Clinical Staff Biographies

Inpatient & Outpatient Treatment in the Seattle Area

Derek Murphy, M-RAS, SUDP, SAP, CSC
Director of Clinical Services

Derek came to Olalla Recovery Centers, Gig Harbor Counseling as the Director of Outpatient Services in the summer of 2017. Derek has an extensive background in working in the addiction and law enforcement fields.  He has a degree in Psychology/Counseling from Johnson State College.  Derek is a former law enforcement officer, that found himself transitioning to individual and community based social work and social justice movements.  He is a federally qualified substance abuse professional and a member of the Pierce County Opioid Task Force.  In April 2020, Derek assumed the role of Director of Clinical Services for the entire organization.  Derek enjoys spending time with his family and enjoys a variety of outdoor activities – including hiking, biking, swimming, camping and shooting sports.

Julie Beach, MA, SUDPT
Family Program Facilitator (Contractor)

Julie will complete a Master’s degree in Depth Psychology-Counseling from Pacifica Graduate Institute in March 2021.  She is attending to her Substance Use Disorder Professional training certification while working as our Family Program Facilitator.  Julie is a registered clinical hypnotherapist and level 2 KRI certified yoga teacher.  Her experience includes trauma informed SUD protocol at multiple treatment levels, working with women in transition to housing, and peer respite advocacy in mental health.  Julie brings a transpersonal perspective to substance use disorder treatment through certification in psychodrama and meditation.  Julie’s personal experiences, education, and evidence-based research inform compassionate, individuation-oriented recovery focused upon emotional regulation through EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and breathwork.  Julie is honored to attend to colleagues and guests at Olalla through a wholistic lens in facilitating progressive, systems-oriented excellence in substance use recovery.

Buddy Bassett, AA, SUDP
Inpatient Counselor / IT Specialist

In April 2017, we welcomed Buddy to the Olalla Clinical Team.  Buddy began his career in Human Services/Substance Dependency in 2010 as a volunteer lay counselor and realized his passion for helping others.  He pursued his education in substance use disorders and acquired an internship with an area outpatient program in 2011.  Shortly after starting his internship, Buddy created and implemented a vocational services component that was used in teaching the under-served population how to obtain gainful employment and/or education in a post-recession economy.  Buddy worked as a vocational navigator and Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUDP) Trainee for the organization until January 2017.  He then decided to make the move to Olalla Recovery Centers, where he currently works as one of our counselors here at Olalla Guest Lodge.  Buddy is passionate about helping patients change the way they think about addictive behaviors.  He chose this field because he has dedicated his life to helping the hopeless find direction and purpose in their lives.  Buddy is a member of the International Association of Workforce Professionals and currently sits on the Olympic College Human Services Advisory Committee.  When he isn’t hard at work, Buddy enjoys philosophy, art, technology, writing, music and psychology.  Buddy is a true advocate for our patients and lends a helping hand to anyone who might need one.

Katharine Benjamin, BS, SUDP
Inpatient Counselor

Katharine re-joined the clinical team in 2023. Katharine has been working in the addiction field since 2017.  After completing her bachelor’s degree, she joined ORC in our Treatment Support Department.  She transitioned to our clinical department in 2018.  Katharine has experience working in both inpatient and outpatient settings.  In 2021, Katharine moved to a PACT program as their SUD specialist providing wrap-around treatment services to individuals.  She transitioned to another residential program before returning back to ORC in June of 2023.  Katharine has training and experience utilizing numerous evidence-based pratices and approaches to work with patients in treatment services.  She utilizes all modalities to deliver the best person-centered approaches to those with whom she serves.  Katharine grew up in a family impacted by addiction; thus, she has a strong passion to help those in need.  She is a member of NAADAC and WAADAC.  She loves to spend time with her family and also enjoys a variety of other hobbies and activities.

Kevin Currie, AA, SUDP
Inpatient Counselor

Kevin joined the ORC team in 2021.  He has over 12 years working in substance use disorder treatment.  He has a genuine passion for working with people who struggle with substance use disorders.  In his spare time, he enjoys exercise, time with family and meditation.  Kevin’s smile and warm approach are awe inspiring.  His compassion and care for his patients is truly remarkable.

Rick Hogan, AA, SUDP
Inpatient Counselor

Rick has been a part of the Olalla Team since 2016.  Rick has been a staple of clinical delivery work at our residential program.  In 2021, Rick assumed full clinical duties as a counselor for our residential patients.  We are delighted to have him in this role as he brings an extensive background in clinical delivery services to our program.  Rick has been in the field of substance use disorder treatment services for many years, and it is his passion, coupled with his excellent clinical approach, that our patients appreciate and resonate with here at Olalla.  Rick’s calm demeanor and presence is healing and comforting, especially to our patients with prior trauma.

Cathy Hughes, BS, SUDP, NCACII
Treatment Supervisor, Inpatient

Cathy has selected the field of substance dependency as she knows firsthand what drugs and alcohol have done in her own life and firmly believes she can help others.  She is affiliated with NAADAC and Blue Star Mothers.  Cathy enjoys working with children at her church in the AWANA program.  She also enjoys camping and hiking with her family and watching football.  Those who work with and around Cathy all say what a pleasure she is to work with and her knowledge of addiction and the effects on families is extensive. Cathy was recently promoted to Treatment Supervisor at our residential location. Cathy is currently completing multiple courses in Clinical Supervision and Leadership. Cathy has been with Olalla Recovery Centers since 2012.

