Serenity Vista Staff
Professional Clinical Leadership
John Derry, B.Sc.Phm., M.A., is Founding Director of Serenity Vista. He has an impressive track record of success and is known for his outstanding interpersonal, communication and leadership skills. He offers a unique depth of expertise based upon his complementary proficiencies in pharmacy, addiction, and management leadership. His credentials and professional experience distinguish him as an expert in his field.
John is a licensed Canadian pharmacist and holds a Master of Arts degree in Addiction Counseling from the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. The Hazelden Foundation is the world leader in the treatment of chemical dependency and the training of addiction professionals.
John has helped countless people of all walks of life through his many years of clinical practice. Guests express gratitude for the compassionate, focused, and highly effective skill that John is gifted with. He helps individuals and families heal, find meaning and purpose, and change their lives. John’s career profile and professional endorsements may be viewed here.
John provides overall case management leadership and clinical direction for Serenity Vista staff, bringing together the skills and talents of a complementary, multidisciplinary team of professionals and holistic practitioners. John also leads Group Processing Sessions at Serenity Vista, providing a safe, focused healing environment for group therapy.
Jane Derry, B.A., R.S., has traveled educational and career paths that have led through veterinary hospitals, community pharmacy, religious study, youth counselling, and residential addiction recovery treatment. Jane has focused the last 20 years on helping people explore their own spiritual beliefs relating to addiction recovery and the 12 Steps. Jane has a strong commitment to live by spiritual principles and she models inspiration, hope and encouragement to people, especially those suffering from addiction.
At Serenity Vista Jane cultivates a nurturing, safe, non-judgmental and inclusive environment for guests to explore their own concepts of what a Higher Power means in their life and sobriety. She provides an atmosphere of sincerity, acceptance, compassion and faith, providing strong leadership that fosters trust, challenge, and healing.
Jane is a skilled and intuitive counselor. In addition to providing leadership and management of Serenity Vista staff, Jane also facilitates the two spiritual sessions, ‘Come To Believe‘, and ‘Conscious Contact‘. She reaches from a deep resource of spiritual tools and traditions. In these two weekly sessions, you will focus on Steps 2 and 11, with plenty of lively conversation and challenging assignments, with introduction and experience of various meditative techniques and practices.
Jane’s sessions are inclusive of all beliefs, regardless of religious experience or affiliation, or faith (or lack thereof) or affiliation. The framework upon which this deep resource rests is a firm foundation of the spiritual principles of the 12 Steps and back to basics concepts of sobriety.
Judy G. Borich, Ph.D., is a compassionate and highly skilled therapist, teacher, minister, and philosopher. She has a doctorate in Transpersonal Psychology, a M.A. in Psychology, a M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a B.S. in Social Sciences. She is an ordained New Thought minister and is level two trained in EMDR therapy. She is the author of the acclaimed book, Touch and Go – The Nature of Intimacy.
Judy is highly accomplished and leads life-changing retreats in New Mexico and around the world. She has had a thriving private practice since 1978. Her approach helps people to clear any past trauma, to remove blocks that leave them free in the present for the development of healthy growth and development. She teaches the learning of new life and relationship skills needed to thrive and live life fully and joyfully.
Judy is an expert both in the maps of consciousness and the many paths of growth beyond being a fully functioning person. Judy is also known for her work in training therapists and as a philosopher. She has had 38 years experience in various forms of counseling. It has been her joy and privilege to work with and help so many people over the years.
We are very pleased and grateful to have Judy as a friend and colleague therapist at Serenity Vista. She brings a solid understanding of addiction recovery, a depth of experience, and a deep, warm compassion and effectiveness in creatively helping people. Guests greatly benefit from and enjoy Judy’s Creative Expression sessions at Serenity Vista.
