Aubrey Dunning

Administrator

Aubrey Dunning is the Administrator and Owner of Changing Tides. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Minor in Family Relations in 2007 from East Carolina University. Aubrey has only worked in the field of addiction and feels very blessed to be a change agent in each client’s journey to recovery. Aubrey worked at a facility for approximately 7 years before opening Changing Tides. Prior to opening Changing Tides Aubrey began her Master’s Program in Professional Counseling at Grand Canyon University. Through her experience she feels that Changing Tides has something special to offer to client’s in need of treatment services, and that is the real-life environment. As a professional, Aubrey enjoys working with clients using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy. She feels that most people are touched by addiction in some way, whether it is themselves or a loved one or friend. Therefore it is important to incorporate the family members into client’s treatment process as much as possible.

Sandra Briggman

Financial Director

Sandra who goes by Sandy Briggman is the Financial Director at Changing Tides Treatment Center on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Sandy is a graduate from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Management. The experience that Sandy brings to Changing Tides is her years of working as a Contracts Manager, Pricing Manager, Human Resources Manager, and a company Financial Manager. Sandy feels that working at Changing Tides Treatment Center is a perfect job for her because not only does she get to work as their Financial Manager but she also believes in the company’s philosophy that “Change IS Possible!” In the field of treatment and recovery, Sandy has seen clients come through Changing Tides’ doors and change their lives with the help of the supportive staff. Changing Tides programs and dedication to each person individually has been part of the key to client’s success. Sandy has chosen to work in this field because she feels that treatment and recovery is near and dear to her heart due to her own family’s affliction with alcoholism and drug addiction. It is a family disease and there is hope. Hope and health for the individual and for the family can be achieved through therapy and counseling.

In Sandy’s free time she enjoys spending time with her children and her grandchildren. She is also very talented in Stained Glass and Pottery making and has sold many pieces as well as teaches courses for both arts. Sandy also enjoys living on the Outer Banks and takes advantage of the island as much as she can with water skiing, boating and swimming.

David Briggman

Operations Director

Dave Briggman is the Operations Director at Changing Tides Treatment Center on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Dave has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Physics from Villanova University. Dave started his career as a scientist and was quickly promoted to a Research and Development Supervisor and finally to an R & D Manager at Harry Diamond Laboratories. He also worked at Fairchild Weston (Schlumberger / Loral) as a Product Manager, reporting to the General Manager and was responsible for product development and manufacturing, personnel performance, contractor and government relations, and finances. He also worked at Pocal Industries as the General Manager and Vice President and was responsible for all operations of the company. Dave ended up in the Outer Banks because he decided that he needed a change of climates and had vacationed every year to the Outer Banks since he was only a couple of months old. He and his wife bought a motel that was originally called the Buccaneer Motel. He owned and operated that motel for approximately 20 years before deciding to be a part of the change needed in the world in the addiction crisis and has been a major part of changing the motel over from the Buccaneer to Changing Tides Addiction Treatment Center. Dave oversees any function of Changing Tides Company that can affect the quality of performance and client care. Dave also meets occasionally with clients to establish rapport and ensure that they are receiving all they need from the program. Dave feels that the field of addiction recovery is a priority and is very close to home as he has a son in recovery and has witnessed the destruction of families from addiction as he is also a North Carolina Guardian ad Litem volunteer, advocating for abused and neglected children. Dave believes that Changing Tides’ multi-faceted recovery approach is the most effective philosophy in the field. Dave is certified as all staff members are in Medication Management, Client/Patient Rights, Confidentiality of Substance Use Treatment Information, HIPPA, Substance Use Disorders Part 1 and 2, Structured Group Therapy Approaches, Brief Models of Family Therapy, Best Practices in Substance Use Treatment Engagement, Biopsychosocial Model of Addiction, Blood borne Pathogens, CPR/FA Including the Heimlich Maneuver and Seizure Management, Least Restrictive Alternatives and ACA Codes of Ethics. Dave has also won awards for the following:

1976: Department of the Army Research and Development Achievement Award

2006 North Carolina (Governor’s) Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service

2013 College of the Albemarle Coach Conner Award for Excellence in Professional Arts

In his free time Dave enjoys spending time with family which is constantly growing. He also is a lover of sports, especially soccer and football. He enjoys getting together with his peers and playing pickle ball at least 3 times per week and loves taking his boat out on the sound for sunset cruises in the spring, summer and fall months.

Renina Varfaj

Therapist

Renina Varfaj is one of the therapists at Changing Tides on the Outer Banks who is currently working closely with the staff to serve clients who struggle with chemical dependence, process addictions and other related mental health disorders. Renina graduated as a Clinical Psychologist in 2008 and obtained her degree from the University of Tirana in Albania. In 2012, she received the degree of Masters in Research in Education, also from the University of Tirana in Albania. Renina Varfaj attended the psychodrama training organized by the Institute of Psychodrama in Belgrade, Serbia which is an accredited institute by the European Association of Psychotherapy. Renina Varfaj received the title Psychotheapist by the European Association of couples, families, children and adolescents in various settings. Renina has worked individually and in group settings with a clinically diverse population of clients. Her focus includes working with clients who are dealing with issues centered around addiction, eating disorders, mental illness, dual diagnosis, self-esteem, parent-child conflict, anger management, communication skills, couple conflicts, domestic violence, trauma, female and male survivors of sexual abuse and family violence.

