At the core of any therapeutic organization are the therapists providing counseling sessions for individuals, couples, families and groups, day by day and week by week. Although each may have their own individual styles, their mission is clear: to attain a deep understanding of their clients and create an environment of comfort and trust, where real work can be achieved. The Center is proud to have an exceptional group of insightful and sensitive therapists.
Alex Klein, MS, LCSW, Therapist
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 within their communities… read more»
Jake Zoubek, LMFT, Therapist
Jake comes to The Center with 5 years of 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 with 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, Therapist
Brittany has been working for over 8 years directly with adolescents and their families at a therapeutic boarding school in Madison, CT. She joined after receiving her undergraduate degree in psychology. She began as a counselor, where she built meaningful relationships with students and staff, assisted in crisis management, and led diverse student activities. She served as an administrator and advisor, providing case management services to up to 10 students. Brittany helped develop, teach and implement individual treatment plans for students. She worked in collaboration with psychiatrists, therapists and residential case managers and developed goals and objectives for the students and their families.
Brittany graduated with her Masters 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.
Jessica Bessette, LCSW, Therapist
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.
Emily Fulcher, LPCA, Therapist
Emily first decided to enter the therapeutic field after dealing with a serious medical condition as a child. Through her time in the hospital, 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. She 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 from Lesley University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Emily recently completed her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Art Therapy. Her fieldwork consisted of working with children in a partial hospital setting at Baystate Health, and adults in a vocational art studio program through VINFEN.
Emily can best be described as creative and goal-oriented, which are characteristics important to her therapeutic work. She utilizes the visual arts and creative expression in her work with clients of all ages, especially children. She also 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.
Tatiana Bicknell, LMSW, Therapist
Throughout her own journeys and experiences during her lifespan, Tatiana knew going into college she needed to be in the social work field. She is passionate about breaking the stigma for mental health needs, along with advocating for young individuals to have a voice in their current system. Growing up in a half Hispanic household, Tatiana developed knowledge of cultural differences and competency. Tatiana is known for her calm, patient personality, along with her sense of humor which has helped create a safe space for all people to come and have someone to be vulnerable with. Tatiana believes in using a strengths-based approach in therapy by exploring personal, family and community strengths as a guide in setting goals, challenging negative thoughts and behaviors and building one’s confidence in their ongoing journey to resilience. Tatiana has experience with evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy, along with Family-Based Therapy for eating disorders.
Tatiana enjoys working with children, adolescents, adults and families. In her previous work places, she gained experience working with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, ADHD, trauma, OCD and children and teens adjusting to parent’s separation and/or divorce. Upon completion of her Master’s degree, Tatiana has worked in many therapeutic settings including in-hospitals and intensive-outpatient settings for adults and adolescents. In these settings, Tatiana provided individual and family sessions, along with leading therapeutic groups in body acceptance, relapse prevention, DBT and CBT skills. Tatiana’s part-time work included providing individual and family psychotherapy to children, teens and their families at a town youth and family agency. Tatiana also co-leads an 8-week Girl’s Group for 6th and 7th grade girls to discuss topics such as communication, empathy/respect and self-love.
Tatiana is a native to Connecticut and has lived in several towns in the New Haven County area. Tatiana received her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a Criminology concentration and has earned her Master’s in Social Work. In her free time during warmer months, Tatiana enjoys going on hikes and getting sun on the beach. All year round, she spends time with her three rescue dogs, watching scary movies and enjoying Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Sarah Garcia, LMFTA, Therapist
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.
Kimberly Joyner, LMFT, Therapist
Kimberly is a licensed marriage and family therapist and intuitive energy healer. She has been working in the field of children and families for over 20 years. She is passionate about helping others on their healing journey. She creates a warm and safe space for her clients to do their inner work. She helps her clients identify and overcome patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are limiting them from moving forward successfully. She guides them on a path of self-discovery that brings them back in alignment with their true authentic self. Kimberly believes that her clients have all the knowledge they need, and she leads them through the process of tapping into this inner knowing. She empowers them to find their inner strength and confidence to make the necessary changes in their life. She helps her clients see that every experience is an opportunity to learn, grow and transcend. She challenges and motivates her clients to uncover their passion and purpose and to find peace in the present moment regardless of one’s age. She works with clients of all ages and really enjoys working with children, teens, and young adults.
