Fresh Start Staff


At Fresh Start Recovery Center, each staff member brings a combination of education, training, professional certifications and hands-on experience. We approach treatment from a variety of disciplines and therapeutic modalities, allowing us to create a truly comprehensive, individualized treatment plan.

Many of our staff members are in recovery themselves, and are excited to share the fulfillment they have found with you. We are real people in recovery, we have been where you are, and we are excited to help each individual find long term recovery.

Viktoriya Karakcheyeva, LCPC-LS

Clinical Director

Our clinical director at Fresh Start, Viktoriya Karakcheyeva is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a licensed clinical Alcohol and Drug supervisor as well as a certified clinical supervisor in the state of Maryland. Viktoriya also brings her 17 years of experience working in the mental health and substance abuse treatment fields. She has served in both clinical and leadership positions in a number of roles, in inpatient and outpatient settings, and as a program director, clinical supervisor, government contractor and consultant, among other positions.

What is your mission at Fresh Start?

I really want people to be in a better place, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually. When a client comes through our doors, they are starting from what might not be a good place, but the journey evolves. At the end I hope each individual has learned about themselves and the world around them, as well as developing coping skills and becoming a better person, ending in a better place.

What makes Fresh Start stand out?

The outdoors, recreation and art therapies we offer. We believe that a gradual safe exposure to healthy leisure activities is beneficial to clients as they build the necessary skills to live clean and sober, not engage substance abuse, and begin to have meaningful experience without drugs or alcohol.

What is the most rewarding part of working at Fresh Start?

The best part of my job is putting smiles on my clients’ faces and helping them believe in themselves, evolve and rediscover their lives’ meaning and purpose in recovery. I bring lollipops, colorful fuzzy balls, smells, sights and sounds to help my clients realize there is a sense of urgency in turning their lives around for the better and they can always choose to have a better moment… hour… day… week… life… NOW!

Rachel Oelslager, LCPC

Clinical Coordinator

Rachel Oelslager, our clinical coordinator at Fresh Start, has roots in the area; she was born and raised in nearby Washington, D.C. Rachel graduated from Vassar College with a bachelor's degree in psychology and went on to earn a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Massachusetts. After working in Virginia, Rachel moved to the Frederick, Maryland area, where she is raising her two young children, a cat and a puppy.

What drew you to working in this field:

To be honest, I kind of stumbled into the field after grad school and never looked back. I took a job in Virginia at a Community Services Board where I worked for two years with the Drug Court program in the Rappahannock area. I loved that experience and when I moved to Maryland, I never even considered looking in any other field. I’ve been in the field for over 5 years now.

What makes Fresh Start Recovery Center stand out?

The staff is so friendly and almost more like a family. We are very supportive of each other which in turn helps us support the clients as well. The most meaningful work with my clients is building that human connection and just listening to them.

Federico Douglas, ADT

Alcohol and Drug Trainee Counselor

Federico is one of our group therapists at Fresh Start Recovery Center. He combines his training with his 28 years of experience in the field of substance abuse treatment to facilitate group therapy sessions.

What makes Fresh Start stand out?

The fact that we are a facility that stands on complete abstinenence from all substances, including pain management.

The most rewarding part of working at Fresh Start:

To see former clients adopt the entire concept of staying clean, living clean and sober. As well as seeing them years later, still living clean.

Brianna Hurwitz, ADT

Case Manager/ Alcohol and Drug Trainee Counselor

Brianna Hurwitz, a native of Poolesville, Maryland, works as an Alcohol and Drugs Trainee at Fresh Start. Brianna attended the University of Maryland at College Park, and graduated from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Alongside her work at Fresh Start, Brianna is working for her Licensed Graduate Social Worker certification at the University of Maryland's School of Social Work.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part of my work is seeing direct change in clients, watching them become advocates for themselves in recovery.

Melissa Cafarelli

Office Manager

What drew you to this field?

I am incredibly passionate about the field of addiction treatment. I come from a place of compassion and understanding, being in recovery myself. I want to help others in beginning a path towards a new way of life without the use of drugs and alcohol. I want to help clients see the potential in themselves and take full advantage of the recovery process.

What makes Fresh Start stand out?

I believe in Fresh Start Recovery Center and believe we can make a difference in the lives of others. All it takes is a little bit of willingness on the clients end, and staff can take that inch and stretch it a mile. A majority of our staff members are in recovery ourselves which is important because we come from a place of empathy and understanding. I am so lucky to be able to work alongside an incredible team of people who are passionate about their jobs, who all truly care about our clients, and are dedicated in helping them succeed.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

The most rewarding part of my job is watching clients get here hopeless but then leaving our care hopeful. The change of attitude is astonishing. They get to our facility beaten down—with only a faint glimmer of light and then leave--fire ignited, driven and dedicated to take on their recovery full force. It’s truly a beautiful thing to witness.

What it means to be an Amatus Managed Recovery Center

  • Person First Philosophy

    Our mission is to get you in the best facility that will allow you to heal and find long term recovery. Whether you enter one of our facilities or another facility, we will help everyone who contacts us find the appropriate place for them to heal.

  • National Footprint, Community Focus

    Our nationwide network of treatment centers and referral partners allows us to make an impact in multiple communities. We want every individual to thrive, and become a positive force in your community. We desire to help people and communities recover.

  • Facility and Treatment

    We are committed to providing the highest level of care, delivered in cutting-edge facilities designed to support your recovery. Every individual gets an individualized treatment plan, with the highest-level of care standards and quality.

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