Our Experienced team of professionals assist patients in achieving optimal levels of health and wellness by treating the mind and body together.

Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.


Dr. Ruelas holds doctoral degrees and is licensed to practice in both medicine and psychology. He approaches his patients by gathering and analyzing data differently from other physician’s moving away from a disease model to a holistic functional model.

Dr. Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D.

Dr. Ruelas looks at the molecular, genomic, psychosocial, cultural, behavioral and even spiritual path, taking each of his patients through bridges not yet crossed and transcending the connection of the mind, body and spirit. His approach is unique, transforming, refreshing and progressive. He takes the time to understand what led up to the current situation, what may be contributing to the recurrent problems and outlining a plan to begin remedying one’s difficulties.

Dr. Ruelas completed his doctoral dissertation, studying the Neuropsychology of Attention Deficit Disorder and Dysthymia in Children. During his doctoral program he also studied psychoanalysis, and practiced child psychoanalysis for a number of years in his practice as well as providing Neuropsychological Assessment as needed for his patients. During his early program(s) Dr. Ruelas went on to study clinical hypnosis with Milton H. Erickson, M.D. having personal tutorials with him and under his teaching became proficient in the use of direct and indirect hypnotic techniques. Dr. Ruelas also studied with the Anthropologist Gregory Bateson and studied system theory and Cybernetics with the physicist Heinz Von Forester, Ph.D. He completed post-doctoral work with the Milan Group at the Institute for Family Studies in Milan Italy at the Universita Degzi Studi Di Milano with the Jungian Analysts Gianfranco Checchin, M.D. and Boscolo Luigi, M.D.

Dr. Ruelas went on to form the Orange County Society for Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis and brought together such great clinicians as Kay Thompson, DDS, John Weakland, Ch.E., David Cheek, M.D., Andre Weitzenhoffer, Ph.D., Humerto Maturana, Ph.D., Gianfranco Checchin, M.D., amongst others.

Simultaneously Dr. Ruelas worked in the public mental health systems. First with a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health where he helped to create a residential treatment facility for recovering addicts transitioning out of the penal system. He then went on to work with the Department of Mental Hygiene, State of California working with adolescents who had been placed in the State Hospital system for behavioral and emotional difficulties. From there Dr. Ruelas went to work with the County Department of Mental Health, initially in the Chemical Dependency Program working with inpatient detoxification of opiate users and providing outpatient counseling to them and their families. Later he continued his career in the Adult Mental Health Department where he worked in Crisis Management, Out-Patient Services and After Care Programs, dealing with patients suffering from severe mental illness. He later became one of the Service Chiefs for the Children and Youth Mental Health Service program for the County, managing outpatient and inpatient care for children and youth of the County and working closely with the Departments of Education and Social services before leaving to full time private practice. Though Dr. Ruelas started off and has always worked with children, his study of the brain, mind and spirituality has made him knowledgeable to help individuals of all ages and walks of life. His work has expanded into the cellular biology of the body and mind and has expanded into work that is transpersonal and transforming. He has always been dedicated to children and youth and to the treatment of substance abuse disorders and how the use of chemical affects the molecular structure of the brain both in children and adults. His background in Neuropsychology offers him a broad perspective when dealing with each individual exclusively.

In 2003, Dr. Ruelas went back to his early training and in conjunction with the Milton H. Erickson Foundation, formed the first Ericksonian Integrative Medical Institute (EIMI) using the work of Dr. Erickson and applying Dr. Erickson philosophy, not only to psychology but to medicine. The EIMI program serves as a prototype that can enhance the unconscious process of each patient despite their symptoms or physical challenges. Dr. Ruelas advocates and using the unconscious mind at all stages of healing in preventive, restorative and addiction medicine and in psychology.

