Sovereign Health E-TherapyTM offers a highly specialized team of qualified and licensed professionals with diverse clinical experience in behavioral health and addictions. The team consists of physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, licensed therapists, a registered dietician, licensed acupuncturists and counselors. Our staff will create your unique program to improve your mental and physical health, helping you get back to life.

Larry Snyder, M.D.

Medical Director, Family Medicine and Addictionologist
Specializing in Dual Diagnosis, Addiction Medicine and Family Medicine and a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in addition to being a Member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine

Dr. Snyder received his M.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has over 30 years of experience in the medical field. He is a clinical faculty member at the UCI Medical Center and a member of the American Academy of Addiction Medicine, the American Academy of Family Practice and the California Medical Association. Dr. Snyder worked for several years as medical consultant to Capistrano by the Sea Hospital in Dana Point, treating eating disorders, chemical dependency and dual diagnosis conditions. He has served as the Medical director of Sovereign Health of California since it its founding. With extensive experience in both addiction and eating disorders, Dr. Snyder has become an invaluable resource to hundreds of patients and their families suffering from addiction, bulimia, anorexia and overeating. He has a special interest in Mindfulness Meditation and its application to all of the above disorders.


Sarah (Sunny) Steinmeyer, Ph.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Director, Eating Disorders Treatment Program

Dr. Sarah Steinmeyer is licensed as a clinical psychologist by the state of California and has a vast experience of more than 30 years, working in a variety of mental health and medical settings. She obtained a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Edinboro State College, Edinboro, PA in 1978 and a Doctorate in General Psychology from United States (Alliant) International University, San Diego, CA in 1986. She was the Clinical Coordinator at Capistrano by the Sea Hospital for many years, where she also facilitated a multi-family treatment program. Dr. Steinmeyer has served as an eating disorder therapist at various medical centers, most recently Mission Hospital of Laguna Beach, California. In addition to her hospital work she maintains a private practice in Laguna Hills, treating both adolescent and adult patients. In 1991, Dr. Steinmeyer was selected Winning Author of the First-Paper Competition, sponsored by the National Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals. She has been a teacher and presenter at various universities and institutes on diverse topics including neuropsychological assessment as well as transgender adaptation and the treatment of dissociative disorders. She frequently makes community presentations on parenting, anger management and relationship issues. Her work at Sovereign Health includes leading the Eating Disorders Program and providing clinical training and supervision for psychology practicum, pre- and post-doctoral fellows.


Diana Cho, Psy.D.

Director, Mental Health Program
Focus on Mental Health

Dr. Cho graduated from Argosy University with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology. She has experience working with a wide range of patients, including those suffering from severe mental illness. She also has clinical experience in chronic inpatient, acute psychiatric and outpatient community treatment settings. Dr. Cho assisted in the launching and the on-going development of a Dialectical Behavior Therapy-based Intensive Outpatient Program for adults with dual diagnosis at Sovereign Health. She also directs both the Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Mental Health programs, as well as Sovereign’s residential treatment program. Dr. Cho uses a wide ranging form of therapy to cater for patient care and is consistently focused on providing the best and most innovative care to the patients of Sovereign Health.

Dr. Donald E. Wallens

Faculty Psychologist
Specializing in Psychiatric Illness

Doctor Donald E. Wallens, is Sovereign Health’s faculty psychiatrist. Dr. Wallens received his M.D. from Cornell University, in New York, and has over 40 years experience in the medical field. Dr. Wallens currently operates a private practice in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, is an attending staff member at a number of major Los Angeles Hospitals and is both an assistant professor and resident supervisor at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai Medical center respectively. He is also a diplomat for the National Board of Medical Examiners and a member of the Southern California Psychiatric Society, American Psychiatric Association and the Los Angeles County Medical Association. Dr. Wallens has a special interest in helping others manage and overcome psychiatric illness, and has made treating mental illness the primary focus of his career.


Dr. Jennifer O’Connor

Faculty Psychologist
Specializing in Child, Adolescent and Family psychology

Dr. Jennifer O’Connor is the faculty psychologist for Sovereign Health. Dr. O’Connor graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in psychology from Georgetown University. She went on to receive both her Master’s and Ph.D. from Alliant University with an emphasis in Child, Adolescent and Family psychology. Dr. O’Connor has been a part of both the Phi Beta Kappa, and Psi-Chi national honor societies and received the Outstanding Doctor of Philosophy award whilst at Alliant. Dr. O’Connor maintains a private practice in San Clemente and held numerous positions in the field before joining Sovereign Health including serving as the Clinical Director for the OCD Residential Program at Remuda Ranch and serving as a predoctoral intern at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. O’Connor also has broad teaching experience in the field of psychology and has numerous publications and presentations in the fields of mental health and eating disorders. Along with her depth of knowledge and experience Dr. O’Connor brings to Sovereign Health a strong passion about caring for those with mental illness.


