addiction. She is a published author of Eating Disorders: Decode the Controlled Chaos. Erica has and continues to train and supervise therapists working towards licensure, and educate communities on prevention and treatment of mental health issues and eating disorders.
Erica has had personal experience with many of the same struggles that bring one to seek therapy and passionately believes in life with freedom from an eating disorder and addiction. She views recovery as being unique to every individual and understands the vulnerability shared throughout the therapy experience.
Joseph Rohmann, MS
Joseph entered into the field of Eating Disorder Treatment and Chemical Dependency care beginning in 2007 working within Inpatient and Residential Treatment centers in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Joseph had observed the direct and life threatening nature of a variety of mental health diagnosis on both a personal and professional level prior. Parallel to this work, Joseph completed his education in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (2008).
Joseph continued in RTC care supporting direct care services and assisting client’s in reaching their goals through compassionate and attentive clinical care. While doing so, Joseph worked to complete a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Concordia University and continued clinical work in both Wisconsin and Arizona. With the opportunity to move to Los Angeles as a result of the continued building of close friendships, Joseph relocated to California to join the La Ventana family.
Joseph has enjoyed the challenges that come with clinical work and has developed a great appreciation for the commitment of all involved in the difficult work of becoming whole again. Joseph has practiced with a strong basis in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and has worked to actively support client’s in developing effective skills in efforts to build upon coping and resilience, living in the moment, facing challenging relationships, dealing with emotions that accompany, and facing adversity.
In his new role, Joseph will continue to build upon the wonderful connections and reputation that La Ventana has built in treating those struggling with Chemical Dependence, Eating Disorders and Co-Occurring issues.
Jane Alt, LMFTT
Primary Therapist, Santa Monica
Jane Alt is the Chemical Dependency Case Manager and a primary therapist at the La Ventana, Santa Monica location. Jane graduated from The University of Colorado at Boulder with a BA in Sociology in 2006. She is currently obtaining her Marriage and Family Therapy degree at Pepperdine Graduate School and will be an MFTI in the Fall of 2016. Jane has worked in the mental health field for over four years and her professional and personal experience drives her passion for recovery. Jane truly believes recovery is a WE program and is honored to be part of the highly professional and dedicated team at La Ventana.
Julia Rose M. Polk, M.A., LMFT
Lead Therapist, Trauma Specialist, Santa Monica
“This ‘work’ – this inner work – is the most important work anyone will ever do.”
Hailed by clients as “the real-life Olivia Benson,” Julia Rose is a passionate advocate for those who have survived childhood trauma, and those seeking to heal and live full and integrated lives. A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Youth Trauma Trainer, JR has researched trauma for over a decade. Her own personal experiences of successfully treating, reducing, and integrating her own trauma serves as her foundational knowledge on the subject, and informs her work with (and hope for) traumatized individuals and their journey toward recovery. JR received her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, her Bachelors in Broadcast Journalism from DePaul University, and she will begin UC Davis’ Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship in January 2018.
Samantha Giertych, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian, Santa Monica
Samantha Giertych is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) offering her services to the Eating Disorder and Chemical Dependency Programs at La Ventana’s Santa Monica location. Samantha graduated with distinction from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences from the College of Human Ecology. There, she discovered her passion for guiding clients on an individual basis to achieve lasting behavioral changes in their relationships with food, body, and mind. Samantha later went on to complete her dietetic internship program at the City University of New York (CUNY) Hunter College, where she had the opportunity to intern with the prestigious Renfrew Center of New York, specializing in eating disorder treatment. She also possesses a Certificate in Adult Weight Management from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. Samantha brings her expertise in Motivational Interviewing, Intuitive Eating, Mindfulness, and Values-Based approaches to the inspiring La Ventana team, working with clients one-on-one and in groups to reconstruct a supportive and loving relationship with food. In this role, Samantha also coordinates with accredited Dietetic Internships in the Greater Los Angeles area to empower future dietitians with nutritionally relevant skillsets in the context of treatment settings.
Westlake Village & Thousand Oaks Eating Disorder Staff
Elizabeth Wray, MS, LMFT
“I provide a safe space for clients to explore their pasts, present and future- this safety is an integral component of building a therapeutic relationship that allows clients to connect as they being this difficult, vulnerable and profound journey of recovery”.
Elizabeth received her Masters Degree in Counseling with an Emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University, Northridge. She has been with La Ventana for 2 years, working with clients primarily struggling with eating disorders. Her passion to help clients stems from her own three years of eating disorder and trauma experience. She has gained invaluable experience about helping clients work through the recovery process. She has experience working with adolescents, adults, and families struggling with a variety of concerns including: eating disorders, depression, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, and self-esteem. Elizabeth focuses in areas of eating disorders and trauma, emphasizing on expanding client’s kindness, openness and connectivity.
Heidi Favia, MACP
Residential Treatment Center Program Manager
Heidi Favia joined the La Ventana team in 2015 as a marriage and family therapist intern. She has recently completed all intern hours and is awaiting licensure. She received her Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles and is currently working on obtaining her PhD. Heidi has a passion for working with clients who struggle with eating disorders and chemical dependency. In addition, Heidi has over 3 years of experience working with women and children coming out of shelters effected by intimate partner violence, teens dealing with depression and gender identity issues, and families struggling with past trauma. Heidi uses the techniques she has learned and developed as a therapist and life experiences to create a compassionate, empathetic environment for her clients. Her calm and loving demeanor allows her to build trusting, open, and honest relationships with her clients. Heidi’s primary focus is instilling hope and motivation in order for clients to believe that recovery is obtainable and sustainable.
Kelly Spondello, LMFT
Being able to see clients enter treatment and leave with a different perspective is an amazing thing to witness.
Kelly Spondello is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is a member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from California State University Northridge in 2007. She went on to get her Masters Degree in Educational Psychology/Marriage and Family Therapy in 2010 from California State University Northridge as well, graduating with honors on the Dean’s List. Kelly has a passion for working with clients who struggle with eating disorders and wrote her Master’s Thesis on the education and treatment of eating disorders. In addition, Kelly has had over 4 years experience working with depression, OCD, chemical dependency, anxiety and eating disorders. She uses the techniques she has learned and developed as a therapist to create a trusting, open and honest relationship with her clients. Kelly loves working as a therapist which allows her to give back to her community.