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Meet Our Team

Founder of Transforming Life Center, Siamak Afshar with 36-years of experience in treatment and addictions along with his supportive team, dedicated his life to create a safe and calm environment for those  who are seeking a reliable and painless detox and treatment. In memory of Siamak, his close and long-term friend and colleague, Farhad Ameli who believes in Siamak’s Philosophy, will continue his legacy as new program director and provide the same services for the individuals and their families who needs treatment.

Siamak Afshar


Siamak “Sia” Afshar was the founder and CEO of Transforming Life Center (TLC) in lovely Yorba Linda, California. Siamak was grateful for his 40 years of clean and sober time and had been working in the field of recovery for 36 years. His philosophy at TLC was to encourage his clients to see their strengths in order to become more confident in their recovery journey. Siamak used evidence-based techniques such as Motivational Interviewing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and mindfulness techniques, as well as psychoeducation and psychodrama to assist clients in further understanding how to manage cravings, rebound from relapses, and live a more balanced life. Like his wife, Maryam, he also believed that healthier food choices and portion control assisted the brain's stability.

Siamak’s recovery journey began in 1983 after his own battle with the abuse of drugs and maladaptive behaviors. After multiple relapses and shallow promises, he made a pledge to his family to stay clean and sober. In order to divert his stress and cravings, Siamak began running marathons, and it was then that he realized his life's work was to empower others to overcome harmful addictions.

Siamak was one of the most experienced addiction counselors in the US and was held in high regard, especially in the Persian recovery community. For nearly three decades, he was also a host on Freedom, a television show that focused on interviewing those who overcame substance abuse and behavioral concerns. The Freedom show was aired in the US and Iran.

Siamak believed that part of recovery was finding new and healthy ways in which to spend one's time and energy. Siamak also introduced many in his program to running, while encouraging individuals to discover their own healthy outlets as part of their long-term recovery journey. Siamak also believed that addiction was a family disease and that, for the person struggling with addiction to benefit the most from treatment, family participation was recommended. The family then explored their roles in order to bring balance and stability to the family, while resolving any codependent behaviors. Recovery took time, and the TLC team looked forward to working with those seeking the tools to reinvent themselves, their families, and their future.

Farhad Ameli

Program Director

Farhad Ameli, CADC II, has decades of experience in treatment of addictions including detox, residential, outpatient and after care. He has managed private and government founded organizations and has treated both adolescents and adults. Farhad believes that all addictions are treatable and he is committed to assist patients and their families overcome the challenges and to live life worth living. He values teamwork and with thirty eight years of experience in managing and directory treatments team will help you to succeed in your recovery.

Maryam Nasab

Life Coach / Oversees nutritional needs

Maryam is a Certified Life Coach, she works in the TLC Marketing Department and also makes wonderful meals at the center. She is the wife of CEO and Program Director Siamak Afshar. Together they hold the philosophy that recovery is about learning to find balance in the areas of self-love, family, work, hobbies, relationships, and friendships. Maryam is committed to assisting people meet themselves where they are in their lives. She also believes that integrity is key to recovery and remaining clean and sober.

Dr. Gary Sandhu MD

Specialized in Addiction

Dr. Gary Sandhu MD is an Internal Medicine Physician and buprenorphine waivered Practitioner, who also focuses on substance abuse. He has been practicing Internal Medicine since 2006, with his primary focus on inpatient acute care. Dr. Sandhu’s main practice is in Pomona, California, where he works as a full time Hospitalist Physician mainly with Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center. He is also the Medical Director of multiple local nursing facilities and the Assistant Medical Director for the Hospitalist Corporation of the Inland Empire.

Gary believes that drug and alcohol abuse is a brain disease that not only disables the brain from making rational decisions, he sees addiction also destroying family systems. His mindset is to psychoeducate individuals and families on the maladies of substance abuse, while providing appropriate interventions and treatment. Gary sees recovery efforts best accomplished when multiple treatment modalities and efforts are utilized.

Josie Gann

CADCII Program Administrator

TLC is pleased to have Josie on their team. Her mission is to help Transforming Life grow and to provide all designated Levels of Care for those who abuse drugs and alcohol, and who are in need of life-saving help. Josie has been in the recovery field for 25-years and maintains a solid knowledge base of and hands on experience with co-occurring disorders and counseling. She also has extensive experience in licensing facilities, business administration, and implementing policy and procedure updates. Josie recognizes the importance of remaining in compliance with Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and has worked closely with The Joint Commission. Her Top Priority is to provide ethically sound guidance and direction to our team of professionals.