Nancy Stitt, ARNP, is a highly qualified and experienced mental health professional having specialized in addictions for many years. Nancy’s professional education is extensive including qualifications as MSN psychiatric nurse practitioner (FIU, Miami, FL), MA counseling Psychology (Immaculate Heart, LA, CA), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Practitioner (UCSD, San Diego, CA), Sexual Education Counselor (post graduate Institute), EMDR level 1 Practitioner, and NLP Practitioner.
Nancy’s clinical experience includes mindfulness based stress reduction as a certified teacher, addiction counseling, mental health (psychiatric nurse practitioner, psychopharmacology), women’s health issues, adult and adolescent psychiatry, and as sexual therapy counselor.
Now as a resident of Boquete, Panama since June 2014, we are pleased to have Nancy provide addiction counseling for guests of Serenity Vista. Nancy conducts ‘Mindfulness Living in Recovery’ sessions that draws upon her wide ranging expertise applied toward helping guests adjust to life changes in recovery and learn to ‘live life on life’s terms’ with mindfulness and meaning. Nancy is a welcomed and valued complement to multidisciplinary professional team of Serenity Vista staff.
Brian Teel, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist originally from the state of Indiana, USA. Brian is an accomplished, credentialed psychologist, having held prestigious academic, clinical, and leadership roles in a wide variety of private practice and institutional settings. His graduate research was one of the first characterizations of the phenomenon of drug withdrawal in rat studies and is widely quoted in the scientific literature.
Over the years Brian has worked with a range of patient populations with problems often including medication related and substance abuse issues. Brian brings a robust background and skill in the assessment and treatment of a variety of age related, brain injury, substance abuse and other mental health problems.
Brian shares Serenity Vista’s passion for helping people affected by addiction. He brings a depth of expertise and skill in helping our guests throughout their journey of healing and recovery. Brian conducts small group sessions supportive of the recovery process with a focus on developing healthy inter- and intra-personal relationships. Brian utilizes an eclectic mix of psychotherapeutic approaches including Reality Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). He also incorporates The Four Agreements of Don Miguel Ruiz as an easily accessible learning tool integrated with 12 step philosophy.
We are pleased to have Brian as a valued member of our professional clinical team of Serenity Vista staff. He brings a depth of knowledge, professional skill, empathy and compassion that is appreciated and found to be tremendously helpful by the guests of Serenity Vista.
Merl Will-Wallace, BS, MA is one of a new breed of Coach/Counselors. He combines both approaches to create positive, definable results to any change in a person’s life.
Merl has a Bachelors degree in organizational development and a Masters degree in mental health counseling from the University of Colorado. He is a registered counselor in the state of Colorado and a certified coach in the United States. Merl has been both a personal and professional coach and counselor for over 20 years and has now focused his practice on change management.
Merl’s focus on change management is based on clinical experience where he has found that learned skills in managing change can facilitate an individuals ability to overcome mental, emotional and physical obstacles that have lead to stagnation and suffering. He is the author of the book, Awakening in Change.
Merl has made Boquete his new home and we are delighted to have him bring his vast experience and passion for helping to the guests of Serenity Vista. Merl leads a session on “Embracing Change”. Merl finds that, in assisting people with addictive behaviors, counseling can be enhanced by helping them to understand the true nature of change and how to manage it. He states, “Addiction is often triggered by an inability to face change. My goal, as part of an overall recovery program, is to help each person I work with to become more effective change managers. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of relapse. Additionally, the skills and processes I provide for change are complimentary to and reinforce the 12 step process for addiction.” Merl’s sessions are a reflection of who he is as a person: compassionate, interesting, stimulating, positive, helpful and encouraging.
Tom Werder, B.S., Physics, has a degree in physics and extensive training and experience in issues associated with recovery including alcoholism, codependency, adult children of alcoholics and transformational technologies. His career path has ranged from geo-physical engineering, personal and professional consulting, life coaching, seminar leadership, authorship, and addiction recovery.
