Meet Our Staff

Administrative Staff

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Irene Benza

Office Manager

Language(s) Spoken: English

Interests: My work at CMHS.
Personal Interest: Kayaking, connecting with family & friends, time with my fir kids (dog & cat), dinner & theater, cooking & baking.

Birdsall

Sundari Birdsall

Administrative Services Assistant

Language(s) Spoken: English

Interests: Social work profession, ballet, yoga, cycling, and cooking.

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Annadell Jaczynski

Administrative Assistant, Business Manager

Language(s) Spoken: English

Interests: Helping others, working with animals, baking, and outdoor activities such as hiking, running, and 4x4 riding.

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Marissa Kennan

Administrative

Language(s) Spoken: English

Interests: I enjoy helping others, learning new things, trips to the beach, reading, music, photography, hiking and walking, swimming, good food, and spending time with my children, family and friends. 

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Rhonda Prucker

Secretary I

Language(s) Spoken: English

Interests: Gardening, watching niece and nephew race, spending time with family, vacations, long walks

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Darlene Stewart

Clerk/Typist

Language(s) Spoken: English

Interests: Outside of the office, I enjoy hiking, boating, and attending UConn games.

Clinical Staff

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Maddie E. Barron, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist

Education:  

  • B.A., University of Cincinnati
  • Psy.D., Midwestern University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I view therapy as both collaborative and integrative. My approach to therapy integrates theoretical orientations of psychodynamic, relational, and interpersonal process. I, like many others before me, view the psychotherapy relationship as the vehicle for change and give careful attention to this when working with both students and supervisees. I often find myself experiencing an immense amount of gratitude in working with students as it takes a tremendous amount of courage to embark on the journey of psychotherapy.

Interests: My clinical interests surround working with student-athletes, as well as clinical presentations of depression and survivors of trauma. I completed a post-doctoral fellowship with a focus on psychological assessment, and enjoy integrating these skills in the assessment and treatment of ADHD at our center. I am also a clinical supervisor and a member of our training team. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling and the arts, as well as any and all sporting events which is reminiscent of my earlier years as a Division I student-athlete.

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Jonathan Beazley, L.M.F.T., L.A.D.C.

Alcohol & Drug Interventionist

Education:   

  • B.A. in Psychology, Pennsylvania State University
  • M.F.T., Southern Connecticut State University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: In my role as the AOD Interventionist, I try to meet students where they are at with their substance use, and through Motivational Interviewing techniques help them find their own reasons to make healthy changes in their behaviors. My work in other therapy modalities (individual, group, family and couples) reflect my training as a gestalt psychotherapist and a marriage and family therapist.

Interests: I have a strong investment in supporting the success of those students trying to recover from substance abuse and other addictive behaviors through our collegiate recovery program. Outreach, especially around educating others about substance abuse issues and reducing the associated stigma, is a central part of my role. Otherwise, I enjoy travel, cooking, drawing, restoring old homes and studying history.

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Suzanne Ciaramella, Psy.D.

Per Diem Therapist

Education:

  • B.S., University of New York at Stonybrook
  • M.A., University of Hartford
  • Psy.D., University of Hartford

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Integrative – employing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness to achieve internalization of goals.  Insight oriented and supportive treatment offered as well as Solution Focused Therapy to achieve short term goals.  I offer Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) to achieve more immediate anxiety symptom reduction.

Interests: Clinical interests include exploration of family dynamics, development of self, and improving self-esteem and worth.  Personal interests include ballet, art, music, and travel.

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Laurie Cooper, L.C.S.W.

Per Diem Therapist

Education:

  • B.A., St. John’s College
  • M.S.W., University of Connecticut – School of Social Work

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I combine aspects of a variety of approaches – including Cognitive-Behavioral, narrative, and psychodynamic – to help clients better understand, manage, and reduce symptoms or behaviors that may be interfering with wellbeing and optimal functioning.

Interests: Clinical interests include anxiety, post-traumatic growth, and mindfulness.  Personal interests include running, reading, and poetry.

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Erin Cox, Psy.D.

Assistant Director of Outreach, Staff Psychologist

Education:

  • B.A. in Psychology and Women’s Studies, Mount Holyoke College
  • Psy.D., George Washington University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach:  My approach to therapy is integrated, including the use of relational, cognitive-behavioral, solution-focused, and psychodynamic techniques through a multicultural lens.  My goal is to create a comfortable environment for students to explore their concerns, and to work collaboratively to find strategies for healing. 