After fifteen years of public service, Dr. Ruelas left his position the public health and went back to school and obtained his Medical Degree in Osteopathic Medicine completing his residency in Family Medicine. During his final year in residency, Dr. Ruelas served as the Chief Resident of his program. He soon thereafter pursued post-doctoral studies in Integrative Medicine. He obtained Board Certification with the American Board of Integrative Medicine and completed training with the Autism Research Institute obtaining the Highest Level of their DAN physician management program. He is presently in full time private practice as an Integrative Physician practicing, functional Mind-Body-Spiritual Medicine, working with all ages while he continues to have specialization with children, adolescent and addiction medicine. He serves as the Medical Director and Clinical Psychologist for the Integrative Medical Institute and the Ericksonian Integrative Medical Institute, and most recently as one of the founders and medication director of FIRST CHOICE, a residential medically directed Ericksonian based detoxification program for chemical dependency.

His areas of medical expertise are Preventive, Integrative/Functional, Addiction and Mental Health Medicine. He is interested in imbalance and deficiency of essential elements of the body than of diseases. He utilizes biological studies to determine what if any essential elements, nutrients, anti-oxidants or neurotransmitter precursors are either out of balance or depleted from the body. Dr. Ruelas will look at levels deeper than depletion, investigating the integrity of the cell membrane and intracellular organelles themselves to determine if cellular dysfunction exists. Through this approach, Dr. Ruelas has helped individual regain their energy, vitality, and minimize and even overcome a disease process. By investigating a matrix of root causes in the diagnostic and therapeutic process he opens up a different ways of treating complex and chronic states of stress in order to rebalance the lives of his patients, providing them once again with energy and vitality. Dr. Ruelas also provides detoxification for a number of different problems ranging from various toxins such as heavy metal, to chemical dependency. He is certified to prescribe SUBOXONE.  (Read more about Suboxone therapy)

Dr. Ruelas remains very close to his training as a Clinical Psychologist, bringing into his care the emotional and mental health life of each of his patients. At the Institute where he practices he is surrounded by colleagues who are also engaged in the practice of Mindfulness and Integrative Mental Health Care. The Institute makes available to their patients psychotherapy, mindfulness treatment, yoga consultation, and myofascial massage therapy.

Dr. Ruelas holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and finished his Doctoral Thesis on the Neuropsychology of Attention Deficit Disorder vs. Depression in Children and Youth. He later studied psychoanalysis and went on to practice as a Child Psychoanalyst, working with Children and Youth in the Public Mental Health System. He served as on the Service Chief for the Orange County Children and Youth Program west region area and later as a Service Chief for Children and Youth County Wide Inpatient Programs. He completed post-doctoral studies on family systems at the Universita Degzi Studi Di Milano in Italy and has always continued to work with children with developmental and behavioral delays including but not limited to cognitive, behavioral and emotional challenges.

Dr. Ruelas started working in Addiction Medicine, first as Assistant Director of an inpatient treatment facility for individuals with known history of addiction coming out of the state penal system and transitioning back to the community. The program he helped to develop and worked in was funded by the National Institute of Health. Later he was an intake coordinator for the County inpatient opiate detoxification at the Brea Neuropsychiatric Hospital. He went on to treat and manage medically and psychological complicated substance dependent individuals with dual diagnosis. Most recently Dr. Ruelas has been appointed to be on the Board of Trustee for the America Osteopathic Association of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). He has written and presented on the topic of addiction medicine and has presented nationally on addiction treatment.
Most recently Dr. Ruelas has extended his model of care to First Choice, a residential medically directed diagnostic detoxification center, where the Erickson Philosophy is embraced while he has an opportunity not only to detoxify individuals from substance they may be abusing but to also differentiate what are the real problems they may be facing that are perpetuating their disorders. Dr. Ruelas take the time and has the inherent skill to expand beyond what most center are doing to treatment substance abuse disorder.

