Rick Benson, CPGC, ICGC-II (Founder)

Rick Benson, CPGC, ICGC-IIRick founded Algamus Recovery Centers in 1992 and has directed gambling specific, Algamus residential facilities in Florida, South Carolina, Quebec, and Arizona.

A Cornell University graduate, Rick is an Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC-II) and a Canadian Problem Gambling Counselor (CPGC). Algamus and Rick were featured on the very first episode of Intervention on the A&E channel.

He currently serves as a clinical supervisor for the Canadian Problem Gambling Counselor Certification Board and as an International Compulsive Gambling Counselor Certification Board member. He has been an advisory board member of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, and a founding executive board member of both the North Carolina Council on Problem Gambling and the South Carolina Council on Compulsive gambling.

For more than 20 years he has been both a student and a facilitator in Bonding Psychotherapy, Holiotropic Breathwork, Primal Therapy, and the Enneagram. He is presently a member of both the Arizona Enneagram Association and the International Enneagram Association and is deeply involved in the Enneagram Prison Project. He is an executive board member of the International Primal Association. 

Rick now provides consulting services including admissions and network/marketing to Algamus Gambling Treatment Services.

Jody Pegram, ICGC-II (Executive Director)


Jody is an International Certified Gambling Counselor (ICGC-II) and, in 2007, he co-founded the Algamus Recovery Center of Arizona after serving as the program director of Algamus of North Palm Beach, Florida. Jody entered into the addiction recovery field in the late nineties. Beginning in Palm Beach, FL, he was integral in the development of C.A.R.E. in southern Florida and was appointed associate director/founder in 1999.

His insight and creative ability have also earned him position in a broad range of capacities in the Behavioral Health field: Consultant/Therapist, Director, Executive Director of Addiction Management, and is responsible for developing and instituting extended care planning at notable addiction treatment centers around the country.

Darryl Doss, LISAC, CSAC 

Darryl Doss, LISAC, CSACDarryl Doss, Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), has been licensed in treating substance abuse and addictions for the past 25 years. He has clinical experience in educating clients on the disease concept of addiction through individual sessions, written assignments, group therapy, intensive outpatient therapy, continuing care group therapy, and family therapy.

He spent 9 of those years working with adolescents and their families to understand that addiction is a family disease using individual and group therapy. He also spent 6 years working for Valley Hope Association in both their inpatient and outpatient facilities. For the past 5 years, he has been working with compulsive gamblers to overcome their addiction to gambling.

He also monitors pilots on the HIMS program, meeting with them for group therapy and individual counseling and giving quarterly reports to Dr. Bryman who is an aviation medical doctor. Darryl has been in recovery for over 30 years and his passion for helping people in the community overcome their addictions. He understands the needs of his clients, giving them the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle in recovery.

Ben Isenberg (Director of Business Affairs)

Ben+Isenberg.pngBen Isenberg is a native of Eugene, Oregon and received his bachelor's degree in sociology, with a minor in business. He also holds a Substance Abuse Prevention Program Certificate from the University of Oregon. Ben has worked in the behavioral health and Addiction field since September 2012. Ben has worked in various housing positions, medication management, gambling addiction and is a certified Brainpaint Neuro-Feedback technician specifically in EEG Biofeedback treatments.

Prior to joining Algamus, Ben was a group facilitator and individual counselor at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare where he grew and created the foundation of the program. Ben progressed to office manager overtaking the entire administrative department, then became the Program Director July of 2015 overseeing all the departments day to day operations.

Ben's hard work, dedication and passion to help others has created a successful environment for those in need of help overcoming the disease of addiction. Ben shares his experience and knowledge through his own addiction struggles and continues to be a light and compassionate leader in this field.

Scott Melissa (Director of Corporate Development) 

Scott is a holder of a BS from the University of Massachusetts. Prior to joining Algamus, He was an expert trainer in MA with the Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling where he focused on problem gambling in the criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse communities. In this capacity as Director of Outreach and Training, Scott’s primary goals were to develop, enhance, and support partnerships with stakeholders in the problem gambling field.

He was also part of the leadership committee which managed the operation of state-wide helpline as well as coordination of supportive referrals and resources. Scott’s dedication has lead to the capacity building that has enabled more clinicians throughout the state to identify, screen, assess and treat disordered gambling.

As Algamus’ director of corporate development, Scott’s mandate is to establish a network of aftercare resources for when clients graduate from our program. He  brings positive energy, and is held in the highest regard by those who have encountered him in the problem gambling community. The MA Counsel on Compulsive Gambling has a long tradition of being proactive, innovative and is a leader in the area of problem gambling support, advocacy and education. Part of their success is attributable to Scott’s hard work and dedication. He is warm-hearted, caring and empathic.

Dr. Terry Vaughan, M.D (Psychiatrist)

Terry VaughnDr. Terry Vaughan was most recently the Medical Director of West Yavapai Guidance Clinic and has practiced in Prescott for 11 years. She was one of 41 Psychiatrist nationally awarded the 2009 “Exemplary Psychiatrist” award by NAMI (the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill).

She works with patients suffering from mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance dependence, developmental disabilities and psychotic disorders. She is board certified in Psychiatry and works with adults and adolescents 13 and up. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association.

Jeff Trudgian, ICGC-II (Primary Counselor)

Jeff TrudgianJeff is an Internationally Certified Gambling Councilor (ICGC-II) since 2007. Originally from the Midwest, Jeff became a Primary Counselor at Algamus' Gambling Treatment Center in 2012.

