Kathy Tunney, MA
Kathy is an industry veteran with 28 years of experience in the field of addiction treatment. She received her master’s degree in counseling from California State University Long Beach. Since then, she has worked hands-on to provide each and every one of her patients with a bright future. Kathy believes that treatment doesn’t define the patient’s life, only alters it. Accordingly, she helps them make those positive changes by promoting a well-rounded continuum of care.
Kathy has developed numerous family programs designed to assist the whole family towards recovery. She has also worked extensively with individuals who are dually diagnosed. At Ocean Recovery, she and the staff pride themselves on never missing a thing and spotting when a patient is about to relapse and/or stop treatment. Kathy offers a therapeutic program in conjunction with a gender-specific addiction treatment approach that help both men and women achieve sobriety and restructure their lives with the help of Ocean Recovery.
Chief Executive Officer
Cade Saurage, a 19-year industry veteran, serves as our Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Saurage has been serving as the Director of Utilization Management and Strategic Partnerships for Esperanza Health Group / La Hacienda Treatment Center since August of 2012.
Cade Saurage began his career in healthcare back in 2001 as Physician Specialist / Appeals Coordinator for TSS Inc. after receiving his bachelor’s from Texas State University San Marcos. He went on to serve as Corporate Director of Utilization Management for CRC Health Group, the largest behavioral health company in the nation. Additionally, Mr. Saurage was the Faculty Speaker at the National Addiction Leadership Conference in 2017 and 2018.
Cade is excited about joining Ocean Recovery’s top-notch, ethical leadership team with quality programming, and proven success and he anticipates endless opportunities for growth and development.
Senior Vice President Strategic Development
Heather is responsible for building long-term, sustainable relationships with other treatment centers, providers, staff, and addiction and mental health professionals. After struggling with addiction for most of her young-adult life, Heather finally found the freedom of long-term recovery. Since then, she has made it her mission to help others struggling with substance abuse and other mental health disorders. Heather prides herself on being a resource for many people, both inside and outside of the treatment industry. She is fully invested in helping every person she can find the proper treatment program, clinician or resource that meets their particular needs.
Heather holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Whitman College. Additionally, she has over a decade of experience in sales and marketing. This includes over 5 years as the National Business Development Manager for a number of prominent behavioral health organizations. In her spare time, Heather loves to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with her puppies, Lola and Monkey.
Maddy is the Admissions Coordinator for Ocean Recovery. As an alumna of the Ocean Recovery program herself, she has a unique understanding of both the client and family experiences while navigating treatment. Her passion is helping others find joy in a life of recovery. This has motivated her work in the field of addiction and eating disorder treatment. Maddy helps to walk both those seeking recovery and their families through this difficult process. She will be there every step of the way to ensure all clients are receiving the highest quality care.
Director of Operations
Kyle, a native of Southern California, brings a passion for recovery to the men and women at Ocean Recovery. He emphasizes hard work, dedication, the importance of building relationships, and being a team player. Furthermore, Kyle believes in the power of selflessness and putting our clients and client care first at all times. He feels he has found his purpose working in substance use disorder treatment. Indeed, he finds fulfillment by helping others recover, just as others have helped him on his journey. Kyle has been in the recovery field for 5 years. He has worked in numerous positions from support staff, operations supervisor, admissions coordinator, and Director of Operations.
As Director of Operations, Kyle oversees the day-to-day activities, properties, and operation team members. Our Operations staff consists of a well-trained and dedicated staff who share a common passion for helping men and women struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. During free time and off days, Kyle spends time with his family. In addition, he has a passion for Southern California sports, particularly the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Claire Fierman was born and raised in the world of recovery. After several family member’s personal struggles with addiction, Claire became passionate about helping others heal. For the past eleven years, Claire has devoted herself to the clinical work in the treatment of addiction and mental health issues. As part of the clinical outreach team, Claire develops and maintains relationships within the recovery and wellness community.
Claire’s clinical practice and expertise stem from her own personal therapeutic work. Spending countless hours diving deeply into her own personal history in order to heal, she is able to connect with, and support her clients in a unique way. With over 11 years of clinical experience, Claire has the ability to recognize the inherent wholeness of each client, and create a safe and non-judgmental environment where she can witness their stories. Understanding that growth and healing is more powerful when clients find their own answers, Claire leads her clients as they engage in the process of discovering truth and healing.
Claire graduated from the University of Montevallo with a Master’s degree in counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has extensive clinical experience, having worked in residential treatment as a primary therapist, and Clinical Director, and also starting her own successful private practice. When she isn’t working, you can find Claire with her kids and pets, porch sitting, listening to music and exploring the outdoors.