Interests: Clinically, I have particular interest and expertise in working with students who struggle with eating and exercise disorders, relationship concerns (social and family), and identity development.  I truly enjoy providing outreach education to the UConn community - promoting strategies for healthy living, social justice, and reducing the stigma around mental health concerns.  On a personal note, I love to travel, hike, and try my hand at photography.

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Betsy Cracco, Ph.D.

Director

Education:

  • B.A., The College of the Holy Cross
  • M.S., Boston College
  • Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Relational-Cultural model, Interpersonal Process.  Working with relationship issues, trauma, sexual assault/abuse, college student identity development, depression, eating disorders, and crisis intervention.

Interests: Social justice and empowerment, multicultural issues, gender and violence, teaching and training, outreach education, research, feminist therapy, experiential and mind/body approaches.

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Jennifer Fox, Ph.D.

Staff Psychologist

Education:

  • B.S., Union College
  • M.A., University of Connecticut
  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Psychodynamic, object relations, and interpersonal frameworks strongly influence and inform my work.  I also integrate a variety of other therapeutic approaches into my practice, to work collaboratively with students to meet their individual needs.  Working at CMHS for the past 20 years has been and continues to be a privilege for me; I enjoy working with students who are in such a dynamic stage of constructing their identities and life direction, I have a great group of trusted colleagues, and I appreciate the many opportunities to engage with the campus community in cultural and outreach events.

Interests: I have specific areas of interest in working with grief/loss, depression, suicide prevention, OCD, supporting diversity and social justice, and practicing mindfulness in the striving for balance in one’s life.  I have enjoyed building relationships with people with diverse backgrounds and identities, and aspire to learn and incorporate culturally sensitive and informed approaches in my life and in my work.  I also feel very privileged to provide education and supervision to psychologists in training, and this is consistently a favorite aspect of my role at CMHS.  Outside of CMHS, I love to spend time with my family and friends, exercise, hike, practice meditation, and hear or tell a great joke.  I aspire to maintain a balance in my life that allows me to be fully present and committed in my work of supporting students through a process of change and growth.

Carlos


Carlos Gonzalez-Martinez, L.C.S.W.

Psychiatric Social Worker

Education:

  • B.A., Catholic University (Ponce Puerto Rico)
  • M.S.W., University of Connecticut – School of Social Work

Language(s) Spoken: English & Spanish (clinical services offered in either language)

Therapeutic Approach: Interpersonal, Psychodynamic, Reality Therapy and Interpersonal Process.

Interests: Social justice and empowerment, multicultural issues, I enjoy working with college-aged students with adjustment difficulties, interpersonal relational problems, anxiety, depression, mood, and trauma related problems.

Goodwin

Robert Goodwin, M.D.

Psychiatrist

Education:

  • B.A., Yale University
  • M.D., Royal College of Surgeons (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Psychiatric Residency – Institute of Living (Hartford, CT)

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Eclectic/interpersonal. I feel that therapy, including decisions about medication, should be a joint enterprise between doctor and patient.

Interests: I have no particular area of expertise but have grown extremely interested in PTSD, especially given the influx of returning veterans. Personal interests include travel, photography, writing (mainly fiction), and pandering to my cat.

Gordon

Donna Gordon, L.C.S.W.

Per Diem Therapist

Education:

  • B.A., Hood College for Women
  • M.S.W., Yeshiva University - Wurzweiler School of Social Work

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: The most important part of the therapeutic process is building a trusting rapport with a clinician. With this relationship each student will have the opportunity to learn more about him/herself in a safe, non-judgmental environment.  I provide strength based, solution focused therapy to help students explore their strengths in addition to the areas in which they need to grow. I also encourage students to learn to use behavioral techniques as a tool of empowerment.

Interests: My professional interests include learning more about the field of Narrative Therapy – how to use creative writing techniques to help students to positively move forward.  My personal interests include spending time with my family, cooking and entertaining friends.

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Susan Grace, A.P.R.N.

Advance Practice Registered Nurse

Education:

  • B.S. in Animal Science, University of Connecticut
  • B.S. in Nursing, University of Connecticut
  • M.S. in Nursing, Yale University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: As a medication provider I try to help students make an informed choice about whether or not they want treatment with medications, and if so, which medications. Once someone is on medications, I view ongoing treatment as a collaborative relationship between myself and the student.

