Staff

Stuart Birnbaum
Founder & CEO
  • Winner of the prestigious Writer’s Guild of America Award and Emmy Nomination

Stuart Birnbaum has been in recovery for 32 years and is founder, CEO and Executive Director of the Lakehouse Recovery Center and Recovery Advocates.

Stuart's career was launched as a comedy writer; penning for Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase, Redd Foxx, Christopher Guest and Tim Conway and is the recipient of the Writers Guild Award and an Emmy nomination.

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Dr. Brian Taylor
Psychiatrist

Practicing for over 28 years, Dr. Taylor is a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice who has provided care to addiction, forensic and geriatric specialty populations in addition to treating patients in general adult psychiatry.

Dr. Taylor is on faculty for the Community Memorial Health System psychiatric residency program.
He graduated from Stanford University School of Medicine in 1991, completed his internship in general surgery at University of California, San Francisco, and then returned to Stanford University Hospital to train in psychiatry where he served as Chief Resident. He is the former VCBH Medical Director for the Ventura County Health Care Agency and Past Chief of Staff at Ventura County Medical Center (VCMC). He previously served as the VCBH Quality Medical Director, Medical Director for both Hillmont House, a mental health rehabilitation center, and the Anka-Ventura Crisis Residential Treatment center, as well as Chief of the VCMC Department of Psychiatry.
Dr. Taylor is a recipient of the 2015 David Fainer, M.D. and Leo Tauber M.D. Behavioral Health Professional of the Year Award and has also been recognized by both Top Doctors Magazine 2019 and by the Consumers' Research Council of America 2015 as one of America's Top Psychiatrists.

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Laura Berman
Program Director, Therapist, Group Facilitator

Laura is the Program Director, Therapist, and Group Facilitator in Lakehouse Recovery’s Intensive Outpatient program.

Laura holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Fordham University, and is also a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor. She has worked in the field of addiction in a number of modalities for over 9 years. Laura expertise lies in working with adolescents, adults, couples, and families.

Laura’s vocational experience includes working as Program Aide for Visions Adolescent Treatment Center mentoring adolescents recovering from addiction, at New York Center for Living as the Intake Coordinator and Individual Therapist, and Hazelden Betty Ford’s New York City Intensive Outpatient. Laura’s training at Hazelden Betty Ford’s New York City Intensive Outpatient facility facilitated experience working with dual-diagnosis adults and young adults, personality disorders, family systems, and trauma-related issues. Laura utilizes several modalities (DBT and Mindfulness, CBT, attachment, MI, and ACT) in order to create a more tailored therapeutic setting for her client’s. Laura works collaboratively with her clients to create a safe environment where client can move towards alleviating symptoms, change in behavioral patterns and negative thinking, transform family-of-origin dynamics, and improving interpersonal relationships. She helps clients develop insight, identify their values, and gain tools to better manage their substance abuse and mental health symptoms.

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Rachel McMurray, LMFT
Clinical Director

Rachel McMurray, MA, LMFT owns her own private practice, is a program and clinical consultant.

She provides clinical trainings on eating disorders and related topics and is the clinical director at Lakehouse Recovery Center. Rachel specializes in treating people with one or more of the following diagnoses: eating disorders, personality disorders, chronic/complex post-traumatic stress disorder, self-injurious behaviors, substance use disorders, and bipolar disorder. Rachel brings a level of expertise to her work as a result of spending the majority of her career working in eating disorder and substance use disorder treatment centers, performing a variety of clinical and programming roles over the past fifteen years. Rachel identifies openly as a person in recovery from anorexia nervosa and self-injury, creating an authentic sense of purpose and connection with her clients and fellow colleagues.

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Billy Stewart
Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor ll

Billy has been working in the field of addiction counseling for 9 years.

