Michelle Hirschman, LCSW
Founder and Coach
Michelle is a clinical professional with a deep understanding of adult mental health and addiction challenges. Her work has ranged from clinical work at treatment centers in California, to the town of Ho in Ghana, West Africa, where Michelle provided case management services at a psychiatric unit with addicts and alcoholics and pioneered an AA meeting for the town. “I was able to educate the staff about the disease of addiction/alcoholism and provide them with AA literature that they had never seen before.”
Michelle’s journey to become a therapist began with a counseling internship as an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she practiced hospice work, psychiatric social work, and counseling at a transitional living home serving clients with co-occurring disorders. Michelle pursued her Master’s of Social Work at Washington University in May ’99 and obtained her MSW.
With her graduate degree, Michelle began her professional journey on Capitol Hill supporting various Senators and non-profits on legislation and lobbying efforts that revolved around women’s issues. From there, she served the homeless population in Washington, D.C., working primarily with the chronically mentally ill as well as those suffering from alcoholism and addiction. She eventually returned to California where she worked at a Suicide Prevention Center and also started her own nutritional consulting business, educating athletes and newly sober folks on nutrition and supplements. Michelle has worked with clients at all levels of care: outpatient, extended and residential treatment programs.
Michelle created the concept of “My Sober Coach” which is now part of the services Hirschman Clinical provides. This coaching concept was designed to bridge the gap between treatment and independent living, with the focus being on continued life skills development. The coach’s role is to empower, inspire and resource each client and help them find passion and purpose in their lives.
“Recovery from mental health and addiction issues can be an excruciatingly painful process without the right supports. Having a professional coach, helping with daily and sometimes hourly challenges, is crucial in not only preventing crisis/relapse, but supporting a more peaceful and happy existence in each person’s life.”
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Chris is completing his MBA through Pepperdine University. Chris entered the mental health and addiction fields in 2012 with a diverse background in business, marketing, event planning and coordinating.
Chris’ desire to be a part of the mental health community began with a passion for helping people and giving back to his community. In 2012, Chris co-founded Smash Life, LLC, a philanthropic, action sports-based lifestyle company that promotes a positive attitude, community outreach, and helping others reach their full potential. Chris brings to the table a can-do attitude and the belief that we can always “do better.”
Chris helps to provide his clients with the skills needed to live a full and productive life while guiding them to make positive life choices. Goal setting, creating action plans, accountability, scheduling and sharing his experience, strength and hope are all things in which Chris takes great pride.
Before entering the mental health field, Chris was a touring musician and responsible for coordinating and planning over 400 events up and down the West Coast. Through his work as a tour coordinator, event planner, his role at Smash Life, and a desire to help others, Chris has a unique background that combines his passion and strength for bringing people together through the coordination of special events.
Gillian Bieler, LCSW
Coach & psychotherapist and CLINICAL Director
Gillian Bieler is a mental health practitioner passionate about working with adults struggling with chemical dependence and dual diagnosis. She received her bachelor’s degree in family and child studies from Northern Illinois University and her master’s degree in social work with an emphasis on mental health from the University of Southern California. She is also a Certified Family Life Educator through the National Council on Family relations.
Gillian’s interest in the mental health field began in an undergraduate internship at The Josselyn Center for Mental Health in Northfield, Illinois. There she provided case management and life skills classes to adults with severe mental illness. She really found her passion for working with dually diagnosed adults during her capstone master’s internship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute where she worked as part of a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, and spiritual care professionals. She has also worked in hospice care, charter schools, transitional living programs, day treatment programs and inpatient hospitals.
Currently, Gillian is working as a sober coach and psychotherapist in private practice with Michelle Hirschman, LCSW.
Kimberly Low, MFT
COACH & PSYCHOTHERAPIST
Kimberly Low is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist with experience in the addiction and mental health field since 1998. She received her Masters in Clinical Psychology from New College of California school of Psychology in San Francisco.
Kim began her career working with people struggling with HIV, mental illness and addiction using the holistic approach in residential treatment while attending graduate school. During her internship she worked with the SAGE Project (Standing against global exploitation) where she worked as a sexual trauma counselor providing education and collaboration with the district attorneys office. She has been a therapist for adolescents and adults in residential and outpatient settings and is certified in DBT (Dialectical behavioral therapy) and trauma focused CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).
After receiving her license she worked with adolescents and transitional aged youth 18-24 in the criminal justice system and was the lead youth and family therapist and clinical supervisor for the Juvenile justice team in San Francisco where she also worked with the Juvenile Collaborative Reentry Unit which is unique and the only program of it’s kind in the nation, serving all youth who have been committed to out-of-home placement as part of a juvenile justice court disposition in San Francisco County.
