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Meet the
CHI Professional Development

Alan L. Frankel, LCSW

Christina Marsack

Alan L. Frankel, LCSW is a clinical social worker/psychotherapist. He maintains a private practice in Mt. Kisco, NY (Westchester County) and has over forty years of clinical experience working with a wide array of people and problems. He works with children, adolescents, individual adults and couples. He specializes in helping children and families undergoing the difficult transition of a separation or divorce and has extensive experience doing conflict resolution. Additionally Al Frankel is a divorce mediator. He has been co-mediating with attorney-mediator Jill Sanders-DeMott for almost 30 years. Al Frankel is a Certified EFT Couple Therapist. He also provides marital crisis consultations for couples in the early stages of considering whether to try to stay together or possibly separate/divorce. He is also an adjunct professor in The Human Services Dept. at Westchester Community College, where he has been teaching courses in Human Behavior and Social Development since 1992. Alan Frankel graduated from Cornell University in 1976. He earned his Masters in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Al Frankel was trained in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy at The Institute For Contemporary Psychotherapy in NYC, in 1986. He received postgraduate training in child and adolescent therapy, as well as in couples and family therapy. He also received additional training in EFT (emotionally focused couple therapy) in 2008. Most recently he completed training in sex therapy at The University of Michigan School of Social Work in their Sexual Health/Sex Therapy Certificate Program in 2018.

Alan Rice, LCSW

Christina Marsack

Alan Rice graduated from Kean College of NJ in 1977 with a BSW degree and went to work for the NYC Department of Education as a Drug Counselor in a School Base Drug Prevention Program. In 1980 he went to work at Beth Israel Medical Center at the Bernstein Institute as a social work assistant on a male drug detox unit. During this time, Alan entered the first PEP program in the country at WSSW to be able to obtain his MSW, which he did in June of 1983. In July of 1983, he accepted a transfer to the Medical/Surgical Division of the Beth Israel Department of Social Work. In August of 1983, he was asked to become one of the first dedicated hospital AIDS social workers in NYC, which he accepted.

Alan has been involved with HIV/AIDS, having a progressive career as a supervisor, manager, and Director of AIDS social workers in both a hospital and nursing home setting. Alan is presently the Population Health Specialist for VNSNY CHOICE, Select Health, an HIV Medicaid Manage Care Special Needs Plan, one of only three in NYS.

Alan is an adjunct professor at WSSW, teaching an Addiction course and teaching at Touro College School of Physician Assistant. He has served on a variety of NYC and NYS committees around making services better to the HIV and AIDS population and the Substance Abuse population. He was the first President on the board of Professional Association of Social Workers in HIV and AIDS and remains an active member.

Alyssa Cottone, MS

Christina Marsack

Alyssa Cottone, founder of C Sweet Consulting & Training, has been advising and educating professionals the last 10 years of her career. Her passion for helping others led her to obtain a Bachelor's in Wellness Management and a Master's in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Through these programs, she gained the knowledge and finesse to effectively integrate training programs into various business types.

Alyssa has trained thousands of clinical and non-clinical professionals throughout New York State, including some of Long Island’s largest healthcare systems such as, Northwell Health, Catholic Health Services, NYU Langone, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Stony Brook Medicine. Alyssa has been featured in the documentary, Life Moving Forward, a two-time guest speaker on 88.1FM Radio, and a direct source for News12 as it pertains to various industry happenings.

When she is not working, you can find Alyssa spending time with her family, fishing the Great South Bay, kayaking and hiking, or going on adventures with her certified therapy dog, Moose.

Danielle Cacioppo, ME

Christina Marsack

Danielle Cacioppo is an artist, nutritionist, and educator. She graduated from Hofstra University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts before earning a Master of Education from Grand Canyon University. Working with both adolescents and adults, Danielle teaches about health and wellness in addition to utilizing the creative process to heal. She has studied the relationship between nutrition and mental health extensively as well as the connection between art and social- emotional learning.

Danielle started her career as an ACE certified personal trainer which led her to learn more about nutrition and behavior. While teaching her clients how to exercise effectively, she quickly realized they would not make long-term progress without fueling their bodies properly. Danielle became a nationally accredited Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant and implemented a nutrition program in multiple fitness centers. Since then, she has studied the emerging field of Nutritional Psychiatry. The food we eat clearly impacts how we feel physically, cognitively and emotionally, and Danielle works to educate others about this connection.

