The Team | Projects
Our people at Clinic Les Alpes work as one team across all aspects of the service.
The treatment team comprises both medical and therapeutic practitioners recruited for their recognised expertise combined with the very human qualities of empathy and compassion.
Apart from being required to have the experience and skills essential for their particular roles, we recruit people who are able to embrace and exemplify the values and standards espoused by Clinic Les Alpes.
Our staff are multilingual and are either natural or fluent English speakers.
When planning the Clinic’s operation, we have taken full note of research about what makes for effective organisations in the field of healthcare.
Effective healhcare organisations
It may surprise you to learn that many providers do not appear to give much thought to what is required to optimise their chances of being effective on your behalf.
Unfortunately this important consideration may be taken for granted as such providers get on with the business of delivery.
The subject of what makes for effective treatment providers has been researched and there are a number of conclusions common to almost all of the studies.
Time and again we learn that the most important component is the quality of the relationship between the helper (whether the Clinic as a whole or an individual member of the staff team) and the helped (the patient).
Contributing to the quality of the therapeutic experience is the importance placed by the provider on respect, understanding and support as well as on communication and building trust.
The functioning of the organisation also has an important part to play. If it has a clear mission and objectives and a correspondingly clear rationale; if staff are clear about their roles and well supported to fulfil them; if there is staff cohesion; if lines of communication are clear and properly used; if it is open to new ideas; if it is well structured and organised it has a better chance of providing effective help.
This is especially the case in helping people with addictions who may otherwise live in a degree of chaos, confusion and distress.
Inês Santiago has been involved with the development of the Clinic since its commencement. She has a Master in Economics, studied Health Management at Lausanne University focusing on the integration of good management and the health sector. She also studied the interplay between drugs and addiction at King’s College in London.
Inês has a strong personal understanding of the area of addiction and brings a holistic approach to the overall operations of the Clinic.
Dr. Randolph Willis was born in Ann Arbor Michigan in 1963 where he later studied pre-med and French literature at the University of Michigan. Simultaneously finishing up his degree in the USA, he obtained a certificate from the University of Montpellier in the French language and culture and then began studies in medicine. He then moved to Switzerland where he obtained his degree in medicine in 1993 and, after residency, he received his certification as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist from the University of Lausanne.
From the year 2000 to 2005, Dr. Willis was responsible for two out-patient general psychiatry units in the canton of Valais in Switzerland and a member of the League for the prevention of substance abuse. In this setting, he became the designated supervisor of general practitioners that cared for substance abusers, notably in managing the prescription of methadone and out-patient detox programs. He also was the consultant psychiatrist – supervisor for two “hard-drug” substance abuse centers and a third center using a modified form of the Alcoholics Anonymous’12 step program for alcohol, marijuana and addiction to prescribed medications. From 2005 to 2007 he became an associate doctor at the Clinique la Métairie in Nyon, Switzerland where he practiced general psychiatry for English speaking patients and lead group therapy using the Minnesota method and self-hypnosis techniques in the clinic’s substance abuse unit.
For more than ten years, he was president of the French Swiss Association for Analytical Relaxation Therapy APAR and currently he is on the Board for the French Swiss Hypnosis Institute IRHyS with responsibilities such as supervision and research in hypnotherapy and the organization of local and international medical meetings on medical hypnosis.
Finally, before taking up the function of medical director of Clinic les Alpes, Dr. Willis was in private practice in the city of Montreux on the coast of breathtaking Lake Geneva. In this medical anthropology and ethnopsychiatry unit, he led a group of two psychologists and one psychiatric nurse/complimentary therapist. This team working in five languages: English, Russian, Spanish, Italian and, of course, French, maneuver through the psychosocial and cultural-linguistic interfaces between their patients and the local community.
Substance abuse has very often been a comorbidity associated with the preexisting or induced psychopathology this uprooted clientele presents and has allowed Dr. Willis to fine tune this hyperspecialized approach. Associated with this office work, Dr. Willis has also been consulted for private clinics in the Montreux region for English speaking patients suffering from substance abuse.
