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Meet The Team

Barrasso Family

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Patrick Barrasso, LCSW


Patrick is the founder and Executive Director of In Balance Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program, and the In Balance Academy. He is a noted psychotherapist with over 25 years of extensive training and experience in adolescent and adult substance abuse and mental health treatment. He is the "heart and soul" of the In Balance programs. His dedication, direction and personal commitment to helping adolescents and their families is demonstrated in all aspects of treatment. His extensive experience makes him a frequent presenter at both local and national conferences. He has presented at the U.S. Journal Training National conferences, and the FACES, Family and Addiction Conferences and Educational Seminars on a variety of adolescent treatment topics including the challenges of overcoming the culture of adolescent substance abuse.

"The Positive Peer Culture (PPC) model, a pillar of In Balance Academy, is consistent with the philosophy we have used since the inception of In Balance services for youth starting in 1996. This philosophy involves guiding young people to help each other. This is the basis of the positive peer culture. Young people will start to heal the shame that contributed to the mess in their lives by helping each other with day to day difficulties. It is an interesting and difficult process to watch these youth struggle, but it is in these challenging times that true growth takes place. The other night I sat through a community meeting and witnessed two young people try to sort out a conflict with each other. There were several points when I wanted to intervene but I let it play out. They did an amazing job of bringing it to a productive resolution. You see, the heart of our philosophy is that young people can sort out most of their own difficulties with the proper support and guidance. In each step we take with these young men at the Academy the message is clear and consistent: “You are capable.”

It is this message that is reinforced in all aspects of our program, whether it be in an equine experience, a community meeting led by the leadership council or fifteen-mile hike, we continually go back to the idea that they are capable and we treat them as such.

Often drugs, alcohol and other self-defeating behavior leave an individual's self-esteem in serious jeopardy and diminish their ability to problem-solve. This is typical of many young men that enter the Academy. After being at the Academy for a period of time, it is a rare occurrence that our students are told what to do; instead, they are guided to solutions that they feel ownership of. It takes a lot of time, faith, patience and fortitude to graduate from In Balance Academy. Those that do graduate, often have a new belief system about the endless limitations of their capabilities. This belief system keeps our graduates successful long after their ranch experience is over and is a credit to the positive peer culture, under the careful watch and guidance of our dedicated and competent staff. When I was in my crazy teenage years, (yes, they were crazier than most youth we treat) a coach from my junior high reached in and helped to re-direct my life. His words were not profound but his message was. He had a constant belief that I was capable of a different life than what I had created for myself. I often wished he had just given me the answers to solve all my problems. Instead, he simply guided me through my problems until the solutions became known to me. It was his influence that helped launch Patrick, the counselor. My senior year in high school marked the beginning of the transformation in my life.

I began to believe I was capable and once I had a new belief system, people started to seek me out to help them. This process started to reinforce that I was a good person who could contribute something positive to my community. Once this shift took place, I also realized that I had to give up my negative peer subculture and surround myself with a positive one. One of those peers is my wife, now of 27 years. This model that we use has changed the lives of thousands of young people across this world, including my own. Even though that coach had no idea what a positive peer culture was, he helped me believe in myself and encouraged me to help others. This is what we do every day at the Ranch, we help young people believe in themselves and in turn help each other."


Betsy Barrasso


Along with her husband, Patrick Barrasso, Betsy has been instrumental in the founding and operation of the existing In Balance operation. Betsy brought to In Balance her experience of over 10 years as a legal assistant and office administrator. She still helps oversee communications, contracts, document preparation, and has contact with clients and referrals; additionally, she supervises all administrative and accounting staff and consultants. She retired from her position as the Academy’s Admissions Director in 2023 and has lovingly passed the torch to Tiffany Gallego.


