"The key to life is wanting for others what you want for yourself and helping them achieve it.” -Desmond Tutu
This is a philosophy our founder Stefan Kocev has made a cornerstone of his life.
A California native Stefan is a devoted husband, father, outdoor photographer , and martial arts teacher holding a rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu.
Stefan has been helping families struggling with addiction and mental illness since 2003. Recognized for his leadership skills, and for incorporating his passions of environmentalism, meditation, and activism into his practice.
He attended Western State in Colorado, where he focused on outdoor education and worked as a professional white water raft and wilderness guide. He integrates his extensive experience and strong belief in the therapeutic and mindful grounding effects of nature through Bodhi Casa’s many extensive outdoor trips.
Stefan is also very active in charity and humanitarian innitiatives, working to support a range of non profits including Every Mother Counts, Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, The Baryshnikov Arts Foundation, Life Rolls On, Heal The Bay, Home Boy Industries, The Rockson Gracie Foundation among others...
With a focus on providing a culture of fulfillment for the residents and families of the Bodhi Casa community, he places his values in-line with the 12-step program—always striving to be in service to everyone he comes in contact with, creating and cultivating a platform for others to find passion for life and the healing experience of helping one another.
Jack Foley earned his Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University Los Angeles and is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist. Jack’s purpose is to assist in leading young adults and the families that love them toward healing and whole health in the face of crisis. Jack is alumni of Bodhi Casa and has been a part of the Bodhi Casa family since 2010. Jack is eager to continue learning and is currently training at the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute and in Gestalt Therapy under Dr. Allen Berger. Jack is passionate about: yoga, ultra-light backpacking, exercise, nutrition and fishing. On the weekends you can find him walking the strand with his girlfriend Katie and french bulldog named Legend. Jack lives by the motto that everything in his life today is a direct result of accepting help and then helping others. His firsthand experience as a resident at Bodhi Casa and in-depth knowledge of recovery make him a valuable asset to his clients in early recovery.
Aaron Vandersip is a Bodhi Casa alumnus since 2017. Aaron has a strong love for surfing and frequently takes residents on outings to enjoy our local beach community and share his connection to the ocean. Aaron is currently enrolled in an undergraduate program to obtain his degree. Aaron is a great mentor in the recovery community and is a strong resource for the residents.
Chris Georgalos joined the Bodhi Casa community in 2020. Chris has found a passion for helping others at Bodhi Casa stay sober and find their passions in life. Chris enjoys fishing and riding mountain bikes and shares these activities with the residents. Chris has obtained his bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a graduate degree in clinical psychology.
Ryan Carpenter is Bodhi Casa alumnus of 2015. Ryan is a strong resource for all of the residents and has a solid mentorship role in the recovery community. Ryan spear heads the outdoor, experiential activities and works as a surf instructor. Ryan has found a great balance between recovery and engaging in growth based, physical activities.
Lisa Sutton holds a Masters in Physical Sciences and has been working in therapeutic programs with teens and young adults since 1979. With her wealth of experience and her energetic affinity for connecting people she is truly an asset to the Bodhi Casa recovery community.
Food By Emily was started to share my love for foods. Everything is handmade with love, attention to detail and with a desire to create a mesmerizing experience for my customers.
Having my own boutique catering company, specializing in organic foods and chocolates, is a dream come true. It all began in the woods of Sweden, where I started my first bakery-ordering firm at the age of 11. Since then, I have had a corporate career in training and education but have always had a passion for anything related to food and have kept exploring the culinary arts.
My philosophy is to let ingredients shine for their true beauty and play with flavor combinations to highlight each one. My style of cooking is seasonal, mindful, intentional and preferably organic. Sustainable. Everything is made from scratch. I source out the best tasting and highest quality ingredients, venture out to the local farmers markets to find what is in season and buy the best produce locally. Then the fun begins! I play in the kitchen to create delicious and authentic experiences for you.
There are no limits in my kitchen. Truly. This is my handcraft and I want to share it with you.
My favorite Friday nights are spent at Bodhi Casa providing teaching classes that focus on basic to advanced cooking skills, nutrition and providing a safe environment that fosters teamwork, collaboration and fun.
With Love & Gratitude,
Erik Soderbergh is a black belt under the tutelage of the legendary Rickson Gracie, and son Kron Gracie. Erik is the owner and head instructor of Gracie Originals Jiu Jitsu Academy in Santa Monica California where many Bodhi Casa residents come to learn the “Gentle Art”.
Jess comes to Launch Centers with over a decade of experience in mental health and addiction treatment with both adolescents and adults. As the former Acting Director of the Addictive Behaviors Clinic at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center, she developed expertise in the field of evidenced-based addiction treatment. During her tenure at the VA medical center, Jess trained colleagues on therapeutic practices and provided treatment to hundreds of at-risk veterans.
After the VA, Jess served as the Clinical Director of an adolescent dual diagnosis treatment center and an adult addiction treatment center where she led the development of the organization’s clinical programming and supervised a growing interdisciplinary team. Jess also has extensive experience in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and trauma that she gained in previous roles with medical facilities, community-based outpatient programs, and residential treatment centers.
