RESIDENTIAL STAFF 2018-02-10T13:22:39+00:00

Meet our residential program staff



Karol Darsa, Psy.D. (PSY19847)
Founder and Executive Director
Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Darsa received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California Graduate Institute, and has about 20 years of clinical and administrative experience in trauma and mental health disorders. Dr. Darsa began her career in 1998 as a foster care social worker and continued her work with abused children and their families and adults abused as children. Dr. Darsa later worked as a trauma specialist in private practice and at a variety of treatment centers including Clearview, Moonview Sanctuary and PCH.

In 2002, Dr. Darsa began studying with Christine Schenk, founder of the CHRIS-Technique, a unique energy work focused on teaching clients how to ground themselves in their bodies. Dr. Darsa has completed numerous evidence-based trainings in the treatment of trauma and mental health disorders, including Level III in Brainspotting, Level I and II trainings in EMDR, and Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. With each advanced training, Dr. Darsa developed a deeper understanding of trauma processes and healing, and how to help each person achieve freedom from the effects of trauma.

In 2012 Dr. Darsa became the co-creator of Invisible War Recovery, a program designed to treat military sexual trauma survivors. This sparked a passion for Dr. Darsa to develop and create her own trauma recovery program in the form of Reconnect Integrative Trauma Treatment Center. In a short span of time, Reconnect Center has served hundreds of clients recovering from trauma and mental health disorders, leading to exceptional treatment outcomes in their recovery process.

Dr. Darsa realized that what is often missing in trauma treatment is a finely attuned, gentle, body based process to help heal and reconnect mind and body when clients become disregulated due to traumatic events, developmental trauma, or emotional disorders. Reconnect Center embodies that philosophy in offering intensive one on one work to help truly heal each individual that comes through her doors.

A native of Turkey, Dr. Darsa has been living in the United States for 25 years. She has also lived in Spain, France and Brazil. Dr. Darsa’s exposure to numerous ethnic and social groups allows her to understand the cultural differences in human thought and behavior. She can provide therapy in English, Spanish, French and Turkish and is able to converse in Italian and Portuguese as well.


Nicole Karman Gilbert, Ph.D. (PSY 13462)

Clinical Director

Dr. Gilbert is a licensed clinical psychologist who has practiced in Los Angeles, California, for over 25 years.  Her specializations include the treatment trauma and attachment, addiction and dual disorders, as well as family issues in the context of mental health disorders.

Dr. Gilbert was educated in Switzerland, France and the United States and is competent to conduct therapy in French and English. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Washington, and her doctorate at the California Graduate Institute (now The Chicago School).  She did her dissertation in cooperation with the Yale Psychiatric Institute on intergenerational transmission of attachment patterns.   She has served in multiple dual disorder residential facilities as primary therapist, family therapist and clinical director.  She serves on the Board of Registered Nursing Intervention Program as a member-at-large and maintains a private practice in Brentwood, California.

Primary Therapists

Kasey Curtis, LMFT (LMFT99698)
Primary Therapist, EMDR/CRM

Kasey graduated with her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Argosy University, Twin Cities (MN) in 2008. Since then, she has worked with adolescents in detention, families and children in outpatient and community mental health settings, and with people struggling with eating disorders. Her early work led her to seek out additional training to help clients with trauma experience deeper and more lasting change than she was seeing in traditional talk therapy. She has been trained in EMDR, and has participated in other various modalities that focus on the mind/body connection such as iRest Yoga Nidra, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Most recently, Kasey completed training in CRM (Comprehensive Resource Model) in hopes to have more extensive tools and creativity in helping clients reach their goals.

Tara Brisco, LCSW

Primary Therapist

Tara employs a mindfulness-based approach in helping clients to process and heal from trauma, connect to themselves, and build the capacity for deeper and more meaningful relationships. Her clients have described her as “compassionate, warm and direct.” Through her years of experience working with clients with complex histories of addiction, eating disorders, persistent mood disorders and personality disorders, Tara recognizes the central role of trauma in the development and maintenance of these disorders.  She sees that addressing and processing unhealed trauma is paramount to long-term symptom relief and recovery, and is fully trained in EMDR (Levels I and II).

