Penelope Yates is a licensed clinical social worker specializing in trauma-focused therapy with children, adolescents and emerging adults. She serves as the Clinical Director of Trauma Treatment for the Child and Family Institute, as well as Intake Coordinator and Director of Human Resources for the practice.
Penelope has worked as a social worker and psychotherapist in a variety of settings, including schools, community clinics, hospitals and psychiatric departments. She is a certified practitioner of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy, considered to be the gold standard of treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in young people. Her academic writing on international models of substance abuse treatment has been published in the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions. She has also trained and practiced as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related disorders.
Penelope received her B.A. in Theatre and Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California, and her M.S. in Social Work from New York University, where founded-- and served as editor-in-chief of—the Silver School of Social Work’s student-led research journal.
In addition to her work as a therapist, Penelope sits on the Community Advisory Boards for Lifting Up Westchester (which provides a variety of services for identified homeless individuals and families in Westchester County) and Good Wolf (a nonprofit which uses principles of neuroscience to support personal growth, organizational action and policy development). A classically trained vocalist, Penelope has performed as a soloist and choral member in venues throughout the United States and Europe. When not at work, she enjoys trying new recipes, long distance running, and going on walking adventures with her family.
Dr. Michele Barton is the Director of CFI-Greenwich, and Clinical Director of the Biofeedback and Virtual Reality Therapy programs at CFI. Dr. Barton is also a primary externship program supervisor, a senior clinician in our Center for Chronic Medical Conditions, and a member of the “Brave Voices” Selective Mutism training team at CFI. Dr. Barton has a warm yet directive approach and has extensive experience using a variety of evidence-based treatments across diverse populations and clinical settings. Dr. Barton is highly specialized in CBT combined with the use of Biofeedback and Virtual Reality Therapies. Dr. Barton focuses on providing functional lifelong tools to children, teens, adults, and families, while working closely with all sources of support to ensure productive, sustainable treatment outcomes.
Dr. Barton graduated with honors from Purchase College with a B.A. in Psychology and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Biological Science. Dr. Barton began her graduate career at Columbia University-Teachers College Masters in Psychology Program, followed by a Clinical Heath Psychology PhD Program at Yeshiva University, where she earned degrees in Clinical Psychology and Clinical Health Psychology. Dr. Barton conducted her doctoral research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University’s Department of Medical Genetics, where she completed her Doctoral Dissertation studying the genetic contributions associated with children at risk for psychological disorders based on parental diagnosis.
Dr. Barton’s clinical training sites have included Yeshiva University’s Parnes Clinic and Eating Disorder and Weight Loss Center, Lincoln Hospital’s Child/Adolescent Outpatient and Adult Inpatient and Outpatient Units, the Hudson Valley VA System working with Veterans, and the Northside Center for Child Development working with foster children, adoptees, and troubled youth. Dr. Barton completed her post-doctoral fellowship at a private CBT practice on the Upper East Side working with children, teens, adults, couples and families, and was later promoted to Director of Clinical Health, Intern Training Supervisor, and Head of Clinical Outreach. During her post-doctoral fellowship, Dr. Barton specialized in applications of CBT coupled with intensive training in the utilization of non-invasive medical procedures including Biofeedback, Virtual Reality, Entrainment, and Neurofeedback prescribed to successfully replace or supplement medication in a number of psychological disorders including ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, Depression, Addiction, and Specific Phobias (fear of flying, public speaking, heights, animals, performance and social anxiety), among others. Dr. Barton was trained by leaders in the field, using cutting edge state-of-the-art equipment to establish ground-breaking treatment protocols and applications using psychophysiological technology.
Currently, in addition to her many roles here at CFI, Dr. Barton is the Director of Psychology Life Well, a small collaborative private practice, where she works with physicians and other health care professionals to treat clients of all ages suffering from the psychological sequelae of chronic medical conditions.
Barton, M (2012) An Exploration of Child Behavior Checklist Scores in a Population at High Risk. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Yeshiva University NY, NY.
Regular contributor to online publications regarding mainstream psychological health
Dr. Emily Becker-Weidman is the Director of The Adoption and Attachment Treatment Center in Westchester County and Bergen County. Dr. Becker-Weidman received her B.A. in
Psychology and Health and Societies from the University of Pennsylvania, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University, Fienberg School of Medicine. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at the NYU Child Study Center/Bellevue Hospital and a 2-year post-doctoral clinical research fellowship in Anxiety and Mood Disorders and Autism at the NYU Child Study Center.
Dr. Becker-Weidman is a child and adolescent psychologist with expertise in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for children, adolescents, and young adults and attachment-focused family therapy. She has certifications in CBT from the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), intensively trained in DBT, and is certified by the Attachment Treatment-Focused Institute as an Attachment-Focused Family Therapist and is certified in the practice of Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. She is on the faculty at New York University, where she teaches an undergraduate course on Attachment and Loss. She is also clinical director of the New York City Division of the Center for Family Development.
Dr. Becker-Weidman is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), the American Psychological Association (APA), the New York City Adoption/Foster Care Therapist Network, the New York City Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Association (NYC-CBT), and the New Jersey Psychological Association. She has presented research at several national conferences, co-authored three book chapters on child and adolescent psychopathology, and published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Sabrina Gratia is a double board certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist. Dr. Gratia completed a combined 7 year Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. She went on to complete her adult psychiatry residency at Albany Medical Center and her child and adolescent fellowship at Downstate Medical Center. Dr. Gratia believes in the importance of therapy in treating psychiatric issues and has received additional training in psychodynamic psychotherapy through Columbia’s University Center for Psychoanalytic Training.
Dr. Gratia is able to treat a wide range of psychological and emotional issues; including Anxiety, Depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Trauma and others. Dr. Gratia believes in taking the time to fully understand each child's unique situation because one’s state of mind is inseparable from the family, social and educational systems that surround them. Only after a comprehensive evaluation has been completed can a thoughtful, well-informed treatment plan be made. When working with children, Dr. Gratia prefers to use holistic approaches, such as individual psychotherapy and lifestyle changes to help treat her patients. If medications are recommended, Dr. Gratia will have a thorough discussion of risks, benefits, and alternatives so that families can make the best educated decision for their child's mental health.
Dr. Grashow-Rywell has over 25 years experience working with children, adolescents and families. She acquired important background as an elementary classroom teacher for NYC public schools, before earning her masters and doctorate degrees in school-child psychology from Yeshiva University, as well as additional training and experience working with adults. Dr. Grashow-Rywell earned her Bachelor of Science from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University, in Television & Film Production. Most recently, Dr Grashow-Rywell has spent the past 18 years treating children and families in private practice in South Florida. This also included her role as a community and school educator through OHEL Children & Family Services. Prior to this, she practiced as a psychologist for the Ministry of Health in the Republic of Singapore where she also worked with children, adolescents and families from multiple ethnic and national backgrounds.
