Rebecca Baldwin, Executive Director
Rebecca Baldwin is the Executive Director of Saratoga Center for the Family. Rebecca has spent her career focusing on children and families who’s lives have been impacted by trauma. She has worked across the Capital District creating and expanding community programming and facilitating community partnerships. Her experience ranges from Domestic Violence to Substance Abuse; Prevention and Mental Health to Foster Care.
Rebecca obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. After working in the field for a number of years, she returned to graduate school and obtained a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Social Work Administration from the University at Albany.
Rebecca has spent the majority of her life in Saratoga County, where she is happy to remain working and raising a family.
Michelle Ducrot, Office Manager
Michelle Ducrot is the Office Manager for the Saratoga Center for the Family. With over a decade in varying Office Administration roles, she is grateful for the opportunity to transition into the non-profit world as part of the fantastic team supporting the Center’s mission and growth.
Michelle attended UMass Dartmouth, where she majored in Business Management. An avid community volunteer, Michelle served for 4 years on the Saratoga Independent School Board of Trustees where she Chaired the Marketing Committee, and served on the Development, Strategic Planning and Executive Committees. She was also a member of the school’s Campus Planning and Advisory Board and has worked with several community groups, such as LLL International and Sling Babies, a local baby-wearing instruction and support group.
After bouncing from Massachusetts to DC to California to Virginia to New York, Michelle is happy to have put down roots in Saratoga where she lives with her husband and two daughters.
Amy Radik, Development Coordinator
Amy Radik is the Development Coordinator at Saratoga Center for the Family. She has over 20 years of experience in public relations, fundraising, marketing and development. Amy has worked in the healthcare and educational industries and is excited to utilize her background at a non-profit organization that believes in the importance of both a healthy and educated community. With the Center’s mission being to reduce the effects of abuse, trauma and family dysfunction through advocacy, education, and mental health therapy, Amy has found that the Saratoga community and surrounding areas have been a huge support system in helping the Center see its mission through.
Amy earned her Bachelor’s degree in Public Communications from The College of Saint Rose and her Master of Arts: Liberal Studies/Urban Youth from SUNY Empire State College.
Pat Covell, Administrative Associate
Gina Flynt, Reception and Scheduling
Diane Parrish, Administrative Associate
EMILY NELLIS, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSOCIATE
Emily is the Administrative Associate for Saratoga Center for the Family’s School Based program where she schedules appointments for students who see therapists in one of the many school districts we serve including Bethlehem, Schuylerville, Scotia-Glenville, Shenedehowa, South Glens Falls, and Waterford-Halfmoon.
With a Bachelor’s degree from Potsdam’s Psychology program, Emily plans to earn her Master’s degree in Counseling as her future goal is to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). “I’ve always strived to work for a non-profit,” says Emily. “I especially love working with children and families.”
Prior to working at the Center, Emily was a Behavioral Health Resource Advocate at Hudson Headwaters in Queensbury where she set-up external behavioral health appointments and assisted with community resource needs.
When she’s not working, Emily enjoys reading and hiking. She resides in Ballston Spa with her fiancé and two dogs.
Jennifer Wormley, Child Advocacy Center Director
Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Rochester. She then graduated from Canisius College receiving her Master’s Degree in Counseling. Jennifer has experience working as a mental health social worker and as a Program Director of intensive and supportive case management services.
At SCFF Jennifer is the Director of the Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center. She is responsible for the day to day operations, applying for grants, prevention education outreach, quality assurance and program development. The Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center is available to be used as a community resource, to educate the public, and to provide a safe, neutral and friendly environment for child abuse allegation investigations to take place.
Jennifer believes that child abuse prevention is everyone’s responsibility. It takes an educated and involved community to protect children.
Nicole Iwaniec, Victim Services Coordinator
Nicole earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Siena College where she majored in Marketing and Communications and minored in Psychology. After graduating, Nicole went to work as a Case Manager in an Intensive Management Needs program within a residential foster care facility. The facility serves children who have experienced multiple traumas, were victims of abuse, struggled with mental health issues and exhibited severe behavioral issues. Nicole has 21 years of experience working collaboratively with adolescents, guardians, extended family members, clinical staff, school personnel, social services agencies and legal personnel. Nicole has extensive knowledge of the legal system as well as the mental health system.
