Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Lura earned her Master’s degree in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Before joining PCC as a MSW intern, she worked with adults experiencing homelessness, adolescents at various LGBTQ-focused organizations, and came from a multidisciplinary science education background. She has experience working with immigrant communities, adolescents and young adults, couples, and families on issues of anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and effects of past trauma.
Lura’s approach is trauma-informed, relational, person-centered, and strengths-based. She blends different theoretical orientations including psychodynamic, Internal Family Systems, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Emotion-Focused techniques, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She practices empathetic non-judgement and seeks to provide a safe and accepting therapeutic environment. In addition to working as a psychotherapist, Lura is PCC’s Clinical Coordinator, working closely with interns and in hiring new clinical team members.
Licensed Master Social Worker.
Specializations: Children (9-12), adolescents, adults, elderly, attachment-based therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), culturally sensitive therapy, crisis intervention, functional family therapy, Gestalt therapy, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, narrative therapy, person-centered therapy, play therapy, psychodynamic therapy, trauma-informed therapy, adjustment disorders, anger management, anxiety, caregiving, depression, divorce, grief/loss, loss of independence, parenting, PTSD.
Amanda is a Licensed Master Social Worker based in New York City. She holds a Bachelor's in Social Work from Cleveland State University and a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University.
She previously worked as a Clinical Case Manager at New York City Criminal Justice Agency serving a diverse population from the five boroughs. Throughout her professional career, Amanda has served populations ranging from children to older adults.
Amanda’s diverse work and volunteer experience allows her to build rapport and make deep and meaningful connections with those she serves. Her educational and professional background has provided her with expertise to understand and tailor service based on cultural diversity. Her approach is client-centered and dynamic. She uses appropriate modalities, including but limited to; narrative, cognitive behavioral therapy, problem-solving, and mindfulness
Ari earned her Master's degree in social work from Columbia University School of Social Work. Before joining Queens Counseling Center, she worked as a Consultant for the Health division at UNICEF and as a social worker in NYC Council serving the community of East Harlem and the South Bronx. She has experience working with immigrant communities, children, adolescents and young adults, and individuals coping with past and present trauma.
Ari's approach is integrative, relational, dynamic, strength based and client centered. She blends modalities including psychodynamic, narrative therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. She practices open-mindedness and radical acceptance in her therapeutic approach. In addition to working as a psychotherapist, Ari is part of a research team at Columbia University focusing on evidence based interventions for at risk populations.
Candice is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Board-Certified Clinician. She earned her Master of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Mercy College and graduated with Distinction. She has been in the Mental Health field for 9 years. She is currently a School Clinician and also works as a Psychotherapist and Clinical Supervisor. She provides counseling for all age groups; however, specializes in child and adolescent therapy.
Candice’s passion for Mental Health began during her years in undergrad. She has always had a passion for counseling others. She believes that helping people work on themselves allows them to develop better insight regarding their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Candice enjoys being able to connect with an individual from an emotional aspect and allow them to talk about/ gain insight into various components that affect them physically, mentally, and emotionally. Candice states “I think I’ve achieved something when someone is able to take what they learned through counseling, workshops etc. and apply/utilize those particular skills, strategies or resources to their everyday lives.”
Her treatment Modalities include working with children (ages 5-17), adolescents, adults, family therapy, child/parent psychotherapy. She is CBT Certified, provides culturally sensitive therapy, crisis intervention, person-centered therapy, play therapy certified, psychodynamic therapy, ADHD, and treats presenting issues such as adjustment disorders, anger management, anxiety, child abuse, depression, divorce, parenting, preventative/foster care, PTSD, sexual/physical abuse.
Cindy earned her Master’s degree from CUNY Queens College and Advanced certificates from Pace University and Alfred University. Cindy has a background in nursing, education and psychology. The majority of Cindy's work has been with children and adolescents in schools or hospitals. She speaks English/Spanish, is a life-long learner and is dedicated to service.
Cindy uses integrative psychotherapy, a person centered approach, is thoughtful and compassionate. She collaborates with clients to formulate treatment goals that are aligned with navigating life in a meaningful and intentional manner. Her interests are in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, and treating Hoarding Behavior. She has worked with clients coping with past and present trauma, grief/loss, depression, anxiety, divorce, disabilities, and self esteem.
