Kimberly Schaffer, MSW, LCSW, CSSW, CCS
Clinical Director & Practice Owner
When it comes to your mental health and overall well-being, it is important to have a knowledgeable professional you can turn to. Over the years, I have provided counseling and psychotherapeutic services to clients throughout New Jersey. My expertise covers a broad spectrum of mental health services.
Professionally, I am an Ivy League-educated and seasoned psychotherapist with over 20 years working with adults, adolescents, and children. I hold a Master of Social Work degree with a Concentration in Direct Practice from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA (2000) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Women's Studies from William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ (1998). I also hold a certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida. Additionally, I am a Certified Clinical Supervisor and Certified School Social Worker.
I work with a variety of issues including anxiety and panic attacks, depression, grief, young adult transition issues, gender identity, sexuality, divorce, and maternal mental health. Although I have significant experience working with children, teens, adults, and geriatrics, my practice is primarily focused on working with adults. I am a LGBQIA and Trans Affirming Therapist. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
Overall, I utilize an eclectic approach, as I believe one size does not fit all in therapy. The foundation of my treatment approach is heavily based in CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), Humanistic (Person-Centered Therapy), Psychodynamic, Structural Family Therapy, and Strength-Based Therapy.
Get to Know Us
Luz Villagran, MA, LPC, ACS
Senior Licensed Therapist
Clients need a professional who is understanding, creative, and nurturing. People of all ages can be extremely vulnerable during therapy and require distinct, specialized care tailored to their life experience. For over 17 years, I have worked with children, adolescents, and adults with various mental health needs. I hold a Master’s degree in Counseling and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from Fairleigh Dickinson University. I am proud to have the privilege to serve both English and Spanish-speaking communities.
My background as a Nurtured Heart Approach Certified Trainer and practitioner where we focus on a child's positive strengths has provided a strong foundation for family work. I specialize in working with children and adolescents who have behavioral and emotional needs. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community and I am also an Approved Clinical Supervisor. During my career, I have employed several techniques including Positive Behavioral Supports, Applied Behavioral Analysis, and DIR Floortime. I am a true believer that in order to help many individuals, an eclectic approach is most beneficial as it provides individualized services.
Los niños y las familias necesitan un profesional que sea comprensivo, creativo y cariñoso. Las personas de todas las edades pueden ser extremadamente vulnerables durante la terapia y requieren atención distinta y especializada adaptada a su experiencia de vida. Durante más de 17 años, he trabajado con niños, adolescentes y adultos con diversas necesidades de salud mental. Soy graduada con maestría en consejería y una licenciatura en psicología con énfasis en pacientes hispano-parlantes de la Universidad Fairleigh Dickinson. Profesionalmente estoy orgullosa de tener el privilegio de servir a las comunidades de habla española é inglesa.
Mi experiencia como capacitadora y practicante certificada del Nurtured Heart Approach, donde nos enfocamos en las fortalezas positivas de un niño, ha proporcionado una base sólida para el trabajo familiar. Me especializo en trabajar con niños y adolescentes que tienen necesidades conductuales y emocionales. Durante mi carrera, he empleado varias técnicas, que incluyen apoyo conductual positivo, análisis conductual aplicado y el método DIRFlooring. Este utiliza una integracion de múltiples componentes para ayudar a los niños con desafíos educativos, socio-emocionales, de salud mental y / o de desarrollo.
Soy un verdadero creyente de que para ayudar a muchas personas, un enfoque ecléctico es más beneficioso ya que proporciona efectivos servicios individualizados.
Maureen Mulvanerton, MA, MSW, LCSW, CSSW, CCS
Senior Licensed Therapist
For over two decades I have provided mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work in 2000 and a Master of Arts degree in Psychology in 1993 both from New York University. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Education from Rutgers University (1989). My professional accomplishments include extensive experience providing mental health services to children and adolescents in a school setting, as well as, clinical work with adults, families, and with the LGBTQ community. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community and a Certified School Social Worker. I have also worked with children and adolescents in foster care, residential placements, and schools for the past 20 years. Additionally, I am a Certified Clinical Supervisor.
I utilize a holistic approach in working with clients, encompassing components of cognitive behavior theory, trauma-informed interventions, positive behavioral supports, and solution-focused methods. I believe in the value of the therapeutic relationship and strive to provide a safe environment for clients to feel validated, understood, and more capable of moving forward through life’s challenges. Clinical areas of expertise include depression, anxiety, trauma, loss/grief, parenting, life transitions, relationship issues, school avoidance, LGBTQ community, and learning disabilities.
