Samaritan Counseling Center is the largest non-profit mental health practice in the Capital Region, offering professional and compassionate counseling services to the community. Samaritan’s therapists provide nearly 20,000 counseling sessions to people in varying financial circumstances each year.
Christina received her Bachelor of Science Degree from the State University of New York at Albany and her Master’s Degree Cum Laude from Springfield College in Massachusetts. Currently, she is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Clinical Social Work in Chicago. Christina has also completed postgraduate training at Smith College, the Ackermann Institute in NYC and Harvard Medical School.
Christina started her work with Samaritan Counseling Center in 2000, where her clinical focus has been working with individuals and couples. Christina is licensed in clinical social work and also in mental health counseling. She is a Marriage and Family Therapist, an advanced bereavement facilitator and a certified grief counselor, and continues to work as a disaster mental health critical responder with the NYS Department of Health and the NYS Office of Mental Health. She is also trained in Gottman Couple Therapy. Christina is also certified in gerontology and health care social work with NASW.
Christina’s professional memberships include clinical membership with the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the Association of Death Education and Counseling, (ADEC) the National Association of Social Workers, (NASW) and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT). Christina is also an approved clinical supervisor with AAMFT.
Dan holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. Dan’s post-graduate training includes a residency in psychotherapy, Family Systems training, PTSD training, and continuing/professional education in Integrative Psychotherapy.
With nearly 10 years of fieldwork and post graduate experience, Dan’s areas of specialization and professional development include: working with families and couples on relational problems, adolescent–family relations, parenting support groups & skill development, developmental change across the life cycle, mind-body-spirit interaction and resulting implications for healthy/adaptive functioning, trauma, anger management, anxiety, depression, and social skill development.
Dan is a highly demanded psychotherapist in Schenectady & Southern Saratoga County. Dan is best known for his work as a Samaritan Project PASS therapist, a therapeutic program for families & adolescents at risk for academic failure.
David has served as Executive Director of Samaritan Counseling Center since its inception in 1985. He holds an M.S. in counseling from Oneonta State University College, an M.S.W. from the University at Albany, and a M.Phil and a Ph.D. in psychology and religion from Drew University. He has done extensive post-graduate work in family therapy from a Bowen family systems paradigm.
David is a certified marriage and family therapist (Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy), a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Diplomat in the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work.
David has authored several books including The Spiritual Work of Marriage (Routledge, 2008) and Integrative Family Therapy (Augsburg Fortress, 1993), and co-authored The Couple’s Survival Workbook (Echo Point 2001, 2011), When Helping Starts to Hurt (W.W. Norton & Company, 1994), co-authored Saying Yes to Say No: Everyday Boundaries and Pastoral Excellence. He has also penned numerous journal articles and is a regular contributor to local media articles and features. His newest book, co-authored with Erin Belanger, Renewing your Relationship: 5 Necessary Steps was recently published and available at the center and at amazon.com.
In addition, David serves as co-founder of the Relationship Renewal model of working with couples, which seeks to both train therapists in this approach and research outcomes of this approach to couples therapy.
David presents workshops nationally on topics involving families and couples - his passion is working intensively with couples. He also provides consultations to congregations, family businesses, and other organizations. He also has specialities in the integration of spirituality and psychotherapy.
Shawna grew up in the Capital District and recently relocated back to the area after spending the better part of the last decade living in Manhattan, where she worked at a private psychotherapy practice whose clients included couples, families and individuals. Shawna's passion for relationships has led her to find a niche in couples' work, and a great deal of her work focuses on helping couples navigate through difficult relational situations toward a place of growth, healthy communication, and increased understanding of each other as individuals and their relationship as a unit. She also has a strong focus on working with individuals, largely in regards to self-worth, confidence, and passion discovery. Her hope is that her clients gain an increased awareness of who they are as individuals as well as relationally, and that they strive toward becoming the healthiest, most integrated versions of themselves in all contexts, situations and relationships.
A passionate people-person, traveler and writer, Shawna holds a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy from Iona College, a Master's in English Education from the College of St. Rose, and a Bachelor's in English and Writing from Siena College. She is an avid runner, healthy-living enthusiast and blogger.
Erin serves as Director of Training and Development for Samaritan. She received her MA in Counseling and Community Psychology from Sage Graduate School after completing an MS in Epidemiology and working as an Epidemiologist. Erin then completed a postgraduate residency with the Samaritan Counseling Center.
