Dr. Peterson is the President of Evolve Psychiatry, the Director of the Institute for the Developing Mind at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the Vice Chair for Research and Director of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, and a professor at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
He received his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Tulane University and earned his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He trained in General Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, in Child Psychiatry at the Child Study Center of Yale University, and in psychoanalysis at the Western New England Institute of Psychoanalysis. He was a faculty member at the Yale Child Study Center and at Columbia University, where he was the founding Director of MRI Research and the Director of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
His research uses brain imaging technologies to understand the origins of neuropsychiatric disorders and brain basis for therapeutic responses to medication and psychological therapies. He has published more than 320 peer-reviewed publications.
In his personal time, Dr. Peterson enjoys music of any genre, live concerts, martial arts, meditation, classic literature, the Green Bay Packers, and cooking with friends and family.
Dr. Verma is a board certified General and Child & Adolescent psychiatrist. She has extensive clinical experience in the management of wide variety of mental health disorders, including attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), other anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, trauma, autism spectrum disorder, and intellectual disabilities.
She received her early medical training (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MBBS) at Lady Hardinge Medical College at the University of Delhi in Delhi, India. She completed her residency in Psychiatry at Hennepin-Regions Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota and completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Before joining the team at Evolve, she was a practicing psychiatrist for partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs at Rogers Behavioral Health in Wisconsin and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Illinois.
Dr. Verma is an active member of the Intellectual Disability subcommittee of the Autism and Intellectual Committee convened by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychiatric Association. She was recognized with a Faculty/Teaching award for 2018-2019 by the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.
Outside of her clinical work with Evolve and teaching, Dr. Verma studies a form of classical Indian dance, Kathak, through the I-Radha foundation. She also enjoys painting using oils and acrylics on canvas.
Dr. Vallas is a board certified General and Child & Adolescent psychiatrist. She has extensive clinical experience in the management of a wide variety of mental health disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and psychosis. She’s skilled at working with patients who have experienced trauma and supporting families with complex needs.
Dr. Vallas holds a medical degree (with honors) from Meharry Medical College, in Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her residency at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto, California, and a fellowship in Child and Adolescent psychiatry at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University. She’s a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and the Northern California Psychiatric Society.
Dr. Vallas believes in the ideals of service and excellence. Before joining the team at Evolve, she served as the Deputy Medical Director for Alameda County Behavioral Health where she provided psychiatric care to youth and families. In addition to her clinical work, she led county-wide efforts to improve quality of care for children and youth in Alameda communities, and partnered with first responders to initiate an innovative program that provides timely treatment to individuals in psychiatric distress
Outside of her clinical work, Dr. Vallas loves spending time with her children and enjoying nature. She values giving back to her community and serves as a member of a local community service organization where she volunteers to help the vulnerable and underprivileged.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #52729
Alyson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over a decade of clinical experience in a variety of settings, including residential treatment, private practice, and community-based mental health. She is trained in multiple evidenced-based practices including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and mindfulness. She has worked extensively in residential treatment, both in administrative and clinical roles, and has come to specialize in the treatment of adolescents with emotion dysregulation and suicidal behaviors.
Before stepping into the role of Executive Clinical Director for all Evolve Treatment Centers, Alyson was the Clinical Program Director at our Vanalden location. At Evolve Vanalden, Alyson managed all clinical and administrative aspects of the program, supervised the associate therapists on staff, and facilitated several DBT groups. Alyson implemented a residential Comprehensive DBT program at Evolve Vanalden, the first in California and one of only a handful in the country. Alyson is a respected leader in Comprehensive DBT Residential Programming for Adolescents.
As Executive Clinical Director for Evolve, Alyson’s mission is to strengthen and improve every aspect of our clinical standards and practices. This includes enhancing the role of DBT in all Evolve programs by ensuring clinical staff have the appropriate training, resources, experience, and mentorship to implement DBT in a way that helps clients most effectively. Alyson is committed to data-driven, evidence-based treatment, and will work with Evolve’s clinical team to document and publish treatment outcome data for all Evolve programs. She hopes this will give families objective criteria they can use to make informed decisions about treatment and recovery for their family members. In addition, Alyson plans to enhance Evolve’s role as a leading continuing education (CEU) provider for mental health professionals in California, and expand our support groups and educational workshops for families and interested community members.
On a personal level, Alyson is thrilled to step into the role of Executive Clinical Director. She thrives as a clinical leader and mentor for therapists and clinicians in training and is excited to offer her insight and expertise to the entire Evolve community. Professionally, Alyson plans to continue to learn, grow, and expand her clinical knowledge base in additional evidence-based practices, including Prolonged Exposure Therapy and Radically Open DBT.