He has experience in a variety of specialties including Domestic Violence, Anger Management, Youth Offenders and Residential Treatment. Billy was inspired to pursue the field of Substance Abuse Counseling after spending his early years in the music business as a musician in Hollywood, CA during the 80s and early 90s. Billy shared his thoughts about his reason for taking a different path and states, “After surviving the destructive lifestyle and losing some close friends to overdose and suicide, I began to look at life differently”.
Billy is a husband and father to a son he and his wife fostered as an infant and later adopted 7 years ago. When he isn’t working on home improvement projects, he enjoys playing sports with his son, outdoor grilling and playing his guitars.

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Joseph Sparks, MSW
Program Therapist

Joseph Sparks has worked in the recovery field for 4 years. Joseph struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction for 7 years.

Joseph attempted to attend several treatment centers early in his addiction but it was not until 5 years ago when he was ready to surrender and ask for help that he got the help he needed. Because of his own experience he made a choice to return to school at the University Of Denver to obtain his Masters in Social Work to help individuals and their families recover.

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Nathaniel Hodder-Shipp
Breathwork

Nathaniel Hodder-Shipp, B.Msc, CADC-II, is President and Founder of Breathwork for Recovery and has worked as a professional healer for over a decade.

Using an arsenal of techniques with a special focus on breathwork, Nathaniel has helped thousands of people process trauma, disarm negative thought patterns, and maintain healthy and happy relationships with themselves and loved ones. Nathaniel’s client base ranges from those seeking relief from everyday anxiety to people suffering from severe emotional and physical trauma and desperate for help, and his specialty includes working in addiction treatment facilities to help accelerate clients’ journey to recovery.

Nathaniel was trained to facilitate breathwork professionally and has completed the David Elliott Healer Training series multiple times. He also is the founder of The Recovery Circle, a weekly support group led by trained breathwork professionals to offer an effective alternative to traditional 12-step programs.

To learn more about Nathaniel, please visit http://breathworkforrecovery.com

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Ben Campbell
Group Facilitator

Ben began working in the addiction and recovery field five years ago, hoping to help others find their voice using techniques from drama therapy and playback theater.

He is currently pursuing his Masters in Social Work with a focus on continuing his work with the addiction and prison populations. He is a founding member of LA’s Playback Theater which does performances for at-risk populations.

In addition to working in the recovery field, Ben is an actor with a BFA from NYU Tisch. He's performed on London’s West End and on stages across LA.

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Brookelyn Hall
Case Manager

Brookelyn has worked in the alcohol and drug treatment industry for 10 years.

Throughout the decade she has obtained her Bachelors’ in Psychology as well as several certifications including a CADAC, Seeking Safety and becoming a Peer Support Specialist. Brookelyn is in recovery from substance abuse which gives her the compassion needed to meet her clients where they are at. She is currently working towards a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology where she plans to continue the education course for her Doctorates. If Brookelyn is not in the office you will most likely find her with her rescue dog, Rocket at a camping group or on a hiking trail in Southern California.

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Brian Jacobs
MA Counseling Psychology, Pranayama Breath work Facilitator

Brian has a unique understanding and way of working with people of all ages.

He is a very compassionate, kind and empathetic person and these qualities lie at the core of his work. He combines a blending of traditional Psychology, with his passion Pranayama Breath Work. His work is geared towards assisting people to experience the interwoven connection that exists in, body, mind and spirit. He received his Masters degree in Counseling Psychology from LMU, where he developed his fundamental foundation of studying various perspectives, theories and practices in the field of psychology. He spent several years training at The Maple Center working with children, adolescents, and adults. In addition, Brian spent some time volunteering at The Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA where he worked with kids who had Schizophrenia in a physical therapy milieu. He spent several years volunteering at Vista Del Mar, where he counseled adolescents at the high school. He recently completed his educational requirements for his CADAC at LMU and is now working on obtaining the required hours for licensure. Brian is currently facilitating Breath Work groups in the field of Alcohol and Drug recovery. He is also leading adolescent and young adult groups in mental health facilities, and in meditation centers. Finally, Brian also works in private practice.

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