Meet Our Orange County Mental Health Care Team



At its foundation, providing those who need mental health help comes down to the people who work together to achieve healing and happiness. We’ve always believed that, and that’s why the way that we provide Orange County mental healthcare starts with those who will be working with the people who come to stay with us. We pride ourselves in building and maintaining a team of the right people who fill and maximize the right roles for their unique talents. The bond that forms between our team members and those who stay with us is often one of the biggest factors in the success that those we help enjoy.

We want anyone who is thinking of coming to stay with us and their loved ones to get to know us better. That will help provide a boost to those who are ready to do what it takes to reclaim their mental health. Meet the professionals at SoCal Empowered™. These team members are here to care for you and help you on your path to recovery. Our experienced and knowledgeable Orange County mental healthcare team is here to support you. 

Nicolette Munoz Clinical Director at Socal Empowered

Dr. Sanjai Thankachen

Medical Director

Dr. Sanjai Thankachen graduated from the Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medicine in 2000. He completed his residency in psychiatry in 2008 from Creedmoor Psychiatric

Center in New York, where fifty percent of his rotations were at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. After his residency, he worked at Ventura County Medical Centers in an adult out-patient setting and now lives in Orange County, California.

 Dr. Thankachen is currently working with Pacific Neuropsychiatric Specialists in an out-patient practice, as well as working at multiple in-patient psychiatric and medical units, bringing his patients the most advanced health care treatment in psychiatry.

Dr. Thankachen sees patients with an array of disorders, including depression, bipolar illness, schizophrenia, anxiety, and dementia-related problems.

 Dr. Thankachen is also involved in professional organizations and societies including the American Psychiatric Association, Indian Medical Association, and the Karnataka Medical Association.

Nicolette Munoz Clinical Director at Socal Empowered

Nicolette Muñoz

Clinical Director

Nicolette is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who completed her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Chapman University and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from California State University Fullerton.

Nicolette’s professional experience includes working in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient setting with clients struggling with mood disorders, anxiety, complex trauma, PTSD, personality disorders, psychosis, and but not limited to substance use disorders. Nicolette truly believes that each individual is unique and she is passionate about assisting clients in navigating their experiences with more balanced perspectives, finding their strengths, and building healthy connections in their lives.

Adin Hatter Director of Operations at Socal Empowered

adin hatter

Director of Operations

Adin has been with SoCal Empowered™ since it was just a concept, after an unexpected loss through the Journey; Adin made it her personal goal to succeed at fulfilling his dreams at SoCal Empowered™. With 9 years of experience working in healthcare and Managing big Dual-diagnosis organizations; Adin holds a strong passion for what she does. As Director of Operations she helps potential clients and families to take the first steps in the process of recovery. Adin holds a degree in applied science with an administrative medical assisting specialty, Adin Hatter uses her experience and the personal approach in ensuring an exceptional client experience from day one through a successful discharge.

Arleen Jimenez

Arleen Jimenez

Operations Supervisor

After graduating Nursing School in 2014, Arleen knew her purpose in life was to help others. After working in geriatrics for 5 years, she decided to shift her focus into addiction/mental health and joined the Care Team in 2019. She has been in the healthcare field for over 10 years and works hard to assure everyone’s needs are met in our program. As an Operations Supervisor she truly works hard to complete our company’s mission which is to change the lives of others.

Sue Kue Charge Nurse at Socal Empowered

Sue Kue

Charge Nurse

Sue is a Licensed Vocational Nurse. She joined the Socal Empowered team in 2019. Her nursing experience has extensively focused on mental health and substance abuse, but she also has experience in skilled nursing, geriatrics, and home health, all of which can come in handy with her current duties.

Sue is passionate about delivering the best possible support and care to all her clients. Sue’s strong sense of duty and dedication to serve the community is what drives her toward medical excellence. Those who spend time at Socal Empowered will soon realize that they have a tireless support resource in Sue.

