The staff is comprised of Psychologists, Social Workers and Counselors each of whom brings to CEC many years of training and experience in working with children, adolescents and adults. Many of the staff members are recognized as experts within their fields, and serve on various Boards and Committees throughout the state, which are dedicated to addressing mental health issues and the provision of mental health services.
Executive Director – Margaret Pittaluga, MSW, LCSW
Margaret Pittaluga, MSW, LCSW, ACS is a co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Evaluation and Counseling, Inc. She received a BSW from Kean University in New Jersey and a MSW from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Ms. Pittaluga has a Diplomate in Clinical Social Work. She is a “Qualified Clinical Social Worker” through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker through the State of New Jersey. She is certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Ms. Pittaluga has testified as an Expert Witness on issues pertaining to custody and child abuse/neglect in multiple counties in New Jersey. She holds numerous certifications in advanced professional training. Ms. Pittaluga volunteers on many county advisory boards. Ms. Pittaluga has been a staunch advocate for others for over forty years. Favorite quote: “When Your Past Calls, Don’t Answer; it has nothing new to say.”
Clinical Director – Michael J. Fiore, Ph.D.
Michael J. Fiore, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over 30 years of experience providing and supervising clinical and forensic services to a child abuse and neglect population. Dr. Fiore completed two master’s degrees (Psychology and Mental Health Services) as well as a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology at the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research. Dr. Fiore’s post-doctoral studies were in the area of Family Therapy at the New Jersey Center for Family Studies. Dr. Fiore has completed advanced training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. He was on the faculty for the New Jersey Child Abuse Training Institute and is a founding member of N.J. APSAC (American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children). Dr. Fiore is a co-author of the NJ Governor’s Task Force Best Practices Manual Chapter on Forensic Assessments. He is also the author of “Jonathon’s Journal,” a novel which deals with the therapeutic recovery of an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. Dr. Fiore is the Clinical Director and co-founder of Center for Evaluation and Counseling, Inc. He has developed innovative approaches to service provision in child abuse, including Forensic Team Assessments and Therapeutic Supervised Visitation. He is highly respected as a teacher, clinical supervisor, forensic evaluator, psychotherapist, and expert witness.
Psychiatrist – Jenny Blanchard, D.O.
|Jenny A. Blanchard, D.O. is a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine who graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her residency at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Services. Dr. Blanchard is affiliated with Newton Medical Center and is Board Certified in Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry. She has over twenty years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Blanchard joined the CEC team in 2010. She uses an integrative approach where she combines her medical and psychiatric training to relieve her clients of the psychiatric symptoms they experience.
Forensic and Clinical Coordinator, Sparta – Amanda Catizone, MA
Amanda Catizone, MA obtained a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Educational Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology from Montclair State University. She has been an employee of CEC since 2008. She then obtained the position of the Team Leader in 2010 and since transitioned to the Forensic and Clinical Coordinator. Amanda has served as an active member of the Sussex County Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) since 2010. Amanda has been trained and certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Child First/Finding Words Assessments, and the Nurtured Heart Approach. Amanda believes in utilizing an integrative approach with her clients, driven by case goals and client needs. Aside from her dedication to helping others, Amanda’s greatest joys are spending time with family, being at the beach, and going on hikes.
Forensic and Clinical Coordinator, Parsippany – Heather Diamond, MSW, LCSW, ACS
Heather Diamond, MSW, LCSW, ACS is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) in the State of New Jersey. She graduated from New York University with a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree in 2001. Since that time, Heather has worked at CEC where she started as a clinician and is now responsible for overseeing the staff and clinicians of the Parsippany office. In the past 20 years, Heather has gained significant experience in the areas of child abuse and neglect, trauma, mental illness, substance abuse, and attachment through the work she has done as a therapist and a forensic evaluator. She continuously enhances her knowledge, having completed such trainings as TF-CBT, EMDR, Evidence Based Assessments, and Nurtured Heart Approach.
Forensic Team Leader, Sparta – Christopher Friedrich, MA, LPC, ACS
Christopher Friedrich, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of New Jersey. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Forensic Psychology and a MA degree in Forensic Mental Health Counseling. He has been employed by the Center for Evaluation and Counseling, Inc. (CEC) since 2006. Chris provides outpatient individual psychotherapy to children, adolescents, and adults regarding abuse, neglect, trauma, co-occurring disorders, adjustment difficulties, and substance abuse. He approaches therapy from a strength-based and goal-oriented perspective. Chris has been trained and certified in the Strengths and Needs Assessment through the Children’s System of Care in New Jersey, as well as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Nurtured Heart. In his free time, Chris enjoys traveling, sports, and spending time with his family.