Halleh Nia

Yoga and Meditation Instructor / Life coach

Halleh’s passion is helping and connecting to others. She attributes this desire to her multicultural experiences growing up; being born in Iran, and early in life residing in Germany and the United States. She is trilingual, speaking, reading and writing English and Farsi fluently, and German well. Halleh has been the Managing editor for a Bilingual Cultural Magazine for 25 years and has worked as an Adjunct Professor of Communication Studies for 24 years. For the last seven years, Halleh has dedicated her time as a Project Manager and Mental Health educator with the Multicultural Institute for Development (OMID), in Irvine, CA. She is Certified in Mental Health First Aid for adult and youth suicide prevention, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), and Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE’s). Halleh is also a licensed yoga and meditation Instructor and life coach and is educated in mindfulness practices through University of Irvine, CA.

Practicing yoga for the past 22 years, Halleh sees the remarkable difference yoga can make in human life. She is convinced that the philosophy behind the practice of yoga works enabling the individual to find peace and tranquility in one’s daily life, find harmony with nature and create a connection with self. Halleh truly believes that recovering addicts who partake in the practice of yoga and its philosophy can maintain their sobriety, eventually choosing to live a life of gratitude and being of service.

Leneesha Deneal

Certified Hypnotherapist

LaNeesha Deneal believes general wellness is an art. After a journey of self-healing, and practitioners working with her with Hypnotherapy and Reiki, she knew she had to share these practices with those also interested in a healing path. LaNeesha is a certified Hypnotherapist from the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Los Angeles, California. She is also certified in Trauma Recovery Hypnosis, Healing the Inner Child, Hypnosis and PTSD, Hypnosis and Weight Loss and Handwriting Analysis. LaNeesha continues to deepen her knowledge and regularly meets other Practitioners to expand the healing art offerings to our community. In her first year of business, she has introduced breathwork, plant medicine, and sound therapy, which has proven helpful to her clients. If you take the time to read LaNeesha's vision for the world located on her website, you will find that she lives her vision every day as she gives time, talent and resources to the betterment of her community.

Larry Bourks

CADC Drug and Alcohol counselor

Larry is a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor and Personal Development Coach with over 25 years of experience in the helping profession. He practices a holistic approach utilizing client-centered and culturally conscious counseling, cognitive behavioral techniques, psychoeducation and lifestyle interventions. Larry is also trained in the fields of psych energetic healing and he has an extensive background in spiritual development, which enables him to provide balanced and integrative treatment to his clients. Larry is passionate about assisting individuals in reaching their full potential and he is well known for optimizing positive outcomes for his clients.

Nazila Hatami, LMFT


Nazila is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist( LMFT). She holds a B.A in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz and a M.A in Integral Counseling Psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies.

Her approach in therapy is eclectic and heart centered, drawing from different traditions such as psychodynamic, mindfulness, emotionally- focused, psychodrama and Cognitive – behavioral therapy. She has extensive training in Somatic Experiencing, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing therapy) which are effective modalities in resolving trauma.

She specialize in treating mood disorders, stress management, trauma, PTSD, childhood trauma and abuse, relationship issues, women issues, spiritual inquiry and self-empowerment.

Nazila is bilingual and multi cultural. She speaks Farsi and English fluently. She grew up in Iran and lived in Germany and traveled extensively in India following her spiritual quest and healing, before settling in the US.
Nazila believes in innate goodness and wholeness of each individual, and that through conditioning and adverse life experiences, we lose our connection to our true nature.Her passion is to help people heal from the past traumas that prevent them from living a life of full potential.

She believes addiction is an attempt to avoid the pain created by traumatic experiences. Psychotherapy helps to address the emotional pain that underlies the addictive behavior, and makes the long lasting change and recovery more possible.

Rex, Oche, Mitchka

Animal Therapists

Rex the husky: Rex or "Rexy" as some may call him is a pure husky that loves attention, to say hello with a soft howl, and to play ball. Tennis balls are his favorite.

Oshie the poodle: Oshie is a pure six-year-old poodle that loves people and having her belly rubbed. She has accompanied many clients on their walks and enjoys getting to know all of you.

Mishka the PekInese: Our Pekinese, Miska's tan mane is so soft and she loves to be brushed. If one is not careful, though small, she will also surprise you with a doggie kiss.