Our award-winning, multidisciplinary treatment team has 89 years of addiction treatment experience and includes some of the region’s top physicians, licensed psychologists, psychotherapists and alcohol and drug counselors. We work together to provide evidence based psycho-educational groups for addictions and co-occurring disorders, holistic wellness education, family education, specialty consultations and medication management, when indication.

Treatment Team



Medical Director

Dr. Kai MacDonald has completed a combined family medicine-psychiatry residency and was board certified in family practice and psychiatry. He is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and is a Diplomat, American Board of Preventive Medicine in the subspecialty of Addiction Medicine. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in addiction treatment, dual diagnosis, psychotherapy, neuropsychiatry and behavioral medicine.

He works with Lasting Recovery to provide community training events, the most recent titled “The Suboxone Controversy And Treatment of Opiate Dependence” and “Why Not Pot?” Dr. MacDonald takes pride in offering patients the most up-to-date, scientifically-grounded medical treatments for addiction, as well as doing a thorough assessment of the common psychiatric conditions (ADHD, PTSD) that travel with addictions.

Join Lasting Recovery’s Judy Saalinger and medical director, Dr. Kai McDonald,  a current  in-depth look at commonly used addictive drugs, including marijuana, opioids, and prescription drugs including benzodiazepines, commonly called ”Zannies.”


Executive Director/Co-Founder

Judy Saalinger is a licensed marriage and family therapist and holds addiction counseling certification through the American Academy of Healthcare Providers. She is a respected advocate for individuals and families and has helped them heal and overcome the effects of addiction for over 30 years. Her book and curriculum, Fearless Change: Embrace the Choice to Reinvent Your Life, is an integral part of Lasting Recovery’s programs. As Executive Director, she personally assesses everyone who is interested in admitting to the program. She oversees the treatment staff and coordinates many of the clinical and administrative functions of the center.



Clinical Director/Co-Founder

Dr. Farkas is a licensed clinical psychologist and substance abuse professional. He served on the faculty of University of California San Diego Medical School and has authored/co-authored over 40 publications on addiction in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Farkas facilitates psychological testing for all of our clients, guides the development of Lasting Recovery’s program curriculum and oversees our continuous quality improvement.


Registered Nurse & Massage Therapist

Jenn is a BSN registered nurse. She has been a member of the Lasting Recovery Team since 2014. She is proud to serve her community with compassionate evidenced based care to help those suffering from addiction and mental health. She believes that anyone, given the right opportunity, can make the change on to the road of recovery. Jennifer Pursley is a registered nurse who brings a wide range of skills to our clients. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing degree from San Diego State University and has many years as a certified holistic practitioner, providing massage therapy to people in the San Diego community. She is dedicated to helping our clients with her deep healing presence and her knowledge of the medical and nursing effects of addiction.

Bonnie Deroo, PhD, AMFT, APCC

Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor

Bonnie is a registered associate marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor. Bonnie holds a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from National University in San Diego and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. 

Bonnie’s interest in becoming a therapist developed during her eight years as a research scientist and professor of Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. In her experiences counseling students through their personal challenges, she discovered a passion for therapy and changed careers to dedicate her life to it. Bonnie joined Lasting Recovery in 2019, where she enjoys facilitating groups for both recovery and the CBT mental health program.

Paige Ryan, MPH, SUDCC

Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor

Paige loves helping people and relies on her own experience with substance abuse treatment and the maintenance of long term sobriety to support others as they begin their own recovery journey. Paige believes that recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction is achievable by learning new habits, having proper supports in place and surrounding ourselves with those who have similar goals. A favorite saying of Paige’s was written by Will Durant and based on Aristotle’s philosophies: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, (Recovery) then, is not an act, but a habit”.

Paige holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Walden University after receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Southern California. Paige is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor through San Diego City College and has been involved in counseling for more than a decade, first at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Bridge to Recovery Program at the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital and then at the UCSD Gifford Psychiatric Clinic. Paige joined the team at Lasting Recovery in 2017 bringing with her a commitment to client care as Admissions Counselor, Case Manager and Utilization Review Coordinator, handling the insurance authorization aspect of treatment.

Susan Martin, MA, SUDCC

Substance Use Disorder Group Counselor

Susie has been helping people learn, grow, and change throughout her professional life, first as a literature and composition teacher and now as substance abuse counselor. Susie holds a BA in English and Psychology from San Diego State University; an MA in English with Distinction from CSU, Chico; a Single Subject Teaching Credential in English from National University, and a Certificate in Alcohol and other Drug Studies from Palomar College. She is a Certified Substance Use Disorder Counselor (SUDCC) through the State of California.  Susie has worked with groups and individuals in inpatient, detox, and now outpatient settings and is passionate about group process. Susie is fascinated by the dynamic interactions in groups which bring about positive change in people’s love. Susie joined the Lasting Recovery team in 2020 as the Substance Use Disorder Group Counselor.

