Cheryl is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been working with families in distress for over 20 years. She is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor in Pennsylvania and is working toward a specialization in Early Childhood Trauma. Cheryl’s approach to therapy is warm, positive, and empathetic. She believes that most often the negative experiences we have in childhood corrupts our true sense of being. Cheryl’s personal mantra is derived from a quote by philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche that states “What does not kill you will make you stronger.” This quote she states, addresses the trials and tribulations we encounter in our pursuit of a happy and productive life and the personal strength it builds.
Erica graduated from La Salle University with a Masters in Clinical Counseling Psychology in the Marriage and Family Therapy track. She received her license in Marriage and Family Therapy in November 2010 and is currently an AAMFT Approved Clinical Supervisor . She also has a Certificate for Childhood Sexual Abuse from Widener University and is trained in Eco-systemic Structural Family Therapy (ESFT). At CFAR, she provides therapy for couples, families, and individuals, and provides supervision for interns and unlicensed therapists. Erica takes a special interest in working with couples, individuals with trauma and families. She is empathetic and authentic and uses humor whenever appropriate and possible.
Syeeda is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who enjoys working with individuals, couples and families from diverse, cultural and ethnic backgrounds by empowering them to make the positive changes necessary to bring about transformation in their lives. As a Clinical Supervisor, Syeeda supports the development of trainees by providing constructive feedback to their therapeutic work. Her certification in Prolonged Exposure enables her to treat adult clients suffering from PTSD symptoms. She is also certified in TF-CBT, a model that helps children and their families heal from traumatic events.
Brigid is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Supervisor. She believes therapy is an opportunity for families, couples, and individuals to create new meaning of past experiences and to become empowered to reach their future goals. Brigid hopes her clients will feel supported in building upon their individual strengths, while learning to improve their relationships and connections with others. Brigid is passionate about working with survivors of trauma and is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and is a certified Prolonged Exposure (PE) Consultant and therapist.
Samantha graduated from Drexel University with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She’s also trained in Eco-Systemic Structural Family Therapy (ESFT), Prolonged Exposure (PE), and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Samantha is passionate about family therapy because she loves to help all members of the family reach their fullest potential, whether that be increasing communication or strengthening relationships. Sam’s style of therapy pulls various models to find what works best for the client and meet them where they are. Sam uses different aspects of Eco-Systemic Structural Family Therapy to work with families too. Working out and living a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally are important to her. She also enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading and attending concerts.
Full Time Therapists
Lauren obtained her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy at La Salle University. Lauren is currently certified in Prolonged-Exposure therapy (PE) to treat those for suffer from symptoms of PTSD. She is also currently working on becoming certified in Gottman Method Couples Therapy. She enjoys working with couples, individuals, and families. She finds it of the utmost importance to explore the long-standing roots of a clients’ concerns, as well as any systemic factors that influence the reasons for clients coming into therapy. Providing empathy and a comfortable environment to clients is important to Lauren, as she recognizes the difficulties in exploring challenging and painful emotions. Lauren strives to meet clients where they are at the moment, and to empower them to recognize their strengths within to meet their goals in life. Techniques involving mindfulness, goal setting, and reflection are some of Lauren’s go-to tools in the therapy space.
Dana graduated from Drexel University with a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling. She is a registered Art Therapist working towards obtaining her Board Certification (ATR-BC) and license as a Professional Counselor (LPC). Dana is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), which promotes healing for children and their caregivers who have experienced trauma. She is also certified in Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), which aims to reduce PTSD symptoms in adolescents and adults. Dana is passionate about utilizing the power of art making and the creative process to encourage growth, healing, self-expression, and self-awareness. She believes in creating a safe, supportive, and collaborative space for individuals and families to heal and reach their highest potential.
Rachel Pazder Bennett, M.D., is a lifelong Delaware Valley resident. She was raised in Bordentown, New Jersey and attended Drexel University College of Medicine. She completed her general adult psychiatry residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and her Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Bennett’s research interests have included autism spectrum disorders and attachment-based family therapy. She believes that each young person has a right to be seen, heard, and understood, and that working with families is the key to fostering recovery in young people. She has provided psychiatric evaluation and medication management at the Center for Families and Relationships since 2013 and is excited to contribute to the organization’s continued success as Medical Director.