Dr. Grashow-Rywell treats anxiety, depression, learning issues, attention and executive functioning deficits, along with issues commonly faced by younger and older adolescents- including eating disorders and substance abuse, which are appropriate to outpatient level care. She also places an emphasis on working with parents, teachers, families and any extended/blended family members who are an important part of a child’s life. Dr. Rywell employs various modalities including family therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Collaborative Problem Solving, Behavior Modification strategies, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy.
“My professional mandate is to help children and families heal from the pain and trauma of broken relationships, including divorce- via insight into the intergenerational transmission of trauma and dysfunction, challenging automatic thinking and responding, diminishing cognitive bias, reactivity and counterproductive responses. To facilitate mutual understanding and respect among family members, teach effective communication skills, create an atmosphere of acceptance and safety, and give parent guidance around communication, developmental expectations, compassionate support and limit setting. To help children and adolescents more effectively navigate and problem solve social, emotional and practical challenges. To facilitate improved self image and self esteem, and to grow to the into the fullest expression of their natural aptitudes and beauty.”
Grashow, L (1996) Maternal Coping in Families of Children with Familial Developmental Disability. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Yeshiva University NY, NY.
Sara Schreiber, LMSW, is the Associate Director of Group Therapy and Psychotherapist practicing out of the CFI-Scarsdale, Mt. Kisco, and Greenwich locations.
With a B.A. in Developmental Psychology from Yeshiva University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham Graduate School of Social Service, Sara has extensive clinical experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. While at Fordham, Sara specialized in treating child and adolescent trauma, and received training in Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) for the treatment of PTSD.
Before joining CFI, Sara worked for the Mental Health Service Corps (MHSC) as a Behavioral Health Clinician, where she initiated a mental health clinic within a pediatric primary care practice at a hospital in The Bronx. Through MHSC, Sara treated children and adolescents with depression, anxiety, PTSD, behavioral issues, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and parenting concerns. In addition to working with patients, Sara had the opportunity to run mental health workshops and trainings for medical staff as well as within the Bronx community.
Sara is experienced in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Parent Management Training (PMT), Motivational Interviewing, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Child Centered Play Therapy.
Sara practices using a trauma informed lens and believes that the therapeutic relationship is the most important part of her work, collaborating with her patients at every stage of treatment.
Alexa Wernick, LMSW, is the Director of Group Therapy at CFI-Brooklyn and is a psychotherapist practicing at Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Scarsdale CFI locations. Alexa received her masters in social work and a certificate in Child and Family Therapy from New York University. She has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families using evidence-based modalities with a strength-based lens. With an extensive understanding of child development, Alexa incorporates cognitive behavioral therapy, play therapy, family systems theory, and talk therapy into treatment with children. Alexa strongly values a team approach, collaborating with families, schools, pediatricians, and other collaterals engaged in a child’s life to get a clear picture of the whole child. She is passionate about incorporating creative arts and play into sessions, often using drawing, imaginary play, and floor time to help children become aware of their body and mind connection. Alexa’s experience ranges from working with children experiencing anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, behavioral challenges, social skills, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Prior to joining the Child and Family Institute, Alexa worked at Mott Haven Academy Charter School as a social worker providing individual and small group counseling to children with a wide range of social-emotional needs, focusing on those with a history of trauma and presenting with intellectual disabilities. Alexa partnered with children to process their emotions while working to improve emotional regulation, increase social skills, build emotional intelligence, and learn effective coping skills. Alexa worked closely with families to provide psycho-education and support families in understanding and advocating for their child’s needs at school.
Additionally, Alexa currently works part-time providing early intervention to children ages 0 to 3 experiencing developmental delays and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Alexa uses practices consistent with Applied Behavior Analysis, analyzing and collecting data to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs used and collaborating with parent/caregivers on behavior modification techniques.
Dr. Kristi B. Hoffmann is the Clinical Director of the Pediatric Assessment Center at CFI. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist. Dr. Hoffmann earned a B.S in psychology from Louisiana State University and an M.A. in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She went on to earn a second M.A. and a Psy.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology from the Institute of Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship through a two-year APA approved captive internship program. Her first internship year was spent in two private practices in Bryn Mawr, PA, one specializing in pediatrics and the other in adult forensic cases, and her second internship year was spent in the epilepsy department of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Hoffmann completed her postdoctoral fellowship training in neuropsychology at The Brain Clinic under Dr. James L. Thomas in New York City.
Dr. Hoffmann specializes in the assessment of learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, traumatic brain injuries, and dementia among other neurologic disorders. She also specializes in evaluations for high stakes testing. Dr. Hoffmann prides herself on making the testing experience a therapeutic experience for the individuals she works with. Additionally, Dr. Hoffmann is the Director of Southern Westchester Neuropsychological Services, a small private practice in lower Westchester, providing neuropsychological evaluations for children, adolescents and adults. She is also currently a member of the American Psychological Association – Division 40 Clinical Neuropsychology, the National Academy of Neuropsychology, the New York State Psychological Association, the New York Neuropsychology Group and the Westchester County Psychological Association.
Dr. Cabral is a bilingual licensed clinical psychologist with over a decade of experience providing assessment and psychotherapy to individuals of all ages. Dr. Cabral believes in the power of resilience and human connection when overcoming life challenges. She utilizes an integrative approach to therapy, primarily based on an interpersonal and a systemic framework. Her approach places emphasis in understanding and intervening at multiple levels of the client’s experience: relational patterns, belief system, gender, socio-economic, and ethno-cultural variables.
Dr. Cabral is passionate about working with women navigating the different roles they may play across their lifespan - as students/professionals, parents, and in intimate/family relationships. Dr. aspire to provide a space for women to explore their ideas, vulnerabilities, and strengths as they strive to find balance and fulfillment in their lives.
Dr. Cabral completed her pre-doctoral internship at The Child and Family Institute (CFI) of St. Luke’s Roosevelt-Hospital Center (Now Mt. Sinai-St. Luke’s Hospital). She received her doctorate in clinical The Graduate Center of The City University of New York and received her B.A. and B.F.A. from Cornell University. She has worked in various clinical settings, outpatient hospital clinics, schools, and community agencies providing therapy services to a wide variety of populations.
Dr. Cabral was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. and moved to the United States in her late teenage years to attend The Armand Hammer United World College (AHUWC), an international boarding school invested in teaching students the value of tolerance, international understanding and peace. Her immigration history has given me a unique vantage point in working with individuals and families of multicultural backgrounds. In her spare time, Dr Cabral enjoys painting, photography, etching as well as teaching art to children. She has exhibited in New York, Rhode Island, and Santo Domingo. Dr. Cabral is fully bilingual in Spanish and English and a conversational proficiency level in French.
