Susan Ferren

Susan Ferren

MA, LMFT #46725, Clinical Director

Susan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over 18 years of experience as a private practice therapist, certified mediator and clinical and program director. She has Masters Degrees in both Counseling Psychology from Notre Dame de Namur University and Human Resource Management from Pepperdine University.

Susan specializes in providing program development and clinical management for adult and adolescent mental health and addiction treatment programs.

Susan has served on numerous board of directors for professional organizations and for nonprofit agencies that provide services for families affected by poverty, domestic violence, mental illness and addiction. She was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame for her numerous contributions to the community.

Dr. Michael Hwang

Psychiatrist # A121559

Dr. Michael Hwang was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Biology from UC San Diego, and then crossed the country to attend medical school at NYU School of Medicine. While in medical school, he unexpectedly became intrigued by psychiatry, and decided to enter the field. Dr. Hwang then did his psychiatry residency training at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he had the opportunity to experience living in the south of the country. Finally, Dr. Hwang returned to Southern California to do a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UC Irvine, which he completed in 2014.

After completing his training, Dr. Hwang has settled down in Southern California with his wife and 2 young children.

Leilani Carinio

Leilani Carinio

MS, LMFT #97564, Huntington Beach Program Director

Leilani is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has training in EMDR, Seeking Safety, and DBT. She has a B.S. in Human Services and an M.S. in Counseling from CSU Fullerton. Over the past decade, Leilani has worked in with adults and adolescents in community counseling centers, intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, residential treatment and inpatient hospital settings. Leilani has a passion for helping adolescents connect with their personal strengths while empowering them with coping skills to overcome their mental health and addiction challenges.
Michael Herrera

Michael Herrera

MS, LMFT #85914, Lake Forest Program Director

Michael has dedicated his career to working with children, teens, and adults across cultures and socioeconomic status. He has served as a Lead Counselor, Program Administrator and Clinical Supervisor in his previous roles at a local community counseling agency and various county contract programs. While there, he created multiple programs for teens and children and taught parenting classes to Spanish speaking families. Michael has training in Seeking Safety, Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Expressive Arts Therapy. He is passionate about working with teens and helping families. 
Brianna Eckels

Briana Eckels

MSW, ACSW #84587, Lake Forest Primary Therapist

Briana Eckels received her Master’s in Social Work in May of 2018 from the University of Southern California. She is currently an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ACSW) for adolescents at SoCal Adolescent Wellness in Lake Forest. Briana’s passion for working with youth began as a childcare provider. She has worked with youth with autism spectrum disorder and their families as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist from September 2018-to September 2019. Briana is passionate about eradicating the early cycles of problematic behaviors so that they do not continue as our youth grow into adults. She honors providing a safe, supportive, and empathetic environment when providing therapeutic services. Working under the supervision of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) at So Cal Adolescent Wellness, Briana is excited to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in working with youth who have experienced trauma and abuse. For self-care. Briana enjoys reading, spending time with loved ones, and watching a movie while enjoying a pint of Ben &Jerry’s ice cream.

Deanna Tavakoly

DeAnna Tavakoly

MA, AMFT #102746, Huntington Beach Primary Therapist

DeAnna has an MA in Marital and Family Therapy from Alliant International University. She completed her traineeship at Phoenix House, where she gained experience working with dual-diagnosis clients recovering from substance use disorders. DeAnna is currently an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) providing services under the supervision of Leilani Carinio, LMFT. She strives to integrate evidence-based practices, such as DBT and CBT, with a psychodynamic approach. She is honored to have witnessed the strength and resiliency found in the individuals and family members who strive for healthier relationships with others and themselves. DeAnna is thrilled to be a part of the dynamic, committed and highly skilled team here at SoCal Adolescent Wellness.

Jim Brillon

Jim Brillon

MS, LMFT #100807, LPCC #5081, Group Facilitator

Jim is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. He is Group Facilitator at SoCal Adolescent Wellness and has a private practice. Previously, Jim worked with patients a families for several years in a hospital-based chemical dependency recovery program. Jim takes a holistic approach to working with clients, integrating psychodynamic, CBT, DBT and the mind-body connection. He is the creator of a video series entitled, Out & INformed on targeting mental health issues in the LGBTQ Community. Jim’s other passions include Qi Gong, gardening, camping and getting out into nature.


Kyle Perry

Community and Family Liaison

Kyle is originally from North Carolina and his passion for helping people brought him to Orange County in 2015. His past experience includes working as a residential treatment manager for a substance abuse recovery program assisting individuals in learning ways to sustain abstinence and create a purposeful life. His experience has opened up new opportunities for growth and development working with individuals suffering from mental health symptoms.

He is thrilled to be pursuing his passion for helping the adolescent population and their families. When he isn’t helping people, he enjoys living an active lifestyle and trying to get his dog to play fetch.

“The best exercise for your heart is reaching out and helping somebody”
– Tim Russert

Stephanie Hirsch


BA, Huntington Beach Program Assistant

Stephanie is a Southern California native who brings over 15 years of program administration experience to SoCal Adolescent Wellness. She majored in Psychology and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Cal State University, Dominguez Hills. Stephanie has volunteered with and has been employed at several residential treatment centers and community counseling centers. She has a passion for social services and for her French bulldog, Lulu. She also loves music and movies.
Alex Hamilton

Alex Hamilton

BA, Lake Forest Program Assistant

As a young adult, Alex has seen the challenges and stigma that those with mental illnesses face on a daily basis. Alex has benefited by his experience working within in the public specter as well as in private industry. He is passionate about and committed to improving awareness about and acceptance of those who face mental health issues. In his role providing program support to SoCal Adolescent Wellness, Alex is focused on ensuring that adolescents are prepared to deal with the challenges they will face later in life. In Alex’s free time, you would find him taking it easy and playing games while his two cats, Ankles and Bee. He practices self-care by juggling his two felines on his lap as he relaxes.

Jean-Marc Tardieu

(Certified) Music Therapist

Jean-Marc Tardieu is a Music Therapist as well as a singer and writer, born and raised in the twin island republic of Trinidad & Tobago in the southern Caribbean. He is a graduate of the internationally acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA where he majored in Music Therapy, received a minor in Psychology.

Jean-Marc is also the Associate Producer for the award winning and internationally acclaimed performing arts group “The Love Movement” in Trinidad & Tobago. He has written, co produced and sung on their albums. He currently works with Get in Tune Music Therapy and several other companies doing Music Therapy sessions at various Hospitals and Rehabilitation centers throughout Southern California.

Rupa Ward

MA, LMFT #115736, Group Facilitator

Rupa Ward has an MA in Psychology with Marriage and Family emphasis from Chapman University.  She is an EMDR certified therapist who specializes in treating trauma related issues.

She utilizes different therapeutic techniques, including CBT, ACT, EMDR, voice dialog, assertiveness training, Gottman Couples Therapy and strategies derived from mindfulness practice and body-mind integration theories. She has extensive experience in facilitating recovery from grief and loss.

She has taught yoga and meditation in the community for years and offers regular workshops on mindfulness.

Helping you and your teens find wellness.

Please feel free to reach out by filling out the form below or call us directly, (714) – 465 – 2305