There are a variety of elements that determine the effectiveness of a residential and/or outpatient addiction treatment center. Among those elements, the clinical staff is absolutely the single most important factor throughout the overall rehabilitation process. From the initial interventionists to the therapists, counselors, physicians and so on, the staff must be “A-Number-One” if the facility is to truly excel in helping the clients. We invite you to take a moment and learn all about the amazing professionals behind the scenes that help make Turning Point Treatment Center, Inc. one of Orange County, California’s finest treatment facilities.

Jeff Benon – Executive Director

Experienced Executive Director with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. Skilled in Organizations, Customer Service, Coaching, Strategic Planning, and Business Development. Strong business development professional with a Associate’s degree focused in certified drug and alcohol counselor from Saddleback College.

Tori DeGroote – Executive Administrative / Program Director

Tori DeGroote has over 9 years of experience in the addiction field holding a myriad of positions from:

  • Developing alumni departments and continuing care programs.
  • Serving as a marketing and outreach director.
  • Building community connections.
  • Serving as an addiction counselor and sober coach.
  • Executive Program Director, developing administrative and compliance driven programs.

She is currently undergoing mental health and addiction interventionist training as well as working on her master’s degree in Social Work. Tori currently holds a bachelor’s degree in business as well as a CATC-III/CADC-III in addictions counseling. In addition, Tori serves as a Board of Director on several non-profit groups whose mission is to provide prevention, education and resources to families who struggle with addiction. Having over 10 years of personal recovery, Tori understands what it takes to obtain long-term sobriety and is a community activist who is committed to helping others achieve freedom from addiction.

Tammy Occhippini – LMFT

Tammy Occhipinti is a self described as “ an Agent of Change” and “a warm and caring professional” with 15 years and thousands of hours of providing positive, high-quality psychotherapy and life coaching for individuals, couples, families, children and adolescence.

Her specialties include: Substance Abuse and Dual Diagnosis management (Creating a fulfilling and healthy life free of chemicals), Healthy Habits Weight Loss (Permanent Weight Loss from the Inside Out, Managing Emotional Eating, Losing Weight and Keeping It Lost), stress management, relationship issues, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, grief and loss and proactive life coaching. Tammy is skilled in creating and facilitating workshops, group therapy, and corporate consultations on topics such as successful stress management, team building and healthy dynamics, anger management, effective conflict resolution, and positive communication skills.

Since graduating from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Psychology in 1994, Tammy has strategically identified and refined the most effective motivational, solution-focused, positive therapy techniques and interventions necessary to bring about permanent and positive change—sustained change from the “inside out”!!!

Jonathan Laski – Primary AMFT

Hi I’m Jon, I am an associate Marriage and Family Therapist who studied at Chapman for graduate school and UCSD for undergraduate.

I love working with individuals seeking restoration and their hopeful future in recovery! My favorite pastime is basketball and my art form of choice is poetry and short story writing! I am also a core member of a church in Irvine. I would love to talk about any and all of this with you anytime! I am a therapist after all !

Sierra Flynn B.S., CATC3 Program Director of IOP

My name is Sierra Flynn and I received my Bachelors in Human Services with an emphasis in Mental Health and Substance Abuse from California State University Fullerton. I graduated with honors and have received 6 scholarships. I am a level 3 certified substance abuse counselor through CADEE. I am currently a doctoral student at Alliant International University pursuing a clinical degree in psychology. I have worked in the field of addiction for almost 5 years. Some of my research consists of childhood trauma and how it is related to increased substance use. I have assisted hundreds of clients along their journey of recovery, and I find great joy in helping clients reach their maximum potential.

Donna Cho – RN

Donna Cho has been a Registered Nurse for over 40 year. Earned my Registered Nursing degree from Middlesex College. Sher received her Bachelors degree in Health Administration from Chapman University and has worked the last 8 years with behavioral health and substance abuse.

Mike Torricelli – Interventionist

Experienced Interventionist with a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. Over 700 successful interventions facilitated. Coaching, Crisis Intervention, Family Therapy, and Case Management. Strong community and social services professional with a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) focused in Business Administration and Management, General from San Diego State University-California State University.

Christina Gillett, Substance Use Disorder Register Counselor

I have worked in the field of healthcare for 15 years. I’ve had past experiences treating patient to a holistic lifestyle. In the past 2 years I have participated in Recovery support groups throughout my community. Some of my research consists of Narcissistic Abuse as I’ve overcome Codependency tendencies. I have assisted numerous ladies and gentlemen in their journey of recovery, and I find great joy in helping clients reach their maximum potential.

