Maria Ortiz-Towner is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor, as well as a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist. She has been in the addiction field doing inpatient and outpatient treatment since 1999. She has worked with adolescents, adults, and families during this time. Maria started out early in her career as an Intensive Supervision Officer for adults in Johnson, Wyandotte, and Sedgwick Counties. While doing this, she realized that the majority of her clients were engaging in criminal activity in order to support their ever-growing alcohol and drug habits.
It was at that point that she decided to work on her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family therapy. Shortly after graduation, she went to work at Hutchinson Maximum Correctional Facility to do therapy with Sexual Offenders. Once again, alcohol and drug addiction played a major role in these offenders acting out behaviors. As a result, she tested out for her licensed clinical addiction counselor license and began to work in the addiction field. Maria went to work originally in an outpatient substance abuse program as the director of adolescent services. From there, she opened up her own private practice where she worked with individuals and families that suffered from both addiction and other mental health issues.
Since moving back to the Kansas City area, Maria has worked at two different adult outpatient substance abuse treatment programs. While in these positions, she has developed the treatment programs both in English and in Spanish. While here at Sunflower Wellness Retreat as the Lead Counselor, she is reviewing and adding to an already excellent treatment program, adding value to each and every session so as to ensure that the clients are receiving the latest and best treatment information and therapy.
Tara N. Haddon
Tara N. Haddon received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Kansas State University. During this time, she specialized and participated in behavioral neuroscience research, examining the effects of amphetamine on c-fos levels in the brain’s reward pathway and locomotor sensitivity, as well as the effects enrichment during childhood and adulthood, has on amphetamine-induced hyperactivity. After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Ms. Haddon continued her education, attaining her Master’s Degree in Social Work at Washburn University.
She is currently licensed with the BSRB as a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Addiction Counselor. She began working in Community Mental Health, specializing in Personality Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, Substance Abuse Disorders, and Crisis Intervention. Ms. Haddon also has extensive experience in the corrections setting working with adult and juvenile sex offenders, as well as independent private practice experience working with an array of clients with various issues. She has worked with adults, adolescents, children, couples, families, and clients with Severe and Persistent Mental Illness. When working with clients, Ms. Haddon takes into consideration each of her client’s specific wants and needs, incorporating a therapeutic approach that best fits the client. She is experienced at utilizing the approaches of: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Reality Therapy, Family-Systems Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy.
Drew Stein, LPC
Drew graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Saint Mary, Leavenworth/Overland Park, KS with an MA in Counseling Psychology. His specializations are Career/Cognitive Assessments and Individual Therapy. Previously, Drew graduated from Emporia State University, Emporia, KS with a BS in Psychology and Minors in Anthropology and Sociology (i.e. Crime and Delinquency Studies).
Drew’s practicum internship was with Non-For-Profit programs, Benilde Hall and Safe Haven, in Kansas City, MO. During his practicum, Drew started using Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) group therapy. It emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment as well as developing coping skills to deal with everyday problems (i.e. relationships, addiction, mental illness, etc.). Drew started as an Intake Specialist at Safe Haven where he was tasked with introducing men to the program, administering assessments, creating treatment goals for every client, and renewing those goals every 30 days.
Paul Mallamo holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University, and a Masters of Science degree in Education with an emphasis in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kansas. His fields of interest and expertise include both addiction recovery and exercise/diet-mediated age management. He is an Army veteran, serving with the First Cavalry, and a MacDowell Colony Fellow in-residence at Peterboro, New Hampshire.
The backbone of any rehab program is the staff members. The hard-working individuals who run that rehab center and keep it flowing and delivering. This is the lifeblood of any successful center, and this is the key to the success of any facility. At Sunflower Wellness Retreat, we believe in this with our entire heart. A rehab center can have the best facility imaginable, in the best location, and with the best amenities; however, if the addiction treatment staff members do not work well together or do not possess the skill or experience necessary, then the overall success, vitality, and accomplishments of the rehab center will dwindle. Furthermore, a rehab center can have in it the best array of treatment programs available, but if the staff is not up to speed and capable of really delivering it, then the rehab center is in for hard times ahead.
Structurally speaking, a drug rehab center is run like almost any other organization. There is more of a family dynamic to Sunflower Wellness Retreat, but ultimately, the concept is very much the same. For example, treatment facilities have an executive and administrative staff that run the day-to-day operations. Meanwhile, professional staff members provide rehabilitation services. Additionally, there is the business side of the staff that manages the overall organization. Of course, there is also the delivery personnel themselves that actually run the services provided at the rehab center. At Sunflower Wellness Retreat in Kansas, the only difference really is that all of our addiction treatment staff, regardless of their position, works together as a cohesive family-based unit, intent on achieving the goal of rehabilitating people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.
The Importance of Experience
For addiction treatment services to work, the staff has to be both stellar and experienced. The staff at any rehab center in America will usually reveal decades of professional experience in the field of addiction. We at Sunflower Wellness Retreat are no different. In fact, some of our staff members are veterans of addiction treatment with multiple decades of experience in the field. Our addiction treatment staff members have all their licenses, training, and certifications. It is important to understand and remember that drug treatment facilities are state-run. Usually, the professionals who work at such facilities are subject to a stringent state credentialing process. In fact, the requirements for inpatient rehab centers are some of the most stringent and advanced out there for residential organizations.
We are proud of our incredibly knowledgeable addiction treatment staff. One that consists of degrees including MD, MD Psychologist, RN, LPN, LAC, LMSW, MBA, MSEd Physiology, and TLAC.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a National Review of State Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs and Certification Standards for Substance Abuse Counselors and Prevention Professionals. It describes licensing requirements from state to state and it is very thorough. The review actually covers the different compliance requirements that all facilities must follow. It also covers the licensing, certifications, and credentialing that staff has to have to be employed at such a facility. At Sunflower Wellness Retreat in Kansas, we are a fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited rehab program and our addiction treatment staff is up to date with their training, their certifications, their licenses, and their credentials.