Our Team

Dr. Gita Zarnegar

Ph.D., Psy.D., MFT – Clinical Advisor

Dr. Zarnegar has over 30 years of experience in behavioral health and clinical treatment. Dr. Zarnegar serves on the Advisory Board for Tharros House and helps to direct resource and team development. Her clinical insight also provides guidance for the development of client support services. Dr. Zarnegar brings a wealth of intuitive and insightful knowledge rooted from a quarter century of clinical experience. Dr. Zarengar received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, from California School of Professional Psychology and a Psy.D. in psychoanalysis, from the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. She has a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Loma Linda University and has been a licensed M.F.T since 1988.

Paul Gardner

Co-Founder, Program Director

Paul is Tharros House’s Program Director and interfaces with clients and family on a daily basis. Paul found his sobriety in Los Angeles CA in 2010. After undergoing inpatient treatment in a non 12-step facility, Paul connected with the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, becoming an active member. Paul lived in a sober living home for 13 months before starting his own sober house in LA. Paul is driven by his personal battle with addiction and his passion to help others. Paul’s education is in entrepreneurship as a graduate of Babson College in Wellesley, MA. In addition to starting several ventures, his professional background includes 12 years in the hospitality industry, most recently as the General Manager for a Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles. Paul is passionate about helping others recover.

Melissa Lowrey

Co-Founder, Support Design and Implementation

Melissa provides Tharros House with evidence-based intervention strategies, including empirically supported practices for substance use disorder (SUD). More specifically, she offers didactic training and psychoeducation among the Tharros Team Members. She has hosted field experts in motivational interviewing (MI) to provide team member training and continuously seeks ways to provide education and support among the Tharros House team.

Melissa pulls from her previous work in occupational therapy to support the reengagement of healthy activities of daily living. She believes in providing meaningful engagement and accomplishment opportunities in the Tharros community (see Seligman’s PERMA+Model). As a fifth-year doctoral candidate in William James College’s Clinical Psychology program, Melissa has completed extensive training in neuropsychology under the guidance of various board-certified clinical neuropsychologists on faculty at Harvard Medical School. She has trained at the McLean Anxiety Mastery Program at McLean Hospital, an intensive outpatient setting for adolescents, where she provided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), and elements of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in the treatment of anxiety disorders. She is motivated by a strong desire to help individuals use values-based decision-making to rediscover what inspires them to make a change.

Darren Shaughnessy

Director of Teras Sober Living

Darren originally joined the Tharros House team in 2015 after spending 2 years working in the Los Angeles recovery community. In his leadership role at Teras House, Darren interfaces with clients, families, and our support staff. Darren’s primary focus is to promote client development of recovery skills that will serve their long-term sobriety. Darren holds a BA from Stonehill College and was most recently the Assistant Director at Tharros House.

Donna Wolfe

Vocational Coach

Longtime consultant and salesperson for in-coming conferences to Boston, Donna has developed teams at Historic Museums and Venues, John F. Kennedy Library, Brandeis University, and many venerable and start-up businesses. Her successful motivational speaking/ workshops on Time Management, Personal Public Relations, Courage in Workplace, as well as Intern Programs at various non-and-for profit companies, have run concurrently with the work she does at Tharros House. Donna is President of Board of Directors of Granada House, the oldest non-profit rehabilitation program in Boston.

Christian Santilli

Co-Program Director at Tharros House

Christian Santilli is the Co-Program Director at Tharros House. He oversees operations, manages staff and helps clients meet their goals on a day-to-day basis. Christian developed and runs our case-management system and serves as one of the primary case managers himself. Christian is a former resident of Tharros House. He started his recovery journey at an inpatient, recovery program, outside of his hometown of Philadelphia. He spent 13 months in the Tharros community, giving him a unique ability to relate to the clients he works with. His primary program has been and continues to be Alcoholics Anonymous, but he has been involved in many other fellowships such as Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics. Christian is a trained stage actor and graduated from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts with a BFA in Acting, in 2015. He worked as an actor and teacher in the Boston area before finding a passion for working with other recovering addicts and alcoholics. Inside of his work at Tharros House, he has found the empathic connection and capacity for change he was always looking for in acting.

Support Team

Daniel O’Connell

Dan understands the journey of recovery, having engaged long-term sobriety since January 2016. In recovery, Dan has returned to many of his athletic passions. Dan grew up in Duxbury MA where he was the captain of the varsity golf, hockey, and tennis teams. During his senior year, Dan was awarded the Fuller T. Marshall award which is reserved for excellence in and athletics and scholastics. Dan went on to graduate from Curry College with a B.S. degree in Communications. While at Curry, Dan was named NCAA Division 3 MVP for tennis. Prior to joining the teams at Tharros and Teras, Dan also spent 8 years as a financial advisor. Now, he finds purpose in helping others find their passions in recovery.

Nicholas Dunn

Nick is a person in long term recovery through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. He has maintained sobriety since March 5th, 2015, and is very active through the Young People in AA Fellowship. Nick grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts where he attended Arlington High School, playing varsity D1 Hockey and Lacrosse. Nick earned a place on the First Team All Stars in both Junior and Senior years for Lacrosse. Early on in recovery, Nick began reconnecting with his passions of playing Hockey, and enjoying the outdoors. After spending much of his career in retail where he managed for Mobil, Circle K and Home Depot, Nick joined the Tharros Team in February of 2018, making the decision to follow his passion of helping men in recovery.