Leslie earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, with a concentration in Couple and Family Therapy from Chestnut Hill College. Leslie is Certified in Prolonged Exposure Therapy through the CBH Prolonged Exposure Initiative with the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety (CTSA) at the University of Pennsylvania. Leslie is currently working towards licensure in the state of Pennsylvania. Leslie is passionate about family therapy because she understands that much of who we are as individuals is often a reflection of our familial relationships. “I sustain myself with the love of family.” – Maya Angelou
Belen graduated from Drexel University with a Master’s of Family Therapy. She is a bilingual (Spanish and English) therapist with a demonstrated history in using evidence-based approaches to treat individuals and families. Belen is a certified Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapist and trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). She is passionate about family therapy because it allows all the key players to be in the room to communicate openly and reach a deeper understanding of one another in order to strengthen relationships and gain the tools needed to reach their goals.
Alyssa graduated from LaSalle University with a Master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy in 2016. Alyssa was a therapist at CFAR, working with individuals and families for 4 years, before taking on the role as Intake Coordinator. As the first face clients see before engaging with their therapist, Alyssa hopes that she can create a safe and welcoming space for individuals to begin to “unpack their stuff.”
Elisa graduated with a Master’s of Science Degree in Professional Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. Although from the area, while traveling abroad, she has familiarized herself in intercultural communications in conjunction with her own multicultural background. Elisa works with a wide range of issues, but focuses on Trust-Based Relational Intervention, The Gottman Method, Reconsolidating of Traumatic Memories PTSD treatment, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Monica graduated with a Master’s Degree from La Salle University and a focus on Family Therapy. She enjoys working with families, couples, and individuals. She is trained in TFCBT and is passionate about helping children and families build healthy coping skills. Monica aims to empower her clients and provide them with a safe and supportive environment that promotes personal growth.
Part Time Therapists
Djola is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor, who graduated from Messiah College with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is driven to helping her clients identify cycles, patterns, and systems that prevent them from living the life they desire. She aims to explore with her client’s ways to disrupt and replace these cycles, and systems with ones that propel them to safe and healthy living.
Beata (Bea) obtained a Master’s in Clinical and Counseling Psychology: Couples and Family Therapy concentration from Chestnut Hill College. In addition to being a Couples and Family Therapist, she has a 20-year history of teaching languages and this gives her a unique understanding of the importance of words in the healing and growth process. Beata utilizes a combination of narrative and person-centered approaches and believes in highlighting her clients’ strengths in the therapeutic process.
Geraldine obtained a Master’s of Science from Chestnut Hill College’s MFT Program. She is passionate about family therapy because it helps the individual to explore the larger part of self through their own family systems. She feels the therapist serves as the facilitator, one who helps individuals, couples and families to fain a place of wholesomeness over time as they explore family system, subsystems and patterns. She feels that there has to be a positive process of joining for the clients and therapist in a safe, nonjudgmental environment. Geraldine wants others to know that she is an advocate for children with disabilities and their families. She loves working to help others to become their greater sense of self; socially, emotionally, and spiritually while respecting their culture and values. Geraldine has worked with diverse cultures, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds for many years.
Haley earned her Master’s of Art in Art Therapy in 2019 and currently services high-risk incarcerated populations in Smyrna, DE. Previously, Haley utilized humanistic and person-centered approaches with children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric populations in various settings to create meaningful change. In session, art-making is utilized as a space to hold unwanted emotions, express feelings that are difficult to put into words and sublimate energy into a healthy and prosocial outlet. Haley’s enthusiasm for the creative process gently pulls the hesitant artist to a lucrative space of insight, acceptance, and healing. Friends, family, and coworkers have described Haley as a team player, hard-working, creative, knowledgeable, sarcastic, witty, and empathetic.
Ashley graduated from La Salle University with a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is currently working toward receiving licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Ashley is trained in family systems theory and encourages family involvement throughout the treatment process. She believes that the family system provides invaluable insight into presenting issues and highlights opportunities for future growth. In her approach to therapy, Ashley frequently utilizes cognitive-behavioral techniques in order to address a wide range of psychological issues—including depression and anxiety. Ashley values consistent collaboration throughout treatment and strives to empower her clients with lifelong skills and resources that will extend far beyond the therapy room.