Dr. Willis’ role of Medical Director at the Clinic Les Alpes is the culmination of his professional aspirations and personal vocation. Helping people and their families in the domain of addiction is a pursuit he truly enjoys and shall endeavor to continually perfect at Clinic Les Alpes.
Dr. François Helleisen is a specialist in general and integrative medicine. He obtained his diplomas from the Faculties of Medicine of Paris, Montpellier and Nancy, in France.
He is also a Hospital Practitioner, certified in medical dietetics, member of several learned societies such as: American Society of Addiction Medicine, French Association of Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine, Swiss Society of Micronutrition.
He was nominated in 2019 for the “Top 100 Smart Healthcare Leaders” award by the International Forum of Advancements in Healthcare in Las Vegas.
With 25 years of experience in private clinics, hospitals and practices in France and Switzerland, he has specialized in the field of nutrition and micronutrition. Addiction to a product (alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, opioids, benzodiazepines or cocaine) is accompanied by nutritional imbalances, neurotoxic and carcinogenic complications. Links are established between psychological diseases, eating disorders on the one hand and oxidative stress, deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, alteration of the intestinal microbiome on the other hand.
Dr. François Helleisen offers a precise biochemical and genetic checkup as well as personalized and adapted medical and nutritional support.
With 20 years experience and an established professional in the mental health and addiction field, Dr Fiona McKinney is a chartered psychologist who received her BSc in Psychology and Counselling in the United Kingdom from the University of Surrey, Roehampton in 2003, her post-graduate training in addiction from Clouds House, Wiltshire in 2004 and her Doctorate in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy by Professional Studies (DCPsych) from the Metanoia Institute/Middlesex University, London in 2013. She has been involved in private sector, residential treatment centres in the United Kingdom, both as a clinician and a supervisor, and is also a chair and examiner on the examination panel at the Metanoia Institute for the DCPsych clinical viva exams.
She is a chartered member of the British Psychological Society, an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society, Division of Counselling Psychology, a UKCP registered integrative psychotherapist and a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom.
Fiona has an in-depth understanding of addiction and the evidence-based value of the Minnesota model and 12 steps in addition to her relational and integrative approach to addiction treatment as a counselling psychology and integrative psychotherapist. While she brings her experience and understanding of addiction as a complex and multi-faceted condition involving each patient’s unique heredity, early development and contextual experience, her approach sees the relationship patients develop in treatment with their therapists and peers as a central vehicle of therapeutic change. This together with effective, evidence-based treatment pathways, provides a comprehensive program creating a gentle, relational and effective environment in which patients and their families are helped to access their motivation to change and recover for the long term.
Dr Atrash Sylvain is specialised in general and internal medicine. He obtained his diploma from the Faculty of Medicine of Paris.
He has great knowledge of brain and memory disorders, as well as a wide experience in addiction field in both private and public hospitals and clinics.
Dr Atrash speaks English, French and Arabic fluently.
Arnaud Chartier obtained his State Nurse Diploma in November 2010.
He uses different therapeutic approaches as group therapy, motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioural therapies through self-affirmation and relapse prevention facilitated groups.
Arnaud accompanies each patient basing his philosophy on the concept of recovery and takes the individual as a whole in order not to define them to their illness. The safety and integrity of the patients are ensured thanks to his great experience in physical withdrawals to various substances.
Due to Arnaud’s long-time practice of martials arts, he has nurtured abilities such as body awareness, self-reliant relaxation skills and he can dispense body weight massages, which are powerful tools to manage emotions.
Alejandra Pilloud holds a bachelor degree in clinical psychology, a master´s degree in couple and family therapy from Antioch University Seattle, and a diploma in addiction treatment from a Mexican institution (Manon Vachez Servicios de Formación), national leader in addiction treatment and the Minnesota Model. She has experience working in the different treatment modalities throughout the recovery process, such as inpatient, out patient, half way house and continuous care. Her personal experience in the various facets of addiction treatment reinforces her journey in this field.
She has practiced in Mexico and the U.S. in different clinical settings such as hospitals, mental health centers, private clinics and public institutions. She also has training in medical interpretation.
