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SAN LUIS OBISPO STAFF

Thomas Buckley

Executive Director, BSW, CADC III

Tom Buckley is the Executive Director for Aspire Counseling Services, Arroyo Grande. Tom has spent the last 20 years living in Southern California, where he graduated from Cal State University, Los Angeles with a degree in Social Work.  Tom then pursued his certification as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor, first as a CAS (Certified Addiction Specialist) , then CADC (California Alcohol and Drug Counselor), and now is a CADC III. Tom has been a pillar in the Southern California social services community, having worked for and developed programs in group homes, county mental health, Skid Row Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Jails, residential and outpatient behavioral health services, etc.

Mr. Buckley is a sought after speaker and presenter on various topics related to mental health, addiction, prevention/early intervention, recidivism reduction, harm reduction, Naloxone, community advocacy, etc…Tom is a third generation San Luis Obispo native, having graduated from SLO high in 1996. Tom also is a husband and father of twin 19 year old sons, which aids him in understanding the struggles of our young clients, as well as their parents. Tom believes in transformation and giving people the chance to change. Tom lost his father to addiction and brother to suicide, has overcome his own addiction and mental health issues, and lost over 200 pounds, all in which help him guide those he works with to find their own recipe for happiness, health, and success.

Jordan Yarbrough, MS

Registered Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

Jordan attended graduate school at CSU Bakersfield and received her Masters of Science degree in Counseling Psychology in 2018. While attending graduate school Jordan had the opportunity to work at a mental health agency that provided treatment to homeless adults, teenagers, and individuals struggling with substance use and mental health. While providing therapeutic treatment to people from an array of backgrounds (incarcerated persons, foster youth, homeless adults), Jordan gained insight into the complex nature of human emotion and experience. She began dedicating her time to studying interpersonal patterns of behavior and emotional reactivity, where she found a common theme: people want to be heard and understood and provided a safe place to do so. This insight allowed Jordan to begin working intentionally with diverse populations with a focus of providing helpful evidence based practices and enriching therapy in an authentic and genuine style. 

Over the last 5 years, Jordan has worked in various mental health settings which include the following: an acute psychiatric hospital serving people in crisis; non-public school where she worked with children, adolescents, and young adults who had behavioral and emotional disturbances; and in a non-profit organization that provides guidance and counseling to youth around the South Bay, fostering teen creativity and development. Jordan also served on the Board for the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists- South Bay Chapter. 

 Jordan found her home in working with individuals who have experienced trauma and are now in need of mental health and substance use treatment. Jordan uses evidence based practices, therapeutic art, and trauma informed therapy to aid clients in growth and recovery. Jordan works with those who are struggling with emotional barriers, strained relationships, behavioral disturbances, identity struggles, social anxiety, mood swings, depression, and school/work-related stress.

 Jordan is a lover of books, crafting, gardening, and cooking. Oh, and wanted to mention…  a HUGE fan of Grey’s Anatomy. 

Casey Rath, MA

Registered Associate Marriage & Family Therapist

Casey received his Bachelor of Arts degree in History at California State University Long Beach and attended graduate school at Argosy University where he earned his Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology. Casey has accumulated over 20 years of experience in corporate America and specializes in helping young adults, parents, and working professionals to overcome obstacles and reach their full potential. The therapeutic approach that Casey takes is from the Existential/Humanistic school where the focus is on developing a relationship with his clients based on authenticity, trust, and unconditional positive regard. Casey believes that clients deserve the opportunity to truly be heard with the knowledge that they have someone on their side who will go on the therapeutic journey with them. Casey specializes in helping clients clarify their values and discover their life’s true meaning and purpose.

“It is my belief that happiness cannot be pursued, rather it ensues through one’s adherence to their personal values and the creation of a meaningful and purposeful life.”

 

Casey lives with his wife and 2 children and is a die-hard Angels fan.

Berni McClelland

Administrative Assistant

Berni McClelland graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in December 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in child development. Prior to attending Cal Poly, Berni interned for the Monterey County Children’s Behavioral Health Department, where she had the opportunity to work with transition-age youth in group therapy programs. This inspired her to pursue psychology, as she felt passionate to find ways to improve access to mental healthcare for those most in need. 

During her time at Cal Poly, Berni was heavily involved in the psychology department. She worked as a research assistant in labs on campus, studying topics including auditory perception and first-generation college student experience. 

Berni loves coffee, traveling, and spending time outside in San Luis Obispo. Fun fact: in her time at Cal Poly, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Prague and Copenhagen!

 

Kristina Toma

Case Manager / Behavioral Health Therapist

Kristina is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Cal Poly, and will be graduating this spring. As an undergrad, she is involved in research in the psychology department that is focused on how cultural factors influence emotions and decision making.

Kristina works with SLO Bangers, the syringe exchange and overdose prevention program in San Luis Obispo county. At the exchange, she distributes harm reduction supplies weekly to syringe exchange participants and trains participants on how to use Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication. She has experience training inmates at the SLO County Jail on how to use and administer Naloxone as well. Kristina believes in meeting people where they are at, and operates under that both personally and professionally.

At Aspire, she has enjoyed the opportunity to connect with clients and work with them to identify the changes they are seeking and how those can be attained. At any given moment, Kristina is always willing to go on a hike, see the ocean, or talk about anything and everything harm reduction related.

 

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