Kimberly Schaffer, MSW, LCSW, 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.

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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.


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.  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. 

 

Clinical Team

Get to Know Us

 
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Luz Villagran, MA, LPC, ACS
Senior Therapist & Supervisior

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 15 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. 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 15 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.

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Maureen Mulvanerton, MA, MSW, LCSW, CCS
Senior Therapist & Supervisor

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 have also worked with children and adolescents in foster care, residential placements and schools for the past 20 years. 

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.

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Kiarra "Kiki" Baldassari, M.Ed, LAC
Associate Therapist

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 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.

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Matthew Soriano, MSW, LCSW

Senior Therapist & Supervisor

For over 10 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 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 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. 

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Christine Lyman, MA, LAC
Associate Therapist

For the past five 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.


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.

Durante los últimos cinco 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.

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Samantha Levinson, MA, LPC
Child Therapy Trainer
Therapist

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 a 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. 

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Jennifer Driscoll, MSW, LCSW
Coordinator of Diversified Services
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 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.

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Melissa Castor, MSW, LCSW
Therapist

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 individuals from all walks of
life, with a specific focus for members of the LGBTQ+ community. Through my experiences
with individuals in the LGBTQ+ community and their family members, I have been able to guide
individuals and families through difficult conversations and decisions.  Maternal mental health is another area of focused concentration where I provide specialized support.


As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, I have worked with adolescents, adults, and families using
a variety of treatment modalities to reach their goals. I understand that treatment must be
individualized and therefore the chosen treatment modality must be individualized as well. 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 allowed me to
see a large reduction in trauma symptoms.


I received my Bachelor’s Degree from Rowan University in 2013 and my Masters in Social Work
from Stockton University in 2017. I am currently earning a Certificate in Applied Educational
Neuroscience, which skills I hope to use in conjunction with trauma treatment. 

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Azat Oganesian, MSW, LCSW
Therapist

My starting point as a psychotherapist is a place of empathy, acceptance, and the building of trust upon which the therapeutic relationship is always based. I have eight years of experience working with children, teenagers and adults of all ages, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation; priding myself in the cultural competence that diversity of experience brings. I have my BA from Rutgers University, MSW from New York University and have studied modern psychoanalysis at the Center of Modern Psychoanalytic Studies.  


My therapeutic approach is a mixture of psychodynamic and evidence-based treatment. I work with clients to explore how their past impacts their present, work on their self-narrative, while at the same time help clients to use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Mindfulness tools to better manage their emotions.  

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Arti Kakkar, MA, Ed.S., LMFT
Therapist

As a Family Therapist for the last 16 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 your 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.

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Jennalyn Winant, MSW, LSW

Associate Therapist

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. Using a strengths-based approach, I work to empower my clients to find healing in their own unique ways as I believe individuals are resilient and often times have strengths they do not recognize. I have experience working with children, teens, and adults experiencing depression, anxiety, grief and loss, identity crises, and more. I incorporate techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practice to aid individuals in fostering acceptance and positive thinking. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and my Master’s degree in Social Work from Boston College.

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Kathleen Azzaro, MA, LPC, ACS
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.

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