Without a crystallized vision, no organization can persist for long. That’s where strong leadership comes in. Collectively and as individuals, our leadership team has seen and treated almost every psychological condition across all ages and stages of life. This team has given The Center a clear mission built on a solid foundation of years of counseling experience and sound fundamentals.
Alex Klein, MS, LCSW, Executive Director
For nearly 20 years, Alex has been working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families. Starting in entry-level, direct-care positions, Alex has steadily expanded his education, increased his training and certification, and broadened his experience and skills in this field. While rising within the ranks of previous organizations, Alex developed a vision for combining dynamic counseling and community partnerships to meet client needs in the least restrictive environment. Alex’s creation of SPBH is a manifestation of his prior experience and his mission moving forward: to direct a therapeutic program in which clients and families receive treatment on the path to living healthy and productive lives… read more»
Dennis Rinaldi, MPA, Director of Operations
Dennis Rinaldi joins the The Center team from Harrison, New York. During his college years, he was a stand-out basketball player and led his team as Captain, MVP, and the school’s first All-Conference first-team award winner. Dennis applies his positive on-the-court attitude to his work with children and families. He has always found joy working with kids and has led volunteer trips, nonprofit fundraisers and community events to support youth development.
After graduation, Dennis worked at a therapeutic boarding school for adolescents who, because of social or emotional difficulties, have been unable to make satisfactory adjustments in their home or school environments. He began as a teacher/counselor and was quickly promoted to an advisor/ residential administrator role. He spent 3 years working directly with families and young adults. He was a mentor, coach and role model for residential students and the staff he worked with.
For the past 4 years, Dennis has been working as the Program Director at a non-profit organization for children with severe and life-threatening illnesses. He manages a team of thirty-five counselors, overseas safety for all program activities and focuses on providing a different kind of counseling and healing for children and their families.
Dennis has called New England home for the past 10 years and presently lives on the Connecticut Shoreline.
Jake Zoubek, LMFT, Clinical Director – Westport
Jake comes to The Center with experience working directly with individuals with behavioral health needs, ranging from autism spectrum disorder to anxiety and substance use disorders. Jake completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in addictions. During his time at college, he worked counseling adolescents with autism, providing one on one care to improve maladaptive behaviors. Jake also spent 6 months in Spain, studying psychology, which afforded him an opportunity to grow as a culturally competent therapist.
During his time in graduate school, Jake worked as a milieu therapist at a residential substance program, providing support to adolescents struggling with substance abuse in an inpatient setting. He provided individual, group, and family therapy to adolescents and young adults struggling with substance use and co-occurring mental disorders. During this time, Jake also created and facilitated a parent support group for loved ones of clients. Jake worked as an in-home counselor for a community mental health agency, helping adolescents with conduct/substance disorders navigate struggles within school, community, family and judicial settings. Jake brings a solution-focused approach to therapy, providing clients with support while helping them take steps to achieve their goals.
At The Center, Jake works with adolescents and their families, he is active as a clinician and as a connections coach. Additionally, Jake provides supervision and consultation for all of our Connection coaches.
In his free time, you can find Jake snowboarding, rock climbing, and doing anything else that gets his heart racing!
Brittany Parker, LMFT, Clinical Director – Madison
Brittany graduated with her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and completed her clinical internship hours at a residential boarding school, providing student counseling sessions, family sessions and group therapy. During her year and half of clinical supervision, she worked with individuals and couples under the guidance of a trained Marriage and Family therapist. This experience has guided the development of her theoretical orientation as well as enabled her to gain knowledge and receive feedback in her work.
As a former college field hockey player, Brittany offers a deep understanding of the athlete’s role as well as the inner workings of the larger sports community. The application of this experience helps guide her work with high school and college athletes struggling with mental health conditions who may experience the stigma of seeking professional support. Brittany believes in a holistic approach that integrates systems theory and emotionally focused therapy, while emphasizing the importance of staying active to help clients achieve their ultimate potential.
Emily Fulcher, LPCA, Creative Director, Associate Clinician
Emily first decided to enter the therapeutic field after dealing with a serious medical condition as a child. Through her time in the hospital undergoing treatment, Emily learned about the meaningful connections made with compassionate adults in her environment. Emily became inspired by the visual arts and the ability to cope with the world around her through creativity.
Emily comes to us from her previous work at a nonprofit serving children and families with life-threatening and serious illnesses. Emily spent several years working on family and child-exclusive programming, volunteer coordination, and creative program design with the organization.
Emily grew up in New Jersey and received her undergraduate degree in Art Therapy and her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy. Emily’s fieldwork consisted of working with children and adolescents in a partial hospital setting, and adults in a vocational art studio program.