Interests: I work with students with any type of disorder that may benefit from treatment with medication.  On a personal note, I love to travel, and I enjoy cycling. I love animals and I used to ride horses. I will happily chat with everyone about pets, horses and farm animals.

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Tracy Gruber, L.C.S.W.

Psychiatric Social Worker
Case Manager

Education:

  • B.A., University of Massachusetts – Amherst
  • M.S.W., The Catholic University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Motivational Therapy, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, and Systems.  Clinical areas of expertise include:  Crisis intervention, clinical assessment, anxiety, depression, and care coordination.

Interests: Areas of professional interest include:  Mind/body intervention and research, young adult autonomy/individuation, social justice/empowerment, and suicide prevention.  My choice leisure activities include:  gardening, hiking, yoga, meditation, reading and spending time with my family.   

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David Henry, Ph.D.

Per Diem Therapist

Education:

  • B.A., University of Connecticut
  • M.S., Southern Connecticut State University
  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Mixed Interpersonal, Object Relations, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Behavioral.

Interests: Fishing, reading, and psychotherapy.

Jain

Neha Jain, M.D., F.A.P.A.

Staff Psychiatrist, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UConn Health

Education:

  • MBBS, Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, India
  • Psychiatric Residency – West Virginia University
  • Geriatric Psychiatric Residency – University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Language(s) Spoken: English, Hindi (clinical services offered in either language)

Therapeutic Approach: Working as part of the team with you and your therapist to decide if medications are appropriate for you, and tailoring a specific psychopharmacological approach to your needs.

Interests: Psychopharmacology, mood and anxiety disorders

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Chetan A. Joshi, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Director of Clinical Services

Education:

  • B.S. in Pharmacy, University of Pune, India
  • M.S. in Pharmacology, University of Missouri
  • Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, University of Missouri

Language(s) Spoken: English, Hindi, Marathi (clinical services offered in all three languages)              

Therapeutic Approach: Understanding brain physiology, environment, and behavior interactions based in the interpersonal neurobiology framework. Integration of western and eastern understanding of psychology and approaches to treatment with a focus on mindfulness and spirituality.  Relational-cultural orientation to all therapeutic interactions.

Interests: Jungian psychology, history, spirituality, astronomy and sports

Maritza

Maritza Lugo-Stalker, L.C.S.W., Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist

Education:

  • B.S. in Psychology, University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez
  • M.S.W., University of Connecticut
  • Psy.D., University of Hartford

Language(s) Spoken: English & Spanish (clinical services offered in either language)

Therapeutic Approach: I have been a therapist since 1993 and have worked with college students at UConn since 2006.  I take a collaborative and compassionate approach in therapy while attending to diversity issues.  I utilize an interpersonal relational approach in psychotherapy, while integrating other therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Accelerated Resolution Therapy to focus on trauma recovery.

Interests: Clinical interests include, but are not limited to, working with college-aged students with adjustment difficulties, interpersonal relational problems, anxiety, depression, mood, and trauma related problems.  My interests also include working with Latino students and other students of color.

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Jennifer L. Petro, Psy.D.

Assistant Director of Training, Staff Psychologist

Education:

  • B.S. in Psychology, Texas A&M University
  • M.S. in Clinical Psychology, Baylor University
  • Psy.D., Baylor University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Integrative – interpersonal/psychodynamic, person-centered, and cognitive behavioral.  Areas of clinical focus have included interpersonal relationship issues, adjustment disorders, self-esteem, depression, anxiety, interpersonal skill enhancement, autism-spectrum disorders, developmental issues of college students, therapeutic support and advocacy for transgender students, and the influence of shame and guilt in relationship dynamics.

Interests: Use of creativity and humor in therapy, training and teaching, program development and outcomes assessment, and campus outreach.

Powers

JoLynn Powers, Psy.D.

Staff Psychologist

Education:

  • B.A., Boston University
  • Psy.D., Rutgers University

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I view therapy as a collaborative process that is focused on problem solving, gaining insight, and building competence.  My lens is a family systems perspective, understanding current relationship patterns in the context of a person’s role in their family.  I incorporate Cognitive Behavioral strategies as tools for managing anxiety and depression.

Interests: Panic and anxiety disorders, life transitions, coping with divorce, understanding relationship functioning from a family systems perspective, sexuality and coming out issues, graduate student issues.

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Terese (Terri) Quattro-Cook, L.C.S.W.