The other experiences and interests are related to social research, coordination of youth projects, advocacy for children’s rights, staff training and trainings for parents. Renina Varfaj has participated in national and international conferences as a speaker and as a guest.

Amy Parsons, MA

Therapist

Amy is a therapist at changing tides. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Services with a focus in psychology from Old Dominion University. After completing her BA she worked with an Outer Banks non-profit organization as a program coordinator, advocate, and victim support specialist for victims of sexual and domestic violence. She also provided the Outer Banks with various violence prevention programs. In doing this work she was motivated to further her education and earned her Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling with a focus in marriage and family counseling from Liberty University. She is currently furthering her education through completing a second Master degree, Master of Arts in Professional Counseling, from Liberty University as part of her process in obtaining professional licensure. Amy has provided therapy in various counseling settings and with various populations. She has experienced family members and friends face the battle of addiction, which has motivated her to become a substance abuse counselor. Amy practices from a person-centered approach to facilitate personal growth and development in order to increase self-esteem and openness to recovery experience through non-judgmental warmth and acceptance. She uses Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to help clients improve their mental health and heal from addiction.

Justin Parker, MA, LCMHC-A, LCAS-A

Therapist

Justin is a therapist at Changing Tides. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in History Education from East Carolina University. After completing his BA, he worked as an office administrator in Greenville, NC. He then moved back to the Outer Banks to pursue one of his passions and became a chef at the Black Pelican restaurant. During his time on the Outer Banks, Justin saw the difficulties many faced when dealing with substance use disorders. He decided that he wanted to help those in need and went back to East Carolina University where he earned his Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling with emphasis in Substance abuse. As a therapist, Justin uses a person-centered approach to connect with clients and helps them learn to form and maintain healthy relationships during treatment. He also uses Motivational Interviewing as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help clients gain a better understanding of their addiction and improve their overall mental health and wellbeing. Justin is passionate about his work in the community and it has become his life’s mission to help those suffering from the disease of addiction and mental illness.

Derek Dinkler

Therapist

Derek is a therapist at Changing Tides. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality from Cornell University and worked as an operating partner for 5 different restaurants in New Orleans and the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Through the years Derek has seen the devastation that drugs and alcohol has had specifically on his family and those that work in the hospitality industry. Derek has 16 years of recovery and has a driving passion for helping those with substance use. Due to seeing those around him suffer and having first-hand experience, Derek decided to leave the restaurant business and acquire a Master of Science in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University. As a therapist Derek uses Motivation Interviewing, CBT and Reality Therapy. Derek feels it is a privilege to be working at Changing Tides as he is very committed to the philosophy and mission statement that Changing tides offers to those that are seeking recovery. In his spare time, Derek enjoys playing golf, hang-gliding and cooking.

Adam Green, MSW, LCAS

Therapist

Adam Green, MSW, LCAS. Adam has been working in the drug and alcohol treatment setting for almost twenty years. He began his career at the Wilmington treatment cent in 2002 as a clinical tech. He loved the job and decide to go back to school for counseling. He earned his Bachelor of Social Work from UNCW. He earned his Master of Social Work from ECU. He was on the Dean list and he minored in Substance Abuse Studies. He has worked in many different capacities in the substance abuse field. He has worked in prisons, and in many different inpatient and outpatient settings. He uses CBT, Motivational Interviewing, DBT and Trauma Informed Care. He is a licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist and licensed with the state of North Carolina. He is very excited to be working here at Changing Tides. In his spare time, he likes to surf and travel.

Cecil Meadows

Recovery Support

Cecil Meadows is the Recovery Support Specialist here at Changing Tides. He received his Associates Degree in Applied Science from Mount Olive College and is currently training to obtain his licensure as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.

Cecil brings with him a 30+ year knowledge in the manufacturing and sale of yachts and thus, has traveled world-wide working and dealing with people of all diversities. He also, having experienced his own personal recovery story, offers hope to clients who are just beginning their journey on their recovery path. In doing so, he offers his own unique perspective to the hard-to-reach clients through his excellent communication abilities, from his many years in sales. His passion for lifelong learning and recovery support services is reinforced through his direct-speaking and strong advocacy for life-long sobriety and providing a terrific role model.

In Cecil’s spare time he enjoys spending time with his children and grandchildren, fishing, and finding and enjoying new dining experiences.

Kimberly Kerner

Office Manager

Kim’s title at Changing Tides is the Personal Assistant to the Administrator. Kim has experience working in the medical field as a CNA since 2014. During her time as a CNA she found that her passion was to be able to help others. She was able to open a business of her own until she decided to move from Indiana to the Outer Banks North Carolina.

Kim enjoys working in the office atmosphere as well as being able to connect with Changing Tides clients and being a part of their treatment process. It has been a goal of Kim’s to have a position where she is able to make an impact on others’ lives. Prior to working at Changing Tides, Kim was aware of addiction and how it has impacted those around her. She has now a greater understanding of the nature and disease of addiction and takes great pride in all she is able to do for clients during their treatment experience. Kim also loves being able to live so close to the ocean.

She is a fan of the beach town type of living and finds the Outer Banks a wonderful place to call home.