Danielle became certified to teach Visual Arts in New York State in 2010. Honoring each students' individuality, she engages their minds, bodies and spirits with fun projects and lessons to foster creativity and self-esteem while developing social and emotional skills. When people are encouraged to create in a safe space backed by a therapeutic relationship, they can feel free to explore self-expression, leading them to gain personal insight and develop new coping skills.

Danielle is thrilled to be part of the Chi Professional Development Family and grateful to be sharing her experience with the mental health professional community.

Darleen Smith

Christina Marsack

Darleen Smith, CASAC-M has a passion for counseling those struggling with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Darleen works with professionals in various fields, educating about how to effectively work with patients and reduce stigma, as well as effective treatment options including MAT (medication-assisted treatment). Darleen brings over 15 years of experience working in various inpatient and outpatient facilities for substance abuse treatment and prevention, an inpatient hospital for dual diagnosis patients, and she has worked as a public High School Health teacher.

Daybelis Ramirez, LMSW

Christina Marsack

Daybelis Ramirez, LMSW has been providing psychotherapy treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD. As a Certified Medical Cannabis Consultant, Ms. Ramirez does the initial evaluation for people who want to use cannabis as a treatment method for medical or mental health conditions. Additionally, Ms. Ramirez is a Certified Medical Cannabis Instructor who teaches several cannabis courses such as Medical Cannabis Consultant and Cannabis Advisor. Ms. Ramirez has additional certifications in mindfulness meditation, health and healing, and brain health.

Denisse Arcos-Pratt, LMSW

Christina Marsack

Denisse Arcos, LCSW is a therapist in the only LGBTQ-specific group home program in New York City, where she has worked for several years. As this role lands on many systemic intersections, Denisse has been able to develop a wide range of knowledge on the child welfare system in NYC, transgender-related healthcare processes, and housing and education advocacy. While doing this work, Denisse has continued her education and experience by participating in and presenting in TGNC specific programs and professional conferences.

Donna Moss, MA, LCSW-R

Christina Marsack

With 30 year's experience in areas such as: adolescents, young adults, infertility, cancer, health, stress, divorce mediation, mindfulness, families and children of divorce, parenting, women's issues and more, Moss has a deep understanding of many life transitions. She has worked in both corporate and non-profit settings in healthcare leadership roles, including National Director of Patient Services for the Leukemia Society of America, Health Educator for New York Association for New Americans, and Community Director for

Dr. Christina Marsack-Topolewsk

Christina Marsack

Dr. Christina Marsack-Topolewski is an associate professor of Social Work in the College of Health and Human Services at Eastern Michigan University. She received a bachelor’s of science in Special Education, specializing in Cognitive Impairments, from Wayne State University. She trained under a specialized fellowship at the University of Michigan, receiving her master’s in Social Work and specializing in both school social work and aging from the University of Michigan. Dr. Marsack-Topolewski received her PhD in Social Work with a dual title in Gerontology from Wayne State University. She has worked with individuals with various intellectual and developmental disabilities for over 20 years. Her research focuses on individuals with IDDs, their caregivers, caregiver burden and quality of life, advance care planning, service delivery, and service utilization. She has over 70 publications in national and international journals and encyclopedias, mainly focusing on individuals with IDDs, caregiving, and aging. In addition, she has presented her work locally, nationally, and internationally. Dr. Marsack-Topolewski has been the lead on multiple grant-funded programs tailoring services to individuals with IDDs, older adults, and chronic illnesses. In 2019, she was appointed to the National Task Group on Intellectual Disability and Dementia Practices. She serves as both a board member and co-chair of Membership Affairs. For over 4 years, she has provided testimony at the state-level (Michigan) to advocate for two house bills that would provide protections against exploitation for vulnerable adults, such as individuals with IDDs.

Dr. Phil Feldman

Christina Marsack

Dr. Feldman has 30 years of experience as a Clinical Director, Psychotherapist, and Supervisor. He is currently the Clinical Director at Journey to Wellness substance abuse program in NJ. He has taught numerous clinical topics as an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University MSW Program since 1995. As a professional speaker, he has presented more than 300 Clinical CEU Seminars at Medical Centers, Agencies, and local Universities. In addition, he has expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Family Therapy, Personality Disorders, and Emotional Disorders. He is also the author of three clinical manuals- "The Psychotherapy Manual," "Co-occurring Disorders manual," and "Shame Affect." (on He completed his PhD at Rutgers, MSW at Yeshiva University, and BA at Emory College.