Erin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor practicing at the Samaritan Counseling Center. Since her interest has always been in work with couples and marital systems, she has focused on building skills related to working from a systems perspective with all clients. Erin works to treat each client that comes into the center as a unique individual, with a focus on understanding their systemic interactions and how they impact well-being.
Specializing in working with couples, Erin has helped develop the Relationship Renewal model for working with couples and families and has co-authored Renewing your Relationship: 5 necessary steps. The book can be found at the center and at amazon.com.
In addition, Erin serves as co-founder of the Relationship Renewal model of working with couples, which seeks to both train therapists in this approach and research outcomes of this approach to couples therapy.
Along with working with clients to improve well-being and quality of life, Erin is also interested in helping others develop professionally in the Mental Health field. As Director of Training, Erin directs a training program which houses a graduate internship and post-graduate residency program as well as co-directing an external training program in Bowen Systems theory for therapists in the greater capital district.
Jim is both a Marriage and Family Therapist Resident and a Congregational Consultant at the Center. Jim works with individuals, couples and families as focuses both on the health of the individuals and the relationships that form us. His experience as a pastor provides a strong understanding of how spirituality is an essential part of who we are, however that spirituality is expressed.
He also works with churches and clergy by providing congregational assessments, interventions, process development, training and coaching for clergy and congregations. He works in situations of conflict, healthy congregations seeking to grow and everything in between.
Jim is an Elder in The United Methodist Church and a member of The Upper New York Annual Conference. He has served churches as a pastor in Vermont, New Jersey and New York. He has also served as the Albany District Superintendent of The Upper New York Annual Conference. In his role as District Superintendent Jim worked with many congregations and clusters of congregations helping these congregation resolve conflicts and vision for the future.
Jim is a graduate of The University of Vermont, Drew University (where he received a Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology and a Doctor of Ministry in 21st Century Leadership), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he received a Ph.D. in Science and Technology studying congregations’ adoption of visual technologies. Jim is also a graduate of Iona College with a MS in Marriage and Family Therapy. Jim has extensive training in Bowen Family Systems through the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center and the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family.
He is a member of the American Psychological Association and a pre-clinical fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Katina works with individuals, couples and families through identifying and developing their individual and relational strengths. She endorses a systems frame for therapy which acknowledges that individuals cannot be viewed apart from their relationships and the world around them; the eventual goal is to create and sustain change outside of the therapy office.
During her graduate studies Katina worked with children and families in a pediatric clinic, and provided psychotherapy to individuals at Samaritan Counseling Center. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the School of Social Welfare at the University of Albany in 2009. After graduation, Katina worked in mental health rehabilitation where she taught and developed groups related to maintaining mental health and achieving life goals. Katina has also supervised and trained SUNY Albany Mental Health Counseling interns and Sage Occupational Therapy interns within a community psychiatric rehabilitation setting. She returned to Samaritan Counseling Center in 2011 to practice psychotherapy and has developed trainings and workshops around parenting young children, teenage self injury, the teenage brain, and healthy relationships.
Her interests and continued research include: animal assisted therapy, antepartum and postpartum mood disorders, anxiety/panic disorders, and the family life cycle.
Kay-Leigh Stacy earned her Master of Social Work degree from Roberts Wesleyan College. She practiced general counseling and intensive outpatient psychotherapy at InterAct Counseling in Rochester, NY, specializing in recovery from anxiety, depression, trauma and eating disorders until 2014. In 2016, she completed a two year post-graduate residency with Samaritan Counseling Center of the Capital Region, specializing in the study of family therapy. Kay-Leigh has continued extensive post-graduate training in Family Systems Theory, through the Vermont Center for Family Studies and The Bowen Center of Washington D.C.
Kay-Leigh works collaboratively with individuals, couples and families to facilitate healthy relationships. Her passion is working alongside clients to address underlying issues and achieve personal, professional and relational goals. Her practice style combines energy, sensitivity, compassion, competence and humor to engage and connect with clients of all ages. Areas of focus include: Anxiety & Depression, Trauma, Eating Disorders, Family of Origin Issues, Spirituality, Individual Growth, Leadership Development, Divorce, Step-Family Blending and Parenting.
Maria Catalfamo completed her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from California State University Dominguez Hills in 2004.
During her graduate program, Maria worked as an Education Specialist for Mild/Moderate Disabilities for children preschool to 8th grade, where she worked closely with individuals diagnosed with Autism Disorder. Maria developed the “Music and Movement” program, which was aired on an NBC special titled “Autism, the Hidden Epidemic”.