Linda Kudla, Psy.D. earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology at La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA and completed her clinical internship at UMass Memorial Community Healthlink’s Youth & Family Center (CHL-YFC) in Worcester, MA. Dr. Kudla began her professional career as a real estate paralegal for a law firm in downtown Manhattan while attending college courses at Hunter College. She completed her undergraduate studies summa cum laude at Stony Brook University, where she initially pursued her interest in working with young children as a preschool assistant at Stony Brook Child Care Services. Throughout her graduate career, Dr. Kudla tailored her experiences to focus heavily on providing evaluation, assessment, and therapy services to children, adolescents, and their families in a residential, day, and crisis facility in New Castle, DE as well as within a community outpatient clinic, elementary and middle schools, and a sexual abuse outpatient facility in Philadelphia. Dr. Kudla also assumed an adjunct professor position in La Salle’s undergraduate program.
Dr. Kudla has extensive experience with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and variations thereof (e.g., TF-CBT, Exposure and Response Prevention), Problem-Solving Therapy (PST), Parent Management Training (PMT), Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS), and typically incorporates components of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Play Therapy into her work. She has treated individuals as young as age four through adulthood and has the most experience with those between 4 and 25. Common presenting issues have included mood disorders (e.g., depression), anxiety disorders (e.g., GAD, OCD, phobias, selective mutism), trauma (e.g., PTSD), attention and concentration difficulties (e.g., ADHD), poor attachment (e.g., RAD), and behavior concerns (e.g., ODD). Dr. Kudla has been expanding and continuing her education to include issues related to sexuality, gender, and identity. Her professional research has included identifying factors that impact implementation of therapeutic activities outside of the therapy context and attitudes towards seeing professional help.
Most recently, Dr. Kudla was a staff psychologist at CHL-YFC, providing outpatient therapy, consultation services to preschool and day care programs across central Massachusetts, and supervising doctoral interns’ psychological assessments. Dr. Kudla collaborates with families and other providers to determine the most meaningful goals for the child/youth and develop strategies to meet those goals. Her services typically include providing recommendations based on need and most recent research, establishing a meaningful connection to increase motivation and engagement, and delivering evidence-based therapeutic interventions while tracking progress.
Melissa Braunstein, PsyD, is a Clinical Psychologist at CFI-Scarsdale and Brooklyn. Dr. Braunstein has extensive experience providing individual and group therapy for children and adolescents across a variety of settings, including outpatient, hospital, and day treatment settings. She uses a combination of cognitive behavioral and play therapy in her clinical work with children. Her approach emphasizes the relationship she builds with children as she helps them identify their needs and find better ways to express them. Dr. Braunstein currently works as a School Psychologist in a center-based special needs preschool.
Dr. Braunstein received her Bachelor of Arts from Pace University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Her interest in psychology and passion for working with children led her to attend Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology’s School-Clinical Child Psychology Program at Yeshiva University. Her clinical training includes a postdoctoral fellowship with the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services at Pride of Judea, a community-based mental health clinic. During her time there, Dr. Braunstein treated children, adolescents, and adults with a wide range of disorders and presenting problems and led groups applying dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) for adults facing emotional difficulties and social skills training for boys with behavioral problems. She also received training in trauma focused-cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) for the treatment of PTSD and trauma-related symptoms in children and adolescents. Dr. Braunstein completed a clinical externship at Queens Hospital Center, where she provided individual and group psychotherapy to children presenting with anxiety, mood disorders, learning issues, selective mutism, and behavioral disorders. Additionally, she conducted comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for school-aged children.
Dr. Braunstein’s other training experiences include school settings at elementary schools on Long Island where she performed individual and group counseling for students and conducted Committee on Special Education (CSE) evaluations. She completed her internship at Joan Fenichel Therapeutic Nursery at the League Treatment Center where worked with preschool-age children with a range of psychiatric and developmental disabilities.
Dominique Pagano, LMSW, is the Associate Director of CFI-Long Island and a psychotherapist practicing out of the CFI-Long Island and Manhattan locations. She provides therapy for individuals, families, and groups utilizing a variety of therapeutic approaches including but not limited to Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Parent Management Training (PMT), Behavioral Activation (BA), Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Child Centered Play Therapy.
Dominique received her B.A. in Communication Disorders specializing in child development from SUNY New Paltz, and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham Graduate School of Social Service. During her time at Fordham University, Dominique specialized in treating child and adolescent trauma, working primarily with youth with extensive histories of trauma, and received training in Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) for the treatment of PTSD.
Dominique has extensive experience working with children, adolescents and their families prior to joining CFI. Dominique worked for the Mental Health Service Corps (MHSC) at Bellevue Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry as a Behavioral Health Clinician, where she primarily treated children and adolescents with depression, anxiety, PTSD, behavioral issues, Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, and parenting concerns. In addition to providing individual psychotherapy at Bellevue, she helped develop a strong alliance between the clinic and the hospital school (PS 35 M), facilitating group therapy programming and crisis intervention for high risk youth prior to their return to community school settings. Dominique is experienced in working collaboratively with children, their families, and school staff in advocating for and obtaining the most appropriate services and school placements to allow for the most successful outcomes.
As a therapist, Dominique strongly emphasizes the therapeutic alliance, utilizing an integrative, dynamic, and holistic approach to mental health with individuals and families. She approaches her work with a strengths-based and trauma-informed lens to best support her clients’ emotional, physical and relational health.
Dr. Cunningham is an expert in clinical health psychology and psycho-oncology. Dr. Cunningham completed her doctorate in Clinical & School Psychology at the University of Virginia. Her training and clinical experiences are extensive and include prestigious hospitals such as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Children’s Hospital Boston, and Children’s Hospital at Montefiore with faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her clinical work focuses on the adjustment to chronic or life-threatening illnesses, adherence to medical treatment, cognitive-behavioral interventions to address chronic pain, and anticipatory grief and bereavement. She also conducts neuropsychological evaluations with clients who are at risk for learning deficits secondary to the neurotoxicity from cancer-directed treatment or chronic illness, and consults with schools regarding specific classroom interventions and accommodations needed secondary to the neurocognitive sequelae from disease or disease-related treatment.
Rachel Liebman, M.A., LMHC, is a part-time psychotherapist at CFI-Scarsdale. Rachel graduated summa cum laude from Tufts University with a double major in Psychology and International Relations, receiving high thesis honors for her research on college adjustment, substance abuse, and eating disorders. Rachel went on to earn her M.A. in Mental Health Counseling at Boston College in 2003, and completed her training toward licensure while working with adults, adolescents, and children at HELP USA's domestic violence shelter in New York City.