Forensic Team Leader, Parsippany – Stephanie Kurilla, MA, LPC, ACS
Stephanie Kurilla is a Licensed Professional Counselor and holds two Master’s Degrees from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Forensic Psychology and Forensic Mental Health Counseling. Stephanie is currently attending Saint Elizabeth’s University to obtain her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology. Stephanie works with children, adolescents, adults, and families in an outpatient setting. Stephanie is also employed as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychology at the New Jersey City University. Stephanie approaches treatment with an integrated approach, having completed such trainings as TF-CBT, EMDR, DBT, Evidence Based Assessments, and Nurtured Heart Approach.
Coordinator of Outpatient Services – Jessica Large, MA, Ed.S, LPC, ACS
Jessica Large MA, Ed.S, LPC, ACS is both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS) in the State of New Jersey. She graduated from Seton Hall University with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Counseling and Psychological Studies and an Educational Specialist (Ed.S) degree in Mental Health Counseling. Jessica has extensive education, training, and experience in the areas of child abuse and neglect, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, co-occurring disorders, and forensic assessments. Jessica has been employed by the Center for Evaluation and Counseling, Inc. (CEC) since 2010. She is the Coordinator of Outpatient Services for CEC. Jessica completed the Evidence-Based Assessment Training Project and has been trained and certified in the Strengths and Needs Assessment through the Children’s System of Care in New Jersey. Jessica has also been trained in the Nurtured Heart Approach, Psychological First Aide, and has been certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In addition, Jessica is a member of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) and serves on two different policy committees. Jessica has been a member of the Sussex County Traumatic Loss Coalition (TLC) since 2017 and in 2019, became the Coordinator for the TLC in Sussex County. Outside of work, Jessica enjoys cooking, gardening, reading, and glamping!
Melissa Ciottone, Psy.D
Melissa A. Ciottone, PsyD graduated from College of Saint Elizabeth with a Doctor of Psychology in Counseling Psychology degree. Dr. Ciottone has extensive education, training, and experience in the areas of child abuse and neglect, trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, co-occurring disorders, and forensic assessments. Dr. Ciottone has been employed by the Center for Evaluation and Counseling, Inc. (CEC) since 1999. She conducts forensic assessments and provides treatment for children and families who are involved in the Child Protective Services’ system. Dr. Ciottone has provided supervision to a team of clinicians and has provided court-ordered visitation for families. Dr. Ciottone has also been qualified as an expert in the areas of child abuse and neglect, risk assessments, parental fitness, and child sexual abuse by the New Jersey Family Court in various counties. She served as a stand-in member of the local Multi-Disciplinary Team, which is made up of various professionals working together to support abused/neglected children through the civil and criminal systems. Dr. Ciottone also served as a stand-in member of the local Multi-Disciplinary Team Advisory Board to improve decision making and productivity among various agencies in the county. Dr. Ciottone is trained in the Nurtured Heart Approach, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
Stefanie Allegrino, MA, LPC
Stefanie D’Amore is both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a school counselor in the state of New Jersey. She graduated from the College of Saint Elizabeth with a Masters of Arts in Mental Health Counseling. She specializes in individual (teens and adults) and group therapy. She has 15 years working with children and young adults in a school setting with developmental challenges, such as Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Her goals and areas of focus with this population revolve around self-regulation and executive functioning. Her therapeutic approach is person-centered and she believes every human being strives for and has the capacity to fulfill his or her own potential. She believes we can change the way we think to feel or act better, even if the situation does not change. Although she uses a variety of proven therapeutic techniques, she relies most heavily on the concepts defined by Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Stefanie is also trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). During her free time, Stefanie enjoys hiking, camping and anytime spent in the great outdoors.
Jasmine Brown, MA, LAC
|Jasmine Brown, M.A obtained her Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. She received her BA in Psychology from Saint Elizabeth University. Jasmine has experience working with children and adults suffering from mood disorders including but not limited too, anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. Jasmine believes in utilizing a humanistic approach with her clients ad really focuses on meeting them where they are at in order to serve them best. When she isn’t working with clients, Jasmine enjoys playing with her son, doing Yoga and creating mental health content for social media platforms.
Carolyn Chasalow, MSW, LCSW
Carolyn Chasalow received her BA in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts and her MS in Social Work from Columbia University. She is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified School Worker. Carolyn began her career working with families involved in the child welfare system and adoption process. Additionally, she has experience working with children, adolescents and adults in school, home, and outpatient settings. Utilizing an eclectic approach to meet her clients’ needs, she incorporates psychotherapy, CBT skills, mindfulness, and art therapy into her practice. First and foremost, she provides a safe, supportive, and nonjudgmental setting for clients to express themselves and work collaboratively to reach their goals.