Kiarra "Kiki" Baldassari, M.Ed, LAC
As a Licensed Associate Counselor in the State of New Jersey, I specialize in the treatment of children, adolescents, and adults struggling with anxiety disorders, stress management, sports performance, and depression. My primary methods for addressing presenting concerns are evidence-based practices that promote the improvement of one’s overall functioning in multiple aspects of life including social and personal relationships, school, the workplace, and family dynamics. Other clinical areas of expertise include life transitions, relationship issues, LGBTQ+ community, and learning disabilities. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Master of Education degree from Providence College. I continued my education at Caldwell University and earned a Post-Master’s Counseling degree. During my graduate studies, I had a clinical concentration in Aaron T. Beck’s CBT model, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), and Family Therapy. I applied my studies to my clinical internships which took place at The Center for Children and Families in Miami, FL. My work focused on providing support and counseling to families and their children with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and developmental delays.
Matthew Soriano, MSW, LCSW, CCS
Senior Licensed Therapist
For over 11 years, I have had the opportunity to provide mental health services to children, adolescents, and families. I hold a Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Ithaca College. I have experience working with children, teens, and families in a variety of settings including foster care, residential services, in-home therapy, and schools. I have assisted clients in dealing with depression, anxiety, oppositional behaviors, and trauma. I hold a certificate in trauma from the National Association of Social Workers New Jersey chapter. I am also OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, I hold a Certified Clinical Supervisor certificate.
I believe in a diverse approach to therapy by determining what works best for each individual client and tailoring our time together to best meet your needs. Some of these techniques include trauma-informed care, cognitive behavioral therapy, the Nurtured Heart Approach, and person-centered therapy. I have found that the key to successful therapy is building a trusting relationship and a strong alliance between therapist and client. My goal is to always help you build off of your strengths and experiences to foster growth. Together we can enhance your inner wealth and create the change you want to see.
Christine Lyman, MA, LAC
For the past seven years, I have been working with children and families with complex behavioral and emotional needs, ranging from anxiety, depression, trauma, oppositional behavior, and school refusal, to developmental disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder. I work from an eclectic approach, largely drawing from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Process Theory, and Family Systems Theory. I implement strategies and principles from both Nurtured Heart Approach and culturally sensitive Trauma-Informed Care. I am also an experienced school counselor.
My previous experience includes serving both English and Spanish speaking populations, and am a Native Spanish speaker myself. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Delaware and hold a Master’s degree in School Counseling from Montclair State University. I have earned a post-Master’s certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Kean University. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
Durante los últimos seis años, he estado trabajando con niños y familias con necesidades conductuales y emocionales complejas, que van desde ansiedad, depresión, trauma, comportamiento de oposición y rechazo escolar, hasta discapacidades del desarrollo, incluido el trastorno del espectro autista. Trabajo desde un enfoque ecléctico, basándose en gran medida en la terapia cognitiva conductual, la teoría del proceso interpersonal y la teoría de los sistemas familiares. Implemento estrategias y principios tanto del Nurtured Heart Approach como del culturalmente sensitivo, Trauma Informed Care.
Mi experiencia previa incluye servir a poblaciones de habla inglesa y española, y yo también soy hispanohablante. Obtuve mi Bachillerato en Artes en Psicología en la Universidad de Delaware y tengo una maestría en Consejería Escolar de la Universidad Estatal de Montclair. Obtuve un certificado de post-maestría en Consejería Clínica de Salud Mental de Kean University.
Samantha Levinson, MA, LPC
Child Therapy Trainer
One of the main components of therapy is to provide a safe environment for clients to explore their thoughts and feelings. My office is specifically designed for teletherapy play sessions with children and is also easily transformed into a space comfortable for adolescents and adults. For more than 10 years, I have worked with children, adolescents, and adults with behavioral and emotional challenges. My professional experience consists of working in a variety of settings including residential, in-home therapy, and outpatient settings. My clinical areas of specialty include anxiety, depression, autism, childhood developmental disorders, trauma, and impulsive behaviors. Other professional accomplishments include: developing a play intervention program for children with autism and developmental disabilities and teaching college-level courses in Psychology as an Adjunct Instructor.