Rachel's clinical experience includes extensive work with adults, adolescents, and children who have extensive histories of trauma, mood disorders, and behavioral disorders. She worked at My Sisters' Place in Westchester County for several years, providing cognitive-behavioral therapy and evidence-based play therapies, as well as running parent support groups. Prior to joining The Child Family Institute, Rachel worked for New York Therapy Placement Services, providing mental health counseling to children and adolescents in the New York City public schools. During this time, she worked with students with emotional and behavioral disorders using cognitive-behavioral therapy in both individual and group settings. Through this work, she also discovered an interest in mindfulness and teaching mindfulness as a self-regulation tool. Throughout her career, Rachel has enjoyed working with clients of all ages, using evidence-based therapies to her clients feel empowered and resilient.
Dr. Preeti Saigal is the Clinical Director of the Pediatric Assessment Center at CFI Manhattan and Brooklyn. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, with specialized training in areas of health psychology, rehabilitation psychology, and neuropsychology with both children and adults. Dr. Saigal earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan, immediately followed by her Ph.D. at the George Washington University. She completed her pre-doctoral residency at the Manhattan Campus of the Department of Veterans Affairs - New York Harbor Healthcare System, followed by a 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology and neuropsychology at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Prior to joining CFI, Dr. Saigal worked at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC) for almost 13 years. Following completion of her fellowship, Dr. Saigal remained at the Rusk Institute, a physical rehabilitation hospital setting, where she provided psychotherapeutic services and neuropsychological evaluations to pediatric and young adult patients with a range of complex medical and neuro-developmental conditions with associated developmental, learning, and psychiatric disorders. Dr. Saigal subsequently joined the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at NYULMC where she served as a program manager responsible for overseeing psychosocial programs and services for patients with pediatric cancers, blood disorders, brain tumors, and neurofibromatosis. While there, she continued to provide clinical services including individual and group therapy, consultations, and neuropsychological evaluations. In addition to her hospital experience, Dr. Saigal has worked in private practice settings providing comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations to pediatric patients with a wide range of developmental, learning and social-emotional concerns. As part of her evaluations, Dr. Saigal is well versed in educational liaison and advocacy needs, often working with families to navigate important transitions such as from pre-school to elementary school, or who may be seeking alternative or specialized school placement or services. Dr. Saigal has experience working actively and collaboratively with school personnel, educational attorneys, advocates, and clinical providers to ensure her patients receive the necessary supports and services in early childhood and throughout their education.
Therapeutically, Dr. Saigal has lengthy experience working with children and their families facing complex developmental, medical, and other social-emotional challenges. She has a bio-psychosocial approach to treatment that incorporates understanding of a child’s developmental presentation, family structure, and cultural background in order to guide therapeutic and evidence-based interventions best suited to their needs and abilities.
Caroline Nicassio is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years’ experience working with children, adolescents, young adults and families. She currently works with CFI families at the Greenwich and Scarsdale locations. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Dartmouth College and an MSW degree from Columbia University. She has significant post-graduate training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing. Prior to the Child and Family Institute, she worked as a psychotherapist in an outpatient hospital setting with adolescents and adults, and spent over a decade as a school counselor in a private school setting, where she worked with children and adolescents ages 6-18.. She specializes in the treatment of anxiety, mood disorders, substance abuse, ADHD and social/relational difficulties. She enjoys working with families as a unit and focuses on including parenting skills/support in all of her work with young people. She is also fluent in French and able to work with French-speaking families.
Jason Lewinter, LMSW, is a psychotherapist practicing out of the CFI-Scarsdale, Manhattan and Brooklyn locations.
Jason earned his B.A. in Psychology from Queens College and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. He has experience in working with children, adolescents and families using evidence-based interventions, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Jason has worked in a number of schools, homes, clinics and agencies providing evidence-based treatment to children and adolescents. He has treated children and adolescents with anxiety, ADHD, selective mutism, Autism Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, depression and a variety of other social, emotional and behavioral challenges. In his work, Jason frequently collaborates with families, schools and outside providers to ensure treatment remains consistent across settings.
Jason offers a space that is both supportive and safe. He believes in the therapeutic relationship and working collaboratively with patients, caretakers and providers throughout the course of treatment. In his free time, Jason enjoys playing sports and listening to music.
Piper Kurtz, LCSW is a psychotherapist practicing out of the CFI-Park Slope location. She has extensive clinical experience using evidenced-based practices, including cognitive behavioral therapy in her work with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Her range of experience includes treatment for anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, behavioral issues, relational issues, bereavement, and LGBTQ+ related issues.
She practices from an interpersonal psychodynamic perspective, prioritizing the therapeutic relationship and active collaboration with clients towards growth. Through a strengths-based and client-affirming lens, Piper values incorporating playfulness and creativity in sessions, and highlighting the connection between body and mind for overall wellness. She strives to build on practical tools and skills for her clients and their families, and prioritizes the involvement of caretakers and other collaterals in her work with children.
Piper graduated from Kalamazoo College in Michigan with her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology, completing her thesis on parent emotion coaching and child emotion language. She went on to earn her Master’s in Social Work from NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. She also completed additional training at the William Alanson White Institute’s Intention Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program in Manhattan.
Piper’s previous experience focused on working with children and adolescents, providing school-based individual and group therapy for six years before transitioning to the assistant director position within the organization. In addition to her role with CFI, Piper also provides clinical supervision to early career therapists, teaching and reinforcing use of evidenced based practices in their treatment with their own clients.
Rebecca Marcus, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist at the CFI-Manhattan location. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in fine arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz and later earned a master's degree from New York University School of Social Work with a focus on clinical practice and trauma.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Rebecca also treated addictions and other co-occurring disorders as part of the Outpatient program at Hazelden Betty Ford foundation in Chelsea as well as working with children and families at Long Island Consultation Center in Queens. She has pursued post-graduate training at the Family Institute and the School of Psychotherapy in Israel. Rebecca has experience in providing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), family systems, play therapy, group therapy, mindfulness meditation as well as various expressive and alternative modalities including art, drama and sand tray therapy.
She practices multi-theoretically, grounded in evidenced based practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Mindfulness as well as integrating attachment-based theory through a psychodynamic lens. Rebecca works to understand which modality is in the best interest of each client using a holistic approach, addressing the interconnectedness of one’s body and mind. She works collaboratively and believes that every individual has the intrinsic ability to heal and grow and that it is the role of the therapist to shine the light and help facilitate this process of change. Rebecca has a range of experience in helping families, adolescents, and children with anxiety, depression, relationships, and trauma, as well as grief and loss and communication skills.