Cindy has training in Mental Health First Aid, Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI), Reiki I & II, and Move to Improve. She also has participated in Shape up NYC Fitness instructor training, a 25 hour Yoga Nidra teacher training, 200 hour Yoga teacher training, and is a Breathe for Change Social Emotional Learning wellness champion. She loves hiking, singing, photography, arts and crafts.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Specializations: Children (7-17), adolescents, adults, families, couples, elderly, groups, attachment-based therapy, child/parent psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), culturally sensitive therapy, emotion-focused therapy, eye movement desensitization, and reprocessing (EMDR), group therapy, marriage & family therapy, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, person-centered therapy, play therapy, psychodynamic, trauma-informed therapy, adjustment disorders, anxiety, depression, divorce, domestic violence, LGBTQ+, grief/loss, loss of independence, parenting, PTSD, sexual-physical abuse, vocational/occupational issues, substance use.
Special Training or Certifications: EMDR (Trained).
Dr. Julia Laevsky earned her Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University. Before joining PCC as a Clinical Supervisor, she worked with adults and adolescents experiencing severe mental illness and challenges associated with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
She enjoys working with clients from all walks of life and the repeated realization that, at the end of the day, we are all more alike than we are different continues to be striking, especially during such divided times.
She believes that the client-therapist relationship is the foundation of therapy, a partnership through which we can not only process our current experiences but also uncover repetitive patterns that may have been with us for decades. In her work, Dr. Laevsky tailors treatment to the individual, with an emphasis on psychodynamic and CBT approaches.
Dr. Laevsky specializes in working with adults dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, and life stage transitions. She also has extensive experience and training working with the incarcerated population, as well as supervising master’s level clinicians in various settings.
Ken Cooper, LCSW, has a master's degree in social work from Hunter School of Social Work. Before joining PCC, Ken worked for more than twenty years providing client centered care to individuals with a wide variety of mental health concerns. Ken has worked in numerous contexts including a day treatment program for older adults with severe mental illness, in homeless shelters for both men and women, in AIDS Day Treatment, and in supportive housing programs throughout the city. As Vice President of Lantern Community Services, Ken provided clinical supervision to more than twenty-five social workers, case managers and social work interns.
Drawing on a variety of modalities including Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Wellness Self Management, Trauma Informed Care, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) he has a long history of helping clients cope with depression, anxiety, bereavement, gender/sexuality concerns, and serious mental health issues as well as recovery from trauma and addiction.
Kim Wirt (they/them) earned their master's from Silberman School of Social Work in community organizing and policy. They have experience working with LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and low-income people involved in the criminal legal system. Kim provides anti-oppressive care, decentering themself and empowering their clients, working together to unpack trauma that comes from our white supremist, patriarchal, capitalistic society and creating a holistic, healing, therapeutic environment. Kim specializes in helping folks explore their gender and sexuality, while also navigating within a cisheteronormative world. Kim brings professional knowledge of kink, ethical non-monogamy/polyamory, and SW, which are often interconnected in queer spaces, and this knowledge helps inform their practice. Kim welcomes individuals of all ages, especially those 16- to 30-years-old, as well as couples and multi-partner relationships.
Mental Health Counselor – Limited Permit.
Specializations: Children, adolescents, adults, families, couples, play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), person-centered therapy, reality therapy, rational emotive therapy (REBT), group therapy, marriage & family therapy, mindfulness, crisis intervention, anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction, ADHD/ADD, adjustment disorders, learning disabilities, personality disorders, mood disorders, behavioral problems, bullying, vocational/occupational issues, financial issues, pregnancy, parenting, grief/loss, divorce, life transitions, phobias, domestic violence, child abuse, sexual/physical abuse, anger management, homelessness, sexuality, LGBTQ+, physical illness, stress management, life management.
With over two decades of experience in the field of behavioral health, Manisha has collaborated with individuals of all ages, races, and backgrounds. Her goal is to help clients overcome barriers by utilizing their inherent strengths and unique abilities. Manisha tailors her treatment plans to meet the specific needs of each client throughout their therapeutic journey by incorporating evidence-based modalities such as TF-CBT, DBT, Mindfulness practice, and the trauma informed care.