Gae Savino, LCSW, CT

Christina Marsack

Gae Savino, LCSW, CT, is a licensed clinical social worker and Certified in Thanatology (CT), the study of death, dying and bereavement by the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She brings extensive experience and empathetic compassion to working with individuals with an intensive focus on conducting bereavement support groups due to addiction, spousal/partner, and parent loss.

In session, Gae utilizes the Dual Process Model of Coping with Grief, Complicated Grief Treatment, Collaborative Solution-Focused Therapy, and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy while centering these therapies from an individual’s self-determination and strength-based perspective.

She earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University and has extensive post-graduate training at Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief. Gae is a frequent workshop presenter on issues of death, dying, bereavement, complicated grief and the multifaceted impact of Covid-19.

Harshal Kirane, MD

Christina Marsack

Dr. Kirane oversees Wellbridge’s medical and clinical program, leveraging research to continually evolve new treatment approaches. He holds a teaching position as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Zucker School of Medicine.

Prior to joining the Wellbridge team, Dr. Kirane was Director of Addiction Services at Staten Island University Hospital and a leading member of the Opioid Management Steering Committee of Northwell Health.

Dr. Kirane’s intense dedication to the field of psychiatry and addiction is apparent through his educational and fellowship experience. He obtained his MD from the University of Texas Southwestern, where he also completed a residency in general psychiatry and a fellowship in brain imaging with emphasis on learning and memory in schizophrenia. He further specialized his patient care expertise with a fellowship in addiction psychiatry at New York University.

Jacob L. Cooper, LCSW-NY

Christina Marsack

Based on his near-death experience and past life regressions, Jacob L. Cooper, LCSW, shares insight about the mystery of life on the other side of the veil. In addition to peace and euphoria in the afterlife, we also experience these feelings in the physical world; there is so much more to live for, as we are much more resilient than we imagine. Jacob’s experience provides the guidance for others to experience past-life memories by assisting in the development of self-awareness and finding meaning in their experiences. Jacob holds a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Reiki Master, Certified Hypnotherapist, and specializes in Past Life Regression Therapy. As a psychotherapist, Jacob works with individuals, groups, and families to uncover emotional barriers, promote improved wellness, and achieve resiliency. Jacob incorporates mindfulness and a spiritual approach to focus on the connection between the mind, body, and spirit. In effect, this teaches individuals how to improve cognitive processing and shift their perspective. Jacob is a sought-after speaker on grief, wisdom, and consciousness and offers meditation and mindfulness seminars to individuals and groups, many of whom have been diagnosed with cancer, developmental disabilities, and those experiencing symptoms of aging. Jacob has presented at the Edgar Cayce Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE), the International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS), The Forever Family Foundation, Helping Parents Heal, spiritual centers, international universities, and public libraries. He is sought after with major media outlets and has been a featured guest on CBS Television, Coast To Coast Am with George Noory, IANDS Radio, The Dead Life with Allison Dubois and 94.3 The Shark with Jeffery Wands. He has published articles with Huffington Post’s Thrive Global. Jacob’s seminars promote healing for those grieving, people who seek to understand continuity of consciousness beyond the physical body, and for those with anxiety associated with the fear of life after death. He is the best-selling author of Life After Breath, a memoir on his near-death experience (NDE) and The Wisdom of Jacob’s Ladder both published by Waterside Productions, with literary agent is William Gladstone. Jacob resides and practices in Long Island, New York. His The Wisdom of Jacob’s Ladder, is a powerful book on lessons from the afterlife gained from his NDE and subsequent experiences to be integrated in this life. He hosts the weekly podcast, The Wisdom of Jacob's Ladder which delves into psychology, spirituality, and tools for everyday life. He interviews highly influential thought leaders and teachers.