Kelly O’Brien, LCSW is a part-time psychotherapist practicing at the CFI-Park Slope location. She has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and families using evidence-based modalities. Kelly practices from an interpersonal psychodynamic perspective, incorporating narrative therapy, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and play therapy into sessions through a trauma-informed and strengths-based lens. She focuses on collaboration between the therapist and client to identify challenges and increase motivation towards change. Kelly has a wide range of experience treating anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, interpersonal issues, behavioral concerns, bereavement, and LGBTQ+ related issues.
Kelly graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. in Child Development, and then received a Masters in Social Work from New York University. Kelly began her career working in preventive services in Brooklyn before transitioning to a school-based mental health program. In this role, Kelly provided clinical services to students of all ages in several schools, while providing psycho-education and resources to school staff, families, and community members in an effort to combat stigma around mental healthcare. Kelly then worked as a Middle School Social Worker at a charter school through Harlem Children’s Zone. Currently, Kelly provides clinical supervision to early-career clinicians as a Supervising Social Worker for the Mental Health Service Corps. She also works with Rutgers School of Social Work, providing clinical and administrative support to MSW students in their field placements.
Suzanne Schuster, LMSW is a psychotherapist at CFI-Scarsdale and CFI-Greenwich. Suzanne is a Licensed Therapist in NY and CT, whose work focuses on preventing and alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression integrating CBT, DBT, and traditional psychotherapy. The goal of her work with adolescents is on reducing emotional distress, improving problem-solving skills, building self-confidence and improving interpersonal relationships. She began her career at Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic (PWC), now known as New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center General Outpatient Services; in an interdisciplinary setting working with both individuals and families. Her work as a Clinical Therapist continued at Fifth Avenue center for Counseling and Psychotherapy, where she provided on-site therapy to adolescents and adults dealing with such issues as eating disorders, anxiety and depression; as well as providing crisis intervention. Suzanne continued her career as a Clinical Therapist at an alternative high school in NYC providing individual, family, and group counseling as well as teaching life skills and behavioral interventions. Currently, Suzanne works part-time as a Therapist at the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center at Hammocks Middle School, a school-based counseling program. She facilitates an in-school advocacy program working with students to improve their self-esteem, interpersonal skills and development of empowerment; using CBT skills and peer support. She counsels young adults facing interpersonal and academic pressures through the utilization of cognitive behavioral therapy skills to reduce anxiety and increase problem-solving skills. Suzanne's services are provided with client-centered and family-centered approaches in order to enhance and foster the client's optimal functioning and interactions in the home and school, and community. She integrates psychological, social, developmental, education, and other relevant information into a case management plan for clients. Suzanne received her MSW from the Hunter College School of Social Work. She has a certificate in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy from the renowned American Institute for Psychoanalysis (AIP) in New York City, as well as a certificate in CBT from Cognitive And Behavioral Consultants.
Emma Romey, MA, LMSW is the Director of Group Therapy and Associate Director of the LGBTQ+ Program at the CFI-Westchester and Brooklyn locations. She has extensive experience using cognitive behavioral interventions while working with children, adolescents and adults in individual, family and group therapy. She also practices from a psychodynamic/analytic perspective, focusing on collaboration and utilizing the relationship between therapist and client to move toward change. She has a wide range of experience treating depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, ADHD and issues around identity, sexual orientation and gender identification.
Emma graduated from the University of Oregon with her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology. She then participated in an Americorps Teaching Program in which she taught middle school math in the Bronx and Bedford-Stuyvesant, while simultaneously earning a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Emma then went on to earn a graduate degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work. While at Columbia, Emma completed an intensive training fellowship in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) while interning at the Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Child and Family Institute. After graduation, she also completed additional training in psychoanalytic theory at the William Alanson White Institute’s Intensive Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Program in Manhattan. While completing this training, Emma continued treating children, adolescents and families at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center where she was part of the DBT consultation team.
Emma works part-time at the CFI, while also working full-time for the ThriveNYC Mental Health Service Corps, a citywide initiative run by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. She was recently promoted into the role of a Practice Engagement Specialist in which she manages clinicians and oversees the integration of mental health services in a wide range of diverse practices across New York City.
Emily Weisbrot is 24 years old and a student at the New York University Silver School of Social Work. She is studying to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker specializing in Psychotherapy. She has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from CUNY Hunter College with a focused study in Sociology. Emily has always been fascinated with psychology and passionately believes in the difference the right mental health care can make. Emily’s interest really took off when she closely assisted author and clinical psychologist, Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman publish her self-help book aimed to guide teenagers to build grit, perseverance, self-control and other psycho-cognitive tools. Emily has had experience working with children for many years in many different settings including her role as Head-Counselor at a summer camp for three different age groups and her volunteer work with the Hope & Heroes foundation. She has also had experience working as an administrative assistant and client relations coordinator while she was achieving her undergraduate degree. Emily is so excited to join the CFI team!
Daniel Kelly, LMSW, is a learning intern at the CFI Brooklyn location. Daniel received his master’s in social work from New York University where he focused on practice with adolescents at Mather Building Arts and Craftsmanship High School. There, Daniel lead individual and group sessions with freshman and senior students, supporting their efforts toward achieving Individualized Education Plan goals. Before returning to school Daniel worked as a family counselor in Brooklyn at Good Shepherd Services for one year where he incorporated play and talk therapy techniques; and family systems, person-centered, and strengths-based perspectives. Daniel is passionate about supporting healthy development in youth and believes the family unit as an essential boon in the growth process.
Sarah K. Hatcher, Ph.D., is a Post-Doctoral Fellow and the Associate Director of Pediatric Assessment for CFI’s Pediatric Assessment Center. Dr. Hatcher graduated with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from The University of Memphis in August 2018, where she specialized in clinical psychotherapy and assessment for children, adolescents, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her graduate school clinical and research experience also focused on international and multicultural social justice issues in psychological practice. Prior to graduation, Dr. Hatcher completed a year-long American Psychological Association accredited pre-doctoral internship at AHRC New York City’s Article 16 Clinic providing individual and group psychotherapy as well as psychological assessment for individuals of all ages with disabilities. She has experience using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology, and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities including Learning Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and co-occurring conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, mood, and conduct disorders, as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Additionally, Dr. Hatcher has previous experience working with typically developing adolescents and adults with eating disorders and adults with trauma-related anxiety and depressive disorders. Her background also includes individual and group psychotherapy with college students with Learning Disorders and other mental health conditions in a university setting. Dr. Hatcher’s previous assessment experience includes a year-long practicum placement in the neuropsychology department at Semmes Murphey Clinic in Memphis, TN. In addition to her clinical work at CFI, Dr. Hatcher currently works as a Supervising Psychologist for Adult Day Services at AHRC New York City, where she trains and helps behavior therapists to implement ABA interventions for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Dr. Hatcher uses a holistic approach to psychological treatment for children and adolescents that includes evidence-based approaches that are designed to meet the individual needs of each young person. She works in coordination with families, school officials, and other mental health professionals to understand the social, emotional, and physiological needs of her clients. Dr. Hatcher encourages families to take an active part in their child’s therapeutic treatment including family therapy sessions, discussions of treatment progress, and training to help parents use in-home interventions that reinforce the strategies their children learn during psychotherapy sessions.
