Ben Russack

Primary Therapist

RussackBenjamin Russack is a marriage and family therapist who joined the staff of Foundations San Francisco in October of 2014. He completed his undergraduate work at UC Berkeley then earned an MFA in creative writing from Saint Mary’s College and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, both in California.

A San Francisco native, Benjamin began working in the field of addiction and recovery following graduation and says he quickly felt like he “had found his people.”

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He has worked with several notable programs in the Bay Area and is also in private practice in San Francisco and Marin County, specializing in working with teens and young adults.

His duties at Foundations San Francisco include leading several groups each week on the related topics of trauma and addiction. Benjamin says he enjoys looking at an individual’s origin and working from that point. Some of his preferred methods include Jungian archetypal theory and the use of genograms to explore the connection between someone’s past and present, helping them to move toward healing.

While private practice has its perks, Benjamin enjoys the team atmosphere at Foundations San Francisco and enjoys the opportunity his job provides to watch people get better.

Benjamin’s other degrees get a workout too. He continues to write – both fiction and nonfiction articles in the field of psychology – and he practices Brazilian jujitsu in his spare time. He is also a tournament level chess player, who taught the game to others while he was still in school.

Nandini Sodera

Primary Therapist

Nandini SoderaOriginally from India, Foundations San Francisco’s Primary Therapist Nandini Sodera considers San Francisco home. She received her bachelor’s in economics and her master’s in clinical psychology from Notre Dame de Namur. While initially focusing on research work for Kaiser, SFVA and NCIRE, Sodera discovered she garnered greater satisfaction from her therapeutic work at various agencies, including San Francisco Forensic Institute, Pacific Forensic Psychology Associates and Hospice By The Bay.

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Now, after a decade of experience working with everything from CBT/DBT to psychodynamics, Sodera’s passion for combining her analytical and clinical skills with mindfulness and spirituality helps clients engage holistically in the therapeutic process. Outside of work, Sodera enjoys exploring different neighborhoods in San Francisco, meditation, sci-fi, astronomy, fireplaces, brisk walks all over the city, hiking in the redwoods, dancing and spending quality time with loved ones.

Russ Nordmeyer

Primary Therapist

RussRuss Nordmeyer joined the team at Foundations San Francisco as intake coordinator in August 2014. In 2015, he was promoted to Primary Therapist at Foundations, where he treats clients with co-occurring addiction and mental health issues. He did his undergraduate work at University of Minnesota and then completed a master’s in counseling psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2012.

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During his course of study, he trained as a counselor at the Marin AIDS Project. Following graduation from CIIS, he interned at California Pacific Medical Center’s Institute for Health and Healing, where he was trained in expressive arts and guided imagery. Nordmeyer also led a cardiac rehabilitation support group and worked as an integral part of the Palliative Care team. Following his training at CPMC, Russ completed his internship hours working as an intern therapist at The Liberation Institute. Prior to entering the behavioral health field, Nordmeyer worked as a hairstylist. He loved the connection with people but didn’t really care about the art of hairstyling. He often heard, “I feel like you’re my therapist,” so he took that as a sign and made a career change. In his downtime, Nordmeyer likes to produce dance, house and club music.

Dani Comerford Worth, LMFT, LPCC

Therapist

Dani Comerford Worth joined Foundations San Francisco in 2016. Always drawn to the human transformation story, Worth worked as a professional actress in Miami and Chicago before transitioning to the field of psychotherapy. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in classical theatrical performance and musical theatre from the New World School of the Arts and a master’s degree in somatic psychotherapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

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Worth works with individual and group therapy patients at Foundations San Francisco addressing addiction, trauma, relationships and interpersonal dynamics. She believes in a holistic recovery process and is committed to learning new techniques to administer the most efficient care. She has experience administering art, movement and dance therapy to a variety of patients, including veterans with PTSD and those in addiction recovery.

Prior to joining the Foundations team, Worth worked at residential, partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs for eating disorders at the Cielo House and the Association for Professionals Treating Eating Disorders. She also worked with teens and their families at Coyote Coast: Youth and Family Counseling and partnered with the Syzygy Dance Project.

When she isn’t at Foundations, Worth offers private therapy services, specializing in trauma and the body. In her free time, she enjoys long-distance hiking, camping, dancing, making soup and playing with her puppy.

Sasha Brodsky

Primary Therapist

Primary therapist Sasha Brodsky brings more than 10 years of experience providing mental health and substance use treatment to patients at Foundations San Francisco. After receiving her Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University, Brodsky worked in various facilities specializing in assessing and assisting dual diagnosis clients with substance use disorders, eating disorders, mental health disorders and trauma.

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Prior to joining FRN, she worked with Edgewood Center for Children and Families, and she served as a primary therapist and director of outpatient services at Muir Wood Adolescent and Family Services. She also has experience working as a counselor and therapist at Safe Harbor Treatment Center, Miramar Recovery Center, Newport Harbor Recovery Center, Hired Power and Village of Hope recovery centers.

Brodsky grew up in Washington, D.C., and lived in Boston, Massachusetts, before moving to California. She was inspired to work with recovery patients by her own experience in recovery. “I like to think that I tripped and fell and ended up exactly where I was supposed to be,” Brodsky said. “You don’t find the work; the work finds you.” In her free time, she enjoys yoga, urban hiking, music, going on adventures and almost anything to do with dinosaurs.

