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

Our Staff

Gary Ruelas, D.O., Ph.D - Founder

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. He 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.

PSYCHOLOGY: 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.

MEDICINE: 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.

CHILD DEVELOPMENT: 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.

ADDICTION MEDICINE: 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.

BRAIN/BODY ENHANCING HORMONE THERAPY: 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.

PERSONAL: 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.

Specialties

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

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Richard E. Landis Ph.D. - Clinical Director

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. He 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.

Specialties

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

To make an appointment with Dr. Landis, please call 949-495-1164

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Donna Crowell, LCSW - Individual and Family Psychotherapy

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. 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.

Specialties

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

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Viviana Schilpp, LCSW - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

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. 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.

To make an appointment with Viviana Schilpp, please call 714-528-3292.

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Elin Lightbody, MA.Ed. - Office Manger | Project Coordinator

Elin Lightbody, MA.Ed.

Elin has been with IMI for a numbers of year. She is a core part of our team, interfacing with each member daily, interacting with all existing and new patients. Her education in Psychology and Education Counseling offers her the knowledge to handle complex patient issues. With her pleasant demeanor, wonderful smile and talented communication skills she smoothly and immediately but delicately resolves most of the problems related to administrative difficulties. 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, from providing basic information, efficiently helping with complications they may be experiencing. She provides education to patients provides insight to our staff and contributes to the creative growth of our program. She continues to seek personal and professional development and is presently enrolled in a certification program for the Body Talk Access program. IMI is so fortunate to have her as part of our team.

IMI is proud and blessed to have Elin as the hub of our clinical and administrative team.

Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology – Villanova University, Villanova, PA
  • Master of Arts in Education Counseling – Azusa Pacific University, Orange, CA

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Samantha Gallo, MS - Integrative Yoga Instructor

Samantha Gallo, MS

Samantha is our newest addition to IMI. She is a Mindfulness Yoga Instructor, working with our patients to help them better manage pain, increase relaxation, improve flexibility and restore optimal health. She brings to our center a strong background in anatomy and physiology. In addition to her solid academic background, Samantha lives what she teaches; she is upbeat, pleasant, sensitive and creative. Her soul drives her work with others. She is a delight to be around and her personality is engaging. We are so thankful to have her as part of our team.

View Yoga Therapy Poses by Samantha Gallo

Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Business
  • Master of Science, Kinesiology/Physiology

Adjunct Professor of Kinesiology

  • California State University, Fullerton, CA