Annita is a Trainee Clinical Psychologist with master's degrees in both Psychology and Clinical Nutrition and undergraduate degrees in both Counseling and Medical Science. She works in line with APA ethical frameworks’ in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of all clients. She works with a client centered approach, matching & blending styles to meet the needs of the individual. She has worked with adults in short and long term therapy in private and medical settings. Annita has also worked with children in the home and in schools. Her previous experience includes working with behavioral issues at home or school, trauma, anger, anxiety, depression, bereavement, low self-esteem, relationship issues, narcissistic damage, co-dependency and cultural and racial challenges.
Being able open to explore issues in a deep way, focusing on developing a good therapeutic relationship where real permanent change takes place is important to Annita. She works through behavior modification, automatic though retraining, re-attachment and positively reframing experiences. This is to help clients adapt to implement fundamental changes in emotional containment, neural processing and behaviors. She provides a safe space for reflection and exploration, working with empathy and without judgment. She focuses on feelings, thoughts and behaviors in the present, dealing with the past and its impact now, as it arises. Annita will work with you to reach your therapeutic goals, understanding how unhealthy coping mechanisms can easily become integrated into life and need unpicking, to free you, to be yourself.
Annita is Persian/Iranian and natively speaks Farsi/Dari, her background helps her understand the benefits and difficulties of speaking more than one language, blending two cultures and issues that arise within diverse communities. She is aware of the impact of ill health, special diets and eating disorders on mental and emotional well being. Annita believes crisis and suffering often provide opportunities for growth and self-awareness, by recognizing patterns, dealing with underlying causes, and finding inner happiness through self-determination and positivity. She strongly feels that each person has an inner healer and innate healing capacities; which once brought out will enable you to experience life more authentically whilst taking care of yourself.
Raquel Rose is a third-year doctoral fellow at New York University and a counseling extern in the Counseling Psychology PhD program with a focus on using an evidence-based framework in working with youth and their families. Her clinical and research interests include the prevention and treatment of trauma, the impact of mental health concerns, systematic discrimination and health disparities on future success, and culturally-sensitive evidence-based interventions for marginalized populations, including incarcerated and immigrant youth and their families. As a pre-doctoral extern Raquel has worked across the developmental spectrum with a diverse range of diagnosis. On the RISE Team, Raquel is a graduate student researcher evaluating the ROSES Advocacy Program for adolescent girls. Additionally, Raquel is involved in the development, implementation and measurement of various interventions aimed at youth at risk for justice system involvement in collaboration with community partners in New York City. Raquel earned her bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University, where she studied Psychology and Biology and examined Intimate Partner Violence and its impact on pregnancy; especially among minority women. Prior to enrolling as a doctoral student at NYU, Raquel worked as the study coordinator on the juvenile justice research team at the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center and is excited to continue working with this at-risk population
Lauren earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, with a concentration in child development and gender studies. While at NYU, she was also a member of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies minor program, and worked as a research assistant at the Cognitive Development Lab. Previously, Lauren worked as an intake specialist at The Motherhood Center of New York, where she enjoyed helping mothers receive access to perinatal mental health care. Lauren is passionate about helping children and families, and has also worked as a substitute teacher at Mount Kisco Childcare Center. In her leisure time, Lauren enjoys live music, hiking, yoga, and crossword puzzles.
Emily Johnson is an Intake Coordinator and Executive Assistant at CFI. Emily graduated in December of 2017 from American University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and minor in Justice.
Throughout her time at AU, Emily held a variety of internships working with people of various populations. While at Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, she worked with juvenile offenders incarcerated in the adult prison system throughout their time in prison and during their reentry into society. Emily was an intern at the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program in North Carolina where she was mentored by a medical family therapist, and assisted in an art therapy group for women with ovarian and breast cancer. During her last semester at American University she was an intern at Ronald I. Weiner Clinical and Forensic Associates where she assisted in running a forensic psychiatry rehabilitative therapy group for sex offenders.
Post graduation Emily worked as an intake coordinator with CFI and co-lead groups for teens with social anxiety. Emily then took a year to backpack around Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Nepal. Upon returning she resumed her work with CFI, and worked at a landscaping company as a counselor for its ex-offender employees on probation and reentering society. With these recent experiences, Emily hopes to pursue her career in the mental health field to ensure that children receive the developmental and trauma support needed to live happy and successful lives.
Annie M. W. Denenberg, MPH is the Clinical Director of the Holistic Health & Nutritional Counseling (HHNC) program at CFI-Westchester, Manhattan, and new Brooklyn location. Annie graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emerson College with her B.S. in Marketing Communications and a minor in Psychology, and subsequently completed her certification to become a Whole Health and Nutrition Coach with the National Institute of Whole Health. Annie then received her Master's in Public Health from the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, with a specialization in Community Health Education. She completed fieldwork at both the New York City Department of Health and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she created a program evaluation toolkit for a diabetes prevention mobile app. For her master’s “capstone” research, Annie evaluated whether mHealth apps are appropriate tools to prevent diabetes in East Harlem, NY, a region with one of the highest prevalence rates of diabetes nationwide.
Annie began her holistic health journey as a health coordinator for Dr. Oz’s childhood obesity prevention foundation - HealthCorps, and subsequently as a health coordinator for Harlem Children’s Zone “Healthy Harlem” program. In both programs, she taught at-risk youth how to lead healthier lifestyles by incorporating small changes into their daily routines. She taught healthy cooking clubs, ran meditation clubs and young women’s groups, and organized after-school fitness workouts and classes on a wide range of physical- and mental health-related topics. Throughout her work at HealthCorps and HCZ, Annie developed the valuable insight and appreciation that, when presented in a fun, delicious, easy, and sustainable way, indeed many children, adolescents, and young adults – even at-risk youth - enjoy eating healthy food and engaging in healthy patterns of wellness, activity, and behavior.