Dr. Ruelas has been recognized as one of the eminent doctors in the field of bio-identical hormones and is mentioned by Suzanne Somers in her books, Breakthrough, Ageless and Shout Out. Dr. Ruelas has had the opportunity to discuss and interview Deepak Chopra, M.D., Andrew Weil,M.D., Daniel Amen, M.D. and their contribution to mental health. He has presented nationally and internationally and has been a recognized speaker at the International Conference for Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis. He founded the first Ericksonian Integrative Medical Institute and continues to present at national and international conference on Ericksonian techniques in psychology and medicine. His areas of psychological expertise include developmental, attention, learning and mood disorders. He has training in psychoanalytic, CBT and system modalities. He is trained in the use of hypnosis, NLP and in marital and family therapy. As a Neuropsychologist his expertise is in attention deficit, cognitive and pervasive developmental disorders and he is DAN certified. He uses both neuropsychological assessments the QEEG analysis and neurofeedback when working with patients.

Dr. Ruelas is active in his local community and church, has strong faith and brings his knowledge and belief of God into his practice on a daily basis.

Functional and Preventive Medicine, Adult and Child Neuropsychology, Adult and Child Clinical Psychology, Addiction Medicine

Richard E. Landis Ph.D.


Richard E. Landis, Ph.D. is the Clinical Director for the Integrative Medical Institute for Orange County. He is a clinical and medical psychologist, international trainer and author.

Richard E. Landis, Ph.D.

Dr. Landis holds post-doctoral diplomate status in the areas of integrated medicine, behavioral medicine, and psychopharmacology, and he is board certified in traumatology.

He is the Executive Editor for the prestigious Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter and the Director of Training for the Southern California Society for Ericksonian Psychotherapy and Hypnosis. Dr. Landis is the past Senior Program Reviewer and the Audit Chairman for Committee Education for the State of California Mandatory Continuing Education for Psychologists Accrediting Agency and past Continuing Education Committee Chairperson for Association of Traumatic Stress Specialists.

As a person, Dr. Landis is much more than just someone with impressive credentials. He is a real person with that rare blend of scientific rigor, humanistic caring and twinkling humor. He combines tried-and true approaches that have withstood the test of time with newer perspectives and models that together effectively decrease suffering and increase a person’s ability to experience increased effectiveness, happiness and purpose in life.

Dr. Landis respects the multifaceted nature of what it means to be human. His approaches to emotional well being encompass the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of wellness. Given that no two people are alike, Dr. Landis fits his approaches to each person’s individual nature. His goal is not to change any one; it is to help each person to expand and balance who he or she is into becoming all that he or she can be. Whether the person’s goal is to find and experience more joy or to increase his or her effectiveness in life, Dr. Landis brings his four decades of professional experience to help make it happen.

Clinical psychologist, international trainer, author, integrated medicine, behavioral medicine, psychopharmacology

Donna Crowell, LCSW


Donna is a licensed clinical social worker whose experience in mental health programs includes having worked in both private and public agencies with children and their families.

Donna Crowell, LCSW

Besides being a Clinical Supervisor for interns, she has expertise in mindfulness cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and uses integrative methods in working with adults, couples and children.

Donna received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in psychology from the University of Riverside, California and then completed her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of California in Los Angeles. Donna has also served as a Clinical Supervisor for Social Work Interns and students providing in-depth training and clinical supervision toward their degree or license. Her career path has taken her from inpatient residential treatment of psychiatric patients to outpatient care in a public mental health clinical setting where she provided in depth psychotherapy for her child and adult patients. Her clinical orientation stems from a psychosocial orientation to the application of systemic cognitive behavioral therapy. Donna also worked at the University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCIMC) in their Neo-Natal and Pediatric Departments providing clinical consultation, grief and crisis management, short-term therapy and clinical supervision to interns. Following her departure from UCIMC Donna went into full time private practice specializing in the application of Integrative Psychotherapy with children, families and adults.