In her free time, she enjoys yoga, Netflix marathons, savoring good food, and spending quality time with her husband, daughter, and dog. Over the next several years, Alyson plans to spend time with extended family, travel to Italy and Mexico, and spend more time outdoors.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #102609
Kelsey is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a decade of clinical experience in a variety of treatment settings. She trained in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) at Behavioral Tech, the institute founded by the inventor of DBT, Dr. Marsha Linehan. She utilizes both DBT and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with her clients.
She received both a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Counseling – Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University, Northridge. During her graduate studies, Kelsey began working as a psychotherapist with children, adolescents, couples, and families at the Mitchell Family Counseling Clinic in Northridge. She worked in residential treatment for young adults with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders, then became a crisis clinician and case manager at a psychiatric hospital. She supported adults suffering from chronic homelessness, schizophrenia, and other psychotic, mood, and substance use disorders.
Kelsey has been with Evolve for four years. She’s been a Residential Counselor at Evolve Agoura Hills, a Primary Therapist at our DBT-comprehensive residential treatment program at Evolve Vanalden, and a Clinical Program Director at Evolve Aura. Kelsey has been on our clinical leadership team for two years and is currently our Director of Residential Programs. Kelsey works closely with our ten residential treatment programs in Southern and Northern California.
In her free time, Kelsey enjoys practicing yoga, cycling, cooking new recipes, traveling with her husband, and playing with her Australian Shepherd pup, Leo.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker #15393
Ellen has over 30 years of experience providing psychotherapy to adolescents. She’s worked in residential treatment at Van Nuys Psychiatric Hospital, Vista Del Mar, and the Dubnoff Center in North Hollywood. She was a clinician and supervisor at The Westview School, a private non-profit school in Los Angeles serving middle and high school students with learning differences, autism spectrum disorder, and emotional challenges.
Ellen has worked with Evolve since we first opened our doors. She’s now our Director of Outpatient Programs, but she’s also been a primary therapist and a program director. Ellen currently facilitates our parent support groups.
Ellen integrates cognitive therapy (understanding how thoughts affect emotion) with body work. She believes our emotions are connected to our bodies and incorporates this perspective into her work. She has helped hundreds of adolescents, young adults, and their families understand and feel better about themselves. She knows growing up can be tricky, and filled with insecurities, confusions, and pressures. She loves her work and sees her role as a mentor who helps people find their own voices, connect with their individual spirit, and truly find themselves.
Ellen is the mother of two grown children and understands first-hand the rigors and rewards of parenting teenagers. She places compassion and integrity at the core of her practice and honors the unique path of every adolescent with whom she works.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker #62882
Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over a decade of clinical experience working with adolescents. She has worked with teens in a variety of settings including a high school, a community mental health clinic, a summer camp, and a hospital.
Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her master’s degree in Social welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. As Regional Program Director, Lisa oversees Evolves Southern California Residential Programs. She joined Evolve in early 2016 as Clinical Program Director at Evolve Agoura Hills RTC. While at Agoura, Lisa mentored and trained several of our marriage/family therapists and social workers (MFT/MSW associates) who have been promoted into Primary Therapist roles at Evolve. Lisa is excited about developing relationships with local universities and passionate about the training program she leads at Evolve for MSW and MFT graduate students.
Lisa received Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) trainings at the Portland DBT institute and has attended an intensive at Behavioral Tech, the training center founded by the inventor of DBT, Marsha Linehan. Lisa utilizes DBT as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, and Narrative Therapy in her work. Lisa approaches teens with compassion, honesty, and a sense of humor. She sincerely enjoys helping teens become the best possible version of themselves.
Outside of work, Lisa can be found at local farmer’s markets, reading non-fiction, listening to podcasts, watching Wisconsin football, or playing with toy trucks in the sandbox with her husband as her toddler son supervises.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist # 96707
Megan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who’s been with Evolve since 2014. She began as a residential counselor, then quickly became a therapist for our residential clients. Megan transitioned from offering residential to outpatient therapy while supporting families part-time as an admissions counselor. During her work in admissions, she learned that she thoroughly enjoys and excels at the process of finding the best placement for families seeking treatment for their adolescent children: that’s why Megan is now our Director of Admissions.
Megan earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California – Santa Barbara and her master’s degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Cal State – Long Beach. She has also been intensively trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) through Behavioral Tech, the premier training institute, founded by the developer of DBT, Dr. Marsha Linehan.
Before accepting the role of Director of Admissions at Evolve, Megan was our Admissions Clinician, conducting and organizing clinical oversight for every teen entering residential treatment at Evolve. Megan is in the unique position of having worked with teens and their families in our residential centers, our outpatient centers, and in clinical admissions. She uses this knowledge and perspective to educate families about the treatment options available at Evolve, and offers firsthand insight into the Evolve treatment experience. Megan is committed to ensuring our programs are the right fit for every family and teen who seeks support and treatment at Evolve.
Megan likes spending time with her family, her dog Olive, and trying new recipes. In her spare time, she gets outside and enjoys going on neighborhood runs. She recently started taking online Barre workout classes – and loves it!