Haley Clancy, MA, LAC, NREMT
Haley Clancy received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling from Centenary University. Haley has worked in a school setting and enjoys working with children and adolescents. Haley utilizes Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for those suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar, and self-esteem issues. Amongst this, Haley also has a strong background in prehospital emergency medicine/working with first responders. When Haley is not in the office, Haley enjoys working as an EMT, teaching, and watching hockey.
Colin Gass, MA, LPC
Colin Gass received his BA in Psychology from Hartwick College and his MA in Applied Clinical/Counseling Psychology from William Paterson University. He is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor. Colin has almost 10 years of experience working in the outpatient setting with children, adolescents, and adults. He has primarily worked with individuals who have experienced anxiety, depression, relationship difficulties, family difficulties, substance abuse, trauma, and grief. Colin is trained in TF-CBT and PSB therapy. Colin is an avid sports fan, who enjoys playing, coaching, or watching baseball, softball, soccer, and football. He also values quality time with his family and pets.
Cindy Melo, MA, LAC
Cindy Melo, MA, LAC is a licensed associate counselor in the State of New Jersey. She graduated from New York University with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness. She received her Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Social Work from York College. Cindy is bilingual in Spanish and uses an eclectic and multicultural approach to address and treat the various needs of her clients. In her free time Cindy enjoys reading, nature, running, and spending time with her family and friends.
Caitlin O’Brien, MSW, LCSW
|Caitlin O’Brien is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New Jersey. She obtained her BA in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her Master of Social Work at Wheelock College in Boston. Caitlin has experience in working with children, adolescents and adults with emotional and behavioral difficulties in an outpatient setting. She has been trained in TF-CBT and Finding Words. Although a resident of New Jersey for some time, she continues to root for her native New England sports teams.
Preeti Patel, MA
Preeti Patel, MA graduated from Montclair State University with a Masters of Arts (MA) degree in Clinical Psychology with a Concentration on Children and Adolescents and Certification in School Psychology. Preeti has been working in the field of child abuse and neglect for six years, and has extensive training and experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in the areas of trauma, severe and persistent mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. As the adolescent program coordinator, she also has experience with conducting psychoeducational groups for adolescents. In addition, she is trained in Problematic Sexualized Behavior Cognitive Behavior Therapy (PSB-CBT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), and the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA). In her free time, Preeti enjoys baking, hiking, and traveling.
Nicole Pittaluga, MA, LPC
Nicole Pittaluga received her B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the College of St. Elizabeth. Nicole is a Licensed Professional Counselor in NJ, a National Certified Counselor and a Board Certified Coach. She has experience in outpatient counseling with adults, adolescents and children. Nicole provides a safe, supportive environment and a strength-based, solution-focused approach to help her clients achieve their goals in therapy. In her free time, Nicole enjoys yoga, time in nature and reading.
Jaime Seeley, MSW, LSW
Jaime is a licensed social worker who offers a safe space for her clients to feel seen and heard. Her approach is first and foremost non-judgemental and the hallmark of her practice is treating each client with kindness and respect. She believes there is no one size fits all method and utilizes a variety of therapeutic modalities to help meet each individual client where they are at. The desired outcome of the work is to identify the clients goals and together come up with a plan to execute and work through any obstacles. Jaime has worked with family units, adolescents and adults navigating familial conflict, divorce, reunification, and substance abuse. Additionally, Jaime has experience working with court mandated and child welfare involved families.
Katie Smith, MA, LPC
Katie is a licensed professional counselor in the state of NJ with experience in the inpatient, outpatient, and partial care settings. Her background has led her to have an understanding of several aspects of the mental health field and made her better able to help guide individuals and families during times of need. She attempts to create judgement free spaces for clients to be able to explore any and all challenges they may be facing. Katie believes that clients are the experts on their lives and she employs a strengths based approach. Katie believes that therapy is not “one size fits all” and she attempts to make sure that sessions are tailored to the individual. Katie often integrate skills from many different modalities including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and strengths based approaches. Katie is happy to help clients with whatever challenges they may be facing but have had several years of experience helping those struggle with: anxiety, depression, substance use issues, trauma, and relationship concerns.
Katie Theesfeld, MSW, LCSW
Katie Theesfeld is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of New Jersey. She graduated from Rutgers University School of Social Work with a Master of Social Work (MSW) and Certificate in Violence Against Women and Children. She has training and experience in modalities such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Katie works with children, adolescents, adults, and families and enjoys connecting with and supporting clients to achieve their goals.
Laura van der Hulst, MA, LAC
|Laura van der Hulst received her BA in Psychology from Webster University in Leiden, The Netherlands and her MA in Counseling from Montclair State University in New Jersey. She is a member of the Chi Sigma Iota International Counseling Honor Society and the American Counseling Association (ACA). Laura completed her graduate internship at CEC and recently joined the team as one of their newest part-time clinicians in the Parsippany office. She is currently earning hours towards her Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) title. Laura has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults managing symptoms of anxiety, depression, adjustment issues, ADHD, and substance use disorders. Laura has also received training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).