Her artistic background led her to integrate this dimension into her therapeutic work through therapeutic dance.
She provides services in french, english and spanish.
Alessia Renevey graduated with a Master of Applied and Social Psychology at the University of Geneva. She previously worked at the International Federation of the Red Cross, developing behaviour change material for various thematics, such as alcohol and tobacco use. She then worked researching in a study focusing on family therapy efficiency with internet gaming addiction prior to joining Clinic Les Alpes. She accompanies our patients following the principles of positive psychology as well as motivational interviewing approaches.
Derek de Braga is an expert in substance use and misuse treatment. His professional experience originates from residential and outpatient treatment settings in Montreal Canada. Derek has extensive training and experience treating co-occurring disorders and various mental health conditions.
Derek holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from Concordia University, as well as a Masters degree in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University. Derek specializes in individual as well as group therapy interventions. His clinical background incorporates elements of behavior therapy and psychodynamic principals. Derek utilizes a person-centered and compassionate approach to his work, while drawing on skills from Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Structured Relapse Prevention as needed.
Derek believes strongly in the principals of mindfulness and the relationship between mind and body. His clinical work encourages patients to connect to their somatic and psychological experiences in order to achieve their therapeutic goals and satisfy their emotional and relational needs.
Dominique André holds a Master of Sciences in Clinic Psychology and Psychopathology from the University of Lausanne. Although her first professional experiences were conducted in the legal sector, working in International Trade Business and Maritime law, her profound vocation to help others soon guided her steps. After more than 10 years of pastoral clinical care, Dominique decided to professionalise her personal care skills by engaging in psychology studies that brilliantly led into a Masters in psychology degree. Her personal experience in the addiction and recovery fields provides her with a special sensitivity and understanding of patients’ and families’ distress.
Olesya Ovchinnikova is a psychologist and an integrative body psychotherapist. Her approach is body-oriented, it emphasizes that our being and deep patterns of behaviour are held in the body. She trained in Bodynamic Somatic Psychotherapy and Analysis System (Amsterdam, Netherlands), as well as at Chiron Association for Body Psychotherapists (London, UK). Olesya has a PhD in Social Sciences and considers the specific impact of multicultural, intergenerational and social factors on people’s lives. Her therapeutic stance is relational and experiential, offering a space for transformation and healing.
Olesya’s work is personalised to reflect the uniqueness of each individual, drawing upon a range of models and techniques including neurobiologically-informed trauma therapy, Polyvagal Theory, Internal Family Systems, Structural Dissociation Model, Depth Psychology, somatic and attachment-orientated approaches. Olesya previously worked in a residential trauma clinic. She has experience resolving persistent mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, OCD, intrusive thoughts, anger management issues, self-harming, dissociation, difficulties with emotional regulation, personality disorders and addiction, in both residential and outpatient settings. Olesya facilities the therapeutic process in three languages: English, Italian and Russian.
Clinical Psychologist / Psychotherapist
Nadia Papayani obtained a Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in 2004 and has been trained in multiple psychotherapeutic modalities: Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Family Systems, Jungian Analysis, Somatic Experience, Integrative Somatic Psychotherapy, as well as Therapeutic Breathwork. She has been working in several mental health institutions in the U.S. and Switzerland; however, for the past decade has dedicated herself to a private practice in the ethnospsychiatric unit in Montreux. Nadia works in three languages: English, Russian, and French and has been also consulting for private clinics in Montreux region for patients suffering from a variety of psychological ailments, including substance abuse and different dependencies.
Nadia has traveled the world extensively, exploring different cultures and investigating various approaches to health and healing on multiple levels (physical, psychological, and spiritual). She has integrated a range of tools that allow access to the subconscious mind and help expand to greater levels of conscious awareness. She has developed a holistic and individually tailored approach to treatment that allows people recognize their conditioned patterns and find the appropriate practical tools to support self-healing and recovery.