Psychiatric Social Worker

Education:

  • B.A., University of Connecticut
  • M.S.W., University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I believe the therapeutic relationship is most important to establish trust and create an emotionally safe environment to facilitate positive growth and change.  As a clinician, I use an integrated therapeutic approach, with a focus on cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavioral therapies, interpersonal, and psycho-educational approaches.

Interests: Clinically, I have an interest and expertise in working with students who struggle with eating disorders, anxiety, depression, academic, family and interpersonal relationship concerns.  At UConn, I enjoy being a member of the Training Team and have a particular interest in supervising MSW practicum students.  I particularly enjoy teaching. My personal interests include travel, photo journaling, cooking and home decorating.

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Graciela Quinones-Rodriguez, L.C.S.W.

Psychiatric Social Worker

Education:

  • B.A., University of Puerto Rico
  • M.S.W., University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English & Spanish (clinical services offered in either language)

Therapeutic Approach: Contextual, Interpersonal, Psychodynamic, Reality Therapy, and Holistic.

Interests: Clinically, I am interested in depression and anxiety disorders, dual diagnoses, adjustment and acculturation issues, working with people living with chronic conditions, trauma survivors, existential issues, personal growth, relational problems and social skills development, and bereavement.  I am focused on multi-cultural experiences and competency, social justice and social action.  I enjoy outreach education, programming, leadership development, teaching, supervision, and multidisciplinary team work.

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Dawn Shadron, L.C.S.W.

Psychiatric Social Worker, Liaison to Athletics/Sports Medicine

Education:

  • B.S. in Psychology, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
  • M.S.W., Loyola University of Chicago

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Integrative – including Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Object-Relations, and Interpersonal Process.

Interests: The connection between mental health and athletic performance.  Integration of counseling and psychotherapy with the health care medical model.  Direct care, professional consultation, teaching, supervision, and clinical support of student-athletes, teams, coaches, athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians, and other student-athlete support staff.  Resilience, coping, and global identity development through the college years.

Thompson

Anne Thompson Heller, L.M.F.T.

Psychiatric Social Worker

Education:

  • B.A. in Sociology & Metro Urban Studies, Augsburg College
  • M.A. in Higher Education & Student Affairs, University of Connecticut
  • M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy, University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Integrative-Bowenian, Structural, and Brief Strategic models of family therapy, as well as Solution-Focused, Cognitive Behavioral, and Dialectical Behavioral therapies.

Interests: Substance use disorders and recovery, coping, resiliency, empowerment, adolescence and emerging adulthood, identity development, and outreach education.

Waters

Amanda Waters, Ph.D.

Multicultural Specialist, Staff Psychologist

Education:

  • B.A., Biola University
  • M.A., Rosemead School of Psychology
  • Ph.D., Rosemead School of Psychology

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I work primarily from an attachment-based psychodynamic approach which uses individuals’ relationships to explore, develop, and change.  Because our cultural identities shape the way we engage with the world, I work alongside students in a holistic manner, supporting growth and flourishing within their context. 

Interests: Some of my favorite aspects of my work include participating in the development process of others, creating and implementing outreach and training programs, and considering how to make the world a better place, one step at a time.  I’m grateful for the opportunities to delve into cultural humility, intersectionality, and social justice as well.  I love eating good food, exploring new places, and connecting with people.

Webber

Donna C. Webber, APRN BC

Nurse Practitioner / Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

Education:

  • B.S. in Nursing, University of Connecticut
  • M.S. in Nursing, University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I invite a mutual therapeutic relationship which will enable me to utilize a biopsychosocial approach from a professional nursing care perspective.  I provide mental health treatment and medication management services with an interpersonal focus.

Doctoral Interns

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Selda Celen-Demirtas, M.S.

Pre-Doctoral Intern

Education:   

  • B.S., Bogazici University
  • M.S., University of Massachusetts – Boston
  • Ph.D. Candidate, University of Massachusetts – Boston

Language(s) Spoken: English, Turkish

Therapeutic Approach: Integrative relational psychodynamic approach (Interpersonal process, person-centered, cognitive-behavioral, systemic, and experiential). For me, therapy is an interpersonal process of meaning making. In this process, I try to join my clients in making meaning out of their experiences, help them recognize and utilize their existing strengths/resources, and facilitate them in finding new coping strategies.

Interests: Group therapy, multicultural and social justice issues, ethnic identity development, attachment, vocational development and career counseling, well-being, emerging adulthood, clinical supervision and training.

