Meet The Discovery House Team

The Discovery House ranks among the best drug and alcohol treatment centers in the country. Our drug and alcohol treatment center staff is composed of certified professionals who dedicate their lives to the successful long-term recovery of each client. We have on staff certified counselors and an administration team to help you every step of the way.

This group of caring and compassionate individuals are committed to providing the most effective treatment for each resident. Each professional collaborates with the others to provide top quality care at our long-term treatment centers for addiction. Our addiction treatment services team brings years of experience to the program to help residents achieve lifelong sobriety.

What sets The Discovery House apart is the attitude of our staff and the experiences that each one brings to the program. We use an eclectic approach to treatment, combining different, proven techniques that are facilitated by our caring staff members.

Tom Whiting

Tom Whiting


Tom Whiting has over 25 years of experience in the addiction recovery field. From working on his recovery to owning a sober living home and being the chair of the San Fernando Valley Sober Living Coalition; Tom has been relentless in his pursuit to improve the lives of those struggling from the disease of drug and alcohol addiction. Due to his successful career in home construction and his keen insight into the shortcomings of other treatment programs, Tom has been able to build The Discovery House from the ground up to meet all the needs of addiction treatment. As Executive Director, he works tirelessly to ensure that The Discovery House maintains the highest level of care.

McKay Whiting

McKay Whiting


McKay Whiting oversees the Admissions and Intake Department, processing all admission calls and providing necessary information about services, programs, and treatment. McKay brings years of both personal and professional experience working in addiction and recovery. She has tremendous passion and enthusiasm for facilitating residents and their families in making the life-altering changes necessary to begin the process of healing. Often the first point of contact at The Discovery House, McKay is highly skilled at immediate crisis intervention and always brings compassion and understanding to individuals and family members.

the discovery house

Dr. Walter Thomas, ASAM, FAAFP

Medical Director

Dr. Walter Thomas is board certified in both Addiction Medicine and Family Medicine. He was a member of the first group of physicians to pass the original certification exam offered by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. Thomas has served as medical director for numerous hospital-based and residential treatment centers. He has lectured extensively to both medical professionals and patients on the treatment of addictive diseases. He is currently the chairman of the physician well-being committee in both local hospitals. Dr. Thomas’s extensive foundation of knowledge and over 30 years of experience provide an innovative approach to the field of chemical dependency that offers life-changing outcomes.

chris barnes

Chris Barnes

Clinical Director

Christopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. The past ten years of his professional career has been spent in the recovery community. Christopher states, “My passion for people, pleasant demeanor, optimistic views on life, and my ability to make everyone I meet feel significant” is a standard in which he holds himself to. Christopher continues to encourage, motivate, and give hope promoting growth and change in the lives of those he serves. Christopher Barnes is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. He was also commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the United States Army and spent five years on active duty. In 1996 he earned a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, from Phillips Graduate University, and spent an additional twenty years working in hospital and clinics as a practicing clinician. In 2017, Christopher returned to his Alma Mater, Phillips Graduate University where he is currently working toward a PHD in Organizational Management and Consultant with an emphasis in Behavioral Health. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

alex gonzalez

Alex Gonzalez

Program Director

Alex brings 17 years of multiple different types of experience in the field of drug and alcohol treatment. He also possesses firsthand experience with the battle of addiction. With the combination of the two, Alex brings an integrated perspective toward connecting with people of all types of backgrounds. He obtained his alcohol and drug certification from Mt. San Antonio college in 2005. He has worked with diverse groups of populations such as: homeless, parole, dual-diagnosis, foster-care, HIV, DCFS & chemical dependency. All of this allow a broader perspective in how to treat and cope with addiction. Alex has worked at the Discovery house since May 2014 and has spent a great amount of invaluable time learning the clinical and operational aspects of the company. “Every person is valuable, from the clients to the employees. When people discover their worth, hope begins to flourish. It is my passion to connect with people and raise their awareness to realize that in the middle of adversity lies the opportunity to do something extraordinary with their life.”

joy crownover

Joy Crownover

Director of Operations

With over seven years of experience working in the field of drug and alcohol addiction treatment, Joy has an incredible passion for helping people recover from substance use disorders. She obtained her Associate of Arts in Addiction Studies from ICDC in 2013 and greatly benefited from her time as an intake counselor at the Salvation Army where she was on the front lines helping the most destitute. Joy is the backbone of the The Discovery House, making sure everything runs smoothly. “At The Discovery House, the amount of one on one care is so beneficial to the struggling addict. It has been my passion to help others see that life can be fun, free, and that they don’t have to let the disease win.”

kathryn tate

Kathryn Tate

Case Manager

Kathryn has worked in a case management/ support staff role in several JCAHO accredited treatment centers for over 9 years. Originally from Denver, Kathryn moved to California in 2009 after getting sober in a Ventura County treatment center. By the beginning of 2010 she started a role as support staff and quickly moved her way into a case management position by 2011. By 2014 Kathryn was managing two departments at two separate treatment locations. Helping others find and maintain their recovery is a cause that is near and dear to her heart. Kathryn takes pride in providing support and resources to clients and their families.

melanie mehrabi

Melanie Mehrabi


Melanie obtained her LVN at Glendale college in 2008 and went on to study alcohol and addiction studies in 2011. She joined The Discovery House Team in 2018 because she wanted to have an impact on people in early recovery. “Being someone who battled and overcame active addiction, I know how hard it is to get clean and sober and I wanted to give back to those trying to get on that right track” Melanie is the center of our care team and is in constant contact with our doctors, counselors and, support staff to ensure that our clients receive the best care.

lara jones

Lara Jones

Lead Counselor

Lara is a master’s level clinician who has an extensive professional history with behavioral health, including these sectors; Veterans with PTSD, Children, Teens, Special Needs, Geriatric, Vocational, Transitional Independent Living, Addictions and Family Therapy. Her love for helping people started when she was 13, when she began to volunteer with kids who had special needs. Lara pursued her dreams at Grambling State University, all the while volunteering over 700 hours per year and continuing her efforts to help people. She earned her Master of Art degree in Clinical Mental Health with an emphasis in Counseling and Guidance at a CACREP Accredited Program at Louisiana Tech University. Lara would best describe herself as an advocate, “I want to help people heal from the things they did or didn’t know affected them and to help my clients find a voice where they were once silenced.” .