Currently, as a certified Whole Health and Nutrition Coach, Annie helps children, adolescents, and young adults adopt lifestyle changes to enhance their overall quality of life, energy, engagement, health and well-being. She specializes in nutrition, fitness and mental resilience and works with clients to create personalized health goals and specific action plans to accomplish them. Annie believes that everyone can be healthy, but most people just need to learn some basic strategies to experiment with, practice, and maintain healthy patterns of behavior in a fun, realistic and sustainable way. Whether it’s tweaking ingredients in a favorite recipe, or adding simple exercises to a daily routine, Annie teaches easy ways to improve one’s health in small and manageable steps. Annie doesn’t believe in dieting or drastic exercise plans, but instead practices a holistic health approach teaching simple, but powerful, behavioral health concepts to create lasting, meaningful changes in one’s life.
In her spare time, Annie loves traveling, cooking healthy recipes, running, biking, doing Bikram yoga, and, as a treat, eating chocolate ice cream. Most of all, she loves spending time with her husband, Dr. Adam Weissman.
Jess Fox, M.A., ATR-BC, LCAT is the Clinical Director of the Creative Arts Therapy program at CFI. Jess is a Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist and she has been providing art therapy to children, adults, families, and couples for over eighteen years across a variety of settings.
Jess Fox received her Masters of Art Degree from Hofstra University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Creative Arts Therapy Program. Her thesis was on self-esteem and the exhibition of clients’ artwork. Over the years, Jess has facilitated more than ten art exhibits, one of which, “Hope for the Homeless”, was filmed and aired on local news. Jess was interviewed personally about her involvement in curating the show and her role as an art therapist with the homeless population.
Jess has provided bereavement counseling and art therapy to 9/11 victims’ families at the Healing and Remembrance on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, art therapy workshops to empower and mentor teens in the school setting, as well as numerous in-services in both school and hospital settings. She has conducted lectures and public speaking engagements at local, state and national conferences on the benefits of art therapy with the homeless population. In 2009, Jess spoke to NYC Council members at City Hall to advocate the need to keep Recreation Departments in the homeless shelters. The fight was won and the programming and jobs remain in place.
Jess is a member of the AATA (American Art Therapy Association), ATCB (Art Therapy Credentials Board), and NYATA (New York Art Therapy Association). She is the Vice President of NYC Regional Arts in Healthcare, a group of professionals that work in the healthcare profession providing creative arts. In addition to her role as a creative arts therapist, Jess is also a visual artist and is a member of the BWAC (Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition), an artist collective. Jess’s artwork via mixed media, oil, watercolor and acrylic painting are on display throughout the NY Metro area.
Daniel Riseman is a New York State certified teacher (grades 7-12) in Math, English Language Arts, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physics, and Social Studies and has an Advanced Certificate in Special Education. For the past 18 years, Daniel has provided in-home, subject-based tutoring. He also customizes lessons to prepare students for the SAT, ACT, SAT Subject Tests, ISEE, SSAT, and TACHS. Riseman Educational Consulting, LLC has been awarded “Best of Westchester” for College Prep the past five consecutive years.
As a member of the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, Daniel assists students with every step of the college admissions process. He has helped students get admitted into MIT, Harvard, Princeton, University of Chicago, Dartmouth, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Duke, Brown, Cornell, Washington University in St. Louis, Amherst, Wesleyan, Haverford, Swarthmore, Pomona, Middlebury, Bowdoin, Vanderbilt, Northwestern, University of Virginia, Berkeley, Rice, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Tufts, Emory, Carnegie Mellon, Wake Forest, Michigan, UCLA, University of North Carolina, among others. He also helps college students with the transfer process and graduate school admissions.
Daniel has served as a featured education writer and contributor for Psychology Today, The Fiscal Times, Yahoo Finance, Foxnews, The Week, Education News, MSN Money, Institute of Sport, STEM Education Digest, The Awakened Wire, Conservative News, Special Needs Digest, Entertainment News, and LifeZette. He has also served as an on-air educational expert for EWTN.
Emily Henning is an Ivy League-educated tutor specializing in English and History. She graduated from Brown University in 2019 with honors in Literary Arts and a GPA in the 93rd percentile of her graduating class. Emily has a passion for language, and helping students express themselves in writing and excel at standardized testing. She has been working as a tutor and mentor for the past five years. Through experiences as varied as advising high school students from underserved communities on the college application process to leading university workshops about imposter syndrome, Emily has cultivated the skills to help students of all ages and academic levels. As a tutor, Emily prioritizes fit. Her teaching pedagogy revolves around the student. She designs a tutoring curriculum based on the individual needs of her students, focusing on obtaining measurable, timely, and realistic goals. Whether she's working with a seventh grader to prepare for an ELA state test, or helping a high school senior with college essays, Emily is committed to helping her students excel. She is an expert on the SAT English section and enjoys showing students that, despite all the fear mongering advanced by prep companies, it is absolutely attainable for most students to receive a 700 or higher if they study smart. When Emily is not working with students, she enjoys reading, traveling, and taking long walks in Prospect Park with her dog.
Judi Robinovitz, MS, CEP, is a Certified Educational Planner with more than 35 years of expderience in education. Specializing in residential therapeutic, special-needs, and traditional placements, she is the author of numerous books, articles, and software products and has been a featured speaker at national conferences. Judi is the founding owner of Score At The Top Learning Centers and Schools, a group of five AdvancED/Cognia-accredited educational facilities in South Florida. Judi brings to The Child And Family Institute her wealth of knowledge of hundreds of residential therapeutic/special-needs schools and programs across the country, as well as their clinicians.
In this realm of working with families in crisis, nothing replaces the most careful scrutiny that comes from Judi’s ongoing assessment visits to therapeutic schools and programs – and from following her clients throughout their term of placement. As one of the most traveled consultants in her profession, Judi, in collaboration with her colleague Marcy Salenieks, LCSW, accurately recommends the “best fit” wilderness programs, therapeutic boarding schools, and residential treatment centers for adolescents, teenagers, and young adults − as well as specific therapists.
During her tenure at Educational Testing Service, Robinovitz served as technical liaison to the College Board, the Law School Admission Council, and the Graduate Record Examination Board. She spearheaded the College Board's SAT prep software and made major contributions to their test preparation books. Frequently taking the SAT, Robinovitz scored a perfect 800 on both sections of the test. Judi was part of the founding faculty of two private schools in Boca Raton, Florida; she created their college guidance programs and served as Director of College Guidance to the first five graduating classes of each school.
As an active member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association for Therapeutic Schools and Programs, and the Secondary School Admission Test Board, Robinovitz is part of a professional network of admission directors, educators, psychologists and other educational consultants. She is also a member of the National Learning Disabilities Association and the Orton Dyslexia Society.