Donna is a personable therapist; she incorporates analytical training into a holistic paradigm to psychotherapy and emphasizes the importance of mind, body, and spiritual influences into the treatment plan. She has a broad base knowledge of life development and received extensive training in systemic family, Ericksonian psychotherapy and health psychology and continues to pursue educational opportunities. She now practices with the Integrative Medical Institute of Orange County providing Individual and Family psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy, grief and crisis management, integrative psychotherapy for children and youth, family psychotherapy

Viviana Schilpp, LCSW


Viviana Schilpp is a licensed clinical social worker who has expertise in the treatment of depression and anxiety using her expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) amongst other modalities.

Viviana Schilpp, LCSW

Her integrative approach to treatment has come about through her work both in private outpatient and inpatient settings.

Ms. Schilpp received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her graduate degree from California State University, Long Beach. Before opening up her clinical practice at The Integrative Medical Institute, Ms. Schilpp worked with the chronically ill at the University of California Irvine Medical Center. In addition to her work at IMI, she is a therapist for the Caring for Women with Maternal Depression program at St. Joseph Medical Center. This is one of the very few treatment programs in the country for postpartum depression, postpartum panic disorder and postpartum psychosis.

Ms. Schilpp’s clinical practice utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy to treat adult and adolescent individuals suffering from mental disorders. She has extensive training in treating major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and panic disorder. Focus is placed on changing the thoughts, feeling and behaviors which lead to distress.

Ms. Schilpp is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and Postpartum Support International. She is a founding member of Families to Families Aid-Kenya. She lives in Orange with her husband and three children.

Elin Lightbody, MA.Ed.


Elin has been with IMI since 2010. She excels in her office management skills, human resources and payroll duties, event planning, marketing and works hands on with patients providing state of the art neurofeedback training.

Elin Lightbody, MA.Ed.

Her education in Psychology and Education Counseling offers her the knowledge to handle complex patient issues and serving as a liaison between patient and practitioner. She utilizes her extensive training in neurofeedback and brain mapping (QEEG) to assist in brainwave regulation treatment. She continues to seek personal and professional development and is presently enrolled in a certification program to become a certified Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach. With her pleasant demeanor, wonderful smile and talented communication skills she smoothly and immediately but delicately resolves most of the problems related to office management. Elin represents everything IMI stands for; she is eternally optimistic, a wonderful problem solver, her energy is transforming and she uses her knowledge of psychology in her work with each patient.
IMI is proud and blessed to have Elin as the hub of our clinical and administrative team.


  • Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach – Institute for Functional Medicine- 2018
  • Master of Arts in Education Counseling – Azusa Pacific University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – Villanova University
  • BodyTalk Access certificate
  • Neurofeedback Training via BCIA certified instructors

Samantha Rebert


Samantha is our Mindfulness Yoga Instructor, working with our patients to help them better manage pain, increase relaxation, improve flexibility and strength and restore optimal health.

Samantha Rebert

She brings to our center a strong educational background in anatomy and physiology. In addition to her solid academic work, she has experience teaching yoga and mindfulness movement since 2005. Her approach and instruction is thoughtful, playful and adaptive including but not limited to use of yoga postures, breathing techniques, meditation, and essential oils.


  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing: CSUF
  • Master of Science, Kinesiology/Physiology: CSUF
  • Adjunct Professor of Kinesiology: California State University, Fullerton, CA
  • Adjunct Faculty: Santiago Canyon College and Fullerton College
  • BASI Pilates instructor

Lily Kirkland


Lily Kirkland is a Registered Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who has extensive experience working with adolescents and also works with couples, individuals, and families.

Lily Kirkland

Lily received her undergraduate degree from California State University of Long Beach and her graduate degree from Argosy University. Before starting her clinical work at The Integrative Medical Institute, Lily did her post graduate internship with Pepperdine University and her practicum for the Capistrano Unified School District. For the past 12 years, Lily has dedicated herself in working with former foster youth in Orange County through nonprofits such as the YWCA of Central Orange County, and most currently is working for the Orangewood Foundation as a supervisor of a transitional housing site – which helps young women ages 18-24 transition into adulthood after leaving the foster care system. Lily’s positive attitude and charismatic personality spread to all she meets. We are blessed to have Lily as a member of our IMI team.

