Lighthouse outpatient team
Andrea Clark, MSW, LSW started her journey in the mental health and addictions field in 2015. Andrea received her BS in Behavioral Health Counseling from Drexel University with advanced studies in Addictions Counseling. She later received her Master’s in Social Work from Rutgers University. While there she received special training from Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies and School of Social Work.
Andrea has held many positions which include, Dual Disorder Specialist, and a Partial Care Counselor in the Mental/Behavioral Health field. Andrea is working to obtain multiple licensures and certificates including her LCADC and LCSW.
Andrea utilizes evidence-based practices to assist clients to reach their highest potential in their recovery process. Andrea’s skill set includes but not limited to, DBT, CBT, and Motivational Interviewing. Andrea is dedicated to her clients and believes recovery is possible.
“Recovery is a process. We must remain open-minded. We are living in our recovery, not in our disease!”
Wardell Whittaker MS is a Primary Therapist at Recovery Centers of America. Wardell graduated from CACREP accredited Wilmington University with a master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. With over 10 years of working experience, Wardell has worked with children in residential, group homes, juvenile detention centers, and schools to adults in psychiatric hospitals, mental health day programs, OP, and IOP. Wardell has a passion for helping individuals and teaching groups about the grieving process and skill-building to combat depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Wardell is excited to be part of the continuum helping individuals in the pre-contemplative, contemplative, preparation, or action stage of change.
Lori Yakita, MSW, LSW, is an IOP primary therapist at RCA and is currently working on obtaining her LCSW. Lori received her MSW, at Rutgers University, in New Brunswick NJ. Lori has experience working in a variety of settings including providing in home therapy to children and families, and for the past 8 years, as a primary therapist in an intensive outpatient mental health program. She has extensive experience working with clients with dual diagnosis, and persistent, severe mental health illness including Bipolar, Schizoaffective, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, OCD, and PTSD (both acute and chronic). In her role at RCA, Lori wants to continue client advocacy, assisting marginalized and at-risk populations, as well as promote recovery and overall positive outcomes for the clients.
Dawn DiGioia MS LAC, NCC, CTP is a Licensed Associate Counselor working on her LPC. Dawn received her degree at Cappella University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Dawn is a certified Trauma professional and brings 8 years of experience to the table. Her career started working at Ancora Psychiatric Hospital and lead to years of working in psychiatric residential programs. Dawn has experience in working with clients with dual diagnosis and persistent and severe mental illnesses such as bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline personality, depression, and anxiety disorders. Dawn facilitated an Alanon Group with families of Substance use disorders for two years. Dawn’s approach is person-centered and brings her compassion and empathy in helping others to learn the skills to overcome the barriers to health and wellness in recovery. Dawn is a Primary Therapist and has experience in PHP, IOP, and OP programs at Recovery Centers of America.
Clinical Transition Coordinator
Samantha Medina, MS, LCADC, Clinical Transition Coordinator at Recovery Centers of America Lighthouse has 6 years experience working in the field of Substance Use. Samantha’s journey in the field began with personal motivation and passion to help individuals affected by Substance Use Disorder see that recovery is possible. She spent the majority of her career thus far in a contracted position with The Division of Child Protection and Permanency working with parents and caregivers affected by Substance Use Disorder helping them seek treatment with an ultimate goal of keeping families together and reuniting families separated. Samantha has experience facilitating intensive outpatient and general outpatient groups and individual sessions which has only furthered her passion for treating those affected. Samantha is committed to educating individuals on the full continuum of care offered at RCA and creating a smooth progression from inpatient to outpatient treatment.
Yvette McDonald MS, LCADC Primary Therapist at Recovery of America at Lighthouse presents with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of Substance Use and Behavioral Health. A Graduate from Phoenix AZ, Grand Canyon University Master’s Program in Addiction Counseling, along with various training in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical behavioral Therapy. Yvette has been in the field for a little over 9 years and has worked in Intensive Outpatient treatment, Outpatient, and Medication Assistant Treatment for both male and females. Yvette also has experience as a Senior Counselor and Part time Clinical Director which houses PHP, Intensive Outpatient Treatment, and Outpatient services. Yvette gained a passion to advocate for victims who experienced sexual violence and was a part of the Coalition Against Sexual Violence (CASV) from 2016-2018.
Damia McDonald LSW, MSW is a licensed social worker with a background in working with the underprivileged and undervalued community. After receiving her Master’s degree from Kean University, Damia began her career working with at-risk youth. Damia continued this journey until she was given the opportunity to work with adults who needed support finding housing, entitlements and building community networks. Now at RCA Damia is dedicated to using her skills to empower and support those struggling with mental health and/or addiction.
Joshua Hayes MA, NCC, LAC, is a young therapist that brings a unique approach to the therapeutic atmosphere. Joshua has a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the accredited Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Joshua was motivated to enter the field after learning the impact that trauma and substance use can have on an individual’s life. While studying to become a therapist, Joshua presented on his research about treating Veterans with PTSD, at the annual Graduate Scholars Forum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Joshua’s research discusses how unique approaches to therapy and a neurological understanding, are necessary to make the therapeutic experience beneficial for individuals struggling with traumatic experiences and addiction.