She exclusively sees patients in True Life’s intensive outpatient program, where her compassionate, strength-based approach makes her particularly adept at treating complex presentations of anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, and bipolar disorder. Dr. Roybal is an expert in benzodiazepine tapers and medical detox, psychopharmacologic evaluations, and medication management. She has taken care of thousands of patients in her career and has created a unique treatment model in which they can succeed.
After attending medical school at New York Medical College and an initial training at UC San Francisco in Family and Community Medicine, Dr. Roybal noticed a recurring theme among her patients ¬– undiagnosed mental health issues manifesting in the body as physical symptoms. With a desire to devote more time to patients’ mental well-being and to gain a more in-depth understanding of the mind-body connection, Dr. Roybal went on to specialize in psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, where the region’s well-documented addiction and mental health issues attract top addiction psychiatrists. Training under these experts inspired Dr. Roybal’s own passion for addiction medicine and her belief that “compassion is the antidote” for this shame-based illness.
While working in private practice and at top hospitals including Scripps La Jolla, where she served as Co-Medical Director of the Scripps Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program for many years, Dr. Roybal became passionate about creating a more innovative approach to treatment; one that combined the warmth and individual attention found in a concierge practice, the collaborative environment and neuroscientific focus of a medical facility, and her belief in the integrative model for healing the somatic components of mental health and addiction. She founded the True Life Center in 2014 with these concepts as integral facets.
True Life Center continues to grow and thrive under Dr. Roybal’s hands-on leadership. As a doctor who has always been fascinated by the narrative of each patients’ life journey, she is proud to have developed a treatment center and a team whose mission is to address and treat an individual’s whole health – mind, body, and spirit.
Kayla Karesh passionately serves as a practitioner, clinical leader, and believer in the ongoing cultivation of the human spirit as a path to transformation. Inspired by psychodynamic and attachment theories, Kayla developed specialized skills in the integrative treatment of complex mental health issues, the support of family systems, and organizational leadership in treatment settings.
With a life-long interest in the role of the arts and spirituality in healing, Kayla obtained a BA in English Literature at Azusa Pacific University, an MA in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and an MA in Marital and Family Therapy, with specialized training in Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University.
Kayla’s 18-year clinical career includes work in residential, outpatient, school, private practice, and hospital settings working with high-acuity mental health presentations, eating disorders, and substance use issues. Kayla’s approach is one of compassion and deep curiosity about the person, family, and the internal and external systems impacting one’s well-being. Kayla utilizes a variety of clinical modalities when providing direct care and supervising practitioners, always emphasizing the collaboration of the multidisciplinary team as the beauty and strength of the integrative model.
With daily excitement in serving at True Life Center, Kayla brings vigor and joy to the life-changing work of healing individuals and family systems experiencing crises that prompt change and growth.
Kairou is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist in the state of California, and holds a Master’s of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She has also received advanced training in Classical Five Elements Acupuncture, has studied at the China Beijing International Training Center and People’s Hospital with Dr. Tan of Zheng Qi Tang in Lan Zhou, and has completed clinical rotations both domestically and abroad. Additionally, she is a certified yoga instructor and massage therapist.
Kairou weaves all aspects of her training into a thoughtful approach that addresses each individual’s needs with sensitivity and perceptiveness, and ushers our patients into better understanding of the correlations of their physical, emotional and mental health. Her oversight of our holistic staff ensures cohesive treatment of the whole person, so as to restore the innate harmony of psychology and physiology that serves as a foundation for optimal health and well-being.
Dr. Erikat received her Master’s in Psychology from Remington College and her Doctor of Behavioral Health degree from Arizona State University. Her diverse educational background and clinical acumen allow her to provide a supportive, nonjudgmental environment for all. She believes in meeting patients where they are and helping them cultivate acceptance of the present, while also holding space for healthy transformation.
For Dr. Erikat, treating the whole individual is essential to achieving the best treatment outcomes. She resonates deeply with True Life’s mind-body approach to balancing the emotional, cognitive, and biologic systems that contribute to patients’ overall well-being. Having the opportunity to witness patients courageously tackle their fears, set healthy boundaries, and practice self-compassion is an honor to Dr. Erikat. She looks forward to supporting you on your healing journey.
