Our Staff

"A distinguished team of specialists consisting of preeminent Addiction & Mental Health doctors and clinicians treating chemical dependency, behavioral addictions and psychological disorders." 

 

Dr. Reef Karim, D.O.

Founder, Medical Director

Expertise: Addiction Medicine, Detoxification, Mental Health Disorders, Relationship Therapy, Spiritual Healing

Dr. Reef Karim is a board certified psychiatrist, board certified addiction medicine specialist, and a certified relationship therapist. He is a senior attending physician and an Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience as well a published research scientist in the field of behavioral & chemical addictions with articles in the International Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Addiction Medicine, and other prestigious journals.

Dr. Reef has been a consultant at many well-known rehab facilities and is the Founder and Medical Director of The Control Center. Additionally, Dr. Reef is a well-known media personality in the field of mental health, relationships, and addictions with multiple appearances on: Oprah, Larry King Live, Anderson Cooper 360, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, and many others. Dr. Reef has trained with Sufi mystic leaders, Navajo and Hopi shaman, and other spiritual practitioners in addition to his strong training in traditional western medicine. As such, he created The Control Center to fully integrate neuroscience, psychological testing, specialty psychotherapy, and trauma work with nutritional support and spiritual healing.

 

 

Dr. Priya Chaudhri, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer

Expertise: Addictive Disorders, Behavioral Medicine, and Biofeedback

Dr. Chaudhri is currently the Clinical Director of The Control Center and is trained in behavioral medicine and addiction. Dr. Chaudhri has over 10 years of experience working at various outpatient and residential substance abuse programs. Dr. Chaudri has been the clinical director of several addiction rehabs.

Dr. Chaudhri received her academic and research training from UC Berkeley. She completed an APA accredited postdoctoral fellowship through Yale University in cardiovascular behavioral medicine. During her fellowship, she received specialty training in treating cardiac patients with co-occurring addictive disorders and became certified in biofeedback. Dr. Chaudhri has extensive experience in integrating alternative medicine and other advanced techniques into treatment for chemical and behavioral addiction.



Dr. Sterling Zielinski, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist

Expertise: Personal Development, Addictive Disorders, Relational Therapy, Identity & Self-Awareness

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Sterling holds a doctorate in psychology, and specializes in individual psychotherapy, mindfulness, family systems, and integrated approaches to addictive disorders. Sterling's work experience spans business, military, entertainment and education. Both a clinician and educator, Sterling integrates meaning, psychoeducation, insight and process therapies in the here-and-now. With years of study in substance use disorders, Choice Theory®, existential discourse, spirituality, and East-West consciousness studies, he brings a strong background to matters of identity, personal growth, relationships and addiction.


 

Dr. Kimberly Brown

Clinical Psychiatrist

 


Lisa Knakal MA, LMFT

Expertise: Individuals, Couples, Family Therapy, Trauma Recovery

Lisa’s qualifications as a licensed marriage and family therapist include a BA from UCLA in Art History and a Master”s Degree from The Phillip’s Graduate Institute in Clinical Psychology.  She has additional and specialized training in Attachment and Object Relations Theories, Family Systems theory, Trauma Recovery and Affect Regulation and Experiential and Mindfulness based therapies. In addition to her work at The Control Center, she maintains a private practice in Calabasas and is adjunct faculty at Phillip’s Graduate Institute. Lisa’s treatment plans are individualized and integrate a combination of creativity based and theoretical disciplines on a case by case basis aimed at both symptom reduction, insight and empowerment.

 

Abeer Othman

MFT

Abeer Othman works with individuals, couples and families struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, occupational dissatisfaction, relationship difficulties, personality disorders, grief & loss and family conflict.

Abeer’s style is collaborative, active and engaged with the intention of creating a safe environment to empower growth and healing.  She guides her clients by helping them modify their lives according to their needs and lifestyle.  With Abeer, you will explore and understand the underlying causes and concerns as well as access hidden abilities and resources. The therapeutic relationship focuses on re-establishing emotional strength and well-being, addressing inter-personal & familial concerns, and most importantly, regaining self-esteem and confidence.

Abeer has a M.A. in Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage & Family therapy and is a licensed MFT. In addition, she is certified in working with cases of Domestic Violence and Anger Management. She also has a private practice in West Los Angeles and Sherman Oaks.

 

Dr. Dana Kiesel, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist

Expertise: Eating Disorders, ADHD

Dr. Dana Kiesel, a psychologist with a specialty in the clinical treatment of eating disorders as well as CBT work with ADHD, has maintained a private practice in Beverly Hills for 18 years. Dr. Kiesel works in an interactive and collaborative way that works towards gaining insight, self-awareness, and strength for each client.

Therapy is held in a supportive atmosphere and at the same time the client is encouraged to face the issues that have been causing them to engage in disordered eating. This collaborative kind of psychotherapy helps clients become “unstuck” from the self-destructive behavior and other patterns of the eating disorder. Dr. Kiesel was trained in many modalities and uses them to keep her work current and effective.

Some of these modalities include psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, hypnosis, and mindful meditation. Dr. Kiesel earned her Masters and Doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant University. She did her Pre and Post Doctoral training at the Wright Institute in Los Angeles.