Anthony Barrasso,

Chief Operating Officer

Anthony has quite the eclectic background, he graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor's in Philosophy in 2004 and then again in 2006 with a Master's in Public Administration and Policy.  After which he continued his education at Sandra D'Oconnor Law school where he received a Master's in Legal Studies. Anthony's relevant work experiences includes: 7th&8th grade boys and girls basketball coach, Wilderness Staff for Aspen Achievement Academy and Intern for the Department of Defense in the Office of Force Transformation. Anthony's relevant life experience includes: Journey of Hope, a 4,000 mile cross country bicycle trek to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities; 3 months study abroad program in Urbino, Italy; and 22-day excursion to South Africa with 14 In Balance students. Anthony is functionally important to In Balance in that he has set up systems of accountability that have allowed the Academy to reach levels of efficiency that is unusual among "mom and pop" businesses, enabling In Balance to be more competitive in an increasingly corporate environment.  However, this is not where Anthony's real passion lies.  When he participated on the Journey of Hope he experienced a summer that changed him forever.  He realized the importance and impact of true service, it is this gift that he hopes to share with the rest of the students of In Balance.  Anthony will be transforming the wilderness program into a more service oriented direction.  So far he has planned and participated in two trips to South Africa, one trip to Kenya/Tanzania, one trip to Nepal, and most recently a 22 day trip to Peru. In Peru the boys of In Balance had the chance to trek to 15,000 feet, watch the clouds roll over the cliffs of Machu Picchu, take a canoe ride in the Amazon, celebrate service at two orphanages that service kids with special needs, and build a school in a town that otherwise had no access to education.t and links, or connect data from your collection.


Daniel Barrasso, MSW

Young Adult Program Director and Outreach Director

Daniel Barrasso joined In Balance with a Bachelor's in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master of Social Work degree through Arizona State University in 2010. He comes to the team with plenty of relevant life and work experience. He previously worked at In Balance during its early stages, for 6 years, as a life coach at In Balance Academy, a group facilitator at In Balance Intensive Outpatient and as a life coach for In Balance Transitional Living circa 2006. He decided to take a three year hiatus in which he worked for a nationally recognized leader in adult residential treatment, where he proved to be a vital member of their team. After becoming lead of their Intake department and garnering extensive professional experience he decided to come back to In Balance to further his career and passions. Daniel has had many roles with In Balance including: Life Coach, Marketing Director, Intake and Admissions, Primary therapist and now is the Program Director of our In Balance Young Adult Programs  and continues to be the "face" of In Balance as our Outreach Director. "I grew up with an intense passion to help others, whether that meant volunteering at the Children's Hospital, staying overnight at a homeless shelter every Thanksgiving or helping a stranger on the side of the road. I've always known that I wanted to make a significant impact on young peoples' lives specifically; I just didn't know how I wanted to do it. I started off my college career looking to get a degree in education, become a teacher and have the ability to make a positive change in my students. My career path took an unexpected turn when I was asked to come work at In Balance one summer in 2006. From the second I came into contact with the population we serve and the dream that is In Balance I absolutely, positively knew that I could not see myself doing anything other than this. I believe full heartedly in the vision of In Balance and am thrilled to be part of the team again." Daniel has two young kids, a wife, 2 dogs and loves to be active, play basketball, work out, draw and bring the fun wherever he goes. 


Tiffany Barrasso-Gallego, LCSW

Academy Admissions Director / Clinical Director

Tiffany Barrasso-Gallego has worked at In Balance since its' inception in various roles, she has been a life coach, a In Balance Academy primary therapist, the program director, and a therapist at In Balance Young Adult; she is now the Admissions Director of In Balance Academy and the Clinical Director of all of In Balance programs.

In her dual role as Academy Admissions Director and Clinical Director, Tiffany is able to become intimately familiar with all incoming Academy clients and families prior to their arrival.  This helps ensure that each client has the appropriate therapist assignment, and that the In Balance Academy operations, clinical, academic, and milieu teams are best prepared to support the young men from the moment they arrive.  Tiffany will have a connection with each family from the beginning of their process through their son’s graduation.  She is assisted by the incredible Crystal Duran who is the admissions coordinator.  As the Clinical Director, she supervises and supports the various clinicians and helps steer the clinical care of all In Balance Continuum clients.