While residing in Los Angeles, Maria completed her pre-graduate internship at the Harbor Free Counseling Clinic in San Pedro. The early internship exposed Maria to a wide range of ethnic groups which included individuals from Central and South America, Asia, Australia and from all over the United States. Maria understands that each person is unique and such uniqueness should be regarded and respected when doing therapy. This means that Maria is trained to be culturally sensitive and will modify her pace and tone as needed to provide comfort and to build trust. Maria has also incorporated the basic philosophies of yoga and meditation (stretching and breathing) for anxious, impulsive, and self-medicating individuals.
Maria returned to New York State in 2006 and became licensed in Marriage and Family Therapy.While earning hours towards her LMFT, Maria gained experience working with at risk youth in Schenectady. At a non-profit shelter, Maria counseled youth who were homeless and runaways as a direct result of physical and sexual abuse in their homes. Maria has worked both in and out of shelters where short term counseling was often needed at local jails and in schools.
Nicole Johns received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Phoenix and her Master of Arts in Counseling and Community Psychology with a Certificate in Forensic Mental Health from Sage Graduate School. Nicole began her career in the mental health field with Transitional Services Association, helping individuals suffering from severe mental illness to transition from more supportive care back into the community. She is currently conducting research on trauma and domestic violence within the female inmate population. Nicole completed her graduate training in psychotherapy through Samaritan Counseling Center, where she now holds a post-graduate residency position.
At Samaritan, Nicole works with individuals, couples, and families to provide psychotherapy in areas such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and grief, as well as family and couples relational dynamics and adolescent/developmental concerns. Her treatment style integrates compassion, support, and humor to encourage growth and discovery. Nicole is a member of the New York Mental Health Counselors Association and the American Counselors Association.
Oona received her Master of Social Work degree from the University at Albany, and completed a two-year post-graduate residency at Samaritan.
Oona works extensively with individuals, couples, and families, and has completed training in EMDR, an important new treatment for trauma and stress.
Oona is a certified meditation instructor and has taught mindfulness meditation for over 15 years.She currently runs an 8-week course on mindfulness meditation at Samaritan Counseling Center.
Dan O'Brien is a resident psychotherapist at Samaritan Counseling Center and a graduate of the State University at Albany where he obtained both B.A. and Masters Degrees in Social Work. Dan's post graduate experience includes work with individuals and families in clinical and hospital settings.
Dan's passions include working with couples and families seeking relief from the frustration and struggle associated with unproductive conflict while facilitating deeper connection to one another through the development of effective communication skills.
Dan provides individual therapy for those seeking growth and empowerment through the identification of barriers to happiness due to depression, anxiety, trauma and a host of forms.
Dan utilizes elements from a wide array of treatment modalities to include CBT, psychoanalysis, mindfulness and interpersonal therapies as well as the Couples Relational Renewal Model.
Karen received her Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from Boston College and Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Karen grew up in upstate New York, and after over 15 years in business operations and communications primarily in the Boston area, Karen returned to her passion of helping people by becoming a mental health counselor, and to her home of New York.
Karen has experience working in an acute clinical setting with adults and adolescents in individual, couple, family, and group settings. Karen has a unique way of creating an authentic connection with her clients utilizing an empathetic, yet straightforward approach. Karen is currently a resident therapist at Samaritan Counseling Center working with individuals, families, and couples. Karen has a passion for health and fitness and believes in incorporating a whole body approach including self-care and obtaining physical and mental balance. She uses elements of family systems, cognitive behavioral, narrative, solutions focused, and strengths based therapy.
Jonathan Vanderbeck, LMSW, M.Div, is one of our resident psychotherapists at Samaritan. Jonathan completed his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Michigan where he was certified in Intergroup Dialogue working with diverse populations, and his Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. Prior to that, Jonathan worked as a juvenile criminal justice caseworker for the Cheever Treatment Center in Allegan, MI, and completed certification in Choice Theory/Reality Therapy. He is presently enrolled in an intensive fellowship program through the Vermont Center for Family Studies, advancing his training in Bowen Family Systems Theory.
Jonathan currently works with individuals, couples, and families with a focus on holistic healing, including attention to mind, body, spirit, and relationships and how they impact one another. Jonathan is passionate about working with those from diverse backgrounds and is sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ individuals and families. Additionally, as an ordained Protestant minister, and having experience working with issues of faith and spirituality from a systemic perspective, Jonathan is available to consult with churches and religious organizations in need of evaluation or crisis management.
