Meet the Team
NOAH LEVINE, M.A.
Noah Levine is a Buddhist teacher, author, counselor and recognized keynote speaker. He has been teaching meditation internationally for over a decade and is one of the key teachers responsible for delivering Buddhism and mindfulness to the West. Applying Buddhist practices in his own recovery since 1988, Noah has become an expert in the field of addiction treatment, recovery and mindfulness-based therapies. He holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from CIIS and was trained as a Buddhist teacher by Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He is the founding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society–with active centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and more than 20 affiliated groups across North America. He serves the Board of Directors for the Mind Body Awareness Project. A non-profit that teaches meditation to incarcerated youth.
Published works: Refuge Recovery, Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, and Heart of the Revolution
- Stephen Dansiger, PsyD, MFTClinical Director
Dr. Steve holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Counseling Psychology. He has served at every level of clinical service to several top treatment facilities. He is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and Certified EMDR Therapist, and has trained all of the clinicians at Refuge Recovery Centers in EMDR therapy since becoming Training Faculty for the Institute of Creative Mindfulness. He presents locally and nationally on the Refuge Recovery treatment model, EMDR and Mindfulness, Clinical Dharma (his self care program for clinicians), and other topics related to Buddhism, recovery, and trauma treatment. In his small private practice, he specializes in substance and behavioral addictions and Complex PTSD. Now practicing and teaching in the Insight tradition, he has been a practicing Zen Buddhist for over 25 years, including a year-long residency at a Zen monastery. He has led meditation groups for over 20 years for a wide array of populations, particularly in schools and treatment centers, and currently teaches regularly at Against the Stream.
Published works: Refuge Recovery, Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, and Heart of the Revolution
- Loesha Zeviar, MA, CATC IV, MFTiDirector of Clincal Services
Loesha Zeviar is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family therapy. Loesha has over a decade of direct hands-on experience working in the fields of substance abuse and mental health, both as a clinician providing one on one counseling and facilitating groups, and as a program manager, director and administrator.
Loesha maintains a private counseling practice and facilitates family support groups, in addition to her role outside of being the Director of Clinical Services at Refuge Recovery Center.
- Josh Lichtman, DOMedical Director
Dr. Josh Lichtman is a medical doctor and board certified psychiatrist that brings a rare mix of the best practices from Western medicine and the 2600-year-old wisdom practices of Buddhism. He works with the Refuge Recovery clientele in an effort to stabilize them with psychotherapy and psychiatric medication management and reduce dependency on unneeded and over prescribed substances where appropriate. He credits his Buddhist studies in medical school as shaping the way he practices medicine. Dr. Lichtman is a Clinical Instructor at the UCLA School of Medicine and Clinical Supervisor at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. In addition, he was named to Los Angeles Magazine’s “Super Doctor” list for 2016 and 2015 and he was a “Super Doctor Rising Star” for the years of 2013 and 2014.
- Shannon FowlerDirector of Admissions and Business Development
With over two decades of continuous sobriety, Shannon works directly with Noah as our Program Director. In her role, she works closely with the clients and their families to create individualized programs, routines and goals, she oversees all functions of the treatment program and the sober livings. In addition to her active recovery resume from the 12-step tradition, she began formal study of Buddhism and Meditation with Noah Levine in 2005 and since then she has completed several courses and practice periods. She is currently completing teacher training with Against the Stream. She has led meditation groups in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Shannon brings a first-hand understanding of the benefits of combining a meditation practice to traditional recovery methods.
- Dave SmithOutreach and Refuge Facilitator
Dave Smith is a Buddhist meditation teacher, addiction treatment specialist, experienced speaker, and published author. He is empowered to teach by Noah Levine of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and received training in Buddhist psychology from the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS). As a long-time Buddhist practitioner and recovering addict, Dave has been working closely with recovering addicts for over eight years. During this time he has operated intensive programs and trainings for the Nashville office of the Mind Body Awareness Project (MBA). Dave has extensive experience bringing meditative interventions into jails, prisons, youth detention centers and addiction treatment facilities. He is the guiding teacher and program director of the Against the Stream Nashville Meditation Center and teaches over 300 meditation classes and workshops a year. He provides direct services for mental health agencies, the public library, and speaks nationally at Addiction and Behavioral Health conferences. Dave recently relocated to Los Angeles to work full time at Refuge Recovery Centers.