Jennie Lannette, MSW, LCSW

Christina Marsack

Jennie Lannette, MSW, LCSW, is a therapist in private practice in mid-Missouri. In the past she’s worked at inpatient state hospital settings, in community mental health clinics, and as an EAP provider. She’s trained extensively in CBT therapies for PTSD, for both children and adults. She is regularly featured as a writer and/or expert through local media and national wellness sites such as Psychology Today and Psych Central. She also holds a journalism degree and runs her own site called The Counseling Palette. She recently published the book Finding Peace from PTSD, available on Amazon.

Jessica Bourdon, PhD

Christina Marsack

Dr. Bourdon is the Research Scientist within Wellbridge’s Center for Addiction Science. Her role is to support Wellbridge’s mission of connecting science and practice. She brings a three-pronged approach to this role: studying disorders of addiction, communicating about disorders of addiction as well as broader science and practice, and enacting change in the greater community. Specifically, Dr. Bourdon facilitates various implementation, evaluation, and other scientific projects, coordinates Wellbridge’s Learning Laboratory, and maintains meaningful collaborations outside of Wellbridge with experts in the field.

Dr. Bourdon’s overarching career goals are to 1) improve science communication and translational pathways between science, practice, and the wider community and 2) investigate the incorporation of psychiatric genetic information into the care of disorders of addiction.

Dr. Bourdon holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Clinical and Translational Sciences with a concentration in Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis studying Translational Science in Addiction Research. Her research career began as a freshman at the University of Richmond where she obtained a B.S. in Psychology with Honors and a B.A. in Cognitive Science.

Joel Simon, LCSW-R

Christina Marsack

Joel has been in clinical social work practice for over 40 years in a variety of both inpatient and outpatient settings. He has been providing solution-focused therapy (SFBT), training, supervision, and consultation since 1992. Joel was trained in SFBT by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg at the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the home of solution-focused brief therapy. Joel is a founding member of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association.

Currently, he is in private practice as a therapist, supervisor, and trainer. Joel co-authored several articles on solution focus including two with Insoo Kim Berg. Joel has authored or co-authored 3 books on solution-focused topics. Please visit for further information.

Kathryn S. Krase, Ph.D., J.D., M.S.W.

Christina Marsack

Kathryn Krase is a lawyer, social worker, and long-time educator. She has over 20 years of experience developing curricula and teaching courses at the bachelors, masters and doctoral levels, largely in accredited social work programs. Kathryn have served as a professional development trainer for more than 5000 professionals, as well, including for continuing education providers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, and more.

Kendra Kirane, LCAT

Christina Marsack

Kendra oversees Creative Arts Therapy and Wellness at Wellbridge. Integrating a biopsychosocial approach, she emphasizes the universal language of art as an essential process in therapy – including music, dance/movement and drama – empowering individuals to be seen, heard and understood on the path toward recovery. Recognizing wellness is a key feature of sustainable recovery, Kendra prioritizes delivery of recreational therapy, fitness programming and nutrition to promote restoration and healthy lifestyle choices.

Kendra entered the field in 2006 and gained a deep appreciation for the complex clinical needs of patients with substance use disorders (SUD) while working on Bellevue’s co-occurring disorders unit. A specific focus of her practice is the intersection between SUD and trauma. She provided trauma-informed dance/movement therapy (DMT) for survivors of 9/11 at the World Trade Center Environmental Health Center and for incarcerated patients on Bellevue’s forensic psychiatric units. In 2018 she transitioned to Union Settlement, launching their Early Childhood Mental Health Program while concurrently providing supervision for social workers and creative arts therapists. Kendra has taught throughout New York metropolitan area – NYU, Yeshiva University, Sarah Lawrence College, Pratt Institute, Molloy College, Queens College, and The New School – striving to highlight dance/movement therapy as a unique response to the opioid crisis.

Kendra is a New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and Board-Certified Dance/Movement Therapist. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from UC Santa Cruz followed by a Master of Science in Dance/Movement Therapy from Pratt Institute. She completed a fellowship in psychoanalysis from The Psychoanalytic Association of New York affiliated with NYU School of Medicine. She also received Authentic Movement Practitioner and Arts and Trauma Treatment certifications.

Kimberly Hersenson, LCSW

Christina Marsack

Prior to becoming a psychotherapist, Kimmberly was a ballet dancer with the Joffrey Ballet followed by a career as an intellectual property/entertainment lawyer. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University's School of Social Work and am certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), CBT for Eating Disorders through Professor Christopher Fairburn of the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford University and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She trained in Motivational Interviewing and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) by Behavioral Tech, Marsha Linehan's training company. She is trained in Positive Psychology: Resilience Skills through the University of Pennsylvania. She is also skilled in applying psychodynamic therapy and working with clients in 12-Step programs.