Dr. Fred Bekhrad

Biofeedback technician
Specializing in Biomedical Rehabilitation Engineering

Dr. Fred Bekhrad is the Biofeedback technician at Sovereign Health. Dr. Bekhrad received his Bachelor’s of Science degree with honors in Biology and Chemistry from St. Louis University and his Master’s in Clinical Rehab Engineering from Washington University, St. Louis. He received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Iowa State University and has certifications in CPR, Biofeedback and Assistive Technology. Dr. Bekhrad is currently both a practitioner and consultant for Biomedical Rehabilitation Engineering in addition to being part of the Sovereign Health Staff. Before joining Sovereign Health, Dr. Bekhrad served as the Director of Rehabilitation Technology Laboratories and Senior Tech Solutions across the country and also acted as a Rehabilitation leader and expert for numerous organizations, including UCLA Medical Centers. Dr. Bekhrad has helped to design numerous innovations in the fields of both mental health and physical care and also has many publications and presentations on the topic of Rehabilitation Engineering.


Dr. Kelly Souza

Associate Clinical Director
Specializing in Eating Disorder Program

Dr. Kelly Souza is the associate clinical director of the eating disorder program at Sovereign Health. Dr. Souza received her Bachelor’s degree in general psychology from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2003. She then went on to complete her Master’s degree and Doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the Southern California Seminary in 2010. Dr. Souza has been working in the mental health field for the past ten years in various settings including residential treatment and foster care for severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents, residential treatment for adolescent males on probation, treatment of chronically mentally ill adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and treatment for adults with eating disorders, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues in partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient settings.


Jennifer McGruder

Licensed Vocational Nurse and Medical Liaison

Jennifer McGruder, is Sovereign Health’s Licensed Vocational Nurse and Medical Liaison. Jennifer received her Vocational Nursing Diploma from Stanbridge College, whilst maintaining a position on the Dean’s List for much of that time. She also is certified in Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) by the American Heart Association and is IV therapy and blood withdrawal certified. Before joining Sovereign’s staff Jennifer was deeply involved in care-giving. As both a student LVN in a variety of positions and as a fully Licensed Vocational Nurse for Alzheimer’s and Dementia clients at ComForcare Senior Services, Jennifer has consistently demonstrated a passionate attitude towards assisting in caring and helping patients.

 

Deborah McCarthy, R.D., C.P.T.

Registered Dietitian

Deborah received her Bachelor's Degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1984. In 1992, she began a post-baccalaureate program in clinical nutrition at Cal Poly Pomona and obtained her registration as a dietitian with honors from Gamma Sigma Delta. Deborah has been a registered dietitian with the American Dietetic Association for 16 years and received a secondary certification with the American Council on Exercise, in 2006, as a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. Deborah's current specialties include eating disorders, vegetarian nutrition, sports nutrition, nutrition for addictions and recovery, weight management, pediatric nutrition and wellness. Deborah uses her years of nutritional expertise to assist and educate patients at Sovereign Health who are suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to disordered eating, depression and addictions. With nutrition education, patients can be given tools to improve their physical health, mood and energy levels.


John D. Tobias

Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor – II

John D. Tobias is the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor - II (CADC - II) for Sovereign Health. He received his Bachelors Degree in Journalism at the University of Wisconsin and continued on to receiving his Masters of Science Counseling at the National Louis University in Chicago, Illinois. John is currently a board member of Recovery Beyond Borders, who provide assistance to developing countries in their alcohol and drug treatment efforts. He is especially well versed in 12-step recovery and has considerable experience as a member of multi-disciplinary therapeutic treatment teams. John has extensive experience within his field and before coming to Sovereign, he accumulated over 20 years of experience in the field of addiction counseling. We are proud to have John Tobias as a member of Sovereign Health’s team, and we know that his experience in counseling will help provide our patients with the necessary tools towards a positive recovery.


Jill Robinson

Marriage and Family Intern

Jill Robinson is a Marriage and Family Intern with Sovereign Health. Jill received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s, in Psychology and Clinical Psychology respectively, from Vanguard University she is specifically certified in dealing with Co-occurring Disorders. Jill has experience working with many of the more well-known mental health service centers in Orange County and Los Angeles County including, College Hospital Costa Mesa and StarView Community Services. She is also a registered member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. At Sovereign Health we benefit greatly by having Jill’s experience and dedication to the field of therapy as part of our clinic.



Captain Larry Smith, CAS, ALPA EAP REP

Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor
Specializing in Holistic Treatment

Larry Smith graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo in 1977 with a major in Business Management and a minor in Psychology. He is currently certified under CAARR - California Alcohol and Addiction Recovery Resources. He is also certified in EEG Neurotherapy. As an Airline Pilot Association Representative, he has over 10 years' experience working with Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In that capacity he guides pilots with addiction problems through a rigorous recovery program and recertification process.

Larry's extraordinary passion for recovery is indicated by his work as an author, lecturer, columnist and radio talk show host. His book, 'Captain Larry Smith's Daily Life Plan Journal' has been endorsed by Dr. Joseph Pursch, MD and TV's Dr. Drew Pinski, MD.

Larry is a retired Air Force Officer and Fighter Pilot. He has accumulated over 20,000 hours of flying time and is currently a 747- 400 pilot for a major international airline. Larry attends the Optimum Health Institute in San Diego CA.

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