Shaundra Lunore, BA, SUDP
Outpatient Counselor

Shaundra joined Olalla Recovery Centers in August 2016.  Prior to joining us, Shaundra worked in the accounting field for over 25 years.  Her mentors encouraged her to pursue counseling, so she started her collegiate journey and discovered a love for learning and for helping others see their potential.  She chose this field to help strengthen families, as Shaundra lost her own parents to the disease of addiction, as well as watching her own siblings struggle with recovery.  Shaundra is the oldest of 12 siblings, so she definitely has experience and wisdom to share.  Her goal is to be a good example and to show others it is never too late to follow and accomplish your dreams.  In her spare time, she enjoys camping, movies, and spending time with her family.

Jessica McBride, BA, SUDP
Outpatient Counselor

Jessica joined Gig Harbor Counseling as an assistant counselor in December 2016.  She has completed some additional course work and trainings related to youth and adolescents, including Amazing Adolescent Brain; Seeking Safety; Trauma and Grief; Sexual Assault; and YWCA Victim Services Training.  Jessica is eager to learn and has compassion for working with both adults and youth in addiction treatment services.  She is in recovery herself and is an active member of Alcoholic Anonymous.

Natalie Meindl, SUDPT
Inpatient Counselor

Natalie joined the ORC clinical team in 2023. Natalie’s educational path includes a BS in Psychology with a minor in Addiction Studies from Syracuse University, where she will receive her Masters in Social Work in Spring 2024. Natalie began her internship with ORC in March of 2023 and was hired officially in August 2023.  She incorporates evidence-based research and practices into her approach to treatment and utilizes a holistic approach to consider an individual’s cultural identities that intersect with addiction.  Although not in recovery herself, Natalie’s family has been impacted by addiction.  She became passionate about working in this field through her own personal mental health challenges that were correlated with her family’s challenges with addiction.  Natalie is an army spouse and recognizes how the stigmatization of addiction and mental health greatly affects service members.  She values spending time with her family and pets.  Natalie enjoys baking (she is an amazing baker) and exercising.  She recognizes the importance of self-care activities as a vital component to mental health and addiction treatment.

Heather Metts, MA, SUDP, MHCA
Inpatient Counselor

Heather joined the Olalla Guest Lodge clinical team back in June 2016.  She attended graduate school with a focus on existential psychology at Seattle University.  Her first experiences in the field were in mental health services working with the severely and chronically mentally ill in a secure psychiatric facility.  Her training in providing unconditional acceptance and positive regard helped inform all of her interactions with patients.  It became clear rather quickly that, because of the overlap and interaction between substance use disorders and mental health, she would need to gain more knowledge in substance use disorders in order to provide for well-rounded treatment services.  She returned to school and received her Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUDP) certification in 2011.  Since then, Heather has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, but it wasn’t until she came to work at Olalla where she felt she had found the right niche for her background and counseling style.  Heather believes Olalla has a healing energy and overall philosophy of kindness, openness and understanding that fits with her personal worldview.  Heather states she loves working here at Olalla and is proud to be a member of the clinical team.  Heather is a very outgoing and compassionate counselor – her patients praise her attentiveness and caring nature as two of her strongest qualities.  In her spare time, Heather loves to travel and is a huge music fan.  She states she is as quirky and geeky as they come, but can also be found reading in her off time.

Peper Owens-Brown, MSW, SUDP
Inpatient Counselor

Peper joined Olalla Recovery Centers in 2015.  She and her family moved to the West Coast during her last year of graduate school.  Peper came to Olalla via her graduate school as an intern, but soon grew a passion to help those struggling with addiction, and soon became an employee and is now our women’s counselor.  As a survivor of domestic violence, Peper brings knowledge and understanding of the family of an addict, compassion and patience.  Peper chose this field when she realized what her father taught her was the way she wanted to live her own life – care for others simply because they have a heart and were put on this earth with a purpose; they only need help finding that purpose.  Peper is a majority member of the International Order of Rainbow for Girls.  In her spare time, she enjoys relaxing and spending time with her family.

Lois West, BA, SUDP
Lead Counselor / Reiki Master

Lois began her internship in substance use disorder services with two agencies in Kitsap County. She joined Olalla Recovery Centers in 2006. Lois has been involved with various recovery based activities in addition to working with her patients here at Olalla. Lois has a gentle spirit and deep understanding of the issues our male patients endure while beginning a life of recovery. She is highly artistic and offers patients another avenue of expressing themselves via an artistic medium. Lois is also our Native American spiritual circle and smudging coordinator. She works with our Native American consultants in offering a native spiritual component to recovery and treatment. Lois is also a Level III Reiki Master / Teacher and is currently our onsite Reiki specialist. Lois is also a former professional ballet dancer. It is her grace and jovial sense of humor the patients enjoy while here in treatment.

Bethel Wolfe, MS, SUDPT
Outpatient Counselor

Bethel joined the outpatient clinical team in 2022. Additional biography forthcoming.

Management Team / Board of Directors

Christine Lynch, Executive Director

Christine has been with Olalla Recovery Centers since 2000. Prior to her work in substance use disorders, Christine worked in the law enforcement and legal field for over ten years. She has a degree in psychology, business administration and human resource management. Christine oversees the organization as directed by the Board of Directors. Christine is a founding board member for the Gig Harbor, Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition and an officer with the Washington State Association for Addiction Professionals.

Kevin Merrick, Board Member
Marc Hutchinson, Board Member
C. Nelson Berry, Board Member
Terri Roper, Board Member


         Gig Harbor Chamber  CARF  Washington State Dept. of Health   Expertise  ASAM