I believe therapy is a highly individualized and personal experience. I utilize a broad range of evidence-based modalities to help assist clients through their journey to mental wellness. These treatment modalities include person-centered therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), child development, and play therapy. My background in social skills training has provided a strong foundation for my work with children and adolescents. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Arts degree in Psychological Counseling from Monmouth University. I continued my education at Chestnut Hill College and completed a certificate in trauma studies, as well as, post-graduate studies. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
Jennifer Driscoll, MSW, LCSW, CCS
Coordinator of Diversified Services
Senior Licensed Therapist
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, my purpose is to provide a safe and accepting environment where we can work together towards your goals. Over the course of my education, I have earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey (2009) and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University (2012). I have cultivated my skills as a social worker through my experience working in hospitals and schools; assisting individuals and their families with difficulties including palliative care, postpartum anxiety/depression, body-image issues, bullying, and more. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community. I also hold a Certified Clinical Supervisor Certificate. I am most proud of my work with children diagnosed with cancer and blood disorders, where I was privileged to support and uplift them during an exceptionally vulnerable time in their lives.
I believe therapy is most effective when the therapist utilizes a variety of methods so that the unique needs of every individual can be met. To this end, I practice an eclectic style that incorporates solution-focused, cognitive-behavioral, person-centered, and strengths-based perspectives. I am grateful to play a role in empowering my clients to enrich their lives and meet their goals; the joy and satisfaction I get from witnessing people overcoming the obstacles necessary to live their best lives is what inspires me to continue my work.
Melissa Castor, MSW, LCSW, CSSW
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I have worked with children, adolescents, adults, and families using a variety of treatment modalities to reach their goals. I understand treatment must be individualized and therefore the chosen treatment modality must be specific to their needs. In my practice, I have become highly skilled in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Functional Family Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Psychoanalysis. I am certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and have helped individuals work through both simple and complex trauma experiences, which has provided a large reduction in trauma symptoms.
Working with adolescents and adults as they experience pivotal life changes provides me with the unique opportunity to help individuals identify their own personal ambitions and set goals to reach them. I seek to provide a safe and welcoming environment for people from all walks of life, with a specific focus for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Through my experiences with LGBTQ+ clients and their family members, I have been able to guide them through difficult conversations and decisions. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community and I am a Certified School Social Worker. Another area of specialty is perinatal mental health.
I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Rowan University in 2013 and my Master of Social Work degree from Stockton University in 2017. I also hold certifications in Perinatal Mental Health from Postpartum Support International and Applied Educational Neuroscience from Butler University.
We are incredibly excited to announce Melissa was recently selected to present her work and research at the 2022 NASW-NJ Annual Conference. Melissa will be sharing her knowledge with social workers throughout New Jersey in her workshop titled, Developing Resiliency as Schools Return to the Classroom. Developing resiliency is vital to the health of students who have experienced trauma due to long absences from school and pandemic-related traumas. This workshop provides school social workers with specific brain-aligned and trauma-informed strategies to collaboratively transform classroom and school experiences for diverse students across grade levels.
Arti Kakkar, MA, Ed.S., LMFT, AAMFT
DHA Candidate (Executive Track)
As a Family Therapist for the last 17 years, I have had the privilege to work with families and individuals. Through a strength-based approach, I assist with issues like anxiety, trauma, depression, family cut-offs and conflicts, grief, and life's adjustments through stages of development. I offer individual, couple, and family counseling. I adopt a holistic and client-centered approach, aimed to empower you to enhance the relationships that you value. I work with the strengths of the individual/family to increase self-awareness and develop skills that can assist in overcoming life’s hurdles. I have my M.A. (2004) in Psychological Studies and Ed.S (2005) from Seton Hall University, NJ. I am currently working toward my doctorate in Health Administration at the Medical University of South Carolina. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, I am an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.
Jennalyn Winant, MSW, LSW
As a Licensed Social Worker, I am passionate about meeting my clients where they are and walking with them as they navigate life’s challenges. I offer a welcoming space for clients of diverse backgrounds and experiences to explore their identities, process difficult emotions, and find understanding. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and my Master’s degree in Social Work, both from Boston College.
During my graduate studies, my clinical internships involved working with children, teens, and young adults in various settings, including a local charter high school, an after-school program, and a university counseling center. I provided clinical care in each location, including case management, group therapy, and individual therapy. While at Lasell University Counseling Center, I provided individual therapy for students experiencing challenges transitioning to college, relationship issues, identity questions, grief, anxiety, depression, and trauma.
Moreover, I am especially passionate about helping those navigating grief and loss. There is no such thing as a "normal" way to grieve or a time limit on grief. Each person's experience is unique and deserves compassion and understanding. Through our work together, I can help you learn more about the phases of grief, better understand your emotions, process your loss, and learn how to move forward with your grief.
