Refuge Recovery Centers is the premiere Buddhist informed addiction treatment center in the United States. Founded by Noah Levine, our treatment program utilizes a unique blend of Buddhist philosophy and evidence-based clinical approaches, including attachment theory and EMDR therapy. As clients move through our program they gain clarity and learn to take refuge in transformational practices, supportive community, and their own potential.
The treatment program at Refuge Recovery Centers provides a framework grounded in practical Buddhist ethics and established psychology that incorporates mind, body, spirituality, and family. By addressing the underlying causes around addiction, our therapists can better equip clients with the tools that empower them and promote long-term recovery.
We use the philosophy of the Buddhist path to help clients focus on their direct experience of the present moment, including the thoughts, feelings, sensations, perceptions and emotions that arise.
All of our therapists are trained EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) specialists and use a wide variety of evidence based treatment modalities to assist clients with the reprocessing of traumatic memories.
At Refuge Recovery Centers, we view addiction as an attachment disturbance. It is our understanding that all people need stable relationships with others to maintain balance and regulate emotions.
Get to know the people behind Refuge Recovery
- Noah is the founder of Refuge Recovery, an addiction recovery program based on the teachings of the Buddha. Refuge Recovery has hundreds of peer-led meetings worldwide and a treatment center in Los Angeles. He is also the founder of the “Against The Stream Buddhist Meditation Society” with centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and over 20 affiliated groups in North America and Europe. He teaches meditation groups, gives workshops and leads retreats internationally. Noah is the author of “Dharma Punx”, “Against the Stream”, “Heart of the Revolution” and “Refuge Recovery”.
- Mellissa is an accomplished professional with extensive knowledge of and experience in the mental health industry. She draws from a rich background of specialized expertise in business management, business development, operations, logistics, risk management, professional standards, and quality of life. Mellissa holds a MSc in Psychology and is also certified in various practices of mediation, continuing processes and improvements, professional standards, and ethics.
- Daniel has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2003 and as a Professional Clinical Counselor since 2014. He integrated his love of theatre (undergraduate degree in Drama from New York University) with his passion for psychology (M.A. in Psychology, emphasis in Drama Therapy, California Institute of Integral Studies) in 1997 and has since worked in addiction treatment facilities, psychiatric hospitals, residential treatment facilities, at a VA Hospital, and in group and private practice. Daniel also completed the Advanced Program in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. As a drama therapist, Daniel emphasizes the importance of clients getting into action regarding the healing process. Daniel is a Certified EMDR Therapist and combines elements of EMDR Therapy and Drama Therapy in the groups he facilitates. He has presented on his work at the Expressive Therapy Summit in New York and Los Angeles, at the national conference of the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA), and at the Applied Improvisation Network World Conference. Daniel is an officer in the Southern California Chapter of the NADTA and is on the faculty of the SoCal Drama Therapy Center where he teaches a course on trauma.
- Kaitlin holds experience working for Canada’s national leader in substance abuse treatment (Edgewood Health Network) and 5 years of training from a leading health insurance broker in Canada (ASEQ) she brings with her a wealth of customer service experience and skills. Her background in case management and interventions allows her to connect to individuals who are struggling with substance abuse by using a 'family-centered' approach. Kaitlin is a natural leader with a passion for recovery and a desire to help others. She is extremely involved in the recovery community and has volunteered with various youth initiatives and chaired the Montreal Recovery Day non-profit committee. As a person in long-term recovery she understands the importance of continuous care, personal growth and development.
- Tom left a high profile career in Reality Television to dedicate his life to helping others. As a Certified Addiction Counselor, Tom seeks to utilize his creative talents and passion for the complexities of the human condition to guide clients toward effective, simple and lasting solutions to their substance abuse behavior. Deeply involved in the LGTBQI community, Tom was drawn to Refuge Recovery’s visionary, inclusive and self-empowering alternative to the traditional 12-step model. Tom works with Refuge clients developing treatment plans and acting as liaison with client, families, programs, and outside service providers.