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Meenakshi Palaniappan, M.S.

Pre-Doctoral Intern

Education:   

  • B.A. in Psychology, University of San Francisco
  • M.S. in Counseling Psychology, University of Florida
  • Ph.D. Candidate, University of Florida

Language(s) Spoken: English, Tamil, Hindi

Therapeutic Approach: My therapeutic approach is grounded in the relational cultural therapy framework, which draws from interpersonal, feminist and multicultural perspectives. I work collaboratively with clients to create a genuine therapeutic relationship and make space for their unique experiences. To honor the diversity in my clients’ therapeutic needs, the interventions I utilize follow an integrative approach, including interpersonal process, mindfulness-based, somatic experiencing, and cognitive-behavioral methods.

Interests: My clinical interests include: relationship and sexual concerns, sexual trauma, international student experiences, trauma, OCD, anxiety, identity development, and family of origin issues. Other professional interests include: multiculturalism and social justice, teaching/training, supervision, crisis intervention, and outreach.

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Margaret Touny, M.A.

Pre-Doctoral Intern

Education:   

  • B.S. in Psychology, Loyola University
  • M.A., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • Psy.D. Candidate, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Language(s) Spoken: English, Arabic (conversational)

Therapeutic Approach: My therapeutic approach involves creating a collaborative relationship with clients that is based upon respect, trust, and nonjudgmental empathy.  My theoretical foundation is based upon existential, humanistic, and psychodynamic tenets.  A constant goal in my approach is understanding individuals’ unique experiences by exploring their unique identities and aspects of diversity.  The therapeutic process involves exploring where currently individuals are, where they would like to go, and then unpacking what is getting in the way of them moving forward.  I explore clients’ freedoms and choices in their lives, as well as how their limitations influence their ability to change and grow. Throughout the therapeutic process, I view myself as being an active and curious individual that journeys with clients into their past, present, and hopes for the future.

Interests: My interests include art of all forms, especially working with clay. In my free time, I enjoy going on adventures across New England, reading, and skyping with my loved ones at home in Chicago.

Practicum Students

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Michael Acosta, M.A.

Practicum Student

Education:

  • B.A. in Psychology, The University of Miami
  • M.A. in Psychology Clinical Practices, The University of Hartford
  • Psy.D. Candidate, The University of Hartford

Language(s) Spoken: English, Spanish

Therapeutic Approach: I utilize an integrative clinical orientation, drawing on Cognitive-Behavioral, Rational-Emotive, person-centered, and interpersonal approaches.  Clinical expertise areas include suicide prevention and risk management, anxiety disorders, and autism spectrum disorder.

Interests: Multicultural counseling, the psychology of males and masculinity, psychodramatic therapy, and life transitions.

 

 

Bartley

Christine Bartley, B.A.

Practicum Student

Education:   

  • B.A., University of Connecticut
  • M.S.W. Candidate, University of Connecticut – School of Social Work

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: Solution-Focused, Cognitive-Behavioral, and Interpersonal

Interests: Integrated treatment, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, College-related transition issues, and eating disorders

 

Calle

Melina Calle, M.A.

Practicum Student

Education:

  • B.A., University of Connecticut
  • M.A., City University of New York
  • M.A., University of Hartford
  • Psy.D. Candidate, University of Hartford

Language(s) Spoken: English, Spanish

Therapeutic Approach: Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive-Behavioral

Interests: Military, trauma, anxiety, substance use disorders, multicultural issues and cultural sensitivity.

Han

David Han, B.A.

Practicum Student

Education:

  • B.A., University of Connecticut
  • M.S.W. Candidate, University of Connecticut

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: I view therapy as a partnership between client and clinician. My clinical orientation includes interpersonal, cognitive-behavioral, and systems approaches.

Interests: Anxiety, Depression, Suicide Prevention, Multicultural Issues.

 

William

Sedale Williams, M.S.W.

Practicum Student

Education:

  • B.A., Westfield State University
  • M.S.W., University of Connecticut
  • Psy.D. Candidate, Springfield College

Language(s) Spoken: English

Therapeutic Approach: My approach to therapy is person-centered and collaborative because I feel it can have a positive effect on interpersonal growth.  I also feel that it is important to acknowledge past experiences and the different ways culture and systems impact our daily lives.

Interests: Some of my clinical interests include outreach/prevention, group therapy, multiculturalism/social justice, adolescent development, and vocational psychology.  In my spare time, I am an avid sports fan.