Shaina McPhetridge

Primary Therapist

Shaina is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family
and Registered Yoga Teacher, specializing in Eye Movement
and Reprocessing (EMDR), mindfulness and somatically-focused therapies.
Clinically, she has worked with The Center for Individual and Family
Counseling, Triune Therapy Group, and Cutting Edge Counseling where she
mentored under experts in the field of Trauma, EMDR, and somatic
therapies. As well, she has extensive experience teaching mind-body
wellness through yoga and healthy living.

Before graduating from Antioch University in 2015 with a Master’s degree
in Clinical Psychology, Shaina worked in both higher education, team
management, and the health and fitness world coaching individuals and
teams in pursuing their goals toward living healthier, more robust
She integrates those experiences into her therapy practice, knowing that
healthier body contributes powerfully to the healing of the mind and
organism as a whole.

Shaina has been fortunate to treat a diverse population of people with
varying difficulties, and believes that holding a space for and guiding
people through healing past trauma is the foundation of a successful
treatment program. She primarily works with adults and groups struggling
with the effects of acute and complex trauma, PTSD, anxiety, disordered
eating and body image, behavioral addiction, relational conflict, and
codependency and attachment issues. She tailors her therapy approach
according to an individual or group’s unique needs, meeting her clients
with authenticity, candor and empathy, and taking great care to honor
the courage and the time given to the process of healing.

Specialty Therapists

Gina Simonelli, M.A.
Expressive Arts Therapist

As an Expressive Arts Therapist, Gina includes the language of creativity as part of the therapeutic process. The arts, used individually or collaboratively, can help express those feelings that can’t yet be described with words, as well as enable us to feel hopeful, focused, calm, or playful. Through visual art, music, writing, movement, drama, and other creative mediums we can gain new perspectives, access our inner resources, and illuminate our wisdom and strengths, all leading to a deeper connection with ourselves. No artistic experience or skill is required to benefit from Expressive Arts Therapy.

Gina has directly experienced the healing capacities of creative expression throughout her personal life. Once she decided to pursue this work professionally, she obtained her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. Since then she has worked in psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment programs, skilled nursing facilities, and in community outreach providing group and individual support. She specializes in trauma-sensitive, mindfulness based applications of the expressive arts. She has worked with adolescents, adults, and older adults coping with the effects of trauma, substance use disorders, chronic mental illness, homelessness, and dementia. Gina continues to maintain an active connection with the arts outside of her work with clients as a way to support both her personal and professional development.

Kim Low, LMFT

Kim Low is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with experience in the addiction and mental health field since 1998. She received her Masters in Clinical Psychology from New College of California school of Psychology in San Francisco.

Kim began her career working with people struggling with HIV, mental illness and addiction using the holistic approach in residential treatment while attending graduate school. During her internship she worked with the SAGE Project (Standing against global exploitation) where she was as a sexual trauma counselor in collaboration with the district attorneys office. She has been a therapist for adolescents and adults in residential and outpatient settings and is certified in DBT (Dialectical behavioral therapy) and trauma focused CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).

After receiving her license she worked with adolescents and transitional aged youth 18-24 in the criminal justice system and was the lead youth and family therapist and clinical supervisor for the Juvenile justice team in San Francisco where she also worked with the Juvenile Collaborative Reentry Unit which is unique and the only program of it’s kind in the nation, serving all youth who have been committed to out-of-home placement as part of a juvenile justice court disposition in San Francisco County.

A Los Angeles native, Kim has been back in Los Angeles since 2014 and worked as a program manager for homeless youth with mental health issues where she managed staff and provided clinical supervision to interns while running an outpatient clinic.

Kim is currently pursuing a doctorate in child development and clinical psychology from the Reiss Davis Graduate center.

Kim is passionate about helping individuals and their families create the change that they want to see in their lives. She believes that with support and guidance that anything is possible.

Lisa Schwartz, L.A.C.

Lisa Schwartz is a California state licensed acupuncturist and herbalist specializing in treating emotional trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, chronic pain and headaches.

Lisa received her Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Emperor’s College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Californian board acupuncture license in 2000. She is also a Member of the National Addiction Detoxification Association.

Her passion for treating emotional trauma and addiction began during an internship at a hospital in Marina Del Rey, where she treated patients with great success recovering from PTSD, drug and alcohol addiction. Lisa started her private practice in 2001 and teamed up with a therapist, treating individuals suffering from PTSD and addiction and has continued her education through post-graduate studies in these fields. She has served as a clinic supervisor at UCLA’s Arthur Ashe student health center for acupuncture students, where she taught them proper diagnosis and treatment for stress, anxiety, insomnia and headaches.

