Creative Care is one of the first recovery centers in Malibu, CA, and the first to treat individuals with co-occurring disorders. Its founders Dr. Morteza Khaleghi and his wife Dr. Karen Khaleghi have been guiding patients to lasting sobriety since 1989. They have been able to do this by having an excellent clinical staff comprised of professionals that have been with Creative Care for many years. Dr. Deena Manion has been the Clinical Director leading the team since 1999 along with Dr. Giovanni Aponte who has been with Creative Care since its inception and provides supervision to our trained therapists. Our senior therapists, Ross McNutt , Corinne Barthell, Alex DeCleene, and Anne Rose have all been here for many years and provide primary individual and group therapies to our clients. Our doctors and therapists treat the entire person, incorporating the 12-step philosophy and a full range of traditional and experiential therapies including detoxification from alcohol and drugs, a full spectrum of psychiatric and psychological services, nutrition, yoga, equine therapy, expressive arts and adventure therapies to treat mind, body and spirit. With professional detoxification, psychological support, and 12-step involvement, our compassionate and capable staff offers the highest standards of care in the industry. We believe in innovative, affordable treatment, with costs up to three times less expensive than most Malibu treatment centers. Please see our professional staff page to learn more about our trained clinicians who combined have over 200 years dedicating their services to Creative Care!
Founder and Executive Director
Renown for his clinical insight and skill, Dr. K personally initiates the clinical evaluation that follows admission to Creative Care Malibu. Dr K was trained at CGI, the California Graduate Institute, earning his doctorate in Clinical Psychology. He has been working in the field of addiction and recovery since graduating and has been a key player in the continuing development of the Dual Diagnosis treatment methodology.
Founder & Director of Education
First as a parent, second as a practitioner, Dr. Karen Khaleghi speaks to parents and organizations about the formation of addiction, the critical aspects of nature and nurture and the resulting disconnection between emotions and behavior. Both she and Dr. K feel strongly that there needs to be more of a dialogue about the genesis of addiction and the path to recovery, a process they call “connecting the dots.” In addition to speaking, Dr. Karen authors the Creative Care Blog.
Dr. Deena Manion has been with Creative Care since 1999. Dr. Manion is a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) as well a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1991. Originally from the New York area, Dr. Manion worked at prominent psychiatric hospitals and treatment centers on the East Coast. After graduating from Columbia University, Dr. Manion continued her post graduate training under the leaders in the field of psychiatry and family therapy at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center and the Ackerman Institute for family therapy. Dr. Manion also worked extensively with children, teens and families in day treatment settings as well as public and private school settings. Dr. Manion has been instrumental in Creative Care’s growth and innovative clinical practices over the years. She oversees the clinical and administrative aspects of the program and she supervises all of the therapists. Dr. Manion is very involved with each client, directing the clinical care and individualized treatment plan throughout the client’s stay. Dr. Manion has appeared on the Dr. Phil show, Dr. Drew’s Life Changers, The Ricki Lake show and Intervention on A&E as an expert in treating addiction and dual diagnosis.
Anna shows great skills in many areas related to treating of addiction and recovery and has worked in the capacity of program director at other premiere Malibu treatment centers. After obtaining her CADC from UCLA, Anna was instrumental in building a very successful treatment facility and growing it from the ground up. Her work in administration, aftercare, HR, counseling, and operations has only become more masterful since beginning in 2001. This work is Anna’s passion and it shows in her ability to lead clients and their families into healthy, full lives that are free from addiction.
Kelly is responsible for overseeing general daily operations from an administrative perspective as our Program Coordinator. She has worked in various treatment centers with dual diagnosed individuals and brought those skills to Creative Care in 2012 to follow her belief of ‘one addict helping another’. Kelly is truly satisfied when she is able to watch someone come into Creative Care to realize their full potential and live free from addictions.
Dr. Daniel Son came to Creative Care Malibu with an extensive background and training in many different psychotherapies, including Psychodynamic, CBT, Family Therapy and Recovery Dynamic Therapy. He has won numerous teaching awards and has also completed 2 specialty Fellowship trainings in both Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry, making him one of the few Psychiatrists in the nation that have done so. Dr. Son experience sets him apart in that he is current and involved in recent diagnostic research. As a consultant for Creative Care, he can provide detoxification- including suboxone detox as well as provide psychiatric assessments for all our clients. He works together with the client, families and treatment team to ensure the best possible care for the client.