- Rev. Joseph Rogers, MDiv.Director of Spiritual Care and Community
Rev. Joseph Rogers, MDiv., our Director of Spiritual Care and Community, is a founding member of the Refuge Recovery community program and an Against the Stream meditation teacher trained under Noah Levine. Joseph received his MDiv. in Buddhist Chaplaincy from the University of the West, where he now teaches process methodology and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. He worked as a professional health care chaplain for a Los Angeles area hospice prior to coming to work at Refuge Recovery Centers. Previously Joseph also worked for a decade with Visions Adolescent Treatment Center as the Director of Education and facilitated their weekly teen mindfulness meditation group. Joseph facilitates meditation and process groups for the Refuge Recovery Centers IOP, provides real-time counseling and patient advocacy for our transitional living residents, training for the Refuge Recovery Centers staff, community orientation to new clients, and provides a key communication link between the clinical and line staffs.
- Cheryl SleanGroup Facilitator
Cheryl Slean has been practicing Buddhist meditation since 1995 and studying Vipassana since 1998. She was invited to teach by her teacher, Rodney Smith, and has subsequently taught meditation at many secular and spiritual venues including Seattle Insight Meditation, Swedish Medical Center, various Addiction Recovery Centers and Insight Community of the Desert where she is a founding board member. Cheryl is also a writer, filmmaker and educator working in the arts, healthcare research and environmental sustainability.
- Kate SpinaGroup Facilitator
Kate Spina has her MSW from Simmons School of Social Work in Boston, MA. She has completed 2 years of facilitator training with Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Kate’s passion is applying the teachings of early Buddhism to 21st century life.
- Mike ZittelTherapist
Michael Zittel is a Therapist at Refuge Recovery Center and a Master’s Degree Candidate at Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program. With three decades of study and practice in a range of Buddhist meditation schools, and fifteen years of experience as a meditation facilitator, Michael now brings his expertise in meditation to the field of mental health. Michael has comprehensive experience cultivating individualized meditation-based strategies for individuals and couples. He has previously taught meditation in clinical settings to both psychiatric outpatients and clinical staff. For the past eight years, Michael has trained with Noah Levine, Founder and Executive Director of Refuge Recovery Center, teaching meditation classes and leading intensive workshops under Noah’s supervision. At Refuge Recovery Center, Michael facilitates mindfulness groups and provides individual counseling
- Anadel Baughn Barbour, PhD, MFTI 79455Therapist
Anadel has been sober since 2001, and working in the recovery field since 2004. She earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Los Angeles and her Doctorate of Philosophy in Human Sexuality from The Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Sobriety put her on a journey that included finding ways to end self-imposed suffering and to enjoy life without needing mind-altering substances. The spiritual aspect of recovery was deepened when she discovered the Dharma. Finding solace through mindfulness, meditation and yoga, she decided to share it with others. After years of working with teens on probation and women in recovery, she decided to expand her practice. By integrating mindfulness practices into therapy, she finds there to be an important spiritual healing that can occur for individuals, couples and families. Her studies in Human Sexuality have expanded her practice to help sober individuals through specific challenges that sobriety may bring, integrating the Buddhist philosophy with Western therapies to help end the suffering that intimacy and sex can bring.
- Zack OldenburgTherapist
Zack Oldenburg is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with nearly a decade of experience working with high-risk youth and young adults with histories of substance abuse and trauma. He is a trained EMDR therapist. Zack brings an interest in attachment theory, neurobiology, and meditative practices to his work with clients. He is deeply fascinated by the intersection of trauma and addiction and the many different ways to bring healing to suffering.