In working with patients, she focuses on helping to develop therapeutic skills aimed at creating safe environments, caring relationships, and other elements necessary to support each individual’s search for an authentic self and full self-expression. Baylea works with adult aged clients, providing individual, family, and relationship therapy. She is experienced in treating chemical dependency, depression, anxiety/panic, trauma, parent-child relational problems, and relationship problems. Her ultimate goal is to connect with her patients and positively engage with them throughout the healing process.
Canada born and Southern California resident for the last 20 years, Baylea and her family participate in supporting numerous charities, including St. Jude Hospital, Big Brothers and Sisters, as well as local humane societies. Fueled by her passion for running and empowering personal growth, Baylea co-created a running club for at-risk youth in San Diego 3 years ago that is still making a positive impact today. With 5-10 races a year, the running club enables participants to connect with their communities in a successful environment, ultimately increasing self-esteem.
As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Shaunie utilizes her extensive clinical knowledge and diagnostic training to serve as an incredible resource for prospective patients and their loved ones in the admissions process.
Shaunie completed her postgraduate education at the University of San Diego and has had clinical opportunity to work with individuals, couples and families who struggle with anxiety, depression, trauma, bipolar disorder, body image, addiction, behavioral and somatic issues, as well as relationship problems. Shaunie has an innate ability to connect and attune to patients and meet them where they are. In terms of her training and theoretical approach to treatment, she utilizes mindfulness meditation, CBT, DBT, EMDR and psychodynamic orientations to promote insight, behavioral change and awareness on the journey of healing and recovery.
In both her professional and personal life, she has witnessed the strength of the mind-body connection and is thrilled to advocate for True Life’s comprehensive brain and somatic healing approach. Having been on the TLC staff for nearly 4 years, Shaunie is able to confidently speak to the excellence of care and the expertise of our multidisciplinary team. She feels honored to work alongside the True Life team in guiding individuals to authentic living and positive change.
Shaunie is committed to honoring each patient’s unique journey and supporting them in discovering their authentic life.
At True Life Center, Valerie guides patients along their entire healing process as a therapist who has the special role of clinical implementation, life-skills and launching. Valerie takes a warm, client-centered approach to the journey of personal growth and healing. As a licensed clinician, Valerie integrates her background as a yoga teacher, sound healer, and meditation leader into her clinical practice. She is passionate about True Life’s healing model of addressing the mind, body, and spirit and feels at home with the skilled integrative mental health team.
Dr. John Dupler is a clinical psychologist with a passion for research, education, and innovation. With board certification in EEG Encephalography by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance and nearly 30 years of experience practicing Neurofeedback and brain mapping, Dr. Dupler believes that a better understanding of brain activity can lead to individualized interventions and optimizations that promote comprehensive wellness.
In addition to his clinical acumen, Dr. Dupler is committed to advancing the field through helping to educate future practitioners. He formerly taught imaging technology at Columbus State College, followed by a role instructing graduate level Biopsychology at Western American University. He also spent time working for the U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Vocational Education, a research and development think tank, where he was involved in educational research.
Dr. Dupler also has the distinction of being the first individual to successfully adapt Neurofeedback equipment to be remote controlled and monitored over the internet, using software he designed. This led to him providing Neurofeedback services in Tokyo, Japan, where he travels frequently to help increase awareness of the modality.
Dr. Dupler is excited to help advance True Life’s mission of mind-body healing by providing patients with Neurofeedback and Brain Mapping.
Tara specializes in treating anxiety, depression, trauma, and mood disorders; and has worked with children, adolescents and adults over the course of her career
Tara earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of San Diego and her Masters in Marital and Family Therapy (with a specialization in Art Therapy) from Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, California).
While working at a residential treatment center and as part of a leading California healthcare plan company, Tara facilitated art therapy groups, provided psychotherapy, led peer mentorship groups, organized community events, and helped coordinate treatment plans. In her most recent role at Elizabeth Hospice, Tara provided compassionate and collaborative care to children, adolescents and adults experiencing grief and related mental health distress.
Tara is thrilled to join True Life Center where she can contribute to and draw from the diverse wisdom of a truly multidisciplinary team. Her passion for the intersection of art and science are a perfect fit for the type of integrative approach the True Life community is seeking.
As native San Diegan, Tara relishes any opportunity to use her skills and passions to serve her community through volunteerism. She also enjoys hot yoga, painting and spending time with her two cats.