Tiffany started at the In Balance Intensive Outpatient Program in 1997. From there she helped with the planning and opening of In Balance Academy in 2004, serving as a milieu manager and primary therapist at the Academy. She received her Bachelor's in Special Education from the University of Arizona and Master's in Social Work from Arizona State University.


n 2006, Tiffany then helped to develop the In Balance Transitional Living program. Tiffany and Patrick Barrasso, owner of In Balance, realized how difficult it was for young adults coming out of treatment to be thrown back into the same environment that got them into treatment in the first place. Often they would stumble in their recovery. It was Tiffany and Patrick's belief that this stumble was unnecessary. Transitional Living was the answer; it would provide a safe and recovery living environment that would allow residents to acclimate back into society at a manageable pace. They would be introduced to young people in recovery in the Tucson area, helping them to realize that their community of support goes far beyond anything they first realized. They could enroll in college classes, find a sponsor that would become essential to their growth, learn how to attain, maintain and succeed at a job. These individuals will achieve success and will take these accomplishments with them as they continue off on their life path. Tiffany is a skilled and wise clinician and brings her many years of clinical experience to the clients every single day.

Clinical Team

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Sarah Mota, DNP

Psychiatric Services Provider for In Balance Continuum

Sporting a BFA in dance and a BAE in early childhood education, Sarah Mota began her professional career as a public-school teacher. She spent 10 years teaching both fine arts and general education to students in the city of Tucson. After 10 years Sarah desired a shift in her career path and began her medical training by earning a master’s degree in nursing practice. After her clinical rotation in pediatric psychiatry, Sarah had found her new calling. She has spent the last 4 years working as an RN on the pediatrics unit at a level one psychiatric hospital. Most recently Sarah completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in Psychiatric Mental Health. During training she completed clinicals with Dr. Remolina and nurse practitioners with Marana Health Care. However, Sarah considers her greatest accomplishment to be her 4 month old daughter! She has truly enjoyed the clients of In Balance that she has met so far and is VERY excited to become part of the team as a full time staff member. 


Tanja Champagne, RN

Medical Coordinator

Tanja is a registered nurse with a professional journey that started 13 year ago. Currently appointed as the Medical Coordinator for our Transitional Living programs in Tucson, she will now serve as the Medical Coordinator for the entire continuum. In this role, Tanja will oversee  our dedicated certified nursing assistants, medication management, and medical protocols, ensuring continuity and safety of our healthcare standards.


Tanja grew up in New Mexico, graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2004, with a degree in biology and chemistry, and continued her education in Arizona where she completed the second degree BSN program at the University of Arizona in 2011. Throughout her diverse career, Tanja has found fulfillment in various nursing roles, with notable experiences in the Cardiovascular ICU, at a level one medical center, and as a school nurse at an elementary school dedicated to serving over 1,000 immigrant children and their families. Reflecting on her passion for advocacy, Tanja shares, "It is deeply rooted in who I am to advocate for those whose needs might easily fall between the cracks. Working with vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly, is a privilege." Her commitment to making a difference is evident in her personal philosophy, and she thrives on the opportunity to contribute to the well-being of those in need.


Thomas Vincent, LMSW

Assistant Clinical Director

Thomas Vincent, Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) has over 13 years of experience working in the field of chemical dependency treatment. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelors in Psychology and from Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Thomas began his career working in the field of recovery at In Balance and it is here where he developed a passion for helping those individuals who are afflicted with addiction and co-occurring disorders. Thomas believes in utilizing a holistic approach to identify core issues as each individual has their own unique story. Thomas utilizes a combination of modalities when working with clients including but not limited to; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, Multisystemic Therapy, Neurolinguistic Programming, and Solution Focused Therapy. Thomas is excited to be back at In Balance now as a Behavioral Health Technician and utilize the tools and resources that the program has to help its clients. Thomas was born in Kansas but has lived in Tucson since 1994. He has been married for 12 years and has two children. He grew up playing sports and is enthusiastic about utilizing physical health as a tool and part of his holistic approach. 