Nicole currently serves as the Victim Services Coordinator here at the Saratoga Center for the Family’s Harriet M. West Child Advocacy Center. She works with people who have been victims of a crime in a supportive role so that they can begin to heal from traumatic events. She is able to explain a victim’s rights, the possibility of reimbursement from the New York State Office of Victim Services, and assist with the application process for these benefits. Nicole also can assist with linkage and referral to other available resources.
John Kelly, safe harbour Coordinator
John worked for the Saratoga Springs Police Department for 25 years. During his time there he worked as a D.A.R.E. Officer and Saratoga Springs School Resource Officer.
As the Safe Harbour Coordinator, John works in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team to identify and assist victims of human trafficking. John also provides community outreach and education in order to decrease the instances of human trafficking in our communities.
DAVE COVEY, COMMUNITY EDUCATOR
Dave earned a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from RIT. After graduation he went to work for the New York State Department of Correctional Services. Dave was a member of the Corrections Emergency Response Team and a certified trainer in a variety of subjects. After twenty-five years of service he retired as a Lieutenant. After retiring, Dave earned his Master’s degree in Social Policy from SUNY Empire State College and went to work in Human Service.
As a Community Educator, Dave provides public awareness and community education trainings to groups in Saratoga County and the surrounding areas.
Wende W. Tedesco, LCSW-R, Clinical Director of Center and community based programming
Ms. Tedesco graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Bachelors of Social Work and Minors in Sociology and Psychology, and earned her Masters of Social Work from the State University of Albany. Ms. Tedesco’s early clinical experience was strongly influenced by attending trainings with many of the pioneers of child and family therapy including: Albert Ellis, Carl Rogers, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Salvatore Minuchin, Michael White, the solution-focused work of Insoo Kim Berg, and the groundbreaking work of Ross Greene and Stuart Ablon with children in the Collaborative Problem Solving approach. She has devoted the majority of her career to working with adolescents and their families in a residential treatment center. Ms. Tedesco became an administrator in clinical services and focused on program development, outcome and efficacy of clinical service provision; including implementation of an evidence-based education and treatment model within a residential program. Most recently, she has worked on assessment and treatment of youth experiencing suicidal ideation or those who engaged in non-suicidal self- injury and those experiencing overwhelming anxiety.
Ms. Tedesco believes in a positive emphasis on psychoeducation, brain-based research, and mindfulness and healing tools for trauma.
Megan Heeder, LMHC, Clinical director OF school based programming
Megan Heeder is Saratoga Center for the Family’s Clinical Director of School Based Programming.
Megan earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ithaca College. She has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor since 2011 and says her approach to therapy is “holistic and psychodynamic,” helping people alleviate traumatic stress through a variety of techniques including Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapies, as well as narrative, self-regulatory and mindfulness-based strategies. Megan has extensive experience working with children in school-based settings where play therapy helps children communicate and express their feelings. Megan is currently being trained in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) to add to her repertoire of trauma treatment tools.
Prior to coming to Saratoga Center for the Family, Megan worked at Northwestern Counseling and Support Services in Vermont where she started and supervised a hospital diversion program to help adults in crisis. She then spent three years running a private practice consulting within a rural elementary school. In 2016, after relocating back to the area, Megan obtained her New York State license and joined the Neighborhood Center in Old Forge, NY, running an outpatient community mental health office.n.
Megan is married with two children and a dog. In her free time, she loves to spend time in nature hiking, camping, skiing, biking, swimming and boating in the Adirondacks and the 1000 Islands. Megan loves to travel and hopes to instill a sense of curiosity, adventure and non-judgmentalism in her children.