- Lauren EmmelTherapist
Lauren Emmel is a trained EMDR Therapist, a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and a Master’s Degree Graduate from Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program in the Spiritual and Depth Specialization. Lauren has dedicated herself to the practice and study of yoga and meditation for the past 12 years and has been a certified yoga teacher for four years. Lauren has brought her transformative experience with yoga, meditation and personal recovery to the mental health field. At Refuge Recovery, Lauren facilitates meditation, yoga, process groups, and provides individual counseling. Much of her work includes trauma informed care through EMDR therapy, Buddhist psychology modalities, attachment theory and object relations approaches. Lauren’s compassionate and empathetic approach to therapy provides a safe space for clients to explore the underlining causes of addiction, release toxic shame, develop adaptive behaviors, and cultivate self-mastery.
- Brooke RowlandTherapist
Brooke is a Therapist at Refuge Recovery Centers and a Master’s Degree candidate at the University of Southern California’s Clinical Social Work program. Brooke facilitates therapy groups and provides individual counseling. In addition to using mindfulness-based approaches in the therapeutic setting, Brooke has extensive training in and experience with various evidence-based interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Brooke worked in the field of addiction and mood disorder research at University of California, Los Angeles. Brooke received her undergraduate degree in History from University of California, Berkeley (2004) and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles (2007).
- D.J. BishopTherapist
D.J. Bishop came to work at Refuge Recovery Centers as a Therapist Intern in October of 2016. He is a Master’s Degree Candidate at Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program with a specialty in LGBT Affirmative Therapy. The bulk of D.J.’s education has been in European History with an emphasis on gender and sexuality, attaining both a BA and MA in the field. He found a personal, academic, and professional synchronicity in the field of psychology. More specifically, D.J. works through a lens of LGBT-Affirmative therapy, EMDR therapy, and mindfulness practices used to help others recover from substance abuse.
- Bianca FisherCase Manager
Bianca Fisher is a Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist, Counselor and Certified Life Coach. Having worked in the field of addiction treatment for nearly 10-years, Bianca has worked both as a clinician, lead case manager, assistant program director, clinical assistant and sober companion for many of the top treatment centers in Southern California. She has chosen to work at Refuge Recovery due to their holistic approach and extreme care for clients.
- Mau RaynorFood Services
California native chef and member of the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Mau Raynor blends her experience as a designer, gardener, artist and her Buddhist practice to prepare nourishing and balanced comfort foods to the clients at Refuge Recovery Centers. Inspired by market produce, Mau creates seasonal dishes in the Refuge Kitchen that boost health and healing while placing emphasis on the human need to build community through the practice of sitting down to break bread together.
- Haley PollockChief Financial Officer
Haley has spent the last 10 years managing the financial and human resources departments of various companies. She grew up in Southern California and has been abstinent from drugs and alcohol for the last four years. When she’s not at work, you can find her cruising the coast on one of her motorcycles, at a punk rock show, or hanging out with her favorite furry friend, Vin Scully the dog.
- Tom HietterUtilization Review
Tom Hietter left a high profile career in Reality Television to dedicate his life to helping others. As a Certified Addiction Counselor, Tom seeks to utilize his creative talents and passion for the complexities of the human condition to guide clients toward effective, simple and lasting solutions to their substance abuse behavior. Deeply involved in the LGTBQI community, Tom was drawn to Refuge Recovery’s visionary, inclusive and self-empowering alternative to the traditional 12-step model. Tom works with Refuge clients developing treatment plans and acting as liaison with client, families, programs, and outside service providers.
- Regan WebberAdministrative Assistant
Regan got sober in high-school and was introduced to the Buddhist recovery approach early in her recovery path. She’s been practicing mindfulness meditation regularly and has since sat several Against the Stream (ATS) retreats. Regan was an active member in the ATS Nashville sangha before moving to Los Angeles in the spring of 2016. Joining her 12-step experience with a meditation practice has helped her discover a pull towards compassion and care to suffering individuals.