Poetry Therapy

Jim the Poet, MA, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Poetry

Jim Hornsby, M.A. has worked in the chemical dependency field since 1981 and has been licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist (License # 17377) in good standing since 1982. After a year as the Outpatient Coordinator for the Villa View Hospital’s ALERT Unit in the mid 1980’s he left Villa View and started a private practice in Chemical Dependency specializing in addiction recovery and men’s groups. That practice lasted for 12 years until he was hired by Indian Health Council, Inc (I.H.C.) where he served as a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Advocate in 1999 helping women survivors of trauma. It is there he began using poetry as a healing tool for trauma and PTSD. After 3 years at IHC he became a believer in the power of poetry in transforming pain and received a substitute teaching credential. The All Tribes American Indian Charter School employed him as the Language Arts Teacher from 2002 to 2004. Hornsby moved back to San Diego from Pala Reservation to help with family issues. He has taught poetry to gang youth in San Diego Juvenile Hall since August of 2005. 

     Mr. Hornsby has been a guest poetry teacher at Garden of Angels, St. Elmo’s Village in Los Angeles, the Heman B. Stark Branch of the California Youth Authority, Los Coyotes Reservation, Chula Vista High School, Crawford High School, The Grauer School in Encinitas, The Vista Buddhist Temple, Southwestern College, the Magee Park Poets in Carlsbad, California, the Point Loma Arts Academy, Explorer Charter School, the CalSAC Statewide Conference, Bell Middle School, and the Association of Raza Educators. He was the Coordinator for the Langston Hughes Poetry Circle for 10 years.

Jim has been published under two pseudonyms in City Works, The Langston Hughes Poetry Anthology, The Magee Park Poets Anthology, the poetry conspiracy, Tidepools, The San Diego Poetry Annual, and others.  He has served as a Regional Editor of the Annual for several years. 

Jim is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Poetic Medicine in Palo Alto, noting “I’ve been heavily influenced by the Institute’s founder, John Fox. I’ve been attending his workshops since 1995.”

If you have been in one of his poetry groups and would like to donate your poem to the Lasting Recovery Poetry Annual send your poem with your first name and last initial to


Addy Talavera

Billing Specialist

Addy Talavera has had a very successful career in the Medical Billing field. She started with her training at Pima Medical Institute in 1999. Upon graduation she was hired by Women’s Health Care Center where she worked as a Medical Billing Specialist/Data Entry Analyst. Addy has 20 years’ experience in the medical field. She currently works as our Billing Specialist. Her duties include a wide range, from registering patients, charge entry, data base set-up to client meetings. Addy also works with collections, claim reviews, and claim appeals. Addy has provided great customer service since 2014, along with contributing to building a great team here at Lasting Recovery.

Occupational Therapy

Dr. Susan MacDermott

Occupational Therapy

Dr. Susan MacDermott is a practicing occupational therapist and educator. Occupational therapy (OT) is focused on supporting individuals to engage in activities that are meaningful to them and looks at the impact of activities on one’s health through a holistic lens.  OT sessions at Lasting Recovery are centered on reviewing and creating daily routines and discussing current and desired engagement in valued activities including self-care, leisure, work, and social participation.  

In addition to her role at Lasting Recovery, Susan is faculty at the Occupational Therapy program at the University of St. Augustine in San Marcos, CA.  She has also participated as a member of an interdisciplinary pain team with the USC University Hospital and developed programming focused on management of chronic pain through pacing, ergonomic consultations, modification of everyday activities, and creation of individualized plans for lifestyle balance.  Her clinical doctorate was focused on creating a lifestyle program for the management of chronic headaches.  

Susan also has a range of mental health experiences including working with women who have experienced domestic violence and providing OT in mental health settings in Ireland.  She is passionate about exploring how the daily activities we do contribute to a sense of doing, being, becoming, and belonging

Dr. Karen McCarthy, OTD, OTR/L

Occupational Therapy

Dr. Karen McCarthy is a practicing occupational therapist, educator and occupational scientist. Occupational therapy (OT) is focused on supporting individuals to engage in their occupations (meaningful activities) and evaluates the impact of activities on one’s health through a holistic lens.  OT sessions at Lasting Recovery are centered on reviewing and creating daily routines and discussing current and desired engagement in valued activities including self-care, leisure, work, exercise, spirituality, sexuality and social participation.  

In addition to her role at Lasting Recovery, Karen is faculty at the Occupational Therapy program at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael, CA. Karen’s occupational therapy experience includes providing wellness, health promotion and mental health services for older adults, college students, persons who experience addiction and domestic violence survivors. 

Karen’s guiding philosophy is that recovery is not just about what we don’t do, but what we do. When we design holistic routines and build a toolkit of meaningful occupations (activities) that are linked to our values, identity, and meaning, we can redesign our life to not only recover but discover our potential.