Tracy Barboza, LCSW-R, school based therapist at scotia-glenville school district
Tracy Barboza, LCSW-R, is a licensed clinical social worker at Saratoga Center for the Family. She earned her MSW from SUNY Albany and her B.A. in psychology from Elmira College. Tracy has over 16 years of combined experience providing individual and group therapy, consultation, and training. Tracy has worked in private practice, clinic, residential, hospital and community based settings with both children and adults. She is experienced in working with individuals and families impacted by trauma, grief and loss, ID/DD, ADHD, Autism, TBI, and a variety of mental health and adjustment challenges. Tracy utilizes an individualized treatment approach drawing from a wide range of CBT, DBT, educational and solution focused interventions.
This fall, Saratoga Center for the Family will branch out to Schenectady County as Tracy will be the school-based therapist at Scotia-Glenville’s High School and Middle School. A resident of Glenville, Tracy is excited to be working in her community at an organization she feels so passionate about.
“I believe in Saratoga Center for the Family’s mission to support, empower and strengthen families. I think it’s wonderful to be bringing this service to schools. This creates an opportunity to provide support in an accessible and familiar environment, so kids and teens can feel comfortable should they need to seek help for any reason,” says Tracy.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and volunteer work.
Erica Buhler, LCSW, Mental Health therapist
Erica Buhler, LCSW, is a Mental Health Therapist at Saratoga Center for the Family. Erica began her career in human services as a case manager at Unity House of Troy, a human service agency, working with people suffering from severe and persistent mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse issues and HIV/AIDS. This position sparked Erica’s passion to continue her education to become a licensed therapist.
Erica earned both her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from University at Albany in Social Welfare and Social Work respectively. During her undergraduate studies, Erica interned at St. Anne Institute, Albany, in the Residential Services program which serves young women and their families from throughout New York State. Her second internship, during graduate studies, was with Albany County Correctional Facility providing counseling through the facility’s mental health unit.
With degree in hand, Erica took a position as a Functional Family Therapist at Berkshire Farm Center and Services for Youth. She earned her license and was soon offered a position with St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam as a Psychiatric Social Worker for the children’s mental health unit, eventually being promoted as the outpatient addiction services supervisor. However, Erica missed the one-on-one sessions with families and children.
“I wanted to go back to where my passion truly lies, which is working closely with individuals and families to help them achieve their goals and I will be doing that here at Saratoga Center for the Family.” says Erica.
Erica says she focuses on cognitive behavior therapy and solution focused therapy with her clients. “This style is more of a short-term, goal-oriented treatment that takes a practical approach to problem-solving. We work together to challenge and change unhelpful thought processes and behaviors for the best results. ”
A resident of Ballston Spa, Erica and her husband have a three year old son. During her free time, she enjoys baking and cooking in general.
Vicki braunstein, LMSW, School Based therapist at shenendehowa school district
Cara Bryden, LCSW-R, Mental Health therapist
Cara Bryden received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology concentrating in Human Services and Women’s Studies from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She received her Master’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany in Social Welfare. She is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
Cara has worked extensively with child and adult survivors of trauma providing group, individual and family therapy. She has specialized experience in foster care and adoption as well as sexual abuse. Cara enjoys incorporating expressive art modalities of movement, sound, visual imagery, writing, and mindfulness. She believes that everyone has a creative place inside themselves and finding and exploring this place can be fun and deeply healing at the same time.
Cara also uses talk therapy drawing from Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Solution Focused Therapy. She understands how difficult it can be to trust a therapist and finds that building a trusting relationship is one of the most important parts of people’s healing process.
In her free time Cara has two young children that inspire her to be her best self every day. She is currently working towards earning a certificate in Expressive Arts through Florida Expressive Art Institute. She enjoys art journaling, creative movement, art and music festivals, and spending time with her friends and family.
Taylor Cardona, LMHC, school based therapist at waterford-halfmoon school district
Taylor Cardona earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University At Albany and Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. She is licensed in the state of New York as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC).
