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Our Eating Disorder Treatment specialties, at our Lakewood, CA a residential center specializes in Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, & Orthorexia Recovery.

Eating Disorder Treatment Team | Lakewood, CA

Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, CDWF

Deandra Christianson, MA, LCPC, NCC, CCMHC, CDWF

National Director of Operations, Residential Eating Disorder Division


Deandra Christianson received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and then continued on to receive her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. While in her Master’s program she earned a Counseling Specialization and focused on treatment of children and adolescents. She is currently completing her PhD in Organizational Leadership at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Deandra has been with Center for Discovery in many capacities, both clinical and administrative, since 2013. She has been afforded many opportunities to speak at conferences and other engagements throughout the country. Deandra has worked with individuals with eating disorders, self-injurious behaviors, mood disorders, and other co-occurring issues in both residential and outpatient treatment settings. Additionally, she has worked with schools in program development and implementation that focuses on student leadership and bullying prevention and intervention. Deandra is passionate about her work, as well as, eating disorder awareness, advocacy, and treatment.

Perla Vilhjalmsdottir, LMFT, CEDS-S

Perla Vilhjalmsdottir, LMFT, CEDS-S

Assistant Director of Operations, ED Residential Treatment, West Coast

Perla completed her undergraduate studies at The University of Iceland where she studied Early Childhood Development and completed two master’s degrees at Washington State University, Los Angeles. While earning her degree in Research Psychology focusing on multi-cultural issues and conflict resolution between adolescents and their parents she received an award by the American Psychological Association for outstanding research. Once completed, her focus became Marriage and Family Therapy as she was already passionate about making a difference in the field of eating disorders.

Perla has over 14 years of experience working with both adolescent and adult populations with eating disorders and co-occurring disorders in inpatient, residential, and day treatment settings. She has been supervising other eating disorder professionals for the past 5 years and now holds a certificate as a CEDS Supervisor.

The quote: “Returning to the Center For Discovery team has been a blessing for me. I feel like I’m amongst family, there is a sense of belonging. It is clear that our team is compassionate and invested in treating eating disorders as well as other mental health issues. Center For Discovery provides a healing place for people and their loved ones recovering from an eating disorder and that is the kind of team I want to invest in and be a part of”.

Juli Agajanian, MA, LMFT, CEDS-S

Juli Agajanian, MA, LMFT, CEDS-S

Regional Director, Los Angeles and Orange County

Juli has spent the last 15 years working with adolescents and their families in a variety of settings, and has been with Center For Discovery since 2007. Her previous experience includes working as a Program Director at one of Center For Discovery’s residential locations, and has worked at the partial hospitalization (PHP) level of care in adolescent mental health. As a Regional Director, she is responsible for overseeing and training the clinical staff in Center For Discovery’s Southern California residential eating disorder division and is a certified Eating Disorders Specialist (CEDS) and Supervisor (CEDSS).

Her passion for clinical excellence and skill as a mentor and teacher has inspired countless members of the Center For Discovery team.

Julia Cassidy, RD, CEDRD-S

Julia Cassidy, RD, CEDRD-S

Director of Dietary Services- Adult ED RTC

Julia Cassidy is the Director of Dietary Services- Adult ED RTC for Center For Discovery where she has worked for over 13 years. Julia is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and a Licensed Body Positive facilitator. Through her passion of nutrition, food, positive body image and eating disorder recovery, Julia has developed the nutrition program used with all clients in the adolescent residential programs at Center For Discovery.

Seeing her clients take the path and make changes in their life from the time of admission to the time they discharge is the greatest reward of her career. Julia’s belief in having a healthy relationship with food through balanced nutrition is the baseline to attaining the tools necessary while on the road to recovery. The core ingredient for success for patients with eating disorders can be summed up in the words of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Sheena Gill, Psy.D.

Sheena Gill, Psy.D.

Program Director

Dr. Sheena Gill completed her undergraduate studies at University of California Irvine before attending graduate school at Loma Linda University, where she received her Master of Arts in Psychology and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Throughout her clinical training, Sheena gained experience working with both adolescents and adults and developed a passion for treating eating disorders. She has worked at multiple levels of care including inpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient prior to joining Lakewood’s residential treatment team. Sheena individualizes her therapeutic approach and strives to provide comprehensive care to her clients by utilizing evidence-based interventions to address the root of their symptoms.

Kelly Melanson, RD

Kelly Melanson, RD

Registered Dietitian

Born and raised in Northern California, Kelly Melanson received her Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics with a minor in Biology at California State University Sacramento and later completed her Dietetic Internship at Stony Brook Medicine in New York. During her Internship, Kelly explored various areas of nutrition and was fortunate to shadow a private practice Dietitian specializing in eating disorders. From there Kelly knew she had found her true passion and calling in the field of eating disorders and mental health.

Following the completion of her internship, Kelly accepted a position as an on-call Dietitian at Center for Discovery in Sacramento and recently transferred to Southern California where she acts as the Registered Dietitian at the Eating Disorder Residential Program in Lakewood as well as the company’s Resilience Mental Health Residential Program in Downey.

Kelly has experience working with both adolescents and adults suffering from various eating disorders. She is passionate about providing personalized nutrition care and counseling to individuals and their families. She enjoys helping people reject the diet mentality and encourages them to adopt an All Foods Fit mentality.

Barbara Lucas, MD

Barbara Lucas, MD

Physician

Dr. Lucas has been a member of the Center For Discovery’s treatment team since 2001. Dr. Lucas serves as a pediatrician specializing in eating disorders and clinical genetics. Following a chief residency at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Dr. Lucas completed a fellowship in clinical genetics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. She completed her undergraduate training at Brigham Young University, her medical school training at the University of Arkansas, and her residency at the University of California at Irvine, Long Beach Memorial and CHOC.

Dr. Priti Saghal

Dr. Priti Saghal

Psychiatrist

Dr. Priti Sahgal earned her Bachelor of Science from Osmania University in the city of Hyderabad, India and her Medicinae Doctor from JJM Medical College’s Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in the city of Davangere, India. Dr. Sahgal completed her Residency and Fellowship at Los Angeles County USC Medical Center, and has been a part of the Center for Discovery family for four years.

Dr. Sahgal specializes in the treatment of trauma, mood disorders, attention-deficit disorders, and eating disorders in both adolescents and adults. She enjoys the challenge of eating disorder treatment due to the complex play of family dynamics, medical complications, and individual needs in each case. Due to this complexity, Dr. Sahgal prefers to treat eating disordered clients through Center for Discovery’s comprehensive treatment team approach in order to meet their needs more effectively than is possible in the pure outpatient setting.

Carmen Retana

Carmen Retana

Facility Manager
Liz (Sung) Liskin, MFTI

Liz (Sung) Liskin, MFTI

Primary Therapist