Cathy Lascoe


“Cat” lights up our office as our talented integrative massage therapist. Her charismatic and caring nature help her connect with all those she comes in contact with.

Cathy Lascoe

Cat has an exceptional gift in her healing power of touch and enjoys helping patients transition from chronic or acute physical pain to lasting relaxation and relief.

With years of massage experience she excels in Deep Tissue, Swedish Massage, Reflexology, Tui Na Chinese Massage, and Sports Therapy. She works closely with the IMI clinical and mental health team, working to provide personalized care for each patient.

IMI is blessed to have her as part of the team and we are grateful for her positive attitude and warm, giving and healing nature.


  • Licensed by the State of California Massage Association 2009
  • Licensed for Caregiver-Elderly care with State of California 2015
  • Certified by the Healing Hands School of Holistic Health 2005


  • Cat is one of the first 1,000 massage therapists to be licensed in the state of California!

Suzy Bradley


Suzy has been with IMI since 2015 and excels at managing the IMI back office as head of the nursing team. Her extensive clinical knowledge paired with her caring personality make her a true asset to the IMI team.

Suzy Bradley

With over ten years of hands on patient care as a registered nurse, Suzy provides patients with high level nursing care administering vitamin infusions, slow push infusions, injections, microcurrent treatment, ozone therapy and blood draws amongst other state of the art integrative therapies. She excels at providing patients with IPL (Intense Pulse Light) treatments and became certified in 2016. Suzie is certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS and is currently enrolled in a Masters in Nursing program. Her extensive clinical knowledge paired with her caring personality make her a true asset to the IMI team.


  • BSN/MSN Degree: In Progress, Western Governors University
  • Associates Degree, Nursing: Walla Walla Community College 2006


  • RN License: ACTIVE
  • PALS, BALS, ACLS certified

Brenda Gutierrez


Brenda has been with IMI since 2015. She is a central part of the IMI family as she serves as a crucial hub in managing both administrative and sensitive clinical concerns for each patient.

Brenda Gutierrez

She provides excellent customer service with new and existing patients and interfaces with clinicians and nursing personnel to arrange the patients overall care and concerns. Her energy and positive outlook can be contagious and her smile enlightening. She kindly and selflessly provides ongoing assistance to all those in need. She is fluent in Spanish and her bilingual skills adds another dimension to the services she provides. IMI is truly blessed by her presence.


  • Bachelor of Health Science in Healthcare Management – California State University Dominguez Hills, CA -2017
  • Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach – Institute for Functional Medicine 2018
  • National Institute of Health-Certificate
  • Institute for Health Care Improvement in Quality Management-Certificate

Amanda Cerjak


Amanda is one of IMI’s newest additions and has shown to be a vital part of the team. She serves as an executive assistant to Dr. Ruelas and other head clinicians at the office and diligently works to cater to the needs of not only the patients of IMI, but also her team members.

Amanda Cerjak

Additionally, Amanda works closely with IMI’s skilled nursing staff to ensure stress-free and efficient visits. With a background in Biological Science and a passion for others, Amanda is dedicated to provide the utmost care and respect to those around her while keeping patients informed to the best of her ability. Amanda has a smile permanently plastered on her face and enjoys sharing those smiles with the patients of IMI.


  • Bachelor of Science in Biological Science, Differential Cell- California State University of Fullerton, CA
  • Minor in Chemistry: Specifically quantitative, biochemical, and organic
  • Finance Vice President of Alpha Delta Pi Sorority
  • Vice President of Programs for GAMMA – Greeks Advocating Mature Management of Alcohol

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