In her practice, Manisha provides a safe and supportive environment where clients can explore their realities and develop healthy coping skills that clients can practice in their everyday lives. She offers empathy, compassion, and a nonjudgmental space for clients to fully express themselves. Manisha has an interest in addressing issues such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, and matters related to cross-cultural and immigrant identity. Manisha offers services in English, Hindi, and Urdu.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
Specializations: Children (8-13), adolescents, adults, families, couples, elderly, attachment-based therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), culturally sensitive therapy, crisis intervention, emotion-focused therapy, Gestalt therapy, group therapy, marriage and family therapy, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, person-centered therapy, play therapy, psychodynamic therapy, trauma-informed therapy, ADHD, adjustment disorders, anger management, anxiety, caregiving, child abuse, depression, divorce, domestic violence, eating disorders, LGBTQ+, grief/loss, loss of independence, parenting, preventative/foster care, sexual/physical abuse, vocational/occupational issues, substance use.
Special Training or Certifications: Substance use (CASAC), play therapy certified.
Monica earned her master's degree in forensic mental health counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Before joining Queens Counseling Services, Monica worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences on research studies regarding the quality of life of cancer survivors. Monica also interned at the Brooklyn and Queens Forensic Psychiatric Evaluation Court Clinics where she assisted in administering competency to proceed and pre-sentencing evaluations.
Monica’s approach is integrative, dynamic, and client centered. She blends appropriate modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and mindfulness, shaping treatment to meet the client's needs and goals within a safe, respectful, and compassionate environment. As a 1.5 generation immigrant, Monica is passionate about working with bicultural clients. In her free time, Monica enjoys hiking, photography, and exploring the diverse culinary offerings of Queens.
Nancy Stark has a Masters Degree in Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Social and practiced as a Mental Health Therapist for 25 years in the community, higher education, addiction, corrections and foster care and adoptions settings.
Nancy specializes in treating trauma, addictions, couples and family issues using multiple approaches to care dependent on the individual's needs, personality, beliefs and preferences.
Nancy trains and raises Alaskan sled dogs.
Narda earned her master's degree in clinical social work from Lehman College. Before joining PCC, Narda worked with adults and their families in a community-based setting in the Bronx, providing care management and psychotherapy for a diverse population. She worked with clients coping with past and present trauma, chronic illness, pain management, end of life transitions, depression, and anxiety. Narda has also worked with children and families helping them cope with trauma, abuse, difficult family dynamics and developmental struggles.
Narda's approach is empathetic, integrative, relational, dynamic, and client-centered. She blends appropriate modalities, including psychodynamics, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness, shaping treatment to meet the client's needs and goals within a safe, respectful, and compassionate environment. Narda's ability to appreciate and incorporate multiple perspectives helps to provide a collaborative therapeutic experience.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
Specializations: Adolescents, adults, couples, elderly, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), ADHD, adjustment disorders, anxiety, caregiving, child abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, loss of independence, preventative/foster care.
Paulette Henk-Prendi LMHC earned a Master's MSEd degree in Mental Health Counseling from CUNY Hunter College. Paulette began working at PCC as an intern, focusing her work with children and adolescents. Now, she also works as a school-based therapist in NYC Department of Education Schools in Brooklyn, providing social and emotional support to students, families, and school faculty.
Paulette's approach is client-centered and tailored to meet the needs of the patient and family. Paulette often blends various modalities, including play therapy, DBT, CBT, and creative arts therapy. Paulette hopes that her clients walk away from each session feeling that they have begun building a space that is uniquely theirs.
Sam earned his master’s degree in mental health counseling from Nova Southeastern University and his bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in criminology from the University of South Florida. Before joining PCC, Sam worked with adults and adolescents and their families in an outpatient substance use disorder clinic in Staten Island, providing individual and group psychotherapy for a diverse population. He worked with clients experiencing active substance use disorders, clients continuing their treatment after receiving care at a detox, short or long- term inpatient settings, and those referred from legal entities. He also worked with family members of those who were experiencing substance use disorders. In addition to experiencing substance use disorders, these clients often also needed treatment for serious mental illness, past and present trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship concerns, anger management concerns, codependency issues, grief and loss, and gender issues.