CLINICAL / MEDICAL
Dr. Jonathan Bellman, MD
Dr. Bellman is an Orange County based psychiatrist who owns his own private practice but also works with clients and staff at Ocean Recovery. He completed his training at New York University Medical Center in 2001. Additionally, he has served as a lecturer and consultant at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. Furthermore, Dr. Bellman also consults at assisted living facilities and is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Orange County Psychiatric Society. Dr. Bellman feels strongly that Ocean Recovery has a particular niche with 18-30 year-olds whose addiction has interfered with a true launch into adulthood.
By working closely, compassionately, and consistently with both addicts and their families, Dr. Bellman enjoys helping to encourage love and boundaries that are rarely found in other treatment centers. He believes that to fully recover, clients need to build caring relationships with people who simultaneously do not tolerate behavior consistent with their addiction. Dr. Bellman feels that the single biggest failure of providers is the lack of commitment to one treatment episode. He is proud of the fact that both he and the team at Ocean Recovery are determined to provide that commitment to all of their clients while they work towards their full recovery.
Sherry Fixelle, RD, CDN
Eating Disorder Program Director
Sherry is the Program Nutritionist for the Residential Extended Care and Outpatient Program and focuses primarily on helping people struggling with eating disorders overcome their challenges. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Hunter College in New York City and went on to work at Columbia University’s Psychiatric Institute in the Eating Disorder Research Unit.
At Ocean Recovery, Sherry strives to bring equilibrium to her patients transitioning into treatment, and works to broaden their experiences with food and eating as they move forward in their recovery. She feels that it is a joy to watch patients become courageous enough to battle their fears and begin enjoying life. In addition to her work on the staff of Ocean Recovery, Sherry is also a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, The Academy of Eating Disorders, The American Dietetic Association, The American College of Sport Medicine, and The American Anorexia and Bulimia Association.
Brooke Huffstetler, M.S., LMFT
Women’s Clinical Director
Brooke is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for Ocean Recovery. She has been working in the field of chemical dependency since 2011 and has been on the staff of Ocean Recovery since 2014. Brooke works to help each individual to access his or her own sense of agency over their own bodies and lives. She believes that people have everything they need within themselves to move towards healing. Her hope is to help her clients find their innate ability to heal. To this end, she integrates a variety of therapeutic techniques including principals from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Somatic Experiencing (SE), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Attachment Theory, and the Twelve Steps. Brooke received her BA in Psychology from Bucknell University. Additionally, she completed her MS in Counseling at CSU Fullerton. She is her Advanced year of Somatic Experiencing training and will earn her SEP in October 2019.
Women’s Program Director
Michelle comes to the Ocean Recovery staff with a strength-based and heart-centered approach to client care. Since 2011 Michelle has been hands-on in the recovery field with a special focus on those experiencing chemical dependency, eating disorders, and sex and love addiction. Michelle uses a compassionate approach to help each client uncover the roots their presenting issues. As an alumna of the program, Michelle understands how demanding early recovery can be. She intimately knows that heart-centered approaches will help individuals achieve long term recovery.
Michelle obtained her AS in Drug and Alcohol Counseling and her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Cal State Long Beach. Additionally, Michelle has obtained certification in Eating Disorder Treatment. Michelle has completed multiple training courses and internships. This includes trauma-informed equine therapy and a year of youth corrections social work at Juvenile Hall. As Program Director of Ocean Recovery, Michelle works hard to walk clients through the most difficult part of their lives. She hopes to guide them onward to a life of opportunity and abundance in the recovery the individual and family deserve.
Men’s Clinical Director
Colin Maher brings 11 years of industry experience to his role as Clinical Director of the Men’s Program at Ocean Recovery. Colin graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Radford. Additionally, he earned a Master’s in counseling from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies in Minnesota. He has worked in clinical and outreach capacities in both adolescent and adult recovery programs across the country.
Colin’s combination of cutting-edge addiction education and personal recovery experiences allow him to empathize and build the trust necessary to hold a unique position in the lives of the men he’s had the privilege of helping. He is a loving but firm male role model, finding equal importance in accountability and the ability to have fun while living sober. He sees his position as an opportunity to build upon the great reputation that Ocean Recovery enjoys and a chance to create and define the burgeoning Men’s Program.
Colin is a huge football fan and enjoys grilling, reading, traveling, and spending time with his beloved English bulldog, Gus.
Kelly Blasco, RD
Kelly received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from CSULA and works in inpatient mental health and outpatient HIV when not at Ocean Recovery. She is also a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American College of Nutrition.