Sarah Salzmann believes in the power of creativity to unlock each person’s potential to self recover or to reach self-accomplishment. Her mixed methods approach is based on extensive studies in psychology, holding a Master in Organizational Psychology, an executive MBA and a Swiss Certification in Art Therapy. She is also a trained Life Coach ICF.
In her practice and through the creative process of the person, she helps patients face and decode their fears, identify their inner strengths, recover from burnouts, addictions and psychological issues, crystallizing their inner balance and uncovering emotions so that one can thoroughly participate in their better being. She likes to quote “Things do not change. We change”.
Art Therapy is a fabulous and powerful approach to help people go beyond their intellectual understanding of their current state. Words are not needed. The creative process will make it happen.
You don’t need to be an artist to create. Creativity is innate to all of us. It is what keeps us alive! Let us welcome it into our lives.
Angela Mendes holds a diploma in Audio-visual Production from the ESRA in Paris, a certificate as specialized contributor in Art Therapy, from A.F.R.A.T.A.P.E.M of Tours and a University Degree in Art Therapy from the Joseph Fourrier Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Grenoble.
From a very young age, Angela nourished her creativity and curiosity through the practice of various forms of artistic expressions: dance, theatre, music, singing, visual art, photography or video. Everything is a reason to create, experiment, to meet with others, to surpass, transform and reinvent oneself. She discovered and strongly believes in the beneficial effects of the artistic process. Angela offers a space without judgement and with reassurance. Patients are invited to explore various artistic expressions as well as different materials in order to discover what suits them best, develop their abilities and master their emotions. This process facilitates the discovery and the affirmation of one’s own identity, reinforcing confidence in oneself and in the future.
Sheila Davidson is a certified Life Coach, specializing in Alcohol and Drug addiction. She has a profound understanding of the 12 steps program of recovery through study and personal experience. Originally from USA, she moved to Switzerland in 1990 and has been involved in helping others in recovery ever since. Further to working in the field of addiction recovery, she has taken many courses over the last 10 years to train and develop skills that would allow her to make a bigger impact on individuals and families suffering from addiction. Sheila provides individual and group counselling, always approaching recovery in an inclusive and solution-oriented way.
Sybille Graber graduated in nursing and worked in different areas of care before specialising in Equine Therapy. She believes the work with horses can be a real tool to help people in difficulty.
The encounter with the horses as part of the therapeutic mediation is an excellent opportunity to identify resources, challenges and to help the patient work on his/her relationship with the world.
Horses are very sensitive animals, they have the ability to resonate with real emotions and to reflect the authentic self of each individual. Equine therapy provides unique metaphors and experiences that can be afterwards transposed to other life situations. The psycho-corporal experience in each therapeutic session promotes the anchoring and transposition of learning to other situations. Equine therapy is a source of sensory stimulation as well as a space of relaxation that can support patients during the withdrawal and the intensive psychological work.
Horse therapy does not require specific technical skills, just a desire to discover and an open mind.
Acupuncture & Tai Chi Specialist
Bhavna Dagia Upon completion of her degree in psychology, Bhavna worked with autistic individuals before branching into body work. With more than two decades of experience in Acupuncture and body work, she trained and practiced in the UK, Canada and currently in Switzerland. Some of her training has been in China and Japan. She has also gained a Health Counselling certification from New York, affiliated with Columbia University. Bhavna sees patients on all levels and not just in terms of their physical manifestation, and this approach has led to successful management of the various presenting conditions.
Specialties: preventative medicine, pain management, emotional well-being, addictions and treating people holistically. Practicing and teaching tai chi.
Jorge Venceslau has over 20 years of experience in Family Intervention.
After a distinguished career as a professional footballer, Jorge went on to study Addiction Counselling in UK under a scholarship from the Association of Treatment of Drug Addiction. He has extensive experience undertaking Structured Family Interventions and has successfully worked with many families and individuals from around the world.
