The Brentwood House Welcomes Lisa Steele
Bringing another esteemed professional into the MBRC family
In this post, we welcome our new Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Steele, to The Brentwood House. Lisa has been executive director of all MBRC sites, including houses at Corral, Brentwood, Latigo and the IOP, since last September, and is already improving the services we bring to our clients and their families.
Q. Lisa, you have a wealth of experience in substance abuse and recovery. Will you tell us again about your background, for the Brentwood House blog?
A. I have almost 30 years in the behavioral health field. I moved around a lot; I wanted to experience as many settings as possible because I wanted to learn what the best environment is for people to achieve sobriety. I’ve spent a lot of time helping to develop programs that integrate mental health and substance abuse treatment, or co-occurring disorders.
One of my last assignments involved working with one treatment organization to develop a mental health acute hospital. I’ve also worked in a forensic substance abuse and mental health program and been an administrator for the largest sub-acute psychiatric hospital in CA.
I have a Ph.D. in Psychology with a certification in substance abuse treatment, and I’m also certified in the treatment of co-occurring disorders.
Q. And will you tell us again why you decided to enter the treatment and recovery field?
A. My father died as a result of his addiction to prescription pain pills. I didn’t know about his drug abuse at the time. I took an internship at the Matrix Center, a treatment center in Beverly Hills, and my supervisor asked me why I was interested. When I told her I didn’t know, she said anyone who enters treatment and recovery field has a reason, and I should figure it out.
Two weeks after I started the internship, my father called from detox when I was studying for my doctorate and told me about his addiction. Substance abuse wasn’t a prevalent then as it is now, and I hadn’t recognized the signs growing up. But I knew something was wrong and hearing him say that answered a lot of questions for me.
I realized that my drive to help not only people in recovery but their families was propelled by my own experience. I knew in high school I wanted to help people.
Q. What are your views on women having separate treatment centers like Brentwood House?
A. Research shows that men and women process things differently, especially around emotions. There’s a different set of societal rules. In other words, we expect people to come into treatment, open their hearts, and talk about what’s going on, and that’s fine for some women, but not for many of the men. Growing up, most men are told to just deal with things, be a man and not show their emotions, so it’s a lot to expect them to throw that history and culture away and come into treatment and be different.
Our women’s program is tailored to how women process emotions and is designed with that in mind. We offer a trauma-free and non-violent, culturally sensitive environment around women’s needs since a number of women have experienced trauma either directly or vicariously.
We pay close attention to our décor and the level of noise in the house, for example. We want to have a calming environment to help women thrive, and alongside top-notch treatment that’s where our efforts are focused.
We welcome Lisa to our team of professionals, and look forward to her contributions as we continue to work towards making Malibu Beach Recovery Center, The Brentwood House, and the rest of our facilities the best in the nation.