Seasons In Malibu has been at the forefront of cutting-edge addiction recovery, attracting the finest professionals in all areas of addiction medicine and treatment. The medical, psychiatric, and psychotherapy staff members at Seasons In Malibu are among the best in their fields—many of whom have been called upon to provide their expert opinions and insights by the national media and academic publications.
We are committed to excellence in our addiction treatment methods and management—it is why we have chosen the most experienced and advanced addiction recovery professionals at our Malibu recovery center. Learn more about our staff below.
Mark Stahlhuth, Ph.D,
Born in Michigan and raised outside of Denver, Colorado, Dr. Mark Stahlhuth relocated to Southern California as a young adult, after which he began studying at UCLA. He has been working in the field of addiction since entering graduate school in 1980 at California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, where he obtained his doctorate in clinical psychology.
Before going into private practice in 1995, Dr. Stahlhuth spent 14 years working with adolescents in residential treatment settings, which included directing programs in drug abuse treatment as well as in childhood physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and trauma. Today he continues his private practice work with teens as well as adults and their families in the areas of addiction and trauma.
For more than three decades Dr. Stahlhuth has conducted psychological assessments on an in-patient basis as well as in residential and outpatient settings; the foundation for this work includes several years of graduate study in psycho-diagnostic assessment, graduate teaching assistantships, and internships and work at agencies specializing in psycho-diagnostic assessment.
In July 2009 Dr. Stahlhuth became Clinical Director for Seasons Recovery Centers, where he utilizes his extensive experience to orchestrate the cutting-edge clinical programs for which Seasons is known.
Damon Raskin, M.D.,
Internist & Detox Specialist
Dr. Damon Raskin is board certified in internal medicine and received his Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. In 1993 he graduated with distinction from George Washington School of Medicine in Washington DC, after which he completed his residency at UCLA.
For the last 16 years, Dr. Raskin has been specializing in preventive and addiction medicine. He has a full-service office with X-ray, cardiac stress testing equipment, and a lab, and he holds privileges at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. Dr. Raskin has extensive experience helping patients safely detoxify from alcohol, opiates, and other drugs.
Ashley Benjamin, M.D.,
Dr. Ashley Benjamin graduated from medical school at the University of Kansas and completed his residency at Wright State University/Wright Patterson Air Force Base while on a prestigious U.S. Armed Forces Medical Scholarship. Dr. Benjamin served a total of 21 years (8 years active, 13 years in reserves) as an Air Force psychiatrist, during which time he served as both the medical and administrative director for the Tinker Air Force Base Substance Abuse Program.
Dr. Benjamin’s experiences have helped shape his philosophy of minimizing medications and their doses to the greatest extent possible, as he believes military medicine is truly about helping patients achieve maximum functionality.
He retired at the rank of a Lt. Colonel and proudly served as part of the mental health flight during the devastating tornado that hit Oklahoma City in 1998. His military career culminated in the receipt of the prestigious Reserve Physician of the Year award.
Having worked in numerous settings, Dr. Benjamin has tremendous versatility, yet he takes exceptional pride in his work as the medical director for the Oklahoma City VA Iraq/Afghanistan return program and as the consulting psychiatrist for a dual diagnosis program aimed at helping mothers abstain from substances, with the goal of reuniting with their children.
Prior to completing medical school, Dr. Benjamin graduated as valedictorian with a B.S. in journalism from the respected William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He then received an M.A. from The Ohio State University in exercise science. His track and field and cross country coaching experiences at KU and OSU helped shape his philosophy of seeing each patient as an “athlete,” with the goal of helping maximize their potential as part of a multidisciplinary team. He utilizes this concept when working with every patient at Seasons/Serenity. In addition to his 30-plus publications in various areas of mental and non-mental health topics, he is the lead co-author of the book, The Student Athlete’s College Recruitment Guide,which focuses on helping high school athletes find the best ethical, academic, and athletic fit at the college level. Dr. Benjamin is also a certified IGMCA Mental Game Instructor and Life Coach.
Shahla Modir, M.D.,
Dr. Shahla Modir completed her residency in psychiatry at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center along with a two-year subspecialty fellowship in addiction psychiatry at UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Modir is double board-certified, a rare qualification in the treatment of dual diagnosis. She is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for psychiatry and addiction psychiatry.