Nick Eckley, LCSW

Senior Lead Therapist

Nick comes to In Balance Academy with diverse experience in community mental health and residential substance abuse treatment centers in Arizona. Nick has over 10 years’ experience providing clinical care to teenagers and young adults. His primary focus has been treating substance use and co-occurring disorders. Nick has experience using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Motivational Interviewing (MI). and other therapeutic modalities in treating substance use and co-occurring disorders in outpatient and residential settings. Nick obtained his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master of Social Work degree through Arizona State University. Nick has seen the effects of substance abuse on individuals and families and strives to restore the lives of those affected by this disease. Nick is a LCSW (license number 19080) and has an elementary aged son and enjoys being outdoors and spending quality time with family.

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Chris Anable, BA, BHT

Primary Therapist

Chris Anable has been working in Behavioral Health services for over 8 years. Chris began as a Certified Peer having lived experience with addiction and then graduated from the CCAPP Academy as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor in California. Receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego in History, Chris is currently attending Pepperdine University for a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Chris has worked in Medication Assisted Treatment Facilities, In-patient Crisis Units, Residential Facilities, and Outpatient Clinics. As a southern California native, Chris enjoys surfing and sailing, and riding his motorcycles.


Ather Dawood, MS

Primary Therapist

Ather has been employed with In Balance Academy since 2018 and graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Ather is trained in Evidence-Based Treatment and Modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Psychoanalytic Therapy, Trauma Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Solution-Focused Therapy (SFT).

Ather developed passion for the mental health industry after losing his high school best-friend to substances. Ather’s philosophy of counseling begins and concludes with willingness and readiness to enter the clients’ counseling experience beside them. Ather trusts and believes in holistic recovery that takes into consideration the entire individual - physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. He believes that the therapeutic process is a corridor for development and healing. Through constructing a sound therapeutic rapport, he is able to encourage individuals in ascertaining more about themselves and their developmental and behavioral patterns. That being said, Ather has confidence each client can govern their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,
and consequently is capable of change.


Though he has many interests, Ather enjoys traveling and immersing himself in cultural experiences. Ather is trilingual and is fluent in Arabic, Chaldean, and English. Ather notes “Travel takes us out of our comfort zones and inspires us to see, taste and try new things. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt and explore new surroundings, but also to engage with different people, to embrace adventures as they come, and to share new and meaningful experiences with one another”. Ather’s other hobbies include fitness, beginning with soccer where he played Division 1 collegiate soccer and went forward to play semi-professional soccer at F.C. Tucson. His advocacy for the overall wellbeing of others has since led him to counseling.


Ashley Savage, B.Sc

Primary Therapist

Ashley Savage has worked with youth in many settings over the past 15 years.  She found her passion for working with youth in religious settings, as a youth group volunteer.  She then began athletic coaching, teaching at the middle school level, and running and organizing a youth music club for two years.  Five years ago, Ashley landed in the field of Youth behavioral health, where she knew she had found her purpose.  Her first exposure was working in wilderness therapy as a trail walker, and shortly thereafter was exposed to the world of equine therapy.   Ashley worked for two years at a residential boarding school, specializing in equine therapy, mindfulness, and strengthening family relations.  Ashley’s experience in holistic settings guides her model for life and working with youth, through connection, mindfulness, empathy, and a belief that each individual has greatness within.


Ashley received her Bachelor of Psychology through Capella University, where she focused her work on strength-based approaches and positive psychology.  Currently Ashley is pursuing her master’s in social work through Arizona State University, where she has spent time working with the Department of Child Services to strengthen families and raise resilient youth.  As an Arizona native, Ashley loves the sun, and being outdoors.  All of Ashley’s free time is spent camping, hiking, painting, and creating from the things that she finds in nature.  Ashley’s role at In Balance Ranch is to guide each young man to see the greatness inside, and to see the inherent strengths of each young man and family in order to move towards their highest potential.