 

 

Sharon Skok

Expertise: Traditional Chinese Medicine – Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine, Hatha and Restorative Yoga

Sharon Skok is a California State Licensed Acupuncturist and a nationally recognized Diplomate in Oriental Medicine by the NCCAOM. She graduated with honors from Yo San University in Los Angeles, CA where she earned her Masters Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine (M.A.T.C.M). Sharon began treating individuals recovering from addiction during her clinical internship at Yo San University and saw the positive benefits of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in patients with addiction and aiding in recovery. She is happy to be part of the integrative team at The Control Center. Sharon has worked in integrative health care settings in the past, including working with HIV+ individuals and also with cancer patients, their families, and their caregivers. Sharon has devoted her adult life to studying health and eastern healing practices. Sharon helps her patients reach better health and well being though the use of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and Chinese nutritional guidelines to support and harmonizes an individual’s body, mind, and spirit. In addition, Sharon has been teaching yoga in Los Angeles since 2002.

 

Rohini Ross, MFT

Spiritual Psychotherapist

Expertise: Meditation, Breathing, Visualization, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Executive Coaching

Rohini Ross is a licensed marriage and family therapist and spiritual psychotherapist. Rohini specializes in integrating practical spirituality with therapeutic work to promote transformational healing. She helps clients quiet their mind and tap into their own resources through alternative healing techniques in an effort to help diminish anxiety and impulsivity. Rohini received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a Certificate in Consciousness, Health, and Healing from the University of Santa Monica.

 

 

Andre Zitcer

Holistic Practitioner

Expertise: Somatic Experiencing, Yoga, Acupuncture

Andre Zitcer is a licensed Acupuncturist & Herbalist in the state of California with a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine. He has extensively trained to help clients find ways of resolving stress and anxiety, beginning with various forms of meditation, yoga, and tai chi, in his utilization of holistic medicine. Andre has been practicing oriental medicine for 10 years. He has trained with Peter Levine, PhD, in the art of somatic experiencing and he is also a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher. Andre teaches Pranayama for health and has developed an expertise in the complex relationship of addiction, anxiety, and trauma.

 

Dr. Deborah Sweet, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Expertise: Addiction Therapy, Trauma, EMDR, Compulsive Shopping

Dr. Deborah Sweet specializes in helping people recover from a variety of traumas, addictions and life issues.  Many people suffer from some form of childhood trauma, which take place over time, or shock traumas which are disturbing incidents that happen quickly but have lasting effects. Three interrelated areas that are frequently affected by trauma are a sense of choice, a sense of safety and a sense of self. The past affects the present. Though talk therapy is essential, it doesn’t always improve symptoms of unresolved trauma. She is certified in EMDR, Somatic Experiencing and Brainspotting in addition to using CBT, 12 Step and Buddhist recovery models. She also incorporates concepts from Internal Family Systems and Scott D. Miller (International Center for Clinical Excellence).

Additionally, her extensive experience includes working with a wide array of addictive disorders including drug, alcohol and spending addictions. In addition to trauma informed recovery, she provides skills and tools to help people self-regulate as they enter recovery, gain clarity and gently begin to deal with their material. Her approach, in alignment with The Control Center, is to offer a holistic point of view is designed to identify, access, and build upon each person’s capacity for internal resourcing and resilience, encouraging each person to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

 

 

Chloe Russell

Pharmacist and Certified Reiki Practitioner

Expertise: Reiki Practitioner

Chloe learned the practice of Reiki under the tutelage of Victoria Vives Khuong of Los Angeles, and is part of the lineage that can be traced to Usui Mikao, the founder of Reiki.  After several years of practice as a licensed pharmacist, she recognized the need for holistic healing, which not only addresses the physical, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a person’s being.  She was drawn to Reiki after several sessions she received herself, where she recognized the gentle yet profound ability of Reiki to restore balance and facilitate healing.

Chloe earned her Bachelor’s of Biology from Ohio University, and her Bachelors of Pharmacy from the University of Cincinnati, and she is committed to assisting individuals in their healing journey, by restoring their sense of peace, wellbeing, and vitality.  She is happy to be a part of the integrative team.

 

Robyn L. Goldberg, RD

Registered Dietitian

Expertise: Nutritional Services, Eating Disorders

Robyn began her career at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles as the inpatient dietitian in the Department of Cardiology. She currently works in Beverly Hills, CA, where she specializes in medical, psychiatric, and self control conditions such as disordered eating. Dr. Goldberg also works with an eye toward preventative nutrition for all clients as well as for athletes, helping them reach optimal nutrition.

Additionally, she serves as a Nutrition Consultant for the Celiac Foundation. Robyn is a contributing author for and has been quoted in the following publications, among (but not limited to) Shape and Fitness, BH Weekly, and Todays Dietitian. For the last eight years, Robyn was the Nutritional Counselor for the Susan Krevoy Eating Disorders Program at The Wright Institute Los Angeles.

 

Samantha Karim MS, RDN

Expertise:  Holistic Nutrition

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Samantha is a British born Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN)who began her career studying Environmental Management at the University of South Africa.  She spent 5 years living and working at a medical clinic in Uganda, East Africa where her passion for health and nutrition began.  Samantha earned her Masters Degree in Nutritional Science at Cal State LA and is now a Los Angeles based RDN who approaches health and recovery from a holistic perspective which considers the whole body in an approach to health, in that the mind and body are interconnected in respect to health.

Samantha’s nutrition based treatment plan helps correct biochemical imbalances, fix nutritional deficiencies and manage digestive issues with a goal of increasing energy levels, mood, intelligence, sleep patterns and overall health.  Samantha enjoys helping clients see the connections between nourishing their body and nourishing their soul by utilizing a blend of traditional and alternative therapies to help clients achieve these health goals.