Her specialized technique helps individuals who are suffering from drug cravings, stress, anxiety and panic attacks. Lisa offers her patients compassionate and personalized care, creating a safe, calm and relaxing environment for the sole purpose of healing the body, mind and spirit.

Maia Akiva, writing teacher

Maia Akiva is a Motivational Speaker, Entertainer, Facilitator, a reality bender and an emotional researcher who dips into every flavor of human behavior and self-discovery using self-help fiction, magical realism, original visual storytelling and and emotional coaching.

Originally from Israel. Her award winning self-help plays and short stories have been produced and published all over the United States in the past 10 years, inspiring hundreds of people to go on a journey of understanding, get to know themselves better and deeper, and ask themselves some important questions about their inner emotional lives, their struggles and their relationship with themselves. She led workshops of self-discovery at Models of Pride conference in the US, and at Brave Trails Camp, Resilience Treatment Center, Reconnect center and many more awesome places. She teaches meditation at The Den Meditation in Los Angeles. Maia’s creative work and her desire to help people take a look at themselves come from her own experience. After turning her back on herself for many years, suffering from depression and self-negativity she finally decided to start a new relationship with herself and turned her life around, living a life full of Joy and positivity.

Nadine Flowers, MA, IMFT

Nadine is a graduate of the Institute for Psycho-Structural Balancing (IPSB) in Los Angeles, CA, and has also trained in Thai Yoga Massage and Bodywork. She is proponent of bodywork and massage for relieving physical as well as emotional stress, and strongly believes that massage is a viable modality for enhancing overall health and well-being.

Her learning has included, but is not limited to T’ai Chi Ch’uan, body psychology, anatomy/physiology, energy balancing, as well as mindfulness, somatic, crisis intervention and trauma informed care. Some of her main modalities for bodywork are circulatory (swedish massage), joint mobilization, moderate to deep body work, and a combination of reflexology, acupressure and assisted yoga.

Nadine’s personal experience with dance, yoga, olympic lifting, exercise and movement also informs her work. Her approach is fundamentally underpinned with compassion and sensitivity; and she strives to provide a flexible therapeutic space to work with each client in a way that works for them; wherever they may be in their therapeutic process or day. She deeply enjoys helping clients find a space of relaxation, connection and physical improvement that is aimed toward facilitating deeper healing, integration and wholeness.

Nadine greatly values working in a treatment setting as part of a clinical team; and is honored to have the opportunity to engage with each person throughout their personal journey at Reconnect.

A firm believer in the inseparable connection between body-mind, her mission is to support individuals in achieving life balance and optimal functioning through personal wellness.

Nadine graduated with a Master’s of Science with a Specialization in Clinical Psychology in December of 2015 and is also currently working towards her licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (L.P.C.C) focusing on women, trauma and nature or wilderness based work.

Nicole Wiederecht

Music Therapist

Nicole is a board-certified music therapist who earned her B.A. in music therapy from California State University, Northridge. Nicole has worked in many clinical settings including eating disorder clinics, residential mental health treatment centers, trauma centers, hospitals, and children’s clinics. She works within a humanistic philosophy to help clients find a greater sense of balance and understanding between mind, body, and spirit. Nicole’s musical experience is based in classical flute performance, and through her education she has expanded her repertoire to include guitar, piano, ukulele, voice, and world percussion. Nicole is passionate about providing a safe, non-judgemental environment for clients to connect with themselves through music-based experiences.

Soleah Nicolis, CNHP, TRE, CEBT, C.Ht
Certified TRE® Provider

Soleah is a Certified TRE® (Tension & Trauma Release Exercises) Provider and graduated from the TRE® Los Angeles certification program. She also has extensive training and certifications in a variety of modalities some of which include Natural Health Practitioner, and Life Coach.

Soleah Nicolis found her way into the wellness field because of her own personal healing journey. She began her holistic health career in 2004, as an assistant to renowned holistic chiropractor Dr. Eileen Kenny. Under her guidance, Soleah assisted with clients of all ages, health concerns and backgrounds. Soleah’s curiosity about health, community, and service allowed her to apply her lifelong passion for helping people uncover and rediscover their wholeness.

Always opens up the vision that maybe blocked when coming into session. I leave feeling more confident.”  — S.B., client

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