Robinovitz studied at Harvard University, Rutgers University, and the University of Connecticut. She holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science, both with highest honors. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. When she’s not working with families or visiting schools and program around the country, you’ll find her on the golf course with her husband or playing with her two young grandchildren.
Marcy Salenieks, LCSW, comes to The Child and Family Institute with more than 25 years' experience working with children, families, and other clinical professionals. She graduated with her Masters in Social Work from Barry University in Miami, spent her early professional years doing family therapy with multi-problem families in upstate New York, then practiced psychotherapy with Jewish Family Services both in Richmond, Virginia, and Miami. She joined Dr. Gary Magid, a Hollywood, Florida, psychiatrist in his private practice, where she remained for twelve years while raising her own family. When Dr. Magid retired, Marcy took a brief sabbatical from her practice to pursue her long-held dream of becoming a children's fiction writer. One result is a middle-grade text currently under consideration for publication. Creativity has always been a part of Marcy's personality and a hallmark of her inventive energy.
Marcy channels her strong clinical skills into the field of special needs educational consulting. Her passion stems from a family crisis, when she made the difficult decision to send her oldest son, then fourteen, to a wilderness therapy program in Utah, followed by eighteen months in a therapeutic boarding school in Idaho. Collaborating with her son’s educational consultant, and using her expert clinical training to insure the best-fit placements for him, Marcy was inspired to blend her professional background and personal experience. Working directly with Judi Robinovitz to identify appropriate therapeutic placements for families faced with this difficult decision, Marcy has the clinical insight and ability to emphasize placement criteria that are invaluable comforts to our families. Like Judi, Marcy regularly travels around the country to asses therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness therapy programs, residential treatment centers, and young-adult transition programs.
Marcy and Judi start the placement process by getting to know as much about a child and family as possible, assembling and evaluating a detailed history of a child’s behavioral and academic history – from you, from clinicians at TCFI and elsewhere, and from clinical and academic records. After identifying and discussing with you the best placement options for your child, Marcy and Judi present his or her detailed profile to admission and clinical directors. Because they have successfully placed so many at-risk students and have an established reputation for providing some of the most informative student profiles, admission directors are more inclined to accommodate their placement – and even scholarship – requests. In fact, they say that Marcy and Judi have a special gift when it comes to making the best therapeutic school and program matches for their clients.
When she is not assisting families with their special needs, traveling to therapeutic schools and programs, and connecting with other clinical professionals in the community, Marcy is mom to three boys, the youngest of whom is now in college. In addition to her creative writing, Marcy enjoys doing yoga, traveling, cooking, and perfecting her Italian.
Tala Hershey is a licensed and certified Speech and Language Pathologist. She is the founder of Hershey Speech and Language Pathology based out of Scarsdale, NY. Tala received her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College and her master’s from New York University. She continued to become PROMPT trained, and has training in Sounds in Motion and DIR-Floor Time. She has experience working with children and adults in a variety of settings including privately, in schools, and in rehabilitation facilities as well as with a variety of disorders including articulation/phonology, language delay, school-aged language disorders, higher level language difficulties, social/pragmatic difficulties, fluency/stuttering, voice disorders and myofunctional swallowing disorders. Tala currently lives in Scarsdale, NY with her husband and enjoys baking, hiking, and traveling in her free time.
Debra Vitagliano has 26 years experience as an occupational therapist in pediatrics. She is the Clinical Director of the Occupational Therapy program at CFI-Scarsdale and she is the Founder and Director of Rye Therapies of OT, PT, and Speech in Rye, NY www.RyeTherapies.com. She has worked in early intervention, private clinics, home health care and schools. She completed her Bachelors of Science degree from Utica College of Syracuse University and her Masters of Science degree from New York Medical College. She continued her education becoming certified in Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing (SIPT), Interactive Metronome, therapeutic listening and The Listening Program. She is passionate in working with a variety of clients including children with sensory processing disorder, sensory integration dysfunction, hypotonia, motor coordination disorder, developmental delays, Down’s syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and attention difficulties. Her ultimate goal is assisting children to attain their maximum functional potential in their sensory-motor development.
Debra currently lives in Port Chester, New York with her husband and three sons. She enjoys hiking, exercising, Pilates, reading and traveling in her leisure time.
Kristy Castaldo is a licensed and certified Speech and Language Pathologist and Clinical Director of the Speech-Language Therapy program at CFI-Scarsdale. Kristy has nearly 15 years of clinical experience working with children in various settings. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in speech and language pathology from The George Washington University in Washington D.C. She is currently a part-time speech and language pathologist for a public school in Westchester County servicing elementary school students. She has also worked as an evaluator, a CPSE/CSE committee member and conducts private therapy in homes and schools. She is an Early Intervention provider and preschool age provider in New York for children ranging in age from birth to five years of age. She is experienced in working with children with childhood apraxia of speech, articulation/phonological disorders, social and pragmatic language issues, receptive and expressive language delays/disorders, auditory/language processing difficulties, higher level language skills, and reading/auditory comprehension. Kristy currently lives in Rye Brook, New York with her husband and two young children.
Brave Voices Consulting Team
A nationally-renown expert and speaker on the identification and treatment of Selective Mutism, Dr. Kotrba is the author of "Selective Mutism: An Assessment and Intervention Guide for Therapists, Educators, and Parents and Overcoming Selective Mutism: A Field Guide for Parents" and supervises and trains our "Brave Voices" SM team here at CFI. Dr. Kotrba is the owner of Thriving Minds, a psychology clinic with locations in Brighton and Chelsea Michigan (www.thrivingmindsbehavioralhealth.com). She is an adjunct faculty member at Michigan State University’s graduate program in educational psychology.
Dr. Kotrba’s primary interventions include individual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for mood and anxiety disorders, parent training for disruptive behavior disorders, and psychological assessments for learning issues, anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D.
14 Harwood Court, Suite 512/514
Scarsdale, NY 10583
2 Greenwich Office Park, Suite 300
Greenwich, CT 06831
350 Madison Avenue, 1st Floor
Cresskill, NJ 07626
20 East 49th Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10017
118 North Bedford Road
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549
142 Mineola Avenue, Suite 3B
Roslyn Heights , NY 11577
83 8th Ave., Ground Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215
34 Plaza Street East, Suite P105
Brooklyn, NY 11238
CFI- Park Slope:
224 6th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
CFI-Boerum Hill/Downtown Brooklyn:
110 4th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
CFI-Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill:
436 Court Street (Court and 2nd)
Brooklyn, NY 11231
With Telehealth Services/Satellite Offices in Florida, Michigan, and California
Intake Line: (914) 361-5283
Content Copyright © 2011 Adam S. Weissman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.