In addition to my internships, I have experience working one-on-one with adults experiencing depression, anxiety, grief, trauma, identity questions, and life transitions. Using a strengths-based approach, I empower my clients to find healing in their unique ways as I believe individuals are resilient and often have strengths they do not recognize. I also incorporate techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practice to aid individuals in fostering acceptance and positive thinking. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
Kathleen Azzaro, MA, LPC, ACS
Senior Licensed Therapist
For three decades, I have had the opportunity to provide counseling and psychotherapeutic services to adolescents and adults experiencing diverse life challenges. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor with a MA 1983 (General/Theoretical Psychology) and a MA 2011 (Clinical Mental Health Counseling) both from Fairleigh Dickinson University. I currently hold certifications as a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and Certified Grief Counseling Specialist.
My professional experience consists of working in a variety of settings including College Counseling & Psychological Service, Emergency Room Crisis Intervention Counselor, Partial Care Programs, Community Mental Health Center, and Counseling Center for Pregnant Teens. For the past 21 years, I have counseled a diverse population of college students who have struggled with PTSD, Social and General Anxiety, Relationships, Depression, Trauma, Grief/loss, Bipolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, and Life Transitions providing a collaborative relationship in a safe, open and nonjudgmental atmosphere.
My therapeutic orientation is integrative, viewing each person and his or her journey as unique, and have made it my responsibility to be competent when drawing on various theories and strategies including but not limited to Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), Cognitive Processing (CPT), Trauma-Informed Interventions, Psychodynamic, and Motivational Interviewing. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community and I am also an Approved Clinical Supervisor.
Kimberly Solomon, MSW, LSW
As a Licensed Social Worker, I work with children, adolescents, and adults. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and a Master's degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. I applied my studies to clinical internships, which took place at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen in New Brunswick, and Perth Amboy. My direct work focused on providing counseling services to parents and their children. Services provided included case management, individual therapy, family counseling, marital therapy, and psychoeducation. In addition, my experience lies in working with anxiety, depression, life transitions, anger management, parenting education, children's behavioral issues, and relaxation/mindfulness. I am also certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and I pride myself on consistently attending new training and webinars to stay educated and informed. I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
I believe therapy is not a one size fits all approach. Instead, clinicians need to meet each individual where they are and tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of everyone. As a result, there is not one modality I prefer to use with my patients. Rather, I use a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Strength-Based approach, and other evidence-based practices to best treat each individual.
William "Will" Hamilton, M.Ed, LAC
Ph.D. candidate in Psychology
I am a licensed therapist with a Master of Education in counseling psychology and organizational psychology from Columbia University, New York, USA. I also hold a Master's degree in human development and am currently working on my Ph.D. in Psychology on the processes of adult transformative change. I have 2 years of experience working one-on-one and in groups with adults and young adults facing life transitions, social and relationship difficulties, adjustment to newer or difficult circumstances, identity, self-image and self-esteem concerns, trauma-related issues, substance and eating disorders, career, and work concerns, and mood issues involving anxiety and depression and fluctuations in mood. I also have experience with people in distress or experiencing co-occurring issues. I have 10 years of experience as an organizational psychologist and change manager with Fortune 500 companies. I am also OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community
I follow a person-centered approach to therapy, which places you at the center of our work together to explore your concerns, help develop insight, and move to action on your preferred intentions. Change and new development are possible from all situations. It is a natural way forward for us. I am committed to an open, equal, trusting, and empathic relationship with you. I am dedicated to being present to you and there with you to support you as you grow and expand in your specific and unique ways. I am committed to multicultural, multigender, and intercultural dialogue, and myself, have traveled in 50 countries of the world, lived and worked in France for several years, and am fluent in french. I am also an active songwriter and writer.
Jamie Agens, MSW, LCSW, LCADC
Throughout my experience, I have found that the power of the therapeutic relationship is one of the most positive predictors of treatment outcomes and an essential component of therapy. Therefore, while using an eclectic and strengths-based approach in therapy, I also incorporate ideas of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational interviewing, and Solution-focused therapy (SFT/SFBT). I hold a Bachelor of the Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Anthropology from Montclair State University. My Master's degree in Social Work was obtained from Rutgers University with a concentration in clinical mental health counseling. I also hold an LCADC and I am OutCare certified as culturally competent in the care of the LGBTQ+ community.
For many years, I have worked with adults who have many different mental health issues in multiple settings, including agencies and hospitals. I have experience working with clients in voluntary and involuntary psychiatric settings, partial hospitalization programs, case management, and intensive outpatient programs. Additionally, I have outpatient experience working with children as young as three years old, teens, adults, and families with various issues, including family life problems, trauma, depression, anxiety, ADHD, and many others. My goal throughout my career is to foster a safe and warm environment where people from different backgrounds can have their individualized needs met effectively in a short time.