Dr. Modir is also an integrative medicine expert certified by UCLA to perform medical acupuncture. She has completed a two-year clinical Ayurvedic medicine specialist program. She was a Bravewell scholar and completed the Associate Fellowship at the University of Arizona Program in Integrative Medicine, headed by the famous and well-respected expert Dr. Andrew Weil. She worked as a lecturer with Dr. Deepak Chopra and as an integrative medicine specialist at the Chopra Center. Dr. Modir also wrote a chapter for the textbook, Integrative Cardiology, edited by Jack Vogel, M.D., on Ayurvedic approaches to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, she has made guest appearances as an addiction expert on The Dr. Oz Show, Channel 7 News, and Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers.
Patrick Mitchell, RASi,
Director of Client Services
Patrick Mitchell is a Registered Addiction Specialist and Life Coach, who brings to Seasons many years of experience helping people in their quest for long-term sobriety.
Patrick, who himself has been in recovery many years, understands the day-to-day challenges that new clients face in early recovery. He takes great pride in providing an environment where real transformation is possible. Patrick oversees a caring, well-trained staff that provides continuing support throughout a client’s stay. He believes “a comfortable, structured and supportive living environment is an essential part of maintaining long-term sobriety.”
Patrick is constantly thinking about ways to improve treatment and engage clients in the recovery process.
Nancy B. Irwin, Psy.D,
Primary Therapist & Certified Hypnotherapist
Originally from Atlanta, Dr. Nancy Irwin moved to New York City in 1985 to pursue a career as a stand-up comedian. She worked all over the country and abroad, and moved to L.A. in 1994 when she heard that Hollywood needed more blondes…
Dr. Irwin experienced an epiphany when she began volunteering for Children of the Night, a shelter for sexually abused children in Los Angeles. This experience awoke the healer in Dr. Irwin, prompting her to pursue a doctorate in psychology at California Southern University with a specialty focus on the prevention and healing of sexual abuse.
Dr. Irwin graduated from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Tarzana, California, in 2003, with honors and the Director’s Award. She has frequently been called upon to provide her expertise on numerous radio and TV shows, including CNN, CNBC, Fox, and MSNBC. She is a member of the American Hypnosis Association, the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, the California Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, and she is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Nancy also serves on the Education Committee of the California Coalition on Sex Offending, and she treats more than 100 emotional and behavioral issues, including addictions, phobias, and sexual abuse trauma.
A certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Time Line Therapy, and Emotion Free Therapy, Dr. Irwin tailors each client’s treatment to effect the most rapid transformation possible. Dr. Irwin’s academic accomplishments, life experience, and personal approach together enable her to provide clients with a unique treatment experience. She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from California Southern University, and has a background as an opera singer and stand-up comic—this unique combination of skills enables her to inject heart and humor into her healing. A powerful keynote speaker, she insists: “Change does not have to be scary and hard. It can be creative and fun.”
Dr. Irwin is also the author of YOU-TURN: Changing Direction in Midlife (2008), a collection of “over 40 stories of people over 40” who made amazing transitions in midlife.
Melissa Chisari-Noori, Psy.D,
Dr. Melissa Chisari-Noori is a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in treating residents in individual, couples, and family therapy. She obtained her doctoral degree in psychology from California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. She has worked in the field of addiction and recovery for many years in a variety of clinical settings, including residential treatment programs, intensive outpatient programs, university counseling centers, and private practice. Dr. Noori specializes in treating adolescents, adults, couples, and families struggling with addiction, co-occurring disorders, relationship issues, anxiety, and depression.
Dr. Noori takes an action-oriented, collaborative approach to address each client’s specific needs, working towards identifying and changing negative patterns in a safe, compassionate environment. Dr. Noori feels truly honored to support each client on their transformative journey.
Brandi Stoops, Ph.D,
Dr. Brandi Stoops is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, with over 20 years of clinical experience in the field of addiction. She has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as in private practice.
Dr. Stoops received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. After obtaining her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, she went on to complete her doctoral studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute.
