MEET OUR ‘GOOD HEART’ STAFF & COUNSELORS

Over 80 years combined experience treating mental health and substance abuse

Our outpatient rehab facility team is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of substance use counselors and mental health disorder clinicians. Executively and medically run by doctoral level clinicians and clinically run by seasoned masters level psychotherapists, our team is committed to finding, treating, and reconciling the underlying issues that bring individuals into mental health and substance abuse treatment. Every staff member that provides direct services to clients at Good Heart Recovery believes in finding what makes each person unique and has a personal, as well as a professional, desire to truly get to know the strengths, abilities, preferences, and needed skills and supports for each person who desires to lead a new life. Having treated over thousands of cases and individuals, our treatment team is experienced in the many different presentations of pain and suffering that accumulate over the years due to mental illness and have developed specific modalities to treat such presentations as a team and individually.

Nicole Botaitis - Clinical Director

Nicole Botaitis, MS, LMFT, LPCC

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor

Executive Director

Executive Director

As Executive Director, Nicole is eager to carry forward Good Heart Recovery’s vision of providing substance abuse and mental health treatment that truly acknowledges the humanity within each client. She has been a licensed MFT since 2009, a licensed PCC since 2012, and a Clinical Supervisor since 2013.

Nicole received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Education from California State University, Sacramento in 2005 with a dual specialization in Marriage, Family and Children Counseling and School Counseling. In Nicole’s early career she combined her passion for education and therapy advocating and counseling at-risk youth from diverse cultural backgrounds at multiple inner-city schools and nonprofit settings in the Sacramento area.

Nicole moved back to Santa Barbara in 2011 and embarked on the next phase of her career teaching Master level students at Pacifica Graduate Institute. In 2017 Nicole joined Antioch University, Santa Barbara as their Director of Clinical Training and Teaching Faculty. Nicole developed and grew the strength of the program, streamlining processes and procedures, sustaining meaningful partnerships with agencies in the community, and supporting students in their progress through their academic and practicum experiences. As an instructor, Nicole fostered student’s professional growth through her consistent guidance and mentorship.

In July of 2020, Nicole joined Good Heart Recovery. Nicole wholeheartedly supports GHR mission of moving past the stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness, causing individuals to be stuck with labels such as “addicts” or being viewed as broken. At Good Heart, each individual is seen as a human who is suffering and who has adopted maladaptive coping skills to ease that suffering, whether that be through substances or mental health symptoms. The GHR team works to break the stigma, help individuals see their potential and find their authentic selves, thus helping them find their “Good Heart”.


Marjorie Gies, MD, PhD

Board-Certified and Licensed Medical Doctor

Clinical Staff

Medical Director

Medical Director

Dr. Marjorie Gies graduated Magna Cum Laude in Psychology from Princeton University. She got her Medical Doctorate from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. She completed her residency at UCLA in Psychiatry and was the Academic Chief Resident and later the Chief Resident of the UCLA – NPI Adult Outpatient Eating Disorders Program. Dr. Gies started her Santa Barbara Psychiatry private practice in April of 1993. She got her Ph.D. in psychoanalysis from ICP-LA in 1999 and was later deemed the medical director of Cottage Hospital’s eating disorder program from 1995 – 1997. Prior to working at Good Heart Recovery, she was La Ventana’s Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Medical Director for four years. She is now the Medical Director for Good Heart Recovery IOP & PHP. At Good Heart Recovery, Dr. Gies provides all clients with weekly medication management, psychiatric evaluations, and a compassionate, psychoanalytical experience of one-to-one sessions between clients and their psychiatric experience.


Brian Dalley, CATC-II

Program Manager

Clinical Staff

Clinical Case Manager

Program Manager

Brian was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. He struggled with addiction for more than a decade and couldn’t imagine his life without drugs. After finding freedom from his addiction, he found a passion for helping others do the same. He believes it is possible for everyone to experience redemption and live a life of purpose with peace and joy. Brian returned to school to earn his Associate degree in Addiction Disorder Counseling. In addition, he became certified as an addiction treatment counselor (CATC II) by the state of California. Prior to accepting the Program Manager Position with Good Heart Recovery, Brian worked for multiple nonprofit organizations as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor in outpatient and residential treatment programs. He currently resides in Santa Barbara with his wife and two daughters.