Sam’s approach is integrative and client-centered, blending appropriate modalities, which include cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered, motivational interviewing, solution focused, behavior therapy, and mindfulness. The counseling relationship is cooperative; Sam and his clients work together to shape treatment to meet the client’s goals within a safe, respectful, and compassionate environment.
Specializations include adults, couples, elderly, groups, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), person-centered therapy, culturally sensitive therapy, group therapy, marriage & family therapy, mindfulness, motivational interviewing, adjustment disorders, anxiety, depression, divorce, domestic violence, LGBTQ+, grief/loss, loss of independence, parenting, PTSD, sexual-physical abuse, anger management, vocational/occupational issues, and substance use.
Stella Kazas earned a Master's degree and Professional Diploma at Fordham University. Before joining PCC, she worked as an evaluator conducting social history evaluations for students referred for special education services, and as a psychotherapist in a clinic serving individuals with developmental disabilities.
Stella's approach is client-centered, cognitive behavioral, and solution-focused. Her areas of specialization include: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, adjustment disorders/trauma, child behavior problems, and neurodevelopmental disorders. She works with adults, adolescents, children, and families, and specialized in using play therapy to treat young children in person and virtually.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
Specialization: ADHD, Adjustment disorders, Anxiety, Anger Management, Behavioral Issues, Bullying, Depression, Grief, Parenting, Peer Relations, Phobias, Physical Illness, Self Esteem, Self Harm, Spirituality, Stress, Trauma, Women’s Issues. Ages: Children (ages 5-12), Teenagers, and Adults. Modalities: Individual, Family, Group. Treatment Approach: Cognitive Behavioral, Culturally Sensitive, Dialectical Behavioral, Eclectic, Family Systems, Motivational Interviewing, Narrative, Person-Centered, Psychodynamic, REBT, Solution Focused, Trauma-Focused.
Taylor earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University. Before joining PCC, Taylor worked with populations including foster care and young adults at grant funded and nonprofit clinical organizations, providing trauma informed individual psychotherapeutic services. She worked with clients coping with separation from families, trauma, and navigating life transitions.
Taylor's approach is eclectic, making use of various psychotherapeutic frameworks including interpersonal, client-centered, supportive, and psychodynamic. Taylor has an interest in the progression of human rights and care of nature.
Valerie earned her masters degree in public administration from Norwich University in 2009, she then earned her masters degree in social work from New York University's Silver School of Social Work in 2015.
Before joining PCC, Valerie worked with children, adolescents and families in an educational, social service, legal and clinical setting for over 20 years. Valerie A. Alcena advocated for constituents in Atlanta, Harlem, as well as Northern Westchester County in government and non-profit settings. She championed causes to bring about stronger environmental, healthcare, LGBTQI, educational and mental health rights to all persons regardless of their background or social status.
Valerie has a client-centered, strengths based, culturally conscience approach to psychotherapy. Her approaches to psychotherapy are rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), systems theory, applied behavioral therapy and mindfulness. Valerie specializes in working with children, adolescents, single-parent families, and young adults. In her down-time Valerie enjoys cooking for family and friends, hiking and spending time with her two dogs, Rusty & Sweet Pea.
William earned his Master's Degree in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1977. Before joining Psychotherapy & Counseling Center in 2014, he worked for Catholic Charities for twelve years and Child Center of New York for 24 years. He worked with children, families and adults based in Queens. The majority of the 36 years was spent in out-patient mental health clinics. William used the modalities of individual therapy, group therapy and family therapy sessions on diagnoses such as bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, behavioral problems, attention deficit disorders, schizoaffective disorders and schizophrenia. He has worked closely with psychiatrists with patients who were being prescribed psychotropic medications, and uses cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness therapy, play therapy with children, and psychodynamic therapy within a safe, respectful and compassionate environment. He has also supervised licensed clinical social workers, licensed mental health counselors and social work interns for Columbia University, Hunter College School of Social Work, Fordham university, New York university and Adelphi University.
Emma Calkins graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Dickinson College and is currently earning a Master's in Social Work from New York University. Before joining PCC, Emma has worked with different populations, including children with anxiety, ADHD, and other behavioral disorders at an intensive treatment program as well as providing case management to young adults.