Tom has led countless seminars in personal growth and development focusing on integrity, relationships and performance. His published small business management book, The BullsEye Principle, utilizes the principles of integrity, honesty and non-judgmental observation. As a recovering sober alcoholic with 35 years of continuous sobriety, Tom brings to Serenity Vista a personal passion and depth of skill for helping those affected by addiction.
Tom is currently semi-retired in Boquete Panama where he maintains an active healthy lifestyle which includes his passion for hiking. Tom is a talented musician, a dynamic speaker, an insightful coach, and a motivating presence. You can’t help but be inspired by him.
Tom leads ‘Integrity and a Sober Life’ sessions at Serenity Vista. You will be introduced to the practical benefits of managing personal integrity and be coached on how to manage it. Tom will guide you in the use of the tools of honesty, introspective inquiry, and personal responsibility and accountability. You will have opportunity to apply the concepts experientially and relate what is shared to relevant steps of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Through Tom’s down to earth, practical approach, you will quickly experience restoration of integrity making your life easier, more satisfying, and supportive of your new life of sustained recovery.
Elizabeth Worley, MS, practiced privately in North Carolina, USA, for many years as a national and state board certified counseling therapist, both in private practice and with non-profit centers. Her fields of specialty have included recovery from childhood abuse, gender identification, healing grief, and navigating life transitions. Her approach always remembers that each individual is a unique blend of body, mind and spirit, and that the therapeutic journey is a matter of mutual trust and respect.
Elizabeth has lived in the highlands of Panama since 2004. Her interests include growing organic coffee and producing health products made from rain forest medicinal plants. She continues to work with people who are seeking to create themselves anew, and brings her depth of experience, clinical skills, and passion for life to helping guests at Serenity Vista on their journey of healing, self discovery and recovery.
‘Reclaiming Self through Creativity’, as offered by Elizabeth at Serenity Vista, will foster your awareness and trust of your innate creative life force by providing a variety of opportunities to safely experiment with self-expression through poetry, literature, visual arts, movement, psycho-drama, nature and music. Reclaiming Self through Creativity helps break through the blocks, beliefs and fears that inhibit our natural desire to express ourselves. It’s fun, and it’s challenging. As you push through self-inhibiting limitations, you will discover doors that invite you to live more authentically, and with joy.
Barbara Fiorucci is a Certified Integrative Coach and Drama Therapist. She holds undergraduate B.A degrees in Theater and Education and advanced certification in Integrative Coaching, Group Facilitation and Education. She is also a tenured teacher in Education and Theater. Barbara is a highly skilled and passionate therapist and we are delighted to have her complement the holistic healing team of Serenity Vista.
Barbara’s passion is to support individuals in creating and building deep connections both within themselves and in their relationships. In her weekly ‘Creative Expression Through Drama‘ sessions, Barbara combines Integrative Coaching, Drama Therapy, talk and lessons in emotional literacy. Through her fun and interactive sessions, guests work to uncover: sabotaging and serving behaviors; underlying commitments and beliefs; hidden shadows and light qualities. Through this uncovering process, guests reconnect with their heart and discover the unique and deep wisdom that resides within.
Guests of Serenity Vista also enjoy and appreciate Barbara’s skilled drama therapy techniques of story making, dramatic movement and voice, character building, improvisation, role play, and role reversal. Through Drama, you will work through a range of issues including resolving conflict, easing transitions, building and nurturing relationships with self and others, practicing emotional/physical responses to life, and exploring the multitude of perspectives for any given situation.
Barbara is a valued member of Serenity Vista staff. She will skillfully and passionately support you in your journey of recovery as you step into your true power and discover the magic within. She will support you in integrating all parts of yourself to live more peacefully and in joy with self, others and your world.
Dr. Josimar Y. Gomez
Dr. Josimar Y. Gomez, M.D., serves as primary medical consultant to Serenity Vista. Dr. Gomez is a highly professional, skilled and caring physician. Known for his medical expertise, excellent English, and kind, friendly manner, Dr. Gomez is highly regarded in the community. Along with his colleagues at the Boquete Specialized Medical Clinic, 24-hour medical care and emergency services are provided, with direct access to excellent regional hospitals. We are grateful for the medical consultation advice and services provided by Dr. Gomez.