K. Mitchell Naficy, M.D., MPH Turning Point Consulting Medical Director

Dr. Naficy is a Board Certified Family Physician with over 25 years of clinical experience. In 1985, he graduated from Rutgers University with a B.A. in Microbiology and French Literature. In 1986, he enrolled at the Universidad Central del Caribe, School of Medicine in Puerto Rico. In 1990, he received his Medical Doctor degree. In 1991, Dr. Naficy completed his post graduate training at the University of Southern California Medical Center. In 1998, he completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center.

Karen Rippy – LMFT – Family Therapist

My name is Dr. Karen Rippy and I am your in-office and online therapist. I specialize in family and relationship challenges including co-parenting, teen/child counseling, couple therapy, modern addictions, discernment counseling, and divorce-related matters.  I earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and am licensed as an Individual, Marriage, Child, and Family Therapist in California since 1983.

Education

  • Ph.D. In Clinical Psychology – Sierra and Claremont Graduate University
  • Masters of Art – California State Univesity, Fullerton
  • B.A. Psychology – California State University, Long Beach

Licenses & Certifications

  • License: CA Board Behavioral Sciences: LMFT #17775
  • California Assoc. Marriage Family Therapy
  • Doctoral Addictions Counselor-National Forensic Association
  • Anger Management Trainer / Consultant
  • Disaster Mental Health First Responder-ARC trained
  • Emotional Focused Therapy EFT (Tapping) and EMDR
  • Lic Spiritual Practitioner United Centers of Spiritual Living
  • Discernment Counseling: DRI (Alliance of Therapists, Ministers, and Lawyers for assistance with “At-Risk” marriages
  • National Registry of Marriage Friendly Therapists
  • Cal Victims of Crime Resource
  • Wounded Warriors Participant

Harlan Patterson – Counselor

I was fortunate to have a successful career as an executive in the Aerospace and Defense industry for 37 years retiring in 2016. After 29 years in the industry, I initially retired in 2005 and started a “give back” career in my community.
During my initial retirement, I received a Master of Science degree in Counseling from Pace University in New York and was employed by two organizations after graduating from Pace. First, I became a full-time counselor providing individual counseling for patients at The Haven treatment center, which is part of the New York-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center in White Plains, New York.
Subsequently, I was employed as a full-time counselor at St. Christopher’s Inn in Garrison, New York. St. Christopher’s Inn is a men’s homeless shelter providing residents with the necessary services for successful integration back into their community. Some of the services included counseling and medical facilities for residents requiring help to overcome barriers such as mental health issues including addiction. My responsibilities included intake interviews, individual and group therapy, case management, and discharge planning. While at St Christopher’s Inn, I received a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee certificate from New York State and accumulated over 2,000 certified counseling hours allowing me to apply for the New York State CASAC license exam. However, prior to taking the exam, I was recruited back into the Aerospace and Defense industry for an additional 8 years as president of various companies owned by a major Aerospace and Defense company based in New York.
I retired again in 2016 from the Aerospace and Defense Industry. During the last few years of retirement, I have dedicated myself to supporting the daily needs of our household and our two young daughters. Recently, my family and I have relocated back to Southern California where my two oldest children live and I’ve decided to reenter a “give back” career.
I’m currently employed as a group facilitator at an intensive outpatient SUD named Turning Point Treatment Center in Lake Forest, California. In addition, I’m currently in the process of completing the evaluation of credential requirements and preparing for the California SUD certification examination. In the interim, I’m currently registered with CADTP as a SUDRC in California. Have a current CPR/First Aid certification
I’m originally from Southern California where I received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from CSULB and a Master of Science degree in Experimental Pathology from UCLA. I received a Master’s degree in Counseling from Pace University while living in New York.

Robert Karlson -Certified Fitness and Nutrition Specialist

Robert Karlsson is a clinical nutritionist and health care consultant who works with local schools, community centers, and substance abuse recovery centers across Southern California. Over the past decade, his fascination with nutritional deficiencies led him to focus on depletion caused by poor diet and toxic states that prevented the body from healing or performing optimally. His techniques for healing and restoring health are easily integrated into an array of medical treatment programs.

Robert’s primary mentor was Dr. Frank Varese, M.D., a pioneer in longevity medicine who devoted his practice to finding health and wellness solutions for patients who could not find the answers they needed from their regular doctors. John was fortunate to work with Dr.Varese for six years.

Mike Kelly, Consulting DNP

Other Staff

  • Jamie Landis RADT1  Detox / Residential Facility
  • Lisa Gillette, RADT-I, Detox Tech
  • Warren Taft, MD, Consulting Medical Director
  • Luke Walsh, Operations Manager, RADT-1
  • Nick Adelizzi, RADT-1
Joint Commission Accredited

Turning Point Treatment Center, Inc.