While in graduate school Kimberly interned in a variety of placements working in the school system, in a non-for-profit child guidance agency, a law firm, and Superior Court. Interning at a Child Guidance had given her extensive experience working with a diverse clientele, a multidisciplinary clinical team and with managed care and third-party reimbursement. She also facilitated court-ordered anger management groups as well as conducted Individual, Couple’s and Family Therapy at the Family Clinic at Southern Connecticut State University.
After obtaining her Masters of Family Therapy she was a clinical therapist at a residential facility. She was primarily responsible for the adolescent females however, she also had children from other programs within the facility on her caseload. She provided individual, family and group therapy. She worked collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team to provide treatment for the residents from admission through discharge.
Kimberly then went on to become a Court Services Officer for the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters. She mediated case conferences to facilitate the negotiations and settlement of cases before trial and worked to develop agreements between parties which provided for the best interests of the child. She monitored case compliance with court ordered expectations, referrals for professional services, and reviewed written status reports from the Department of Children and Families and other agencies. She also conducted child and family assessments for youth that petitioned the court for emancipation.
Kimberly was quickly promoted through the judicial branch becoming Director of Operations very early in her career. She was responsible to oversee the initiative to improve the handling of child welfare cases in the probate court system. Leading a multidisciplinary team, she worked collaboratively in the development and implementation of a new Regional Children’s Court. The first such court, the New Haven Regional Children’s Probate Court, earned a national award for innovation. This court was then replicated in other areas throughout the state. In addition to opening and managing the operations of these courts, she developed the curriculum for judges’ institutes and provided on-going training and supervision to court personnel.
Most recently Kimberly developed an early childhood education center where she was the owner and director for over 10 years. She created a school community for children and families from infancy through age 12. She developed a unique and engaging curriculum that went beyond academics and focused on children’s social emotional development. Helping children connect to their own bodies and emotions, teaching self-regulation, coping skills, and empathy.
In addition to a degree in Human Development with a concentration in early childhood education and counseling, a masters in Family Therapy, Kimberly also completed a 4-year advanced specialty program for energy healing and has an energy healing practice in Guilford. She has three daughters who keep her very busy and in her free time loves to hike, venture in the woods, and soak up the sun at the beach. She loves crystals and prefers to be outside and would live on a diet of chocolate if it was healthy.
Emily Kipness, LMFTA, Therapist
Emily has a strong passion for working with kids of all ages. She is currently a Certified Child Life Specialist at a local shoreline Hospital in the Pediatric Emergency Department where she works with children and families from birth through age twenty-one. As a child life specialist, her primary job in the hospital is to help children and their families deal with the stresses and anxieties of hospitalization. Part of Emily’s job as a child life specialist is to provide developmentally appropriate procedure preparation, diagnosis education, therapeutic play, sibling support and grief and bereavement education and support.
Emily grew up in Guilford, Connecticut and received her undergraduate degree in Liberal Studies, with a concentration in Psychology and Wellness and is currently a third-year master’s student in a Marriage and Family Therapy Program.
Emily has volunteered at a variety of medical camps and loves to be outside and is very active. Emily sees a strong correlation in the mind and body connection. In her free time, Emily is often working out, spending time with her family, going on hikes and to the beach.
Emily is often told she is intuitive, insightful and empathetic and finds these skills vital to possess when working in a helping profession. Emily believes that a good therapist gives their client the ability to recognize that the catalyst of change can only be ignited from within one’s self.
Liz Peri, LCSW, Therapist
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 therapist skills. It was clear she would need to study social work. And so, her journey started by applying early decision to a small school in Allentown, Pennsylvania. 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 toward 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 the Intensive Outpatient Program. This time felt very rewarding for her. 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. At that point, Liz became interested in returning to working with adolescents. A highlight in her career in Madison, CT, working with teens and their families in the therapeutic residential facility. These teens were dealing with issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, Asperger’s and learning disabilities. Developing special connections and relationships with these teens was a powerful and meaningful experience. Her 20+ years in this field has shown Liz that healing can happen in a safe therapeutic environment.