Taylor has experience providing mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults in outpatient clinics, school-based programs, and the summer camp setting. Taylor utilizes a client-centered approach, incorporating a variety of treatment modalities to individualize care to each person. At the core of Taylor’s approach is the belief that a trusting relationship between therapist and client can lay the foundation for overall growth. Taylor believes in empowering children and adolescents by focusing on their unique personalities and strengths, along with building a support team to surround them. Therefore, Taylor is excited to be able to offer a collaborative approach working along side the client, family, and school personnel within the Waterford-Halfmoon School District as part of Saratoga Center for the Family’s Student Empowerment Services.
Chastity Chartier, PSY.D, clinical psychologist
Dr. Chartier earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England and is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in New York State. She has specialized in assessment and evaluation in a variety of settings, and completed her doctoral internship at the Child Abuse Program at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, VA, where she was trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Since joining Saratoga Center for the Family in 2017, she has received training as a Victim Advocate and as a Forensic Interviewer, including interviewing individuals with disabilities. She is also now trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and provides several evidence-based options in therapy with her clients. Dr. Chartier’s primary function at SCFF is to provide psychological assessments. She has over 10 years of experience assessing individuals across the lifespan, from infancy through late life. Her areas of expertise include ADHD, learning disabilities, autism spectrum, child abuse/trauma, and adaptive functioning. She tailors each interview, testing session, and feedback session to the individual needs of the patient and the involved family members and care providers. She is passionate about standardized, thorough, and accurate assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning.
Dr. Chartier grew up in a military family and lived in various states throughout her childhood. During college she studied abroad in Germany, and throughout college and graduate school, she served in the Marine Corps for 8 years, where she met her husband. Together they enjoy travelling and exploring new places with their three children and two dogs.
KAYLA DUESLER, LMHC, SCHOOL BASED THERAPIST AT SCOTIA-GLENVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT
Kayla Duesler is a licensed mental health counselor at Saratoga Center for the Family. She earned her Masters at Walden University in Minnesota and her B.A. in psychology from University at Albany. Kayla has over 5 years of combined experience providing individual and group therapy, consultation, and training. Kayla has worked in private practice, clinic, residential, hospital and community based settings with both children and adults. She is experienced in working with individuals and families impacted by trauma, grief and loss, ODD, ADHD, and a variety of mental health and adjustment challenges. Kayla has experience working with children in school-based settings where play therapy helps children communicate and express their feelings. Kayla utilizes an individualized treatment approach drawing from a wide range of CBT, family systems therapy, educational and solution focused interventions.
Prior to coming to Saratoga Center for the Family, Kayla worked at Mental Health Association of Fulton and Montgomery County where she provided therapy to elementary school aged children in the Gloversville and Amsterdam school districts to help children presenting with trauma and grief. Kayla also has a small part time private practice conducting in home therapy to children, adults, families, and couples.
In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, camping, fishing, and traveling.
Hilary Dusablon, LMHC, School Based Therapist at Schuylerville School District
Hilary Dusablon is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) with Saratoga Center for the Family (SCFF). Prior to coming to SCFF, Hilary started her career as a therapist at the Family Counseling Center located in Gloversville, NY, where she provided both clinic and school based services. She then transitioned to Northern Rivers where she was a therapist, both clinic and school based, as well as a clinical supervisor in their Schenectady Behavioral Health Center location. While Hilary has experience providing care in various settings, she stated: “I have a passion for school based services. It is clear that the need for mental health services is rising and with the convenience of being right in the school, multiple treatment barriers are alleviated for families.”
Hilary earned her M.A. in Counseling and Community Psychology from Sage in 2015. During her graduate work she was afforded the opportunity to become involved with the New York Association for Play Therapy (NYAPT). She currently serves as their Corresponding Secretary, which is an elected board position. Hilary is very passionate about play therapy and is working towards becoming a Registered Play Therapist (RPT).
Hilary has experience working with diverse clientele with various presenting problems, including but not limited to: trauma, depression, anger management, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorders and autism spectrum disorders. Hilary believes in an individualized treatment approach tailored to each of her client’s needs. She implements an eclectic collection of treatment modalities drawing from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Strengths-Based, Person Centered, Family Systems, and Play based therapies.
“I am always looking for ways to grow as a therapist so I am looking forward to upcoming trainings in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) through SCFF,” she says.