Jeff is grateful to have over twenty years of recovery from his destructive gambling addiction. He’s worked as a counselor, trainer and educator in the Behavioral Health and 12-Step communities, helping to raise awareness and prevention around the emotional issues surrounding problem gamblers and their families.

Prior to coming to Algamus, Jeff was the lead therapist at a gambling treatment program in Illinois working with gamblers and those afflicted with chemical dependency, as well as their families, in a private setting.

He utilizes Psycho-Educational and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies in conjunction with an emphasis on spiritual principals.

Marc Lefkowitz, ICGC-II (Counselor / Case Manager)

Marc Lefkowitz, ICGC-I, NCGC

Marc Lefkowitz is a California/Internationally Certified Gambling Counselor receiving his CCGC in 1999. He has facilitated multiple counselor and therapist certification trainings for the UCLA Gambling Studies Program and the California Council on Problem Gambling. He was an adjunct instructor in California teaching courses on problem gambling and addiction. He has a degree in Human Services and a certificate of Alcohol and Drug Studies from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA.

Marc, a recovering gambler for more than 33 years, has extensive knowledge about Gamblers Anonymous and the 12-Step process. He has worked in the treatment/recovery field developing program content, and in case management, group facilitation, individual counseling, and group counseling with recovering gamblers and their families. He is a national lecturer on problem gambling and financial recovery for addicts.

In 2012, Marc received the California Council on Problem Gambling's Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with disordered gamblers and affected individuals.

Ryan Pienovi (Operations Manager)

Ryan Pienovi AlgamusRyan began his recovery at Algamus in North Palm Beach, Florida in 2006 and became a resident manager there late in 2007. In 2008, he relocated and became the lead resident/operations manager for Algamus Gambling Treatment Services in Prescott, Arizona.

Ryan is presently studying to become a certified gambling counselor and coordinates a variety of residential activities for our clients. 

Victoria Stallings (Primary Therapist)

Victoria StallingsVictoria has been a Primary Therapist and Case Manager at Algamus for the past two years. She facilitates individual sessions and group therapy on psycho-education with a focus on recovery and family systems.

For three years prior to joining the Algamus team, she managed the Neuro-Feedback Center and was a group leader at A Sober Way Home.

She earned her Bachelor's degree in psychology and is presently completing her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Sherri Sharkins, MA (Program Director / Primary Therapist)

Sherry SharkinsSherri received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Allegheny College and her Masters of Arts in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Depth Psychotherapy from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Sherri is certified in Somatic Experiencing (SE) and The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM), two modalities aimed at the resolution of trauma.

She specializes in working with clients who suffer from complex trauma and addiction. She employs attachment-focused therapy and integrates a bottom-up (body-centered) and top-down (cognitive behavioral) approach to access unconscious beliefs and patterns of behavior that underlie addiction and limit one’s connection with self and others.

Tom Uetrecht, CADAC, ASAT, SEP (Primary Therapist)

Tom has been in recovery for 27 years and brings over 22 years of experience working in the field of addiction and trauma. Tom is a certified Somatic Experience Practitioner and is also certified in the field of sex addiction therapy.

He specializes in experiential therapy methods to work clients through the family of origin issues, trauma, abuse, and addiction. Tom also works with clients who struggle with anger management issues by utilizing anger reduction techniques to teach healthy alternatives for releasing frustration, anger, and stress.

Rob Heinrich, MA, LPC (Clinical Supervisor and Primary Therapist)

Rob Heinrich, MA, LPC Rob brings years of varied experience to Algamus Gambling Treatment Services. After earning his Masters in Counseling from Denver Seminary, Rob immediately jumped into his career in addiction treatment counseling. First, as a general outpatient therapist in a dual diagnosis capacity in his hometown of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, then moving to Wickenburg, AZ to specialize and become a primary therapist in eating disorders.

Since then, Rob has been working as a primary therapist and clinical supervisor in addiction treatment centers and facilities, helping adolescents and adults with behavioral addictions and dual diagnoses including eating disorders, gambling addiction and drug addiction.

Rob helps supervise the clinical team as well as overseeing the outpatient groups. His theoretical applications include EMDR, Somatic Experiencing, CBT, DBT, and a strong integration on the power of love and relationship with a person-centered approach. His philosophy is that we are here to love and be loved.

Ann Balowski (Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator & Heart/Math Coach)

ann-baloswkiAnn has provided psycho-educational group facilitation at Algamus for 4 years. She works with individuals recovering from gambling addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction and many other recovery issues including family dynamics.

Her corporate background in Human Resources staff training has contributed to her skill set as a national trainer. Ann is a Recovery Life Coach and a Certified Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator (OK Corral Series). She brings more than 3 decades of personal recovery experience, providing a real-life approach to the recovery process which is essential to client preparation for life after treatment.

Ann is also a certified/licensed Heart/Math Coach/Mentor and integrates this process into each group. She is the founder of For Clarity Recovery Services and the Heroes & Horses Equine Program.

Colleen McHorney, BHT, CYT 500, LFYP (Yoga Instructor)

Colleen McHorney

Colleen is a 500-hour Certified Yoga Instructor with Yoga Alliance, as well as a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner and Trauma Specialist. She has been teaching yoga in the Prescott recovery community since 2011, with a focus in addiction recovery and trauma-related disorders.

Specializing in therapeutic yoga practices, Colleen guides clients toward the cultivation of compassionate self-awareness. With these evidence-based strategies, clients are resourced to brave the complexities of managing and sustaining a healthy recovery.

Having immersed herself in the study of classical yogic techniques for over a decade, Colleen has devoted herself to a holistic approach to her time on and off the mat for radiant healing practices.