A Los Angeles native, Kim has been back in Los Angeles since 2014 and worked as a program manager for homeless youth with mental health issues where she managed staff and provided clinical supervision to interns while running an outpatient clinic.
A life long learner, Kim is currently pursuing a doctorate in child development and clinical psychology from the Reiss Davis Graduate center.
Her belief that with support and guidance anything is possible, and her passion for helping individuals and their families create the change that they want to see in their lives, will have a positive impact on every client she works with.
Seth Menachem, MFTI
Seth Menachem has a B.A. in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Seth’s goals as a therapist are to help you understand your history, recognize patterns in your life, resolve your inner conflicts, and find your truth.
Seth spent 20 years working in entertainment and works with clients in all aspects of the industry, helping them deal with the uncertainty of the business, creative blocks, and the unique challenges of working in the entertainment field.
Seth also specializes in addiction, having begun his traineeship at Beit T’Shuvah, an inpatient addiction facility—some of whom are formerly incarcerated residents on alternative sentencing—who are dealing with an array of addictions. Seth continues to split his time between working with clients at Beit T’Shuvah, and in private practice at Hirschman Clinical Services.
Seth has a great deal of experience working with those who have terminal illnesses, and believes very strongly in working through the complicated feelings in both individual and family therapy, as illnesses affect everyone, not only the person who is ill.
Seth is Certified and Trained to work with gamblers through CalGETS (The California Gambling Education and Treatment Services).
Seth is also a writer and has been featured on various radio and news stations such as HLN/CNN, and HuffPost Live, where he discussed gender norms after writing a viral essay about his son who at the time was wearing dresses: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/my-son-wears-dresses-and-thats-ok-with-me_b_5578709.html
His latest essay deals with how he spoke with his own children about death and dying: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-will-be-here-for-as-long-as-you-need-me_us_59a4701ce4b03c5da162aeb3
Amber Lopez Molnar, AMFT
Coach & Psychotherapist
Amber is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in maternal mental health ranging from infertility and conception through postpartum issues. In addition, she has worked within the addiction and mental health field for the past three years. Amber has a B.A Degree in Psychology from California State University Northridge and a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University. Prior to this, she received her Master of Arts Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from St. John’s University in New York,
Amber’s passion for specializing in maternal mental health developed after her own experiences with infertility and becoming a mother. She believes that it truly does take a village when having children, and hopes to offer a supportive and non- judgmental space during this time. She is a graduate of Postpartum Action Institute and holds a certificate in maternal mental health from Postpartum Support International where she is also a member.
Amber began her traineeship at CLARE Foundation where she provided individual and family therapy to clients with addiction and mental health issues. She also ran several groups such as; Seeking Safety, Mindfulness, Healthy Relationships and Anger Management. She continued to her postgraduate training at Sovereign Health where she was part of a comprehensive team of psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses to provide psychotherapy for dual diagnosis clients.
Currently, Amber is working with the Hirschman Clinical team as a Mommy Coach, Sober Coach and psychotherapist.
Coach & Companion
As a coach and companion, Ariel’s approach is informed by her first-hand experience related to addiction, mental health, eating disorders, African-American biracial identity, and over 15 years with 12-Step Recovery. Ariel’s personal understanding of these issues allows her to be intuitive, empathic and supportive in her role assisting clients, implementing action-based strategies to effectively manage, thrive with, and transform challenges into assets. Her training and experience in the creative arts helps clients discover innovative solutions to their challenges.
Ariel has done extensive mentoring work with adults who have a dual-diagnosis and spent eight years leading dual-diagnosis support groups in McAuley Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco.
She co-facilitated small groups focusing on sensory strategies for mental health management, Wellness Recovery Action Plan (W.R.A.P.), smoking cessation, dual-diagnosis issues, social skills training and music therapy as a volunteer in the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center.
As a student, Ariel trained in San Jose State University’s Occupational Therapy Master’s program as well as in African-American Studies at U.C. Berkeley, and in Theater at San Francisco State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities from New College of California.
Ariel has extensive experience working with adults and teens who need assistance with life skills, substance use, addiction, recovery, and mental health issues. Additionally, she has worked with children with behavioral issues and support parents in implementing strategies. She is excited to utilize her coaching and Companion experience with Hirschman Clinical Services.
In her life outside of coaching and companion work, Ariel paints, draws and enjoys design, art, comedy, writing, organizing, and spending time with close friends.