Danielle Spain, MA, AMFT

Lead Primary Therapist

Clinical Staff

Lead Primary Therapist

Primary Therapist

Danielle has extensive experience working with individuals and families suffering from co-occurring disorders. She spent most of her career working with underserved populations as a program director on Hawai’i Island with a focus on supporting families healing from addiction and mental health concerns. Danielle has a heart for those not seen by society and believes everyone deserves to be seen through the lens of love, which is what attracted her to the Mission and Vision of Good Heart. She taught substance abuse courses at Hawai’i Community College and facilitated professional workshops and trainings on Hawai’i Island. Danielle is currently working on her dissertation, seeking a PhD in Educational Psychology from Walden University, her concentration is on those with co-occurring disorder seeking higher education. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Phoenix in 2002. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree, Danielle completed her undergraduate program at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo where she double majored in Sociology and Communication, Danielle was an internationally certified substance abuse counselor while working in Hawai’i.


Deneen Nakamura

Admissions Director

Clinical Staff

Lead Primary Therapist

Admissions Director

Deneen comes to us with over two decades of being a liaison for clients in various industries and she has always held a passion for helping those in need, specifically those struggling with mental health and substance use problems. She has extensive experience with customer service and building rapport with human beings who are needing help to get their life back on track. Before coming to Good Heart Recovery, Deneen held a certification in Physical Medicine and provided somatic healing to her clients struggling with physical pain concerns. She believes that everyone matters, and every soul is precious. Deneen is currently enrolled at Saddleback College to complete education to be a Certified Drug & Alcohol Counselor and Mental Health Counselor.


Crystal Germanetti, MA, AMFT

Family Therapist and Alumni Outreach

Operat Staff

Licensed Trauma & Emotion-Focused Therapist

Family Therapist and Alumni Outreach

Crystal joined the Good Heart team in 2019 to expand upon her interest and training in person-centered, humanistic, and holistic healing in order to best assist others in finding their genuine and authentic selves. She completed both her undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Applied Psychology and Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Santa Barbara. Prior to joining Good Heart, Crystal worked as an admissions counselor at Antioch University Santa Barbara, harnessing the skills to meet people where they are at and to assist them in the pursuit of their continued growth. Since joining the Good Heart team, Crystal has gained clinical experience as a case manager, primary therapist, and group facilitator, as well as administrative experience in the admissions and outreach department as she pursues MFT licensure. She is honored to work with clients and their loved ones, fellow clinicians, and members of the community all while bearing witness to the amazing growth in each and every individual she comes across.


Michael Coulter, MA

Marriage and Family Counselor

Clinical Staff

Clinical Case Manager

Family Counselor

Mike has lived many lives. He’s been a singer and a songwriter, a baseball player and an engineer and an Art Director and, one day hopefully, a blacksmith. Mike’s most recent life started when he found himself in the care of many of the Good Heart clinical team some years ago at a different recovery home. They helped him find a new life and set him on the path of becoming a therapist. Mike will graduate with an MA MFT from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena in Spring 2019. Mike has been drawn to helping his clients find meaning through an existential lens but also believes whole-heartedly in directly treating trauma and behavior as a means to freedom. He is a fully trained EMDR therapist. Before coming to Good Heart, in addition to practicing EMDR, Mike was responsible for the Family and Couples therapy at Refuge Recovery Center. It is family therapy that he’ll be primarily focused on at Good Heart. Mike loves his family, friends, and dogs. He also loves making things and having baseball break his heart.


Austin White - Spiritual Substance Abuse Counselor

Kelsey Hawk, CADC-I

Integrative Counselor

Psychospiritual Counselor

Integrative Counselor

Kelsey (she/her) is a counselor, artist, and advocate dedicated to social and environmental justice, LGBTQ+ visibility and inclusion, and promoting equity in mental health services. As a clinician, Kelsey is interested in integrating creativity, spirituality, and experiential learning as a way to provide inclusive, affirming, and person-centered therapy. She believes in the power of art and the restorative potential of re-connecting with our natural world. Kelsey began her career in mental health in 2014 as a crisis counselor working with survivors of sexual assault in acute trauma in Chicago ER rooms. She has since acquired experience working in psychiatric hospitals, detox units, and Family Justice Centers in addition to non-profit organizations and luxury drug and alcohol treatment facilities. Kelsey is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA, 2013) and is currently completing her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. She is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CADC-I) with specialized training and certification in experiential art therapy, crisis intervention, trauma, and addiction studies. When she is not in her studio or working with clients, she can be found falling off surfboards, climbing on rocks, and dreaming of becoming a river guide.