Lisa holds a Master’s in Family Therapy from Drexel University. She believes that strong families are the key to so much, and helping families to be more successful is important for their strength. Lisa approaches clients with empathy, but also tries to maintain a sense of “realness” in the room. Lisa wants families to know that she works just as hard as they do and she really enjoys the work she does and the accomplishments families achieve through the therapeutic process.
Katishka graduated from Chestnut Hill College with a Master of Science in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. Katishka enjoys working with individuals, couples, families, and groups. She feels that there has to be a positive process of joining for the clients and therapist in a safe nonjudgmental environment. She loves working to help others to become their greater sense of self. Katishka has worked with diverse groups of people and values diversity. Katishka wants to empower people and help others to become the best version of themselves.
Nicole graduated from LaSalle University with a Master Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is passionate about the process of growth individuals, couples and families can experience inside and outside of therapy. She believes trauma can be a disruptor of our world view and how we communicate with ourselves and others, and therefore works with clients to identify, address and process such traumas as well as find healthier ways to interact with ourselves and the world around us. She believes a person’s ability to function effectively is extremely important, and works from a strengths-based approach helping clients focus on their internal strengths and resources.
Ylondia Lee from Chestnut Hill College with a Master’s of Science in Clinical and Counseling Psychology. She believes a strong family unit contributes to a positive community. She is a caring Therapist who listen to my clients with understanding. Ylonda has an eclectic therapeutic style that help promotes a safe and comfortable environment for my clients to feel free to share.
Michelle obtained a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from LaSalle University. As a Marriage and Family therapist she believes that relationships and family health directly influence how we function in all other areas of life. Michelle utilizes a person-centered approach as well as interventions from eco-systemic structural family therapy (ESFT). She focuses on empowering inner strengths and building on healthy family and social supports. She also likes to focus on the client’s self-care routine, in the belief that in our relationships, we can’t “pour from an empty cup”. Therapy is a great space to collaborate on finding the balance between tending to our relationships while also taking care of ourselves.
Andrew graduated from La Salle University with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. He has experience working in the drug and alcohol field which lead him to discover the therapeutic importance of family member support. Andrew believes families are super resilient and when coupled with the appropriate support, family members can heal from anything. He has had the opportunity to work with a broad range of ages from children to adults and relates well with all. Andrew has been trained in Systems thinking along with Structural Family Therapy. He has begun training in Eco-Systemic Structural Family Therapy as well as a Trauma Informed Approach. Andrew is also working towards his MFT licensure. Andrew believes keeping an active body, mind, and spirit is key to finding life balance. When Andrew is not working, he spends time with his fiancée, their 2-year-old son, and cat (Nora) in the Philly suburbs.
Kelly obtained his Masters of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He also holds a Postgraduate Certificate from Northcentral University in Marriage & Family Therapy. He is currently a doctoral student at Drexel university. His degree is focused on Marriage and Family Therapy. He utilizes a person-centered approach which helps individuals, couples, and family recognize the strengths within themselves. He also is trained in Trauma Focused – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Sandtray Therapy. Kelly works with clients to help them recognize historical/cultural and systemic influence on their physical, emotional, spiritual, socially, and professional selves. Kelly has a passion for working with the LGBTQIA+ community and other marginalized groups.
Aura earned her Masters Degree from La Salle University in Marriage and Family Therapy. Aura has always found it crucial to focus on the family as a way of strengthening bonds in her clients and allowing them to learn from their past to positively guide their future. Aura is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, she is a firm believer in helping her clients learn and heal from trauma so they can grow in response to it. In addition to this, Aura is fluent in the Spanish language which has been beneficial with her diverse clientele.
Jennifer graduated from La Salle University with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Prior to obtaining her degree in Family Therapy she was an educator for fifteen years, where her interest for understanding family systems began. Jennifer utilizes a narrative approach when working with individuals and families and believes that each person has the ability to create their own narrative. Jennifer has many certifications in Mindfulness focusing on areas such as interventions for ADHD, anxiety, trauma, emotional regulation, and more. She has integrated these trainings in both the educational and therapeutic environments. She is passionate about helping families and individuals seek balance with life stressors and recognize their resiliency.
Family Counseling Specialists
The Center for Families and Relationships is a not for profit counseling center serving the needs of individuals, couples, families and children.
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