Ciarra obtained a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, where she graduated with honors. She has a wealth of experience working with diverse populations throughout the mental health community, including rotations at the UCSD Free Clinics Project, Senior Clinic at First Lutheran Church, and UCSD RIMAC Arena. Thanks to her extensive training in Japanese Acupuncture, Ciarra excels at providing gentle and effective treatment with an emphasis on internal medicine, mental health, addiction care, orthopedics and pain management. She is passionate about incorporating self-healing practices with education to provide patients with the essential skills to thrive in all aspects of life.
Jimmy believes in nurturing the whole person by crafting training plans customized to each individual’s needs, goals, limitations, interests, and dynamic lifestyle. By helping clients to discover and harness their own natural talents, he encourages rewarding, sustainable lifelong practices. He enjoys collaborating with the compassionate staff at True Life, where each patient works with a coordinated team of practitioners to design a journey that is meaningful and fulfilling.
A certified USA Triathlon Level II Coach and graduate of the world renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Jimmy himself has had over 20 years of experience competing in international multisport racing events. As a competitive athlete himself, Jimmy has earned All-American honors in triathlon and duathlon, represented Team USA 8 times, and qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. As a coach and consultant, he has trained elite tennis players and triathletes, Olympians, and celebrities. In 2005, he founded Santiago Multisport Coaching and has since worked with clients globally to compete in multisport events. He looks forward to working with new clients at True Life and embarking with them on their paths to self-discovery and empowerment.
Having a long-time fascination with the mind, body, spirit connection, Lalique focused her career around mindfulness-based meditation training and mental health. Her holistic training and diverse background enables her to see and treat individuals as whole human beings. In order to support each individual’s wellness journey, she focuses on creating a safe environment and establishing strong relationships that empower self-discovery through individualized goal setting and planning.
With a compassionate heart and a curious mind, Lalique helps patients and clinicians locate the root cause of illness and helps facilitate a patient to thrive. She looks forward to sharing her zest for life and wellness with you and the community at True Life Center. She feels alive and inspired to be working with such dedicated and skilled clinicians and administrators.
Melanie Fisher is a Registered Dietitian with more than 18 years of clinical nutrition and public health experience. She believes that the path to global and community healing begins with individual healing, and that nutrition is foundational to physical and emotional wellness. She takes a compassionate and holistic approach to nutrition and understands the complex internal and environmental factors that affect our behavior around food.
Melanie received her Bachelor’s of Science in Nutritional Science from University of Connecticut and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. She is passionate about nutrition education, and has experience educating and counselling individuals of all ages and life stages. She loves to provide meaningful context around nutrition myths, trends, and advice to allow patients to cut through the noise and make decisions that align with their own values and goals. She also supports patients in cultivating recipe and meal ideas that meet their individual nutritional needs and expand their idea of what nutritious food can be.
Melanie is excited to be a part of the True Life team and continue to grow in her expertise and holistic approach within such a collaborative treatment environment. She derives joy out of helping patients discover new joy in food on their healing journey.
With over 9 years of experience in healthcare administration and 17 years within the healthcare industry, she has an extensive background in process improvement and managing business operations. Driven by service excellence, she takes pride in providing the best customer service possible. She exemplifies her commitment to teamwork through collaboration and mentoring.
She finds joy in fostering connections and building relationships with her team and with patients. She’s ecstatic for the opportunity to work at True Life where everyone is warm and compassionate and dedicates so much of themselves to creating a specialized treatment plan for each of their patients.
She earned her MBA from Cal State Monterey Bay and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego. When she is not busy, she enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering in her community.
Natalie is a graduate of UC San Diego with a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature. Her experience includes publishing, copywriting, and detailed analytical writing on the impact of technological trauma in dystopian fiction. She brings her focused attention to detail and deep empathy to her position, providing warmth and sincere care in all aspects of her role.
Samantha is a graduate from UC San Diego with a bachelors of science in human development and a minor in psychology. Her experience includes conducting research, collecting and interpreting data, and writing scientific papers. She looks forward to supporting you on your journey of health.
Laya is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in business administration. Her career goal is to remain a strong advocate for the transformative process of mental health treatment by obtaining her master’s degree and work long term in healthcare administration.
Layla believes in the power of the mind-body approach to facilitate sustainable healing. She is honored and excited to work with True Life’s knowledgeable and inspiring team. She loves to approach life and tasks with presence and gratitude.