Courtney Samari Rayne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Division President for Aspire Behavioral Health. She has provided psychotherapy services and consultation since 2007in various capacities working with children, adolescents, adults and families. In addition, she has developed and directed behavioral health, medical, and substance abuse programs for several organizations in Kern County.She has a passion for involving creative expression using art, yoga, and other mediums into the therapeutic process. She also has specialized training in the field of somatic psychotherapy which is a holistic therapeutic approach, incorporating a person’s mind, body, spirit, and emotions into the healing process. Courtney’s other treatment modalities include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. All of which are evidence-based treatment approaches that seek to increase an individual’s ability to increase self-awareness of the mind and body, identify and challenge distortions in thought, improve coping skills and problem solving capabilities, strengthen internal resources, and re-gain a sense of overall well being.
Yessica Avancena, MBA, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in children, adults and blended family structures. She is also the current Division CEO of Aspire Behavioral. Her work experience includes both private clinical practice and County Mental Health/Hospital roles where she was in leadership and management. She is a psychotherapist that is UCLA-trained in Mindfulness Application Practices which have been shown to be effective to treat ADHD, Anxiety and Mood Disorders as well as overall stress reduction. She has received additional training in the areas of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which utilizes awareness and mindfulness concepts along with progressive relaxation and guided meditation techniques for symptom reduction. Trained in alternative healing methods such as guided meditation, essential oils, and Reiki healing energy, she uses an empathetic and client-centered approach to change which meets the individual where they are for a holistic approach to healing. She is bilingual in Spanish and bi-cultural with extensive knowledge of Hispanic culture.
Gerard Iru Fernando, MD, is a board certified psychiatrist and the Division Medical Director for Aspire Behavioral Health. After completing medical school, he finished his residency at Harvard South Shore and his addiction psychiatry fellowship at Boston University. He has experience in political advocacy regarding harm reduction practices and quality improvement projects involving substance use disorders, in particular opioid use disorder. In addition to his work with Aspire Behavioral Health, he is also a provider with Truxtun Psychiatric Medical Group and Psychiatric Wellness Center where he serves as the Medical Director of Addiction Services, as well he provides in-patient psychiatric services at Bakersfield Behavioral Health Hospital.
Barby Rodriguez, B.A., M.S., is a recently graduated Marriage and Family Therapist, trainee. Barby earned her second baccalaureate in psychology with a minor in child, adolescent, and family studies, followed by a master’s in counseling psychology from California State University, Bakersfield. Barby has provided services to children and adolescents as an Intervention Specialist focusing on the utilization of evidenced-based practices. In addition, she has also worked with minors, adults, couples, and families at CSUB’s University Counselor Training Clinic.
Elizabeth Wise is an Associate Clinical Social Worker, obtaining her LCSW licensure hours at Aspire Behavioral Health. Elizabeth graduated from USC with a Masters in Clinical Social Work and continues school at Cal Southern pursuing her PsyD (2020). Elizabeth completed her practicum at Sovereign Health, treating dual diagnosis and trauma patients with evidence-based practices, CBT, DBT, PPT, and Seeking Safety, in Los Angeles before moving to the Bakersfield area. She then worked at Clinica Sierra Vista heading up the Frazier Park facility serving clients and families ranging from 7 to 70 years old with severe mental illness often in crisis. There, she also began her intensive work with children who have special needs, often attending IEP meetings to advocate for her clients. She is especially interested in trauma-based research of family systems and is currently completing a book and her dissertation on the effects of emotional abuse on children. Elizabeth combined her love of music, painting, and philanthropy when starting a non-profit called Dancing Souls after 9/11. Dancing Souls continues to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness, Fire Fighters of Los Angeles, and The American Red Cross.
Rufus Roark is a native of Santa Barbara County who moved to Bakersfield to pursue a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Cal State University Bakersfield. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in English Literature, Rufus returned to school in order to follow his true passions of psychology and helping people. He is an LGBT+ affirmative clinician, who has experience working with children, teens, and adults. Rufus uses an integrative client-centered and psychodynamic approach with clients and incorporates trauma-informed, mindfulness-based, and DBT-informed practices. In his free time, Rufus enjoys reading, hiking, and cuddles with his bearded dragon.