Lavinia Barbu, LCSW

Christina Marsack

Lavinia Barbu is a LCSW and has worked with children, adolescents and adults from all walks of life in various clinic settings in and around NYC area. Now she teaches wellness classes focusing on breath and breathing, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, stress -reductions, body scanning and meditation.

Lavinia has a Master Degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University and in 2018 she completed 1 year training as a Life Coach also from New York University. She is fascinated about the mind and body connection and promotes movement and proper breathing at any age. In order to have a rounded education of the human behavior and to understand the human body and human anatomy, she completed the 600 Pilates Comprehensive; Training Course at Core Pilates NYC in 2014 and the 200-h Yoga Teacher Training in the Sivan and a Ashram in 2017 where she lived for a month to experience the practices in her own body. Lavinia also teaches Pilates and Yoga classes for individuals and group settings.

Most of all she is passionate about teaching wellness and connecting the movement, pattern of breathing and stretching with self-care and creating a personal mind and body home practice. She explains that health is a state of being and we can all achieve optimal health if we learn to apply simple steps and techniques every day towards living healthy. Wellness is the state of living, a choice of a healthy life style. Lavinia believes that everyone has untapped potential within themselves and it takes a holistic approach to unleash it. She had been helping clients on their journeys inspiring them to reach their potential while living healthy and teaching them about the mind-body connection and how to enhance wellness in their life.

Linnie Pickering, LMSW

Christina Marsack

Linnie Larson Pickering grew up in San Francisco. She received her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and her master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, where she won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She is a specialist in the prevention of domestic violence, child abuse, suicide, and sexual assault. She has worked on suicide, crisis, breast cancer and domestic violence hotlines and has developed and presented national and international workshops on the above topics. She co-authored "34 Cranberry Lane," a video and discussion workshop on Domestic Violence in suburbia that was produced with a grant from Phillip Morris. Linnie is the author of Blue Sky: The Oral History of James L Greenwald, in which he reminisces about a life and career lived to the fullest as well as the emotional challenges of aging, declining health and facing one’s own mortality.

Linnie did post graduate training at Columbia University’s Center for Complicated Grief. She has a private therapy practice in Rye, NY with a focus on loss and grief, and she is a frequent workshop presenter on topics related to loss, death, dying and bereavement and Covid-19.

Michael Chiappone, LCSW

Christina Marsack

Michael Chiappone has been a Social Worker for the past 17 years. His work has primarily focused on assisting people who are homeless, mentally ill, or living with Substance Use Disorder. He also sees clients who seek help for a variety of reasons. For most of his career, he worked at Hope House Ministries, a highly respected not-for-profit agency. He held two positions at Hope House, Director of Project Hope II, a program that worked specifically with the chronic homeless population. He also assisted in developing and implementing Hope Academy, a non-traditional, long-term treatment facility for substance abuse. Currently, he works full-time as a Coordinator at a SUD treatment facility.

One of Michael’s passions is learning and teaching. For the past eight years, Michael has had the opportunity to teach college-level courses. For the past four years, Michael has been an Adjunct Professor at the School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook. He currently teaches a foundation course entitled Human Behavior & the Social Environment. He also had the opportunity to develop courses including Spirituality and addiction as well as Self Care for Social Workers.

Patricia Rameau, LMSW

Christina Marsack

Patricia is currently a school social worker for a public school district in New York State. She has over 12 years of experience working in a school district within a residential treatment facility for at risk youth. Her passion is assisting young people in realizing their full potential.

Rev. Karen E. Herrick, PhD, LCSW, LMSW, CADC, ACMHP

Christina Marsack

Rev. Karen E. Herrick, PhD, LCSW, LMSW, CADC, ACMHP has shared her clinical expertise for thirty years in her private practice by lecturing throughout the United States on dysfunctional and addictive homes, disassociation, grief, and loss from a Jungian psychological perspective. Her books, You’re Not Finished Yet, “Grandma, What is a Soul?” and Psychology of the Soul and the Paranormal are available through, Kindle and her office. Her websites are, and

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