Anne Ovaert obtained her Bachelor Degree in Physical Education and Kinesitherapy/Science of Rehabilitation, at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve in Belgium. She has started working in the fields of orthopedics, as well as neurological and respiratory rehabilitation. Then, with the aim of developing a holistic approach to patient care, she trained in muscular chains and global postural rehabilitation. More recently she has focused on uro-gynecological and digestive problems, also working with targeted stomach muscle reinforcement therapy. Anne has further developed a holistic approach by treating a patient’s physical symptoms in the context of psychological suffering, caused by a history of personal trauma and violence.
Anne’s interest in walking and nature prompted her to train for the Swiss Federal Mountain Leader Certification and since 2014 she has also been acting as a mountain leader for groups.
Having travelled widely, Anne is a keen linguist and speaks French, English, Dutch and Spanish fluently.
Philippe Fei Chan is a confirmed sportsman and has been actively involved in the health sector for more than 10 years.
He graduated from the renowned Lausanne Hotel School, certified F.I.S.A.F in personal coaching and fitness instructor, his life course has always been closely linked to the fields of healthcare and wellbeing.
With a gentle and personalized approach, he adapts the programme to each patient according to their needs while providing a safe and secure environment.
Bertrand Saugy practices many sports like karate, full contact, climbing, running, as well as strength sports like CrossFit, weightlifting and powerlifting. It’s been 25 years now that he practices on a daily basis to get a better understanding of the biomechanics of the human body and to master it at its best.
A physical trainer for more than 20 years, Bertrand has been instructing in sport clubs, in the military, and also professional athletes. He educates himself in neurobiomechanic in order to be able to increase his spectrum of activities for people in re-education, with chronic pain, motor problems and lack of balance.
His method consists of adapting to his patients and their goals, providing advice and adapting exercises accordingly.
Yasmine Echaud graduated with a Bachelor in International Hospitality Management at the renown Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. World citizen and people oriented, she had worked in Administrative Positions in several countries around the globe until she joined Clinic Les Alpes. With an empathic and positive personality, she will accompany you throughout your admission process.
Director of Hospitality
Alexandre Tavassoli joined Clinic Les Alpes as Hospitality and Customer Care Director.
He is a graduate of the worldwide renowned Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and went on to complete his path with a master in Health Management.
His aim was to bring into the medical field all the high-end hospitality one could find in a high-class hotel by matching the security and well-being of the patient.
His career has led him to work in several luxury hotels and also to manage a private clinic in the field of treatment of substances and behavioural addictions among others until he joined Clinic Les Alpes.
He tries to apply every day his caring nature towards the entire staff and most importantly towards the patients.
Kelly Bordenga, Cindy Arpin, Emilie Vuattoux, Evelyne Burnier
A team of dedicated and attentive specialists are here to guide you through the universe of well-being. The therapeutic massages bring light to the meaning of life and help you become more self-conscious.
Yves Guillas, Jeremie Cordier
Our kitchen team is passionate about mountains and well-being. Their meals are inspired by the surrounding nature and each dish is in line with a healthy and balanced alimentation. Their everyday challenge is to present you with a healthy and nutritious food.
Malina Rotaru, Marie Coasne
Passionate about high class service and with a background in luxury hospitality, our restaurant team is dedicated to offer you a personalized quality service at all times. Professional and highly involved, our team constantly engages in maintaining high standards and exceeding your expectations while serving your meals in a welcoming and cosy atmosphere.
Head of Housekeeping
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Ana Azevedo, Cathy Dias, Luis Da Costa
With an eye for detail, this professional team takes great pleasure ensuring that everything is cleaned to the highest standard and runs smoothly during your stay with us. Our daily aim is to make you feel comfortable and at home.
Sebastian Vara has over 20 years of experience in different fields of service.
After graduating at the “National School of Catering and Tourism” in Madrid in 1999, he developed his skills in several European countries working in 5* Hotels with international reputation where he gained the knowledge and the abilities to set the best standards possible of quality services.
Once he obtained his Diploma at “The International Butler Academy” in Valkenburg (The Netherlands) in 2011, where he learnt the secrets of “The Art of Serving”, Sebastian began his journey in the private service reinforcing the skills required in the world of luxury in terms of etiquette and protocol.
Today Sebastian is certified as a professional driver with 5 years of experience managing different fleets of luxury cars.