Melissa Booth has been with Creative Care since 2003 and specializes in psychiatric nursing and has worked in a variety of Dual Diagnosis treatment settings. Melissa works closely with doctors to provide clients with an individualized treatment plan that may include: detoxification, medication monitoring, health screening and education. She is also a trained CPR and First Aid Instructor.
Danna is a registered nurse completing her training as a psychiatric / mental health nurse practitioner. She came to Creative Care in 2006 and has since become a licensed marriage and family therapist. Danna uses her skills and education to provide a bio-psycho-social approach to the care of her clients.
Dr. Aponte has been with Creative Care since 1989 and has many years of experience in treating clients with Dual Diagnosis and Addictions. He received his PhD in Psychology, Social Science and Economics. Dr. Aponte specializes in psychological testing and treatment of major Mood Disorders and other Psychiatric conditions. Dr. Aponte supervises the clinical staff as well as conducting psychological testing on each client.
Ross McNutt has worked in the field for over thirty years as a therapist and as a director of various hospital and dual diagnosis treatment centers. He has been with Creative Care since 1996. Ross lectures about dual diagnosis and has appeared on television and radio.
Corinne is a licensed therapist and is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing). Corinne has been with Creative Care since 2000 and specializes in addiction and recovery.
Alexandra DeCleene has held her masters in clinical psychology since 2001. Her areas of expertise are in abnormal psychology, addiction and family systems. Alexandra’s training in the field of addiction started at UCLA in 1999, where she worked in the neuropsychiatric institute studying the effects of drugs on the brain. She came to Creative Care in 2004 where she provides a dual diagnostic comprehensive treatment model.
Anne holds a Master’s degree in clinical psychology, with a concentration in co-occurring disorders. She has worked at Creative Care since 2005. Anne specializes in helping individuals with a history of trauma and PTSD, as well as personality disorders. She also has experience working with individuals in the LGBT community. Anne has dedicated herself to working in the field of mental health and recovery since beginning her own personal journey in sobriety.
Drew Williams came to Creative Care in 2012 with over a decade of clinical treatment experience specializing in treating addiction and the co-occurring disorders that create the need for self-medicating. He also specializes in postmodern approaches to addiction treatment and teaches future therapists at CSUSB these principles. Drew holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy and is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor IV. He has dedicated his life to assisting clients and their families find hope, healing and transformation. Drew extends that same philosophy to his parallel career as the director of the Addiction Studies Concentration at Antioch University where he teaches his students to become advocates for that same, hope, healing and transformation.
Therapist and Yoga Instructor
Elissa has been with Creative Care since 2012 and is a therapist and yoga instructor. She sees individual clients and runs groups as well as instructing our clients in the practice of yoga. She holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Gonzaga University. Elissa is trained in trauma sensitive yoga and is certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy to treat PTSD. Elissa combines yoga therapy and clinical counseling to create a holistic, experiential therapeutic process for clients.
Robin has been with Creative Care since 2013. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a certification in pathological gambling. Robin specializes in families and couples struggling with addiction.
Donna is licensed therapist as well as an interventionist who has worked in the field of addiction since 2000, where she researched methamphetamine addicted individuals at the UCLA DARC Research Department. She has worked in a vast variety of settings including working with adolescents and serving the underserved doing non-profit work. Her passion is facilitating therapeutic recovery and addressing the needs within our community. Donna has returned to Creative Care Malibu to continue the work she is passionate about in an environment she regards as progressive, nurturing, and compassionate.
Iraj Shamsian PsyD has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. He has been working in the field of addiction since 1995. Dr. Shamsian was born in Tehran and attended Albourz High School. He left Iran in 1972 to continue his education at the University of Southern California, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He returned to Iran to work until 1984 when he then immigrated to the United States.
Client and Family Advocate
Drew Horowitz has a vast range of experiences in working with addiction and mental health. He has gained a wealth of knowledge through his own recovery and a master’s level education from the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Drew did his undergraduate degree at Hofstra University, where he focused on psychology and human development. Drew has worked extensively within a multitude of populations providing consultation, intervention, mentorship, coaching and counseling. Drew has performed nationwide interventions and supported families in times of crisis and recovery. His broad based experiences enable him to effectively treat adolescents, adults and individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Drew has a strong desire to work with families in treating addiction as a family illness. Drew believes that the entire family needs to be treated in order to successfully recover from addiction. He is licensed as a drug and alcohol counselor, certified as an addiction specialist, certified as a psychiatric rehabilitation counselor and trained as a certified intervention professional.
Particularly important are the interactions between our counselors and our clients.
Many of our counselors are in recovery themselves, offering a profoundly effective mirror as they walk the walk.