Culinary, Housekeeping & Support Staff
Asmiriam Roa, Master Chef
Asmi is the Head Chef and Master Chocolatier at Serenity Vista. Asmi knows which fruit vendors have the sweetest pineapples and the freshest and best varieties of Boquete’s tropical vegetables and fruits. She knows that people recovering from addiction have special needs to heal in body, mind and spirit and her outstanding meals address all aspects of recovery.
Asmi has joined Serenity Vista from Venezuela, where she is recognized as one of the greatest chefs of the new generation in her country. In 2013 Asmi trained at the esteemed Escuela de Pasteleria del Gremio in Barcelona, Spain to become a Chocolate Master. Venezuela is famous for its delicious first-class chocolate, which is now appearing on Serenity Vista’s table. Asmi delights in exploring new tastes from around the world and in creating nutritious and enticing international meals. A warm and inviting kitchen is the heart of any good home. Asmi’s groundedness and passion for cooking ignite an appetite for her fabulous 3 meals a day.
Veronica Villarreal, Housekeeping
I am very responsible and honest in my work. I always have a smile and a helping hand. My greatest passion is to be sincere.
Veronica keeps Serenity Vista clean and sparkling and prepares delicious lunches. Panamanian favorites such as Patacones, Yucca and Sancocho are some of her specialities. Veronica worked in some of Boquete’s finest restaurants and resorts before she joined our team. Veronica is an integral part of the smooth running behind the scenes at Serenity Vista.
Catie Nitz, Visiting Chef
Catie Nitz is seasonal visiting chef. She has played an integral role in developing the kitchen at Serenity Vista, sourcing the freshest foods available from our local producers and creating wholesome meals that nourish the mind, body and soul. Catie was homegrown in Charleston, South Carolina, the culinary capital of the South. She graduated from the College of Charleston with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Hospitality Management and opened Magnolia Catering to follow her passion for cooking. After five years of successful events, she departed on the ultimate culinary adventure to discover exactly how our favorite food makes it to the dinner table. Catie has tasted her way through Central America, Africa, and Europe, while studying sustainable agriculture and nutrition. Catie continues her journeys of discovery and creation from the heart with a dash of global inspiration.
Samuel Chire, Breakfast Cook
A good cook’s inspiration is born of love. I am a happy person, and my biggest passion is cooking.
Samuel is a native Boquetanian with 10 years of culinary experience at some of the finest hotel restaurants in the area. Samuel makes us a delicious fresh breakfast everyday, and his Sunday dinners are delightful. Everyone knows how important breakfast is, and Samuel starts our day with delicious freshness.
Kaytee Hoverson, Yoga Instructor
Kaytee is a compassionate social entrepreneur, certified yoga instructor and certified personal trainer. Yoga is one of our guest’s favorite activities as Kaytee’s gentle skill and intuitive compassion assures that everyone is comfortable, yet challenged. Regardless of previous yoga or athletic experience, Kaytee coaches each individual to personally develop and experience the positive physical and meditative aspects of yoga.
Oscar Pena, Tour Guide and Recreation
Oscar has been involved in tourism and hospitality for the last 7 years. He is an important and proud member of the Boquete community and does his best to create the best experience possible on his tours and varied activities with our guests. Oscar’s outgoing and friendly nature, and positive, energetic attitude are infectious and serve as a positive role model that our guests welcome and look forward to.
Kerry Frank, Facilities Maintenance
Kerry is in charge of facility maintenance at Serenity Vista, ensuring that the house and grounds are in optimum working condition and well maintained for both the residents and guests. Kerry and his wife Susan originally hail from Appleton, Wisconsin and are happy to now call Boquete, Panama home. Kerry takes pride in looking after Serenity Vista, pays attention to detail, and we are always happy to see his friendly smiling face as he goes about his work.