Lindsy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Ithaca College in 2010 and will earn her Master of Social Work from the University at Albany in 2017. During her studies, Lindsy further developed her clinical skill set as an undergraduate intern at the Tompkins County Homeless Shelter and a graduate intern at both Parsons Child and Family Center and Samaritan Counseling Center. She also has experience working as a residence counselor, a community-based service provider and a volunteer in the areas of mental and physical wellness. Lindsy plans to complete her post-graduate residency at Samaritan Counseling Center. As a resident psychotherapist, her goal is to cultivate an atmosphere that encourages introspection, growth and ultimately empowers clients to live with greater authenticity and peace.
Lindsy is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.
Windy received her Bachelor of Arts, Summa cum laude, in English Literature and Psychology from Russell Sage College and her Master of Arts in Counseling and Community Psychology from The Sage Graduate School. She is an active member of the New York Mental Health Counselor’s Association.
Windy has both clinical and advocacy experience and has worked with adults, adolescents and children in clinical and therapeutic environments. She has also co-designed and facilitated programming on sex and healthy relationships for college undergraduate students. Windy is currently a resident therapist at Samaritan Counseling Center, working with individuals, couples, and families. Her continued research and interests include happiness, individual growth and development, recovery, couples and marital systems, and sex therapy
Cate received her Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric & Communication from the University at Albany, State University of New York and her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from The College of Saint Rose.
Cate’s mental health experience began as a Mental Health Assistant at Albany Medical Center working hands on with patients diagnosed with major depressive, bipolar, borderline, schizoaffective, paranoid and psychotic disorders. She completed her graduate training in psychotherapy at HRA Employee Assistance Program in Albany, where she provided both individual and group counseling services to clients with a variety of concerns including anxiety, depression, grief, as well as relationship and job related issues. Cate has also provided clinical and case management services for youth in foster care and their families through Northeast Parent & Child Society.
As a resident psychotherapist at Samaritan Counseling Center, Cate continues to pursue her passion providing psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families. Cate’s areas of interest include a holistic approach helping clients to achieve a stronger sense of self and develop fulfilling healthy relationships. She believes in today’s world it is too easy to become distracted by all that demands our time and attention, that it takes practicing tuning out the distractions and tuning into what’s truly important, being intentional with how and with whom we chose spend our time.
Kathy came to Samaritan Counseling Center motivated to help people learn to understand, love and accept themselves as competent and capable people who can manage their own emotions, thoughts and behaviors. She assists people in gaining insight into current and past influences on their present day situations. She works in partnership with her clients to move in the direction of positive change toward their personal counseling goals. Kathy helps by using a variety of interventions and strategies depending on the individual client and his or her needs and responses. Some of her approaches draw from psychodynamic, transactional analysis, cognitive behavioral, dialectical behavioral, solution focused, attachment, trauma informed, grief and loss, couple therapy and other theories, as appropriate.
Kathy has approximately 15 years of counseling experience engaging individuals, couples, families and groups in a calm, accepting, person centered and practical way. She has helped clients to explore many struggles, including depression, stress, anxiety, relationship issues, mood and behavior dysregulation, personality disorders, trauma, grief and loss, social and family issues, and others. Prior to her work here at Samaritan, Kathy worked in community mental health for thirteen plus years in both therapist and supervisor positions. Prior to that, her professional experiences were with employee assistance, gambling, individual, parent and family empowerment, child advocacy, family court advocacy, family and community mediation, and crisis intervention. Kathy also has many years of private sector and small business experience. Kathy graduated from the University of Albany, School of Social Welfare in 2003 with a Masters in Social Work, and currently practices as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
Michael is a resident psychotherapist, counselor, and coach at Samaritan Counseling Center where he works with couples, individuals, and families. Michael earned his Bachelor of Psychology from the State University of N.Y. at Plattsburgh and received his Master of Psychology and Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree from Goddard College in Vermont. He holds certificates in abuse intervention and marital and pre-marital counseling. Prior to coming to Samaritan, Michael completed an internship where he worked with children ages 8-21 and their families at Mohonasen Central Schools. Michael uses elements of mindfulness, psychoanalysis, depth psychology, family systems therapy, reality therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and dreamwork in his work.
Pulling on experience from his former life as a Corporate Executive and Technical Operations leader for over 15 years, Michael combines the ability to identify and work toward goals for growth with the slower process of grieving and healing. Michael believes that through counseling we can overcome life’s challenges, regain a sense of empowerment, regain happiness in life, and experience a more flexible and wider range of emotional maturity. We accomplish this by exploring our relationships, behaviors, emotions, and life’s challenges and building on our existing strengths. This in combination with maintaining a healthy relationship between the Mind, the Body, and the Spirit can lead to healing and resiliency.