Dr. Stoops specializes in co-occurring disorders such as bipolar, depressive and anxiety disorders, PTSD and physical and sexual trauma. She has worked with a wide array of populations, including “at risk” youth and homeless men and women at programs such as Project Recovery for the Salvation Army, local high schools and a homeless winter shelter.
Dr. Stoops’s clinical work is most influenced by Attachment Theory. Attachment theory holds that it is biologically impossible to regulate our own affect continuously, without the interaction of each other. Individuals that have experienced early developmental failures and lack the ability to establish and maintain emotionally regulating attachments are prone to enlist primitive defense mechanisms, such as addiction, to regulate their emotions.
Benjamin Nakanishi Psy.D,
Dr. Ben Nakanishi is a licensed clinical psychologist who has many years of experience working with clients struggling with addiction and mental health issues. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of California Santa Barbara and went on to obtain his doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.
Dr. Nakanishi has worked in a range of settings including community mental health, schools, correctional institutions, and in private practice providing individual, group, couples, and family therapy. He strives to create a collaborative and supportive environment so that issues can be explored openly and honestly. He draws from a wide range of therapeutic orientations and techniques but specializes in psychodynamic and psychoanalytic approaches which focus on exploring the unconscious motivations that drive our behaviors.
Jennifer Brady, MSW, LCSW,
Psychotherapist and Certified Brainspotting Professional
Jennifer Brady obtained her degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1991 before moving on to earn her Master of Social Work in 1994 from the University of Southern California. Her study focus was on children and families, as well as school-based social work.
Ms. Brady utilizes a wide variety of therapy techniques specifically tailored to each client. These include Brainspotting trauma therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, expressive art modalities and spiritual based therapy. She helps clients transform their lives from within using motivational interviewing techniques and compassionate reflective listening. Ms. Brady engages clients in weekly groups that include Expressive Art Therapy, Women’s Empowerment, and Writing and Process, as well as individual and family therapy sessions focused on successful recovery from addictive and co-occurring disorders.
Rebecca Roy Ph.D, MFT,
Dr. Rebecca Roy is an experienced clinician managing and treating complex cases. She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with 13 years of experience treating adults, children and adolescents in individual, couples, and family therapy.
Dr. Roy specializes in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and is also a Qualified Medical Evaluator and an Expert Witness. She was invited to present her original research on complex trauma treatment to the American Psychological Association in 2013. She has been featured on various mental issues in The New York Times, LA Times, CNN, World News Tonight, Washington Post, Reuters, and other major media.
Audrey Hope, RASi,
Audrey Hope harnesses her gifts of finely-tuned perception and healing in her work as a Spiritual Intuitive Healer and Addiction Expert. Audrey served for eight years as Director of Spiritual Counseling at a popular rehab center in Malibu. The revolutionary techniques she uses to help clients in their personal transformations have been lauded by people from all walks of life around the world.
Audrey’s Spiritual Counseling transcends the boundaries of traditional therapy, with its mind-focused approach, helping clients reach the deeper soul, where true healing happens. Her goal is to help each client achieve full transformation in the physical, emotional, and spiritual body. “One must work with an alchemist, one who knows how to go down into the cave with you and solve the riddle of the soul, at the ‘root of the root of the root.’ When you unlock the keys, transformation is possible and life becomes a miracle of free creation.”
Marit Lee, M.A.,
Marit Lee earned both her B.A. and M.A. in psychology from California State University Humboldt, where she researched parental bonding and substance abuse, examining the relationship between attachment and addiction.
As Admissions Director at Seasons, Marit guides you through the process of admissions, from your initial contact to your arrival and admission into treatment. She will help arrange all aspects of your initial steps to recovery. Her focus is on treating clients and their families with empathy and respect. She will help you and your loved ones to understand the unique benefits of our renowned treatment program and answer any questions you might have about options for insurance or financing. Please call Marit today to learn why our program is the best choice for those seeking a dual diagnosis program in a luxury setting.
Admissions Counselor / Interventionist
John Lloyd has worked in the drug and alcohol treatment field for over 14 years and has earned certifications in addiction and anger management.