Emily can best be described as creative and goal-oriented, which are characteristics important to her therapeutic work. Emily utilizes the visual arts and creative expression in her work with clients of all ages, especially children. Emily enjoys creating art, reading, cooking, and traveling with family and friends.
Emily believes that there are several ways to cope through challenges and obstacles, and her responsibility is to work with clients to explore and utilize them. She believes that medical and psychiatric challenges affect the individual facing them as well as the entire family and support system. Emily hopes to continue to embody this approach in her creative and therapeutic work at Shoreline.
Brianna Walker, MS, Connections Coach
Brianna comes to The Center after working at a non-profit organization serving youth with serious illnesses and their families for seven years. Bri worked in the family outreach department facilitating youth development programs on the road in the communities and homes of participants.
She graduated with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Psychosocial Health Studies and a Master of Science in Youth Development Leadership.
Brianna is a passionate professional who strives to have a positive, lasting impact on all those she meets. She believes that life is about creating and sharing meaningful experiences. Bri utilizes a strength-based approach and focuses on the positive assets people already have when working towards their greater development. As a life-long learner, Bri values a growth mindset over a fixed mindset and works to challenge people, in a positive way, to be the best that they can be. Using a holistic approach – including physical, emotional, and social arenas of life – Bri is thoughtful about having a set direction and being intentional about the decisions that bring her and those she interacts with along a chosen path. She cares greatly about research and evaluation and recognizing the meaning behind her efforts. In her free time, you will likely find Bri out in nature at any time of year. She loves exploring the woods and mountains and water and winter sports. She also loves being active for her health finding time to run or do yoga throughout her week. Finally, Bri loves to read, journal and play music!
Brianna is continuously excited to share her interests with The Center community and learn about the lives of the therapist, staff, clients, and families in this ever-growing community. Bri believes in kindness and compassion. She loves meeting people where they are at and matching their energy. Bri hopes to provide a warm, welcoming environment where people can feel included and where they can be their most authentic selves.
Janice Lynch, Business Assistant
Jan is The Center practice manager. She ensures that our office runs smoothly and is often one of the first people our clients interact with during the intake process. In short, without Jan, The Center would simply not function!
Jan is a native of Connecticut and has been living on the Shoreline for over 35 years. She enjoys going to the beach, boating, and spending time with family and friends.
In addition to her office manager role at The Center, Jan has been working with the Westbrook school district for over 30 years as a Food Service Manager and enjoys being a care taker to her two grandsons.
Jessica Bessette, LCSW, Clinical Director – Madison
Jessica is a licensed clinical social worker who completed her education at Southern Connecticut State University in 2016. She has worked with the entire lifespan from children to older adults. Her experiences with both outpatient and inpatient settings have given her a broad perspective of the challenges that people deal with and what can help people to live more productive lives. She uses a strengths-based and humanistic approach in her work with others. She has grown to work in both individual and group settings and has a love for building relationships with clients and utilizing the relationship to guide the work.
Jessica provides clinical supervision to new therapists and enjoys training and helping others who are just coming into the field. One of her favorite parts about being a social worker is the ability to help others achieve their highest potential. She comes to the field with high energy and enjoys finding unique ways to help people reach their goals. She recognizes that therapy is not a one size fits all approach and spends a lot of time learning about each person she works with in efforts to find interventions that will be best for them.
In her free time, Jessica enjoys going to the gym, spending time with her goldendoodle, and relaxing with friends and family.
Sarah Garcia, LMFT, Lead Clinician
Sarah began her career working directly with women and their families struggling with addiction. This work motivated Sarah to pursue her degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Sarah’s work considers the whole familial system understanding the power and effect of each interaction between each member. Sarah uses this line of thinking even when working with an individual. In complex scenarios, this perspective motivates Sarah’s collaboration with psychiatrists, therapists, residential case managers, or whoever else plays a role in her client’s life.
Sarah works with intention, and her purpose is to align her clients with their full potential. She is confident she can help her clients discover what brings them true joy and drive while helping them process significant events in their lives. Sarah does this by working with people in supporting them in regaining their power through the creation of self-esteem or self-efficacy. Sarah knows therapy is a place for people to share and explore their own lives and in that exploration, healing begins. Sarah’s therapeutic room becomes a space where people can learn and discover themselves through stories.
Finally, Sarah works with the mind-body connection and shows clients how to understand the signals in their own bodies. Her clients’ stronger connection to their own signals helps them better understand their own emotions, motivations, and reactions. She uses solution, narrative, and emotionally focused collaborative approaches to therapy. All these therapeutic approaches rely heavily on the therapeutic relationship. Sarah connects with her clients through her sense of humor and acceptance. Clients can feel safe enough to open up and have their stories heard.
