Mental Health Staff
Sharon Volner, LMFT
Clinical Director Chemical Dependency Programs, Thousand Oaks
“My philosophy is that people, whether they are struggling with mental health or addiction issues, need to know their reality. With a loving, supportive, and caring environment people can get through anything.”
Sharon brings a broad range of experience to her role as the Clinical Director of La Ventana’s Thousand Oaks Chemical Dependency Program. She has over twenty years experience working with at-risk youth, couples, families, and adults in the field of mental health and addiction. She has worked at various rehabilitation centers with youth and adults struggling with issues of addiction and their underlying psychological causes. Sharon has worked as a trainer and operator on a crisis suicide hotline. Sharon has worked directly with the homeless population in assisting them in stabilizing severe and persistent mental health and substance dependence as well as gaining housing and employment. Sharon maintains a private practice in Westlake and is a Clinical Supervisor to registered interns working towards their licensure. Sharon’s approach is multi-modal: she addresses the biological, psychosocial, spiritual, and nutritional aspects of addiction and treatment. Sharon earned her MS in Counseling with Distinction from California State University. She is a member of CAMFT, and a Co-Leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop in efforts to help young girls develop empowerment and leadership.
Karla Barnett, LMFT
Program Director Mental Health Treatment Center, Thousand Oaks
Karla has worked in the treatment center field for many years as a therapist & program director focusing on individuals who suffer from chemical dependency and mental health issues such as BiPolar disorder, Anxiety disorders, and Major depressive disorders.
Her goal is to provide a nurturing, non-judgmental, compassionate environment in which to heal from overwhelming feelings, negative thought patterns, and behaviors that hold clients back from leading the life they are meant to live.
She utilizes EMDR as a therapeutic modality that facilitates the rapid processing & healing of traumatic events from the past that may contribute to PTSD, and negative self beliefs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Based practices are also used to heal long term patterns of anxiety, depression and addiction.
Karla achieved her MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara and is also a Clinical supervisor to registered interns. She believes that an empathetic, collaborative, and trusting relationship is the key to growth and change. Karla has a private practice in Westlake village and keeps busy with her twin 15 year olds.
“People often say, ‘Music is my Therapy’. I believe that we all are musical beings and most of us have naturally been drawn to use music to match and/or shift our moods
through music. My intention and passion as a music therapist at La Ventana is to help clients recognize their own abilities to use music to transform, become their best self, and to fully express and achieve ultimate health.”
John Mews, NMT, MA, MFTI, is the Founder, Director and Neurologic Music Therapist at Mewsic Moves, a private practice that offers support to families of individuals with special
needs. Mewsic Moves in addition, supports clients who struggle with eating disorders, addiction and mental health challenges in various treatment centers throughout the Los Angeles area.
John received his bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Capilano University in Vancouver, BC in 2004. After six years in private practice, John completed his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from University of San Francisco in 2011. Since then he has expanded his practice to provide counseling, support, and education to the whole family. Recently, John has studied his advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and is supporting clients through evidenced-based neurological music therapy practice.
John has since moved his practice to Southern California in 2013, and is grateful to have a skilled team that shares in his passion in working with children and adolescents and
clients in treatment programs with eating disorders, addiction and mental health challenges. John originally started at La Ventana as a marriage and family therapy intern and has since helped build a supportive music therapy program. John loves to educate and advocate the benefits of music therapy and is a member of the Creative arts committee of
the Marriage and Family Therapy Chapter of Los Angeles. John also has presented at numerous workshops and conference throughout Canada and the United States. John’s passion is to educate and share the benefits of music therapy.
Alison brings over 20 years of work in the field of recovery from addiction and co-existing disorders. Currently a Therapist at La Ventana Treatment Programs in Chemical Dependency and Mental Health. Alison has focused her passion for dynamic, multi-modal work with Clients, integrating Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, somatic experiencing, spirituality, psychodrama, and Post-Modern elements to facilitate meaningful growth and healing. Alison holds a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential and has worked with students at elementary, middle and high school settings. In addition, Alison is a Certified Instructor for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP).
She maintains a private practice in Agoura Hills, California, working with Clients struggling with trauma and complex PTSD, mood disorders, learning disabilities, eating disorders into her work with individuals, families and groups. Alison earned her Masters degree in Marital and Family Therapy in 1998 and PPS Credential in 2001. Alison is a Member of the Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda (AEL), the National Honor Society for Graduate Students.
A passionate advocate of early intervention in treatment of addiction and mood disorders, Alison has been involved with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
Mental Health Clinician
Liz joined La Ventana family over three years ago. She started as an intern in the chemical dependency program, and now works as a clinician in La Ventana’s outpatient mental health. Liz has over a decade of experience in the substance use disorder field. Liz’s primary concern is providing a safe place to help clients and their families find hope, healing and transformation. Liz holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is in her fourth year working towards a PhD Clinical Psychology. Liz’s research interests are marginalized populations in substance use disorder treatment and brain imaging as adjunct in measuring treatment outcome. Liz is registered with CCAPP and holds a Certificate in Addiction Studies.
My deep passion for fitness led me to begin practicing yoga over 10 years ago. I quickly learn that there are significantly more important gains from practicing yoga than just the physical ones. My classes are carefully planned as observing students’ bodies and adjusting their poses with the help of props such as pillows, straps, and blocks as needed is part of my teaching routine. I am grateful to share something that I am passionate about with others.
Quote Why I love working at this field/ at LV: Yoga gives people the opportunity to be alive, loved, and free. I am grateful to share something that I am passionate about with other people.