Kyle Swinderski

Kyle Swiderski

Operations Supervisor

After moving to Orange County in 2019, Kyle decided to focus on work that he was passionate about. He has been in involved in the mental health and dual diagnosis community for over three years. Kyle, who is nearly always accompanied by his goldendoodle named Brook, believes in helping other find their happiness.  Kyle holds a degree in Kinesiology and encourages people to get outside to enjoy nature. He enjoys taking clients on hikes, trips to the beach, and on outings. He strongly believes in encouraging clients to pursue their passions and to find a renewed source of happiness. As an Operations Supervisor for SoCal Empowered, Kyle and Brook are dedicated to providing a safe and supportive environment for clients as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

Matthew Cummins Lead NOC Behavioral Health Technician at Socal Empowered

Matthew Cummins

Lead NOC Behavioral Health Technician

Matthew has been with SoCal Empowered for almost 2 years now. He started off as an entry level NOC shift Behavioral Health Technician (BHT). Matthew has worked his way up and is now Lead NOC Behavioral Health Technician.

He is and passionate about helping others and is just an all-around nice guy! Matthew is currently working on getting his associate degree in healthcare administration, which he hopes to use to further his experience in the field. He is committed to providing the security and safety that clients need to rest easy at night and will always be there to lend an ear if they need someone to talk to in the middle of the night.

Sean Leonard

Sean Leonard

Nurse Practitioner

Sean Leonard received his MSN degree from Walden University. He is board certified in adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner and is completing his post master’s degree in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner at RMU. He is also working on his certification for addiction medicine nurse practitioner. His practice serves San Diego County.

He has experience with geriatric population and addiction medicine. He strives to understand psychiatry for his populations in order to serve those patients suffering from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Sean Leonard traveled the world playing soccer. In his spare time, he enjoys mountain biking. He currently resides in Oceanside, CA with his wife and seven children.

Nicole Lynch Therapist at Socal Empowered

Nicole Lynch


Nicole is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who completed her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Chapman University. Prior to her Master’s, Nicole completed a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Child Development from California State University, Chico. Nicole has experience in community outpatient care, co-occurring adolescent residential treatment, school counseling and applied behavior analysis. Nicole has worked with various diagnoses and difficulties including depression, anxiety, trauma, relationship struggles, life transitions and more.

Nicole has always had a passion for helping others. As a therapist, Nicole strives to help others heal through gaining better understanding of their stories, finding self-compassion and improving coping skills through a nonjudgmental, empathetic and collaborative approach.

Brook Therapy Dog at Socal Empowered


Therapy Dog

Hi, I am Brook, and my humans say I’m a goldendoodle with a heart of gold. I have grown up going to work with my Dad and have loved meeting and spending time with humans that have come through the doors of SoCal Empowered. I have gone through training to learn how to properly behave and support humans when they are experiencing difficult times. I specialize in making humans feel safe and loved.

I also love to spread pawsitivity, chase rocks, cuddle and give kisses. I enjoy accompanying my humans on outings from stores, beaches, bonfires, and hiking trails. If you play with me and show me love, I will make it my mission to leave paw prints on your heart and I will always remember you. I’m so excited to meet you!

Melanie Mitrovich Case-Manager at Socal Empowered

Melanie Mitrovich

Case Manager

Melanie has worked in the mental health field for two years in the roles of Substance Abuse Case Manager and Mental Health Case Manager in both inpatient and outpatient facilities. Melanie began her education studying both psychology and sociology. Prior to working in mental health treatment, Melanie worked as a Case Manager, Community Integration Specialist, and Assistant Residential Facility Administrator for adults with disabilities. Melanie began a master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and took a hiatus to raise her son. She plans to return to complete this program.

Melanie believes all people deserve the opportunity to have a safe and supported environment while they work on their mental health. She is committed to working with clients to explore their true selves, practice self-advocacy skills, and develop life skills to help support their continued mental health journey.

Melina Miranda Case Manager at Socal Empowered

Melina Miranda

Case Manager

After earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2018, Melina always knew her career would be one where she could help and provide guidance to others. Melina focuses on assisting those struggling with mental health illness through interpersonal awareness. She has experience working with both adults and children in inpatient psychiatric facilities.