Hilary promotes the importance of self-care to her clients. In her free time, she enjoys photography, exploring nature, traveling and spending time with her family, which was recently expanded after the birth of her first child.
Sheri Fortin, LMHC, Mental Health therapist
Sheri Fortin's background includes working with persons as young as preschool to elementary age to adults of various ages with mental health diagnoses, trauma, and other personal and environmental challenges. For the past three years, Sheri worked with adolescent girls at a residential facility. These diverse experiences have given Sheri a holistic perspective into the developmental needs of clients across the lifespan and how they intersect with available mental health services, schools, and other community agencies.
Sheri earned her A.A.S. in Early Childhood Education from Hudson Valley Community College; her B.A. in Human Behavior from Skidmore College, and her M.S. in Education: Mental Health Counseling from The College of Saint Rose. She has received training in Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Level I and II; Safe TALK-Tell Ask Listen KeepSafe; Assist-Applied Suicide Intervention Skills; Mental Health First Aid USA; Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Youth and their Non-Offending Caregivers; and Core Essential Skills for Experienced Caseworkers.
In her free time, Sheri enjoys spending time with her adopted dog and cat, family and friends, kayaking, being in nature, and knitting.
Kristin Johnson, LCSW, school based therapist at shenendehowa school district
Kristin earned her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from State University of New York at Albany in the School of Social Welfare in the Advanced Standing Program. She is licensed in New York State as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
On a professional level, Kristin has worked as a Therapist and Case Manager from 2005-2013 on an Intensive Needs Management Unit in a Residential Foster Care Facility. She worked with adolescents and their guardians (that consisted of collaboration of parents, extended family members, school personnel and social service departments) providing Individual, Family Therapy, and Case Management for an array of mental health issues. Kristin’s wide range of experience includes working with survivors of trauma, sexual and physical abuse, symptoms of post-traumatic stress, grief and loss, self-injurious behaviors, anxiety, depression, developmental delays and behavioral issues with children and families.
Kristin has been a Therapist at Saratoga Center for the Family since 2013, where she provides individual and family mental health psychotherapy with an emphasis on serving crime victims. She has experience working with children, adolescents and adults with a concentration on survivors of sexual and physical abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. Kristin is trained in many modalities of trauma treatments to help individuals heal from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which includes, but are not limited to, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Progressive Counting Technique, and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing). Kristin uses a wide range of treatment approaches including Strength Based, Solution Focused Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to ensure she is meeting the client’s where they are at with their individual needs. Kristin views the client as the expert when it comes to their personal story, goals, and solutions and believes in a client centered approach that builds on a person’s already existing internal strengths and resources and forming a genuine and collaborative therapeutic relationship with individuals as they work to meet their goals.
Starting in October 2018, Kristin is now providing Individual and Family Therapy at a satellite office through Saratoga Center for the Family located at Shenendehowa Elementary Schools, serving the elementary aged children and their families during their school day whom attend Shatekon and Arongen School.
Lisa Miller, lmhc, school based therapist at shenendehowa school district
Jessica Muscanell, LMHC, CASAC-T, school based therapist at shenendehowa school district
Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY Oneonta. She then graduated from Sage Graduate School receiving her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Community Psychology. She is licensed in New York State as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
Jessica graduated in 2013 and worked as a clinician at Pearl Counseling Center in Albany as a mental health counselor and substance abuse counselor. She has experience working with dual diagnosis and addiction. She is skilled in providing individual, family and group therapy. Jessica has experience working with various mental health issues. These include: anxiety, depression, loss and grief, substance abuse, and sexual and physical abuse. She is experienced in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and uses a wide range of treatment approaches to ensure she is meeting the client’s where they are at with their individual needs.
AMY SANTELL, LMHC, CASAC-T, school based therapist at south glens falls school district
Amy Santell, LMHC, CASAC-T, is a clinician located in the South Glens Falls School District. Prior to coming to Saratoga Center for the Family, Amy served in a variety of roles for Youth Villages, a national organization, out of Springfield, MA. She worked her way up to becoming Clinical Supervisor, helping children that faced a wide range of emotional, mental and behavioral problems. After that, she joined St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center providing substance abuse counseling on an outpatient basis. However, Amy missed working with children and found Saratoga Center for the Family to be a good fit.