Annie Ewald, MA, AMFT

Case Manager

Operat Staff

Licensed Trauma & Emotion-Focused Therapist

Case Manager

Annie has a longstanding passion for working with others in all walks of life, and she believes that through a mindful, humanistic approach, healing can always be achieved. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Annie decided to deepen her reach into the community of mental health by pursuing a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Annie joined the team at Good Heart Recovery in 2020 and is constantly fulfilled by the mending that occurs throughout her roles in individual Case Management and group session facilitation. With experience working with humans of all ages, from early adolescence to adulthood, she has witnessed and firmly believes in the goodness that exists in all people. Growing up amongst the redwoods of Northern California, she quickly grew an understanding of the human connection to nature and its ability to heal. As she pursues her MFT and LPCC licensure, Annie meticulously designs her approach to healing by the coalescence of her clinical knowledge with that of her spiritual, natural upbringing.


Challis Popkey

Therapist

Therapist

Challis is passionate about integrating the healing powers of nature with attention to clients’ goals and aspirations. Named after the Challis National Forest in Idaho, she grew up exploring Idaho’s mountains, valleys and rivers and understands the therapeutic effects of outdoor experience on physical and mental health. She utilizes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and a client-centered approach that honors the lived experience and inherent wisdom of her clients. After completing her BA at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, and a career in broadcast journalism, she moved back to the states to pursue a different kind of storytelling. She graduated from Antioch University in 2019 with an MA in Clinical Psychology.


Alexah Hart

Case Manager

Case Manager

Alexah was born and raised in Santa Barbara, and returned to the area after living in Cincinnati, Ohio for four years. She attended University of California Santa Cruz, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2017. To intertwine her passion for social justice and helping others, she completed her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Cincinnati in 2021. While in Cincinnati, Alexah interned at a community mental health agency in Cincinnati, providing individual psychotherapy and advocacy for LGBTQ+ clients. She also worked as a school-based case manager at an elementary school, collaborating with teachers, therapists, and families to coordinate client care. She understands that compassion toward the self and others is essential to the path of recovery.


Julien Santiago

Case Manager

Case Manager

Julien has a strong passion for personal growth through community, self-reflection, and mindfulness. Growing up, Julien witnessed how effective therapy can create healing and transformation within individuals, families, and entire communities. Combined with a background of mentoring Youth and Young Adults of Color, he became dedicated to creating safe spaces for those looking to rediscover their authentic selves. Julien received his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Applied Psychology from Antioch University of Santa Barbara in 2019. He is currently in the process of completing his Masters in Clinical Psychology. As a part of the Good Heart team, Julien works with clients as a primary therapist, case manager, group facilitator, and intake coordinator. A quote by activist Miriam Rose sums up Julien’s treatment philosophy, “When we heal ourselves, we heal our ancestors from wounds that run deep in our family. When we heal our ancestors, we heal the world from wounds that run deep in humanity”.


Jessica Flores, CATC I

Director of Reimbursement

Operat Staff

Licensed Trauma & Emotion-Focused Therapist

Director of Reimbursement

Jessica has worked in the addiction treatment field for four years. Harnessing her life experience, education, and time in various roles in the field, she is able to advocate for her clients with passion and authenticity. Jessica is currently enrolled at Santa Barbara City College to finish her internship to be a certified drug and alcohol counselor and was recently accepted to Arizona State University’s online program to pursue her bachelor’s degree. She works tirelessly to ensure her clients come first. Jessica is a mother to two young boys and looks forward to integrating more into service in the Santa Barbara community.


Emily Donan

Operations

Operations

Emily graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Psychological and Brain Sciences degree. She is currently involved in The UCSB Cognition and Development Laboratory as a research assistant under the Project Rainbow Study. In this study her attention to detail has allowed her to code qualitative survey responses on aspects of participants’ life experiences as LGBTQIA+ individuals. Her research interests include the different modalities of treatment that are useful in the reduction of symptoms regarding mental health disorders.

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