Meet Our Qualified Staff
Connections Addiction Treatment Center, “No games, just hope”
Connections Addiction Treatment Center retains a highly-trained staff of therapists, counselors, and behavioral health technicians. The center offers an intimate staff to patient ratio, that allows for individualized quality care. Combining education with experience, our diverse team of professionals includes individuals who have also overcome addiction, adopting a 12-step recovery program as a way of life.
We at the Connections Addiction Treatment Center believe it is never too late and never too early to address issues associated with addiction and all its co-occurring challenges.
Dr. Sanchez, Psy. D., MS, MA, L.H.M.C., C.A.P.
Co-Founder / Chief Executive Officer
As both Founder and CEO of Connections Addiction Treatment Center, Dr. Sanchez draws on more than 25 years of diversified leadership experience spanning multiple industries across four states. The tactical oversight he provides at The Connections Addiction Treatment Center ensures that we are providing the best quality of boutique style empirically validated behavioral health care services possible for the patients we serve. Dr. Sanchez brings enthusiasm as well as many years of experience in the addiction treatment field serving as a clinical director, an executive director, and as a chief executive officer in many facilities over the years. He has also served as an expert consultant in many substance abuse facilities in Florida. Dr Sanchez has also worked as an expert consultant in forensic settings in Florida, New York, California and in Texas in courtroom settings, in jury research and for the federal and state corrections departments. He also studied and trained in multiple addiction treatment centers, psychiatric hospitals, residential settings, community mental health centers, and private practice settings in South Texas, South Florida, New York and in California. Dr. Sanchez brings a well-rounded and eclectic approaches as a clinical and behavioral health care expert and is an asset to The Connections Addiction Treatment Center. Dr. Sanchez believes it a great honor and privilege to oversee the day to day operations, medical, clinical, and ancillary/direct care services of the patients and who are treated here at The Connections Addiction Treatment Center.
Dr. Sanchez earned his Associates Degree in 1989 from Del Mar College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Texas in 1992. He then earned his Master of Science in Counseling from Texas A & M in 1995 and his non-terminal Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology in 2003 from Albizu University. Dr. Sanchez completed his Doctorate in Clinical and Forensic Psychology from Albizu University in Miami in 2008.
Clinical Director/Primary Therapist
Mr. Castillo has over 18 years of experience in the field of Substance Abuse Treatment. Mr. Castillo began his career in the non-for profit sector in Miami working with Adults and Adolescents dealing with various issues ranging from aside from substance abuse including co-occurring mental health and HIV. Mr. Castillo help start the first all-Spanish language residential substance abuse treatment program in Miami. Mr. Castillo then progressed to Supervising and directing programs at all levels of care including Detox, Residential and Outpatient. Mr. Castillo is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Marriage & Family and Master Certified Addiction Professional. Mr. Castillo graduated from Barry University and completed The University of Miami’s CASE (Center for Addiction Studies & Education) program.
ShaRone S. Kushnir, MS. IMH. CPLC
Evening IOP Therapist
ShaRone is a registered intern in mental health counseling, a certified professional life coach, and a doctoral candidate in clinical neuropsychology. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, ShaRone has background in film and the theatrical arts, and as a world-class concert pianist, performs regularly all over the world. Clinically, ShaRone specializes in spiritual psychology fused with evidence-based cognitive-behavioral interventions specializing in substance abuse as well as other related addictive disorders. ShaRone has accumulated practicum and professional clinical experience conducting group and individual counseling as well as conducting comprehensive psychological and neuropsychological evaluations in various settings across a diverse population. ShaRone’s success in group as well as individual therapy is primarily owed to his genuine care and love for all individuals, but more so, his passion to instill hope, inspiration and above all, joy in all lives reaching to triumph over life’s growth-spurting challenges.
Bianca recently began her career in substance abuse when Connections ATC first opened in 2016. She held the position of HR/ Admissions Coordinator and has recently taken on a new role of Program Coordinator. Bianca is a graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Business. Bianca’s passion and care for helping others has recently led her into the field of substance abuse. Her education and skills will help to improve the lives of others in their journey to recovery.
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
What do enjoy about your job?
I have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Helping patients earn sobriety is worth more than a paycheck.
Kelly Garcia is currently pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology for where the ultimate goal is to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Kelly gained experience as a Recovery Coach at another treatment center in Florida. She began as a Behavioral Health Technician at Connections Addiction Treatment Center, LLC and received a promotion to hold the title of Case Manager. She brings a wealth of personal experience and a true passion for substance abuse recovery. Having been in recovery herself for 4 years, Kelly has vast experience with different aspects of the recovery process. In her supportive role, Kelly works closely with our clients encouraging and guiding them in all areas of their lives, in order to help them learn the skills necessary for long-term recovery from substance use disorders and mental health issues. Kelly is a caring and compassionate guide that focuses on her clients’ strengths to empower and support them to make their own positive and healthy lifestyle choices. Kelly greatly values her own loving and supportive family so she strives to help others establish meaningful relationships in their own lives. Kelly enjoys many amazing and new experiences as a result of the gifts she has received in her personal journey of recovery.
Life is like soccer. You need goals!
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
What do enjoy about your job?
I enjoy giving direct support to our clients in a way that really makes a difference. The contribution I make is vital to their ability to make key, life changing decisions which ultimately influence the overall success of their recovery process.
Dietitian & Nutritionist
Lauren is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Nutritionist. She graduated with a Bachelors in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida State University and continued her education at Florida International University with a Masters in Dietetics and Nutrition. Lauren is published in the Open Journal of Preventative Medicine for her work with Diabetes and Weight control and has over six years of experience working in the Nutrition field. Lauren is passionate about nutrition and the role it plays in recovery. She provides a hands-on, holistic approach to recovery providing clients with healthy recipes, grocery lists and meal plans. Lauren also focuses on medical nutrition therapy and control/management of chronic disease to ensure every client gets an individualized nutrition experience.
Licensed Massage Therapist
Ana Maria began her career in substance abuse in 2015 combining her training as a massage therapist aiding and assisting with the holistic approach used here at The Connections Addiction Treatment Center. Ana Maria’s dedication for helping others has recently led her into becoming more passionate in helping heal others who suffer from substance abuse disorders. Her massage techniques incorporate a gentle yet firm methodology to promote a balance of mind, body, and spirit. She believes everyone’s body has the innate ability to heal itself and uses her skills to assist our patients in the early post-acute withdrawal process.