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 loves the process from beginning to end and always has great respect and admiration for any person who can walk through her door to begin the process of healing. She is non-judgmental and willing to welcome any person desiring help or changes in their life. Liz has a strong background in mental health disorders and addiction issues, provides individuals therapy and also works with couples and families. She has a great deal of knowledge related to chronic illnesses or illnesses that may be terminal. She refers to dealing with physical ailments or diseases as being “healthy sick.” She has coined this phrase as a way to reframe and look at the full spectrum of life and disease.
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.
Gretchen Holthausen, MS, LPC, Therapist
Gretchen Holthausen is privileged to work as a Licensed Professional Counselor to develop knowledge, build self-advocacy, and sustain growth within teenagers, adults, and families. She utilizes an empathic, holistic and client-centered approach to honor exactly where individuals are in their lives and develop a trusting therapeutic relationship within a safe space. Founded upon the belief that people do better when they can, Gretchen works with individuals to identify and work towards meaningful goals and, ultimately, through acceptance and empowerment, bring about change and fulfillment.
In addition to working with children, adolescents, adults, and families in a community-based clinical setting over the last three years, Gretchen has worked for 12 years as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist within a Connecticut public high school. In turn, she has experience across multiple environments in routinely supporting individuals with ADHD, Anxiety, Autism, Depression, executive functioning difficulties, Gender Dysphoria and PTSD. In addition to helping individuals and families process and work through divorce and family conflict, she also specializes in assisting teenagers in accessing appropriate supports, increasing independence, and navigating the transition from high school to post-secondary education and work.
Gretchen welcomes all individuals regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity and/or expression. She brings a positive, honest, strength-based approach to her clinical work while incorporating research-based techniques founded in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), meditation, mindfulness and psychoeducation.
A firm believer in the power of laughter within the context of hard work, when appropriate, Gretchen incorporates humor in her work with individuals and families. Finally, she subscribes to the notion that no success is too small to honor. As it takes a great deal of courage to make intentional change in one’s awareness, behavior, perspective, response and understanding within the therapeutic process, it is important to celebrate growth each step of the way.
Marissa McCarthy, LPC, Therapist
Marissa encompasses a vast knowledge of counseling theory, practice and strength building with children, adolescents and families – and she is excited and honored to work as a Licensed Professional Counselor outside the public school walls with children and families at The Center.
Marissa received her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a concentration in Children and Youth and a Minor in Sociology and earned her Master of Science Degree and Sixth Year Certificate in School Psychology. She also holds a specialty in Clinical Child Counseling. She continues to stay current in her involvement with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the Connecticut Association of School Psychologists (CASP).
Marissa has long standing experience supporting individuals with Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, PTSD and relational and family issues. She also prides herself in the ability to assist in families’ navigation through the transition from public school to secondary education and life/work after high school. Many of Marissa’s most used approaches in therapy are based on practices such as solution focused therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused Therapy and Mindfulness.
Utilizing a client centered, collaborative approach focusing on the individual, Marissa feels strongly that in the present moment, one is only able to do the best they can with ‘what they have right now’. Marissa’s gift and testament is in assisting individuals in finding their own strengths and power which can increase their ability to cope and succeed in life. Marissa utilizes an empathetic, genuine and nurturing nature with others while also empowering one’s own ability to self-advocate and thrive.
When Marissa is not working with children and families in the school or counseling office, she enjoys spending time with her two bulldogs and feels that the power behind the human-animal connection is greatly therapeutic.
- 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
- Brianna Walker, MS Research & Program Development Coordinator
- Jan Lynch Business Assistant
- Janel Lynch-Bacon, LMFT Clinical Consultant
- 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, LMFTA Therapist
- Kimberly Joyner, LMFT Therapist
- Emily Kipness, LMFTA Therapist
- Liz Peri, LCSW Therapist
- Gretchen Holthausen, LPC Therapist
- Marissa McCarthy, LPC Therapist
- James Stone, MSW Clinical Intern
- Dennis Rinaldi, MPA Connections Coach
- Sam Stearns Connections Coach
- AJ Turnier, MS Connections Coach
- Brianna Walker, MS Connections Coach
- Andres Yanez, BA Connections Coach
- Nitya, BA Connections Coach
- Nitya Bhattarai, BA Connections Coach