When Sarah is not working, she enjoys riding and working on her bicycle, rock climbing, snowboarding, horseback riding, and yoga. Sarah has found success with her own anxieties and depression through physical activity and the communities created surrounding each activity.
James Stone, LMSW, Therapist
James began his career as a personal trainer helping people overcome physical challenges. This work demonstrated the importance of physical and mental health in supporting a good quality of life. Through building relationships with his training clients, James realized how important tailoring good quality care to fit each client’s individual needs were to accomplishing goals and objectives. James graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a graduate degree in social work so that he could have more of an impact working with clients in instituting change and improving the overall quality of life.
In valuing his role as a therapist, James tries to be a guide and advocate, recognizing that clients are experts in their own lives and act as the main drivers of change. He views building on the strengths that the client already brings to the table as an integral part of the process to institute lasting change. James also believes that the strength and quality of the therapist-client relationship is a critical piece of the therapeutic process.
James was born in New York City and grew up in Darien, CT. When he is not working, he enjoys weightlifting, playing league baseball, traveling, and spending time with his dog, Unagi and two cats, Stuart and Emma.
Liz Peri, LCSW, Senior Clinician
Liz was fortunate to know early in her life that her passion would be working as a therapist. She was curious about others’ emotions from a young age and often wondered how others were feeling. As a teen, Liz was often found on the phone listening to her friends and was already developing her counseling skills. It was clear she would need to study social work. Her time at college was a beautiful adventure full of academic rigor and social excitement. Liz studied social work as her major and Spanish as her minor. She had opportunities to learn more by interning in a Domestic Violence Shelter for women and children and interned at a residential facility for teens. Her path towards social work continued, as she pursued and received her Master’s degree. Further internships included work within local in-patient psychiatric units.
Liz began her official career at a facility located in Guilford, CT. At this LMHA, she focused on Dialectical Behavior Therapy and TARGET trauma skills therapy for PTSD. She enjoyed individual therapy with adults, as well as group therapy and Intensive Outpatient Program. She continued on to another CT-based Institute where she focused on substance abuse treatment. Liz has a great depth of knowledge when it comes to recovery issues and addiction for the individual and their family members.
She has seen the power of recovery for many clients on the other side of their pain & addiction. She has worked with many adults dealing with a variety of mental health issues including anxiety, PTSD, OCD, depression, psychosis, bipolar, borderline personality disorder and dual diagnosis. It was very clear to Liz that therapy had the potential to decrease suffering for so many at any stage of life.
Liz loves the magic that happens in therapy. She loves to see an end to personal suffering and watching her clients build a life worth living. She is non-judgmental and willing to welcome any person desiring help or changes in their life.
Liz is married and has two step children and one puppy. She is an avid runner and co-founder of Outrun38.
Liz is available for virtual therapy clients only.
- Alex Klein, MS, LCSW Executive Director
- Dennis Rinaldi, MPA Director of Operations
- Jake Zoubek, LMFT Associate Director
- Brittany Parker, LMFT Clinical Director
- Emily Fulcher, LPCA Creative Director
- Sarah Garcia, LMFT Therapist
- Brianna Walker, MS Research & Program Development Coordinator
- Jan Lynch Business Assistant
- Liz Peri, LMFT Clinical Consultant
- Alex Klein, MS, LCSW Therapist
- Jake Zoubek, LMFT Therapist
- Brittany Parker, LMFT Therapist
- Jessica Bessette, LCSW Therapist
- Emily Fulcher, LPCA Therapist
- Tatiana Bicknell, LMSW Therapist
- Sarah Garcia, LMFT Therapist
- Kimberly Joyner, LMFT Therapist
- James Stone, MSW Therapist
- Emily Kipness, LMFTA Therapist
- Liz Peri, LCSW Therapist
- Gretchen Holthausen, LPC Therapist
- Molly O'Reilly, LPCA Therapist
- Marissa McCarthy, LPC Therapist
- Jordan Faigen, MSW Therapist
- Chloe Esposito Dukesherer, Therapist
- Hailey Byrne, Therapist
- Dennis Rinaldi, MPA Connections Coach
- Sam Stearns Connections Coach
- AJ Turnier, MS Connections Coach
- Brianna Walker, MS Connections Coach
- Andres Yanez, BA Connections Coach
- Phil Fulcher, MS Connections Coach
- Kate O'Connor, MS Connections Coach
- Matt Stone, MS Connections Coach
- Lindsey Salatto, Connections Coach