Samantha Grimes, LMFT
Samantha Grimes is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist whose passion for mental health and ending the stigma of addiction. Samantha has worked in various mental health settings since 2013 including inpatient treatment for adults struggling with addiction, outpatient clinics working with families and couples, and at schools working with at-risk youth. This experience has given Samantha the tools and knowledge to help families cope with a loved one’s addiction.
Samantha’s personal mission is to help people believe in their own worthiness, break down shame, navigate challenging relationships with themselves and others, and find ways to embrace the unknown. Samantha brings a collaborative and authentic approach to our staff, using eclectic ways to support others navigating recovery. She received her BA from UC Santa Barbara in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Applied Psychology. Furthermore, she continued her education by receiving her MA in Counseling Clinical Psychology from Argosy University in Alameda, CA. Additionally, Samantha has received specialized training in anxiety/panic disorders and trauma-informed approaches to healing.
As a clinician, Chas brings years of experience working with clients and their families at all levels of care. Chas is responsible for crisis management and one-on-one client counseling sessions. Additionally, he facilitates psychoeducational group sessions. He has completed his education at Distance Learning Center in the California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counseling (CADC) program. When not at work, Chas can be found at home spending time with his family. In addition, he also volunteers at various local animal rescues. In the recovery industry since 2016, Chas believes an essential piece of recovery is changing perceptions and rebuilding healthy, sustainable self-esteem.
Kayla is a recent graduate of UCI’s psychology program. Having worked in the recovery field for a number of years, Kayla has developed an intimate understanding of the need to bring the principles of recovery into all facets of daily life. Additionally, as an alumna of Ocean Recovery, she has a personal understanding of the importance of addressing co-occurring disorders simultaneously.
Kayla’s goal is to provide a safe space in which clients can address issues related to substance abuse, eating disorders, and emotional dysregulation. She is passionate about assisting clients to build a foundation of recovery through the use of strengths-based and solutions-focused approach. Furthermore, Kayla hopes to empower clients to reach their personal goals with compassionate care and solution-based direction.
After spending over 15 years in construction, Bruce made the decision to follow his passion for helping men recover from addiction. He studied at Intercoast College in the California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counseling (CADAC) program where he graduated on the Director’s Honor Roll. In the recovery industry since 2012, Bruce has worked with all populations and has seen it all. He brings his experience as a recovering alcoholic who struggled in early sobriety into his job description. He understands the adversity one faces during the life-changing time one has in treatment. Furthermore, he knows how to help one navigate the internal conflict one may have when buying into a new life.
Bruce believes an essential piece of recovery is finding the motivation to change, realigning priorities, and changing perceptions. He believes one of the great rewards in life is to see someone come in mentally, emotionally, and spiritually broken, and then leave with genuine confidence they can live a life beyond their dreams. Bruce’s favorite role in life is as a husband and father. With recovery, he found the truest joys in his life come from his family. Bruce enjoys time with his family, live music, and reading autobiographies, and his favorite color is Dodger blue.
AJ’s approach to therapy is informed by his paramedic, military, and law enforcement backgrounds. From these firsthand perspectives, AJ became aware of the lingering impact of traumatic events, not only disrupting the lives of the victims, but also the families, friends, and coworkers who care about them, long after the actual event has faded. AJ was inspired to begin a life of service focused on helping others heal from the invisible scars of trauma. After re-enrolling in college at age 41, AJ completed a BS in Human Services, and an MS in Counseling Psychology. AJ has been working as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist since 2016. AJ has worked in inpatient settings focused on substance abuse and mental health, with the goal of helping adolescents, adults, and their families, improve lives and relationships damaged by symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, disordered eating, and other mental health issues. AJ relies on an assortment of interventions from ACT, IFS, EFT, DBT, MET, TF-CBT, CPT, and EMDR to guide clients from the denial, dysfunction, shame and addiction, to acceptance, empowerment, and a return to living the valued, meaningful lives they desire.
Kyrr Christoffersen has worked in the field of addiction for over five years in various roles. As an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Kyrr is passionate about empowering clients to establish the fundamentals to have lasting sobriety while tackling underlying unresolved issues and family dynamics. After over a year of working with children within the foster care system, he has developed an acute understanding of the effects of trauma and how it becomes reflected through behavioral reactions as well as thought processes and attitudes.
Kyrr’s personal mission is to assist individuals in building self-esteem, accountability for their actions, establish self-worth, and build a support network to rely on in times of hardship. He completed his BA in Psychology at UC Riverside and received his MA in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Azusa Pacific University in Orange, CA. Additionally, Kyrr hopes to assist his clients to obtain a fulfilling, content life in recovery.