Dr. K. Whitney Smith

Psychiatrist

Dr. K. Whitney Smith grew up in California and attended Brown University for her undergraduate work before entering medical school at UC Davis. After completing her formal education, she did her residency in San Mateo County and has extensive experience in the field of addiction treatment. She chose psychiatry because this particular science helps people make better sense of their experiences. It provides the ability for us to learn who we are and, through that discovery, find greater happiness and satisfaction in life.
That carries over to the field of addiction. Dr. Smith says it’s a very satisfying experience to be a part of someone having a complete return to health. Complete recovery is very possible, and she enjoys her role in that process.

Dario Martinez, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Dario Martinez has been a licensed marriage and family therapist at Foundations San Francisco since August 2017. He specializes in facilitating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and trauma-informed addiction counseling. Previously, he worked as a needle exchange manager at Tenderloin Health Services in San Francisco and completed an internship in Kaiser Permanente’s Chemical Dependency Recovery Program.

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Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Martinez earned a bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts from UC Berkeley. He later attended the California Institute of Integral Studies and earned a master’s in counseling psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology. “I was trained to specialize in working with trauma but quickly recognized the deep connection between trauma and addiction,” Martinez said. “This inspired me to pursue intensive training in addiction counseling in both hospital and community mental health settings.” He is passionate about facilitating change and watching his clients grow. When he isn’t working, Martinez designs clothing and spends time with his long-time partner.

Dylan Kersh, LMFT

Psych Ed and Process Groups Leader

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Dylan Kersh spent over a decade teaching middle and high school students in Oakland and Marin County, California as well as Maui, Hawaii. Although he found this career rewarding, Kersh eventually realized that his greatest asset was the ability to connect with young people and inspire them to do positive things with their lives. This realization led him back to school to pursue his lifelong aspiration of becoming a psychotherapist.

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After graduating from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, Kersh began his career at FamilyWorks in San Rafael, California. He has also worked at Mind Therapy Clinic, Shine a Light Addiction Recovery Specialists, A New Path Marin treatment center and is currently operating his own private practice in San Rafael. Over his career, Kersh has worked with individuals, teens, families and couples from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds and found that with an open heart, a sincere desire to connect and clinical integrity, he could effect real change in their lives.

Kate Maxey, LAc

Acupuncturist/Massage Therapist

The owner of Plum Gold On-Site Wellness, Kate has extensive training as an acupuncturist and massage therapist. In addition to holding an MS degree in traditional chinese medicine from the San Francisco School of Massage, she earned an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz, studied Swedish and Shiatsu massage at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences and completed 200 hours of yoga teacher training in Chacala, Mexico. Kate has lived in the Bay Area on and off since 2000, but has also called New York and Barcelona home. A yoga practitioner since 1995, she is also a lover of nature, flamenco music, hip-hop dancing, world travel and fabulous food.

Dee Gagnon

Intake Coordinator

Dee Gagnon joined the team at Foundations San Francisco as an intake coordinator in June 2018. Born and raised in a small town in Minnesota, Gagnon moved to Santa Barbara, CaliforniaA to complete an internship in music therapy at the Devereux Foundation. She later moved relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area to receive her master’s degree, specializing in adolescent treatment. Gagnon has years of experience working with treatment programs in the Bay Area that specialize in substance abuse, mental health treatment and family therapy.

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Her commitment to recovery and each family’s involvement in the process has been lifelong, and she is thrilled and honored to be involved with the Family Support Group at Foundations San Francisco. “It is a privilege to be able to guide people as they walk through their journey of recovery,” Gagnon saysid. “I believe there is always hope, and finding ways to celebrate appreciation and gratitude is one of my daily intentions.”

In her free time, Gagnon enjoys big-band music and spent years playing the tenor saxophone in various big bands. She loves traveling, 1960s muscle cars, boating because life is better at the lake reading, theater and spending time with family and friends.

Christine Saddul

Business Office Coordinator

Christine Saddul joined Foundations San Francisco as a business office coordinator in January 2018. As a passionate people person, she has found the social aspects of her job to be the most rewarding. “The best part of my day is working with such talented and caring co-workers and engaging with the clients,” Saddul said. “Getting to know each client and being witness to their journey, healing and growth is an absolute joy and privilege for me.”

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Saddul grew up in Southern California and attended San Francisco State University for her Bachelor of Arts degree and her Master of Arts in women’s studies.

She later worked as a nurse assistant for Highland Hospital, California Pacific Medical Center and UCSF Medical Center. She also has experience as a medical scribe trainer for Augmedix, Inc., and a site coordinator for Girls and Boys Moving Forward, a youth enrichment program.

In her downtime, Saddul loves doing arts and crafts, listening to podcasts, singing karaoke and exploring restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Beth Foley

Yoga Therapist

As a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, Beth has extensive training in the yoga and mindfulness space, specializing in the therapeutic application of yogic practices & principles to guide others in the transformation of unwanted patterns. She offers a variety of tools to her clients that support the alignment of mind, body, and spirit, allowing them to experience more balance and ease in their daily lives. Beth finds the intersection of yoga & somatic psychology to be quite fascinating and is continuing her studies in this field.