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 the 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.
He understands Immunology, as a branch of biology that studies the immune system and the physiological functioning of the immune system in states of health and illness. Dr. Ruelas looks at both states and attempts to understand the missteps that occur in disease while working to optimize health. Such concepts as autoimmune disease, inflammatory and autoinflammatory dysfunction, hypersensitivity, and deficiencies. It is a fabric of studies that is interwoven in the fields of oncology, endocrinology, rheumatology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, psychiatry, and dermatology. But in and of itself, the immune system within the body has no known location. There are components that might be outcomes but no one variable or variables are the system itself. Therefore, like the mind, it lies somewhere between matter, which plays a major role in the quality of life and maybe an outcome of the balance of energy our body mind and spirit interface with.
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 several years 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.
One of his areas of medical expertise is 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, antioxidants, 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 a different way of treating complex and chronic states of stress to rebalance the lives of his patients, providing them once again with energy and vitality. Dr. Ruelas also provides detoxification for several 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 patient’s psychotherapy, mindfulness treatment, yoga consultation, and myofascial massage therapy.
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 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 was appointed to be on the Board of Trustee for the America Osteopathic Association of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM), where he served as Trustee for two years. He has written and presented on the topic of addiction medicine locally and nationally
Dr. Ruelas believes that many individuals who suffer from chemical addiction, are gifted and have been overwhelmed with what their brains absorbed from their environment and other people. He has found while teaching individual to manage their gifts, they are more easily able to transcend to health and give up the addiction they have had so close to manage their pain and disturbance.
Dr. Ruelas while embracing the opportunity to detoxify individuals from substances they may be abusing he helps them to differentiate what are the real problems they may be facing that are perpetuating heir disorders. Dr. Ruelas take the time and has the inherent skill to expand beyond what most centers 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. He understands that hormone affects the body systemically, not just gynecologically. He understands and embraces that hormone have been in the body almost immediately following conception and remain in the body systemically throughout the course of life. He is intent on safely balancing all molecules of the body including hormones thus bringing the body to an optimal state of harmony.
Dr. Ruelas recognizes that we have been and are presently undergoing an evolution in consciousness, in our awareness, and he is making every effort to bring spirituality to psychology and medicine. Consciousness can be understood as an awareness of something more than ourselves. Dr. Ruelas embraces the concept that matter makes up only 4% of the universe the rest is not visible to us. By learning to be open to this other intangible world(s) Dr. Ruelas believes healing is enhanced and quality of life is improved. Though many individuals confuse spirituality with religion , they block off this awareness. These concepts are not necessarily the same thing, though they can be integrated. By understanding the difference and coming to an alignment with your core self, and the energies around you, life may be dramatically improved.
Dr. Ruelas is completing a two-year program with the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico, a program studying mystics and spiritual transformation through the teaching of the Bible with Richard Rohr and James Finley amongst others. He is also enrolled in a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program with the Claremont School of Theology, where he is studying theology and spirituality from a theological based perspective.
Dr. Ruelas is active in his local community engaged in activity with various church leaders and churches, he has a strong faith and brings his knowledge and belief of God into his daily practice.
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
ERICKSON FOUNDATION UPDATES
– Lifetime Achievement Award
Donna Crowell, LCSW
Donna J. Crowell, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker. She specializes in individuals, couples, family systemic therapy, mindfulness, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, grief and trauma therapy, as well as health psychology.
Donna Crowell, LCSW
Her clinical orientation stems from an integrative and personal narrative approach, incorporating cultural, familial, relational and spiritual backgrounds. Ms. Crowell’s expertise is in the treatment of anxiety, depression, relationship issues, stress management, lifestyle challenges, pain and loss.
Ms. Crowell’s approach is warm, supportive and non-judgmental. Her focus is to encourage clients to share their stories, to express their authentic self, and to uncover their personal resources and resiliency as they begin to grow and develop new strategies for managing life’s difficulties, crises, transitions and transformations. As clients gain insights about their present emotions, thoughts and behaviors being influenced by their past experiences they can begin to move towards a healthier and purposeful lifestyle. Her holistic paradigm emphasizes incorporating mind, body, and spirit on the path towards wellness.
Ms. Crowell received her BA in psychology from the University of California, Riverside and her MA in Clinical Social Work from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her career path has taken her from inpatient residential treatment of adolescents and their families to outpatient mental health clinical and hospital settings where she has provided in depth psychotherapy for children, adults and families.
Ms. Crowell has been a clinical supervisor for Clinical Social Work and Marriage and Family Interns and students. She worked at the University of California Irvine Medical Center (UCIMC) in their Neo-Natal and General Pediatric, Pediatric Oncology and Cardiology Departments providing clinical evaluations and consultations, grief and crisis management and short-term therapy. Currently Ms. Crowell is in full time private practice with the Integrative Medical Institute of Orange County specializing in the application of Integrative and Narrative Psychotherapy with individuals, couples and families.
Individual, couples, and family systemic therapy, mindfulness, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, grief and trauma therapy, health psychology
Medicare, Cigna PPO, HMO, EAP Anthem Blue Cross PPO, HMO, EPO and Blue Shield PPO. As well as other PPOs that have out of network benefits.
To make an appointment with Donna Crowell, please call 714-771-2880, ext. 3
Viviana Schilpp, LCSW
COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
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.