Jess’ therapeutic approach is holistic and strength-based in nature. She is passionate about helping her clients identify their personal values, strengthen their resiliency, and find their unique identity and voice in order to guide them toward acceptance and change in their lives.
Jess Beck, LCSW
Dr. Chaghouri is a graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned his B. A. in Biology with Summa Cum Laude honors. He earned his medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California where he also served as Chief Resident in psychiatric emergency services and as Resident Clinical Instructor and Volunteer Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry. After residency, Dr. Chaghouri completed a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the USC Institute of Psychiatry and Law. Dr. Chaghouri’s clinical work focuses on the treatment of co-occurring psychiatric and addictive disorders. He also has extensive experience consulting and providing expert opinion in trial and for the film and television industry.
Eric Chaghouri, MD
Bio coming soon!
Kami Dexter, Ed. D
Meg received her B.A. in Education/Child Development from Pepperdine University and her Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy from University of Southern California. She initially worked as a therapist at a community-based counseling center where she first realized the power of approaching therapy from a person centered, family systems-based approach. Meg then moved into working with adults experiencing long-term major mental illnesses and homelessness. After seeing how much of their struggle stemmed from their adolescence and young adulthoods, Meg felt called to return to work with people in those pivotal years. She comes to therapy with a person-centered approach and understands the need to meet clients where they are at in order to connect fully and work towards healing. Meg utilizes Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness, and Narrative Therapy to assist clients in understanding and accepting their stories and emotions to move forward.
Meg Reel, LMFT
Chloe first became involved in social justice at age 15 in which she volunteered at a camp for children and families affected by HIV/AIDs. She then created a fundraiser at her high school benefiting the organization that is still in effect today. Chloe received her B.A. in Liberal Studies with a minor in Sociology from Sonoma State University and her Masters in Social Work from University of Southern California in which she was selected to participate in the Department of Mental Health’s Trauma Focused cohort. Concurrent with her Social Work degree, Chloe received her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Hebrew Union College in which she focused on Disruptive Innovation in the Nonprofit Mental Health world. Chloe initially worked in various community mental health spaces focusing on court mandated clients and partnering with various law enforcement offices to bring trauma informed services to LA’s most vulnerable populations. Through this work with both adults and youth suffering from Serious and Persistent mental health disorders as well as intergenerational substance use, Chloe was able to bring her experience studying epigenetic trauma to the frontlines of LA. Chloe then decided to move to the private sector and bring her skills to those experiencing transgenerational trauma to support the community she grew up in. Chloe’s passion and commitment to helping adolescents and young adults struggling to fully individuate stems from her work spearheading family programming within the LA Jewish Community for over 8 years. Chloe’s approach to helping young individuals unpack how their early trauma has led to maladaptive coping skills is based in Psychodynamic theory, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and a Family Systems approach.
Chloe Kruskol, LCSW
Ciara Blackwell received her BA in psychology from California State University Channel Island and her M.A. in Clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from Pepperdine University. She brings a diversity of clinical experience to Launch Centers, including recent work with formerly incarcerated men and women in a diversion program, providing individual, group therapy, and case management to clients. Ciara’s approach to therapy is person-centered and pulls from attachment theory, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and concepts from postmodern therapy, among others. In her work as a therapist Ciara invites clients to consider how race, class dynamics, culture, and media impact mental health. She is adept at treating the impacts of trauma and creates space where clients can explore their inner selves and maximize their full potential.
Ciara Blackwell, AMFT
Alexandria Wolfe-Grady or “Ali” received her Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University of Santa Barbara. She also holds a Bachelors of Liberal Arts with Emphasis in Psychology and Child Development from Antioch University Santa Barbara. Her experience before Launch revolved around working with children, youth, young adults, and their families. She has worked with individuals, families, and groups in a community mental health, school setting, residential treatment centers, and is in private practice focusing on individuals who are struggling with depression, anxiety, interpersonal/intrapersonal relationships and dual diagnosis. She has also worked with clients who have been impacted by trauma and abuse.
Ali’s approach is eclectic and pulls from multiple approaches including, Attachment Theory, Cognitive Behavioral Theory, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Person Centered Therapy. She strives to create a space that is caring, empathetic, and nonjudgmental where people feel respected and free to be themselves. Ali believes that each person is a unique individual and that by fostering their natural resiliency and strengths they will be able to learn life long skills and have a fulfilling future.
Ali Wolfe-Grady, LMFT
Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Channel Islands before earning her Master’s in Science in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. Stephanie began her counseling career in outpatient services helping those recently released from prison. During this time, she also worked extensively with the Department of Children and Family Services to help bring families back together.
Stephanie then worked as a counselor and coordinator at a residential facility in Malibu, supporting clients’ sobriety and setting up their aftercare. Her specialties include motivational interviewing, action-focused solutions, and relapse prevention.