- Monica is an energetic, creative, and well-rounded marketing executive. She received a Bachelors of Arts in Merchandise Marketing and Business Management from the Fashion Insitute of Design and Merchandising. With years of experience ranging from large corporations to boutique agencys, Monica has extensive knowledge in digital marketing, sales, merchandising, events, and public relations. She is passionate about creating positive change in the world and helping anyone she can.
- Tim is a CAADAC certified counselor who has had various roles over the last 6 years of working in addiction treatment. Tim has been with Refuge Recovery since its inception because of the blend of Buddhist practices and principles Refuge uses that have been so critical in Tim’s own life and recovery. Tim has completed facilitator training with Against The Stream and will continue to train with them in the future.
- Michael is a Master’s Degree Graduate from Antioch University’s Clinical Psychology Program, a trained EMDR Therapist, a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern and an empowered Buddhist meditation teacher. With over three decades of practice in contemplative studies, and fifteen years of experience as a meditation facilitator, Michael has comprehensive experience cultivating individualized strategies that efficiently address the mental, emotional and bodily held discontent we gather through life’s adverse experiences. In an accepting and supportive setting he provides a personalized approach to working through challenges, and reaching desired life goals. At Refuge Recovery Centers, Michael provides individual counseling, teaches meditation, and facilitates psychoeducation /skills building groups that focus on cultivating resources in early recovery. Michael treats trauma, depression, anxiety, grief, addiction and relationship problems. Much of his work is informed by trauma integration through EMDR therapy, Attachment theory, neurobiology, and Mindfulness/Buddhist psychology.
- Zack is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with years of experience working with substance abuse and trauma. Zack is deeply interested in the intersection of addiction, attachment theory, and meditation. He believes that meditation coupled with an awareness of attachment strategies and a template for healthy relationships can transform our experience of ourselves and the world we live in. He believes deeply that by addressing our own relational trauma and forming supportive relationships as adults that we can build sober, healthy, and meaningful lives.
- Joseph is a founding member of the Refuge Recovery community program and an Against the Stream meditation teacher trained under Noah Levine. Joseph received his MDiv. in Buddhist Chaplaincy from the University of the West, where he now teaches process methodology and completed his Clinical Pastoral Education at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center. He worked as a professional health care chaplain for a Los Angeles area hospice prior to coming to work at Refuge Recovery Centers. Previously Joseph also worked for a decade with Visions Adolescent Treatment Center as the Director of Education and facilitated their weekly teen mindfulness meditation group. Joseph facilitates meditation and process groups for the Refuge Recovery Centers IOP, provides real-time counseling and patient advocacy for our transitional living residents, training for the Refuge Recovery Centers staff, community orientation to new clients, and provides a key communication link between the clinical and line staffs.
- California native chef and member of the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, Mau blends her experience as a designer, gardener, artist and her Buddhist practice to prepare nourishing and balanced comfort foods to the clients at Refuge Recovery Treatment Centers. Inspired by market produce, Mau creates seasonal dishes in the Refuge Kitchen that boost health and healing while placing emphasis on the human need to build community through the practice of sitting down to break bread together.
“Refuge Recovery shows me the path to the end of the suffering created by addiction and gives me the tools I need to navigate that path on a daily basis. The tools of the program and the teachings of the Buddha allow me to experience ordinary life in a relieving and refreshing way - a way which is totally different from any experience I've had in recovery, or in life, up to this point. In the Refuge program, ancient wisdom and modern knowledge reinforce one another and form techniques to build a solid foundation for living. If you have suffered as a sensitive human being in this world, as I have, then I believe you will find great relief in mindfulness, meditation, and the application of the teachings to your recovery and to your life.”DOM
“When I first started to drink and use drugs it made it easy to connect with other people. In the end of my addiction I was using drugs and alcohol to connect with myself and every else was gone. Meditation and the process of Refuge Recovery taught me how to reconnect with myself so I can connect with others.”SHAM
“My time at Refuge Recovery has been a life changing six months for me. The instructors and house staff have been caring and committed since the day I arrived. I'm confident that the meditation training and practices have provided me with life long tools for self efficacy. Overall, Refuge is a comprehensive recovery approach that has given me both education about my drug abuse, and more importantly, practical tools to deal with it.”TYSON A.