As a Case Manager for SoCal Empowered, Melina is committed to assessing the needs, coordinating care, and gauging the progress of clients.

George Garland Spiritual Coach at Socal Empowered

George Garland

Spiritual Coach

George’s journey into spirituality began at a very young age, when he discovered the power of meditation. By the time George was 18, he was teaching yoga and offering spiritual guidance to those in need around the globe. George has spent his entire adult life dedicated to helping others, whether he is volunteering at his local animal shelter or traveling to Third World countries to work on service projects.

In 2020 George completed his 500 Hour Yoga, Meditation and Breath Work Certification while living in Bali, Indonesia. Since then George has devoted time and energy into cultivating healing practices for people struggling with a variety of mental health struggles. George has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from University of Colorado Boulder. For fun, George enjoys walks with his dog Koda, practicing yoga, forest bathing, cold immersion and discovering new recipes from around the world. As the Spiritual Coach at SoCal Empowered, George works with clients on ancient breathing and yogic techniques designed to regulate the nervous system, alleviate depression and anxiety and help victims of trauma to reconnect with their bodies.

Levi Deming Chef at Socal Empowered

Levi Deming


Chef Levi Deming is an artist and foodie with a passion for creating exquisite dishes that tantalize the taste buds. With over 10 years of experience in the culinary world, Levi has honed his skills in a variety of cuisines, from Classical French to American Barbecue. Known for his dedication to sourcing high-quality local ingredients and his commitment to culinary artistry, Levi has earned a reputation for crafting unforgettable dining experiences.

When not in the kitchen, he can be found exploring farmers’ markets, seeking culinary inspiration, and sharing his love for food with family, friends, and anyone else that graces his table with their presence.

Levi Deming Chef at Socal Empowered

Connor pearce

Alumni Coordinator

Having come to California in 2019 for a new way of life, Connor discovered purpose in helping others and finding a meaningful line of work. Starting in the substance use disorder field taught him that mental health is one of the most important factors in finding and maintaining a positive way of life. As such, Connor found SoCal Empowered by accident, and quickly understood this was where he was meant to be. In a short time, it was apparent that connecting with clients through personal experience, and truly understanding what people go through, was something that came naturally.

Connor has experience in alumni coordination, event planning and client relations. He is a Registered Drug and Alcohol Technician and a Behavioral Health Technician. Above all, Connor has an understanding of people and the things they go through. Taking pride in his ability to empathize, connect, and maintain that connection is the cornerstone of what he does at SoCal Empowered. As Alumni Coordinator, the long-term maintenance of client connections and extended care are his focus as clients make their way into a new and meaningful life.


Levi Deming Chef at Socal Empowered

Evan Douglass

Alumni Coordinator

After moving to Orange County in 2022 to pursue opportunity and education, Evan found himself struggling to find work he was passionate about. He started out as an entry level behavioral health technician, where he quickly found that helping people on their mental health journey was his passion.

 With over a year of client relations experience and a love for communication, as an Alumni coordinator Evan is dedicated to the continued and long-term support and success of clients as they continue on their journey. 



We Are Committed to your Long Term Success

Wondering if in-patient mental health treatment is the right option for you? Give one of our caring professionals a call today to discuss your treatment options!

Our unique residential mental health locations in Orange County are personalized for each individual we have the honor of working with. Our goal is to equip you or your loved one with the best combination of medication and therapeutic intervention for your unique needs.

At SoCal Empowered™, we focus on meeting each individual where they are. We’re a family run facility comprised of industry-leading mental health and recovery professionals. We base our treatment approach on the most up-to-date research surrounding mental health and wellness.

We provide 24-hour, around the clock support to ensure you not only survive this difficult time but to thrive. Our licensed team of mental health and recovery experts are here for you as you begin on the journey toward personal growth and healing. We take insurance – often, your treatment costs will be 100% covered. Start On Your Path Toward Healing Now!