Amy Joy Smith
Amy Joy Smith is a Nurse Practitioner specializing in Functional Medicine at IMI. She is a renowned pioneer in the PANDAS front who at this time, limits her work to PANS/PANDAS cases, and takes a holistic approach to medicine with experience as a clinical nutritionist.
Amy Joy Smith
Amy Joy Smith is also the mother of an amazing child with PANDAS and a dedicated PANDAS awareness advocate.
As a PANDAS parent, Amy understands what it’s like to have your child just slip away one day and have no idea why, to go from doctor to doctor to doctor without answers, to live in a dark place with your sick child, and to lose everything to PANDAS. Even after all of that, her son, now 22, is a senior in college with a full merit scholarship and a great life ahead of him. She believes that potentially each and every child can heal from PANDAS/PANS with the right information and a huge integrative toolkit.
Amy believes that every aspect of her personal and professional background has led her to this most clinically complex, professionally challenging and humbling work–that of supporting children with PANDAS/PANS and their families, as well as those with Lyme-based infections and other immune illness. She puts everything she has into each patient’s process and is thoroughly committed to seeing an end to the pathetic gap in the diagnosis and proper medical care of children with PANDAS and their families.
Amy serves on the PANDASNetwork.org Board of Directors and was the lead organizer of the West Coast PANDAS/PANS Parent Symposiums in 2012 and 2014. She has spoken at a number of conferences and trainings around the country and abroad. Like many providers that see children with PANDAS/PANS, Amy works with patients from around the world.
Having been both the mother of a child with a long-lasting and oftentimes severe case of PANDAS and a provider since before much was known about the illness, Amy is comfortable interacting with the familial breakdown and personal isolation that stems from it. She takes extra time to address the mental and emotional well-being of not only her patients but those affected by them. She makes it clear that people do not have to explain their mental or emotional states to her, or worry that she will judge them or think they’re crazy as many providers less equipped to deal with it often do. Amy knows she never would’ve personally made it through her own son’s illness on an emotional level without the support of other parents just like her. She is honored to be able to give back to these families by helping their children get well.
Amy is a team player, often working in tandem with other PANDAS providers around the country and taking the time to reach out to and consult with non-PANS/PANDAS providers who want to learn more about it. She is grateful to now be working with Dr. Ruelas and other providers at IMI and believes they have much to add to the PANDAS story in terms of both unraveling and treating this complex illness.
Those who know Amy can see that she assumes a very high level of responsibility for more than just her direct patients. Although she does have patients in 20 states and seven countries, she takes time out of her incredibly busy life of caring for others to do just that. For instance, Amy reaches out to connect with other parents through social media and blogging. She was the Medical Advisor and co-producer of the Emmy award winning PANDAS documentary My Kid Is Not Crazy, working with American film director and associate professor at University of Florida, Dept of Telecommunications, Tim Sorel. She frequently communicates and works with schools to help them provide the most appropriate services and accommodations to her patients who need them, and last year gave an in-depth training to over 200 school nurses on the east coast on how to identify and support students who may have PANDAS.
Amy has practiced functional and nutritional medicine since the early 1980′s and has studied with a number of pioneers in the field. She attended Syracuse University School of Nursing where she received her BSN in Maternal-Child Nursing, and all of her acute care and hospital experience is in pediatrics. While currently she is working with all ages of patients, Amy has a passion for working with children and teens. At the University of Minnesota, she was a Fellow in the World Health Organization’s renowned Adolescent Health Training Program Medical School, and in addition to being a Nurse Practitioner, has a Master’s Degree in Adolescent Health with a focus on Youth Development and Community Health. She loves educating patients and families and has extensive experience in community education and program development for families as well as vulnerable youth populations.
Amy is passionate about organizing to change public awareness and social policy so people live better lives on every front. She is on the Board of Directors of PANDASNetwork.org, a parent-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting PANDAS awareness, research, and advocacy.
Nathan has been with IMI since 2020 and excels at managing the IMI back office as head of the nursing team. His extensive clinical knowledge paired with his caring personality make him a true asset to the IMI team. Nathan is certified in BLS, ACLS, & PALS, he is a healthy living surfer and dirt biker. His excellent IV access with patients, extensive clinical knowledge and passion for integrative medicine make him a true asset to the IMI team.
With over ten years of hands-on patient care as a registered nurse, Nathan 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.
- Associates Degree, Nursing: Glendale Community College 2010
Licenses & Certifications:
- RN License: ACTIVE
- PALS, BLS, ACLS certified
OFFICE ADMINISTRATOR & ADMINISTRATIVE MEDICAL ASSISTANT
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.
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
OFFICE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
Amber is IMI’s front office assistant and handles the day-to-day administrative tasks, as well as coordinates patient experience at IMI, interfacing with clinicians and nursing personnel about patient care and concerns.
Amber is IMI’s front office assistant and handles the day-to-day administrative tasks, as well as coordinates patient experience at IMI, interfacing with clinicians and nursing personnel about patient care and concerns.
- B.A. from UCLA in the Department of Anthropology (focus on social systems, archeology, indigenous studies)
- Studied Hatha Yoga at the White Lotus Foundation with Ganga White and Tracy Rich
- Coursework in Transcendental meditation through the Maharishi Foundation USA and has been a practitioner of TM since 2012