Emma’s approach is strengths-based, relational, and rooted in the belief that the therapeutic alliance is the foundation of therapy. She blends techniques from mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic approaches and is interested in supporting individuals struggling with anxiety, OCD, life transitions, and relationship issues. She is committed to creating a warm, open, and empathic space.
Maryellen is earning a Masters degree from Hunter College in Mental Health Counseling. Before joining PCC, Maryellen provided individual counseling to college students at Lehman College in the Bronx. Maryellen worked with clients dealing with anxiety, life adjustments, relationship issues, grief, and more. Her approach in therapy emphasizes fostering a relationship with the client to discover together what is unconsciously influencing the clients behavior and mental health. Maryellen has an interest in treating anxiety disorders, OCD, and depression, as well as working with couples and children. Maryellen will tailor her treatment to what suits the individual best, understanding that we are all influenced by our societal and cultural context, and have different needs and expectations in therapy.
Nadia is earning a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Hunter College. Before joining PCC, Nadia has worked with adults and young people in private practice and community nonprofit settings in New York City, providing individual therapy and trauma-informed crisis counseling. Nadia incorporates a person-centered approach based in empathy, compassion, and an awareness of how clients’ lived experiences and identities–including trauma and oppression–impact their lives. Her goal is to provide a warm, non-judgmental space to help people strengthen their self-worth, self-discovery, pursue their goals, and deepen their connections to others. Nadia believes clients are the experts in their own lives and that her role is to collaborate with them in the way that is tailored to their unique needs. Integrating multicultural and anti-oppressive perspectives, Nadia enjoys supporting clients who are navigating anxiety, depression, trauma, culture, identity, and multi-generational patterns.
Rachel earned a Bachelor's degree in psychology from Skidmore College and is currently completing her master's degree in clinical mental health counseling at St. John's University. While at PCC, she has gained experience working with clients on issues such as depression, anxiety, social and familial conflict, and trauma.
Although Rachel's approach is primarily person-centered, she integrates theories and techniques from many other modalities, including psychodynamics, Gestalt therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. In her free time, Rachel enjoys drawing, reading, and spending time with her husband and their two cats.
Shabnaj is earning Master's Degree in Social Work from New York University. Before joining PCC, she previously worked at the Legal Aid Society where she helped clients navigate through the criminal justice system using an anti-oppressive lens. She advocated for clients coping with trauma, abuse, and severe mental illness.
Shabnaj’s approach is relational and strengths-based. She draws from various modalities, including internal family systems (IFS), interpersonal psychotherapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Shabnaj is interested in destigmatizing mental illness in multicultural communities, and working with individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and self-esteem. Her goal is to provide clients with a warm, supportive space for self-exploration and healing.
Annie Wang, who uses she/her pronouns, completed her BA in Psychology from the University of California-Davis and is currently pursuing an Ed.M degree in Mental Health Counseling from the Teachers College, Columbia University. Before joining PCC, she honed her skills working with young adolescents in China, addressing challenges such as anxiety, depression, and emotional disorders using psychodynamic approaches.
Rooted in psychodynamics and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Annie champions a person-centered therapeutic approach, emphasizing the creation of tailored treatment plans. She believes in the power of the therapeutic relationship, considering the alliance between therapist and client as essential to therapeutic success. With a focus on aiding young adults and adults in emotion regulation, Annie is particularly adept at managing anxiety and depression. Annie's cultural adaptability, paired with her proficiency in both Chinese and English, positions her to deliver therapy with sensitivity, bridging linguistic and cultural divides to ensure clients from diverse backgrounds feel genuinely understood and valued.
Yuxiao graduated from the University of Toronto in Canada with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She is currently completing her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University. Yuxiao previously worked with adolescents, young adults, and adults in both hospital and private practice settings in China, providing assessment, crisis intervention, mental health workshops, and client assistance. She worked with clients presenting with anxiety, depression, and parent-child relationship issues.
Yuxiao utilizes a respectful, genuine, empathetic, and client-centered counseling approach. She integrates theories and techniques from many modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and psychodynamics. Yuxiao provides counseling in both English and Mandarin.