Kayla Sloan, LMSW, LASAC

Primary Therapist

Kayla graduated from Kansas State University with a masters in Social Work in 2019. Prior to working at In Balance Academy she worked at a community mental health center helping clients with substance use and mental health disorders. Her goals at In Balance are to create healthy, therapeutic relationships that foster a safe place, and encourage and empower clients to make the needed and desired changes to help improve their quality of life.

Kayla believes that substance use is a symptom of something deeper that needs to be addressed. She is passionate about helping our clients address those deeper needs with the goal of creating a life that prompts longstanding recovery. She has experience addressing issues related to depression, anxiety, self-esteem, trauma, and grief, and looks forward to
bringing that experience to our clients and their families.

Academic Faculty

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Kala Phelps M.Ed.

Academic Director

Kala is thrilled to join In Balance as the new Academic Director of San Pedro Valley Academy.  A graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Studio Art, Kala earned her Masters of Education soon thereafter and has spent 19 years in the classroom in the Tucson area, teaching subjects ranging from elementary Art to middle school Social Studies and Journalism to high school Studio and AP Art History. She also earned her Gifted Endorsement in 2021 and has served on schools’ Instructional Councils and as a department head at her previous schools.


When teaching, one of Kala’s great joys is helping her students realize their potential, whether planning out a project or reflecting on successes once complete. She understands individual needs and encourages students to explore and challenge themselves; she is more interested in growth than a perfect outcome. She encourages questioning and exploration regardless of the subject matter, yet understands how important a strong foundation is to learning. 


Another passion of Kala’s is working with educators and developing engaging curriculum. She has presented at a variety of professional developed seminars at a national level including the National Art Education Association (NAEA)  annual conference about educational practices in student directed learning, enabling all students to reach their learning goals in a variety of ways. She is also a frequent contributor to School Arts Magazine, an industry-leading publication for art educators. 


Kala enjoys trying to keep her garden alive, exploring the desert with her husband and two children, painting, printmaking and volunteering on the Board of Trustees for her synagogue. Her home resembles a zoo with two dogs, a corn snake and a 60 year old desert tortoise. 


Jim Reynolds

Academy Teacher

Jim Reynolds comes to us from New England. He has 37 years of teaching experience with youth and adults. He has over 25 years of experience as principal and administrator in private schools at both K-12 and college levels. Jim also has used his teaching skills on construction sites over the past 30 years as Site Supervisor and Project Manager. He has been noted not only for his supervisory skills, but his high-end finish carpentry. 

In 1967, his father founded a center for men dealing with addictions, so Jim grew up in a family that was centered on service to others. As an adult, he served as Director of the center for six years. Volunteering his time and skills, he has helped to design and build ten churches along the East Coast. He also has enjoyed doing missionary work in Colombia, South America. For twelve years, he has served as Activities Director and Head Counselor for Juniors (8-12 year olds) at a one-week, Virginia youth camp, and for the past six years has been honored to be Dean of Students at the annual Northeast Regional Student Convention. 

He and his wife recently relocated to Arizona. Jim has always had a special place in his heart for teenage boys who are dealing with the recovery process and is very happy to be a part of In Balance Academy. Jim enjoys playing his guitars, hiking, camping, maintaining his personal library of 2000+ books and spending time with his wife. 

One of his favorite quotes is, "My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness."


Mark Hixson

Academy Teacher/Coach

Mark Hixson moved to the desert of Arizona from the rainforest of SE Alaska in 2013. He is passionate about the outdoors and enjoys packing a camera on any of his adventures. While growing up, Mark wanted to be a cowboy. He followed that dream to Texas, where he studied Agriculture at West Texas State. After receiving his BS, he returned to Alaska, where he owned and operated a marine business for 30 years.