As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, Amy looks forward to helping children understand their thoughts and feelings that influence their behaviors. “I’m very excited to be a part of Saratoga Center for the Family’s School-Based program,” says Amy. “Strengthening families in Saratoga County and beyond is a mission that speaks to me. I feel it is important to blend mental health services with our educational institutions. Children should feel comfortable discussing issues they are having in school or at home and this type of program makes them feel at-ease; I think the Center and the schools are creating wonderful partnerships.”
Amy earned both her M.S. in Mental Health Counseling and her B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Albany. In her free time, she enjoys riding her Honda Shadow 750 motorcycle with her fiancé. She also enjoys photography, nature walks, and swimming.
Tiffany St. Louis, LCSW, school based therapist at south glens falls school district
Tiffany has a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and a Master’s degree is Social Welfare from SUNY Albany. She is a New York Tate Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Tiffany has worked for 6 years as a child and family therapist. Her experience includes working at Parsons Child & Family Center in the Healthy Families Enhanced Services/Prevention programs and at Glens Falls Hospital Center for Children & Families. She has worked with children, adolescents, and families in both home-based and outpatient settings in rural and urban areas.
Tiffany has worked as a part of a multi-disciplinary team and collaborated with parents, schools, family members and social service departments. She has also worked in Glens Falls Hospital Emergency Room doing psychiatric evaluations for patients that present with behavioral issues, self-harm and suicidal/homicidal ideation.
While completing her Master’s degree she worked under the umbrella of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in residential, day programming, community habilitation and after-school programming. This provides her with significant experience working with the autistic and developmentally disabled populations.
She has a passion for assisting in disaster relief and has helped natural disaster victims in Haiti and New Orleans. Tiffany is also dedicated to assisting those impacted by trauma, attachment disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and all aspects of victimization. Her core belief is to approach people from a person-centered and holistic approach. Tiffany uses a variety of treatment modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused, Play Therapy, Sand Tray and strength-based therapies.
Christoffel Van Rensburg, LMSW, School based therapist at bethlehem school district
Paula Zimmerman, LMHC, Mental Health therapist
Paula earned her Master’s Degree in School Counseling at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York and her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. She is licensed in New York State as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and she has worked in the field for over 17 years. Paula is a certified LGBT-Affirmative Therapy Provider.
Paula provided therapy and case management to adolescents and their families in a Residential Foster Care Facility for over 10 years. She provided individual, family, and group therapy. These adolescents presented with various struggles, including anger management, depression, anxiety, impulse control, history of having been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused, chronically running away, self-injurious behaviors, grief and loss, and developmental delays. Prior to that, Paula worked in schools with grades Kindergarten through 12th, while based out of a non-profit agency, providing therapy to children, teenagers, and their families. She also worked with adults and teens in a supportive housing program, counseling them in their homes to build skills in overcoming the mental health struggles they experienced.
Paula is certified in LGBT-Affirmative Therapy, and she continues her training in LGBTQIA+ studies on an ongoing basis. Providing support and affirmation to people of the LGBTQIA+ community is a passion for Paula. She has also been trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Paula has been trained in the Collaborative Problem Solving model by Massachusetts General Hospital, in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intensive Training workshops. This model emphasizes parents and their children, and counselors/teachers/other professionals and children to develop solutions to problems together so that all parties are invested in the agreed upon plan. In addition, she has been trained in Distance Counseling.
Paula’s overall view of people’s experiences in life and therapy is an Existential one, as each individual experiences the world in a unique manner, and that his, her, their, or zir belief of reality, is indeed reality. She utilizes skills from the Cognitive-Behavioral and Person-Centered frameworks. Paula has a good sense of timing with clients, knowing when to encourage or gently challenge them to consider making changes, and when to allow clients to simply tell their stories. For Paula, the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client is an equal, collaborative one.