Dr. Karen Spedowfski, PhD
Karen Spedowfski, PhD, Alta Mira’s Executive Director, is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Spedowfski’s career has been exclusively focused on the treatment of substance use and co-occurring disorders, and she has held multiple leadership positions within the programs she has worked.
Dr. Spedowfski brings a compassionate, evidence-based, and practical approach to assisting clients and their families who are recovering from addictions and other mental health issues. Her work approaches the individual as a whole person with physical/biological, psychological, spiritual, and social/cultural needs, issues, and challenges that occur within various systems in the person’s life. As such, she believes that involving family members in the treatment process whenever possible is crucial to client success as well as the health and well-being of those around them.
Prior to coming to Alta Mira, Dr. Spedowfski worked in multiple outpatient treatment settings, including several Kaiser Permanente Chemical Dependency Services/Recovery Programs and at the Northern Illinois University Counseling and Student Development Center, where her experience included the assessment and treatment of those with eating disorders as well as leading campus-wide efforts to reduce the incidence of sexual assault among student residents. Her dissertation focused on exploring disordered eating symptoms in both men and women recovering from substance use disorders to better understand how both issues can be effectively and simultaneously addressed within an outpatient setting.
Dr. Spedowfski served in various leadership roles throughout her 20-year career at Kaiser Permanente, including her most recent as the Program Director of the Chemical Dependency Recovery Program in Vallejo, California from January 2010 through August 2018. From 2012–2015 she simultaneously served a three-year period as Chair of the Chemical Dependency Program Directors for the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Region.
Dr. Spedowfski is passionately dedicated to helping those in recovery from substance use disorders and other mental health issues. She believes in the fundamental resilience of individuals and families who dedicate themselves to the learning and change process of recovery that results in vastly improved lives and overall wellness. She strives to balance the application of proven therapeutic techniques and practices with an individually tailored approach to best ensure that the unique needs of each individual and family are met.
Dr. Spedowfski holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the California State University – East Bay (formerly Hayward) and received both her masters and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in Alameda, CA.