For the past 40 years, Mark has worked with youth, in the church, on the street, in the schools, in the home, and in the wild. He enjoys working as a coach and has developed and coached teams ranging from pee wee to adult. He credits those that worked with him in his youth for the passion that he has for youth today. He brings that passion for youth to the classroom as our Science teacher as well as his passion for the many plants, critters, and lessons that lay beyond the walls of the classrooms.

He has climbed mountains, swam in oceans, and crossed rivers all in search of an adventure. He enjoys spending time with his wife, cooking, and working in his garden. It now brings him a joy to bring the adventures of the mountains, oceans, and rivers into the lives of his students.


Ricardo “Rickie” Calderon

Academy Teacher

Born and raised in Tucson, Ricardo (aka Rickie) graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.S. of Criminology and a B.S. of Sociology.  During his undergraduate degrees, Rickie had chosen to specialize his field research in sociological, criminology/delinquency, and substance use issues surrounding child, adolescent, and adult males. He is excited to announce that he will begin his pursuit of his Masters of Education with certification through Arizona State University beginning fall of 2024. 


Before In Balance, Rickie worked as a paralegal for a non-profit legal aid in Flagstaff, Arizona, and worked with the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Rickie began his teaching career as a Physical Education teacher in an underserved K-8 charter school in Central Tucson. He has stated that he is greatly honored to be able to serve the students here at In Balance as this is the population that he had worked closely with in his undergraduate years and believes that through his knowledge and education, he can make a positive difference in his students' lives. 


Rickie is an avid hockey, baseball, football, and soccer fan. When not playing or watching sports he enjoys cooking for his fiancée, playing with his cats, going to concerts, and playing video games.


Scott Meinhardt, A.A.S., (B.A.S. in progress)

Academy Teacher

Scott has an A. A. S. degree in Computer Science from Cochise College and is in the process of getting his B. A. S. degree through the University of Arizona. Prior to In Balance, he has tutored math students at all levels both privately and through Cochise College.

Scott has three children that all happen to have dyslexia. This has made learning in a school environment quite difficult for them. Conversations and disagreements with their school helped him understand the complications that arise with certain learning disabilities and, for the most part, how to overcome them. Of course, all three kids are gifted in the area of math.

Scott stays busy outside the classroom by playing video games with the kids, bowling with the wife and brother, hiking the local mountains with friends, and the occasional carpentry or landscaping "honey-do" list. 

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Milieu & Equine Staff


Peter Doyle, MA

Program Director

Peter Doyle is an alumni of all three In Balance programs and has worked for the In Balance Continuum since 2008. Peter has his Master of Science in Addiction Counseling. Peter graduated Cum Laude in May 2015 with his B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University in December 2020. Peter has been active in the local 12-step fellowship since 2006. He assists with the daily living, milieu support, staff supervision and recovery of the In Balance boys and also assists residents in meeting their program fitness goals. Being an alumni of In Balance allows Peter to bring a unique perspective to the staff and program management as well as the residents because he has had direct experience with what the residents encounter as they go through the program.


Sharon Reynolds

Executive Administrative Director

Sharon Reynolds grew up in Southern California and moved to Maine at seventeen to attend college.  She has a variety of qualifications and experience that make her uniquely suited for her role at In Balance.  With over thirty years of teaching in private schools, which includes fifteen years of teaching children to read, and almost twenty years of owning a bookkeeping business, she brings those diverse experiences to her position as Executive Administrative Director.  Sharon has taken the administrative assistant team to new levels of productivity with her drive to always find a better, more efficient way. 


Sharon also has a great love for music and plays the piano, organ, guitar, and the old-fashioned accordion.  She brings this passion to the academy and directs our music program that includes Christmas caroling and live performances at SPVA graduations. 


Sharon has self-published children’s books that are enjoyed by family and friends and delights in the opportunities to mentor the next generations in her very large extended family. 

She is grateful for her faith, her husband, and the opportunity to serve with him at In Balance any way she can.

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