Tierney Veliz, MA, Ed.S, LPC, NCC, CFRC
Tierney Veliz is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified First Responder Counselor who received her BA from Manhattan College and her MA/Ed.S in Professional Counseling from Seton Hall University. Tierney is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Forensic Psychology. Tierney practices from a trauma informed perspective with a psychodynamic approach. She has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and couples and with treating depression, anxiety, mood disorders, emotional disturbance, attachment wounds, interpersonal issues, complex trauma and PTSD. Tierney is trained in providing Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), and Level 1 and 2 Gottman Counseling for Couples Therapy. In addition to her work as a therapist, Tierney is also employed as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University. In her free time Tierney enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Diane Uhler, MA, LPC
|Diane Uhler is a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor. Diane is a professional helper, who works with clients of all ages and cultural backgrounds who are facing problem situations.
Ashley Lai, MSW, LSW
Ashley Lai is a Licensed Social Worker in the state of New Jersey. She received her Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey, double majoring in Psychology and Music with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Ashley has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in educational, in-community, non-profit, and outpatient settings. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), art therapy, and play therapy and incorporates mindfulness and somatic practices, such as breathwork, meditation, yoga asana, and music into her work. Ashley integrates and blends her psychology, social work, music, and art training to help support her clients. Ashley believes that having a channel to express oneself, such as through talk therapy and the creative arts, is a bridge to cultivating self-awareness and a stepping stone in one’s healing journey.
Dana Dresser MA, Ed.S
Dana Dresser graduated from Seton Hall University with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in Professional Counseling. She obtained her Bachelors (BA) in Psychology from Ramapo College of New Jersey. She is currently in the process of completing an Educational Specialist (Ed.S) degree in Mental Health Counseling from Seton Hall University. She has experience in working with children, adolescents and adults with emotional and behavioral difficulties in outpatient and non-profit settings. Additionally, she has experience working with adults with disabilities in vocational rehabilitation settings. Being a co-facilitator of the adolescent program, she also has experience with conducting psychoeducational groups for adolescents.
Dana uses an integrated approach in therapy, having completed trainings in Problematic Sexualized Behavior Cognitive Behavior Therapy (PSB-CBT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), and the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA). She is a certified Employment Specialist in New Jersey. She is also certified in Trial-Based Work Experiences (TWE) and Community-Based Work Experiences (CBWE). In addition, she is certified in Six Sigma and Active Listening and Communication in the Workplace. Dana is a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honors Society in Education and a student affiliate of the American Counseling Association (ACA).
Michelle E. Goldberg, MA, LAC
Michelle E. Goldberg, MA, LAC is a Licensed Associate Counselor in the state of New Jersey. She graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and holds two Master of Arts degrees in Forensic Psychology and Forensic Mental Health Counseling with a specialty in Victimology. Michelle’s professional focus is on the impact of trauma on childhood development and has experience working with adults, adolescents, and children with complex trauma, depression, anxiety, adjustment difficulties, and substance use disorders. She believes that every client is unique with their own set of strengths and weaknesses, and therefore, she incorporates a variety of therapeutic techniques into her treatment approach, including Trauma-focused CBT, Motivational Interviewing, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, play therapy, and art therapy. When she is not in the office, Michelle enjoys photography, gardening, and spending time with her children.
Zuleima Alzate, MSW
Zuleima Alzate, is a bilingual social worker born and raised in Colombia. Zuleima Graduated from New York University (NYU) with a Master of Social Work (MSW) in 2015. Received her bachelor’s in social work from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Zuleima has worked with children, adolescents, adults, families and with the RYAN WHITE program (HIV community) in an outpatient setting. Zuleima has education, training, and experience in assisting clients with PTSD, trauma, anxiety, and sexual abuse. Utilizing therapeutic approaches like CBT, DBT, Trauma focused, and mindfulness exercises. Zuleima is also employed at Emmanuel Cancer Foundation as a case worker assisting families newly diagnosed with pediatric cancer. In her free time Zuleima enjoys hiking, walking, and spending time with her family.
Danielle Mariano, M.Ed, LAC
I believe most ailments in life arise when we are unhappy in relationships, whether that is with ourselves or with the special people in our lives. Coming from a humanistic lens, my approach to counseling is focused on improving these connections through inner growth. I do not tend to follow one therapy modality; instead, I tailor my counseling based on the client to meet their individual needs and facilitate self-awareness.
I enjoy working with children, families, and individuals on their quest for a satisfying life. If you are prepared to look deep within yourself or find the necessary help for your struggling child, we will be a good fit together.