Healing Tree Rehab » About Our Team

Meet Our Team

Our team at Healing Tree Rehab is passionate about guiding individuals on their transformative journey to continuing soberness and empowering our clients to reclaim their lives and adopt a more hopeful tomorrow.

Dr. Ray Armstrong

Clinical Director

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I attended Washington State University and earned a B.A. in Applied Psychology. After working for several years, I earned my Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Antioch University in Los Angeles, California. After working as a therapist for several years in private practice, I earned my doctorate from Ryokan University in Los Angeles. My Psy. D. is in Clinical Psychology. Throughout my career, I have worked with foster youth and their families, hospital settings, psychiatric facilities, intensive inpatient/outpatient programs, residential rehabilitation facilities, and private practices as a licensed marriage and family therapist. I have experience working with a vastly diverse population and strive to create a collaborative and supportive environment so that issues can be explored openly and honestly. I work with various theoretical orientations depending on the situation, but my preference is narrative therapy, which allows clients to become the “directors” of their own lives and re-write or change previous patterns or “narratives.” Narrative therapy allows clients to reauthor their own stories (scripts) and construct new meanings from the stories that emerge in the therapeutic process. My ultimate goal is to improve the lives of our clients and show them their life potential.

Lernik Sepanosian

Program Director

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My name is Lernik Sepanosian, and I am the Program Director at Healing Tree Rehabilitation Center. I earned my Bachelor’s degree from CSUSM in Psychological Science, and I am currently in the process of becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist with a Master’s degree from Pepperdine University in clinical psychology. I enjoy mushroom hunting, kayaking, and watching my favorite TV shows. Throughout my career, I have worked with various populations, including people suffering from substance use disorders and homelessness. My mission is to ensure that Healing Tree is a safe and sacred place for our clients. We provide holistic and evidence-based care, and we know every client has unique needs.
I am looking forward to being a part of your journey!

Sanjai Thankachen, MD

Medical Director

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Dr Sanjai Thankachen completed his residency in psychiatry in 2008 from Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in New York, where fifty percent of his rotations were at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. After his residency he worked at Ventura County, Medical Centers in an adult out-patient setting and now lives in Orange County, California.

Dr. Thankachen’s mission at Healing Tree Rehab is to provide world-class treatment that sets a high standard with science-based practices to treat mental and behavioral health issues. In addition to substance and alcohol abuse treatment, Dr. Thankachen is highly qualified to provide an array of care for secondary disorders, including depression, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, anxiety, and dementia related problems.

Zarahelma Sipagan, LVN

Onsite Medical Staff

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“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

As a human being, l enjoy developing relationships with people because I believe that there is a lot of healing that can stem from our interactions with each other. I’m a huge fan of science and western medicine. Medications perform a lot of good but healing is a complex process that involves more than symptom control; And that is why I love being a part of a team that is able to promote healing from the inside out, treating the person as a whole.

I’ve been an LVN for 20 years and have experienced different specialties as a nurse but I have recently discovered this branch of nursing that has renewed my interest in the art of healing. Our bodies are constantly trying to maintain a state of homeostasis and when we are distressed our minds and bodies try to reestablish homeostasis through defense mechanisms and coping which are at times, maladaptive. My hope is to assist clients in regaining their balance through appropriate medications and holistic practices.

When I am not at work, I try to be by the ocean as much as possible. Music and meditation are ways that I maintain my own balance. I try to incorporate fun and laughter in my practice and in life, as laughter really does heal the soul. Singing and spending time with loved ones are also ways that I keep myself centered.

Ali kerner


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Ali Kerner is a passionate and dedicated Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. Drawing from her own transformative journey with PCOS, chronic fatigue, and severe acne, and having her life drastically touched by addiction, Ali has discovered the power of nutrition, lifestyle changes, and supplementation in restoring balance and reclaiming vibrant health and helping others heal through these modalities.

PCOS once cast a dark cloud over her life, affecting her physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Her personal journey, combined with her empathy and experience for those with addiction, ignited a profound calling within her to help others. Ali works as a nutritionist for rehabilitation centers, as well as within her own practice, She’s Nutritious.

Graduating from Columbia University, Ali has cultivated a strong knowledge base in nutritional sciences, which she combines with the wisdom of intuitive healing and simple wellness principles. Her approach is rooted in a deep understanding that true healing encompasses more than just the physical body. By addressing the interconnected aspects of mind, body, and spirit, she helps clients unlock profound shifts that promote lasting well-being.

Ali is committed to providing unwavering support, compassionate guidance, and a wealth of knowledge to help you achieve radiant health and the confidence to embrace life.