Most often, your first contact at our drug and alcohol rehab center will be with Mr. Lloyd. His years of work in the field and in-depth knowledge of the renowned one-on-one approach to healthy, holistic recovery offered at Seasons In Malibu make Mr. Lloyd the ideal “face” of our facility. He is happy to answer any questions you might have about our treatment plan and protocol, insurance coverage, and treatment programs. Coming from a place of personal experience, Mr. Lloyd is uniquely positioned to meet you where you are and help you design a preliminary path for treatment, whether for yourself or a loved one.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing a new client grow from a place of darkness and despair, to a place of hope and joy in their future.”
Gia Gittleson MSN, RN,
Gia Gittleson’s background is as a psychiatric nurse. She believes that all clients—whether experiencing addictions, spiritual bankruptcy, tragedy, existential crises or some amalgam—strive to understand their own narratives and embrace positive growth. To share this belief, she previously taught psychiatric nursing at Santa Monica College after earning her BA from UCLA and her Master of Science in Nursing at Mount Saint Mary’s University. Prior to finding her new calling, Gia was a Senior Editor at Los Angeles Magazine for over 12 years and published articles in Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture.
Jonathan “JR” Rackley, M.A., MFTI,
Born and raised in Southern California, Jonathan Rackley (who prefers to be known as “JR”) received a B.A. in psychology from California Southern University before moving on to earn his master’s degree in psychology from the same college that inspired him so much. He has been actively involved in the addiction field for over 17 years, volunteering for organizations such as Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), as well as several addiction-based charities.
JR is thrilled to be able to provide an informative, comforting, and welcoming presence to clients as a Case Manager at Seasons. He consistently demonstrates compassion for those struggling with sobriety. He believes labels should be avoided when working with clients, as this can lead clients to label themselves. His approach is strategic, yet holistic, offering nurturing acceptance, non-shaming suggestions, and non-blaming coping mechanisms. JR’s approach is to provide unconditional positive regard, validation, emotional support, and respect using techniques that encourage clients to view themselves as experts on their own lives.
Hasya Jansen, MA, MFTI,
Case Management, Psychotherapy & Brainspotting
Hasya Jansen moved to California from Germany in 2001 to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. Ms. Jansen obtained her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, with an emphasis in Integral Counseling, in 2007. Hasya is trained in psychodynamic, humanistic and somatic approaches and has worked in addiction, psychiatric and mental health treatment settings.
As a Psychotherapist and Case Manager, Hasya integrates methodologies and techniques to offer a highly personalized approach to treatment. Along with compassion and understanding, she works in a collaborative partnership to uncover strengths and attain maximum potential for growth.
Erica Spiegelman, CADAC II,
Erica Spiegelman is an author, addiction and wellness specialist, and motivational speaker who works with individuals, couples, and families on personal growth and overall wellness. Erica provides a holistic approach to helping people overcome their struggles with addictions and dependency and gives them the tools they need to create healthy lives for themselves.
In April 2015, Erica published Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction & Recovery, which offers a completely new treatment modality focused on how individuals can rewire their brains, change their behavior, and bring about positive change in their lives. Praised by experts in the field, Rewired debuted as Amazon’s number one new release among drug and alcohol addiction books. In 2017, Erica published the Rewired Workbook, which uses a simple framework of readings and introspective exercises to help readers emerge feeling more centered and able to face their addictions head-on. Erica is also a regular contributor to online health outlets and hosts “Rewired Radio” on RadioMD.
Erica holds a bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Arizona and is a California State Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CADAC)-II from UCLA.
Laura Smith, LCSW, CAC, CEAP,,
Director of Business Development and Clinical Outreach
Based in the New York City area, Laura comes to Seasons in Malibu with a long career of developing and implementing large, multi-sited EAP, business development and clinical outreach programs for nationally and internationally recognized chemical dependency and mental health treatment centers.
She is a graduate of both Skidmore College and Hunter College School of Social Work, and has over 20 years of experience in providing clinical treatment to adults, adolescents, couples, families and groups. She formerly had private psychotherapy practices in New York City and Greenwich, CT., was a consultant to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and an Adjunct Professor in Marymount Manhattan’s Department of Psychology.
When it comes to recovery, Laura believes that “the only thing harder than doing it, is not doing it” and looks forward to being a resource to anyone in that process!