We aim to enhance the lives of our clients by focusing holistically on their mind, body and spirit, highlighting unique strengths and supporting relationships. We also provide in-depth post-graduate training for mental health professionals, cultivating clinical excellence in order to provide the highest level of care.
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 holds a PhD certificate 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. She has also been a media contributor with Schenectady today, Carla Page Informative and Business Talk Radio in NYC. Christina has also had publications in the Sunday Gazette, Healthylife and 518Life magazines. She has been a speaker with the New York Alzheimer's Association, Health and Wellness Expo at the Saratoga National Golf Club and the Hospice Foundation of America.
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 both in New York and Arizona. She is also licensed in Mental Health counseling, 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 trained in Gottman and Imago Couple Therapy training. Christina is certified in gerontology and health care social work with NASW. She also holds a certificate as a QSCW, DCSW, ACSW with NASW and has provided PASRR evaluations for institutional long term care facilities in New York State.
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.
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.
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 No to Say Yes: 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.
Voicemail: (518) 374-3514 ext. 304
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Shawna is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who works with a wide array of couples, individuals and families with adolescents. 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. Shawna is also a supervising therapist, mentoring other therapists and interns in their professional journeys.
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 and healthy-living enthusiast, and spends her free time traveling and adventuring outdoors.
Shawna is a member of AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy).
Jim is both a Marriage and Family Therapist Resident and a Congregational Consultant at the Center. Jim works with individuals, couples and families and 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 ordained 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 a District Superintendent Jim has worked with many congregations helping them to resolve conflicts and develop a 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 Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
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.
As a resident psychotherapist at Samaritan Counseling Center, Amanda supports individuals, couples, and families seeking to develop a stronger sense of self and build more fulfilling relationships. Amanda received her Bachelor of Science in Communications from Norwich University and her Master of Arts in Counseling and Community Psychology from Sage Graduate School. In addition to her education, Amanda draws on her background in broadcasting, corporate communications, and nonprofit program management. Before her graduate studies, she managed a program working with families of newborn babies hospitalized in neonatal intensive care, and then trained at a university counseling center and in substance abuse treatment with mandated clients during her graduate studies.
Amanda is passionate about developing practice specialties in: perinatal (including pregnancy and postpartum period) mood and anxiety disorders, in working with vicarious traumatization in law enforcement and first responders, and in supporting people during life transitions. She utilizes a wide array of treatment modalities within a systems frame for therapy, including CBT, DBT, psychoanalysis, and mindfulness. In addition to therapy, Amanda is also teaching as an adjunct in psychology at the Sage Colleges.
Oona Edmands, LCSW-R, received her Master of Social Work degree from the University at Albany in 2006, and has been with Samaritan for 17 years (as an intern, post-graduate resident and full-time clinical staff).
Oona works extensively with individuals, couples, and families, and has completed training in EMDR, an important treatment for trauma and stress. She is also a certified meditation instructor and has taught mindfulness meditation for over 25 years. Her specialty is integrating trauma-informed psychodynamic treatment with EMDR and mindfulness.
Kelly received her Masters in Social Work from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. She has worked in several hospital settings including Mass General Hospital, Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA, Ellis Hospital and most recently, Bellevue Woman’s Center. While at Bellevue, Kelly founded and facilitated the Postpartum Mental Health support group to help moms in their first year of parenthood. As a mom of three, Kelly understands the importance and value of support during the perinatal period.
Kelly strives to bring a warm, compassionate, and non-judgmental approach to her work with clients. She works from a strength-based perspective, utilizes techniques such as CBT, mindfulness, narrative therapy, with humor, as appropriate to help patients gain insight into their capacity to grow and reach their therapeutic goals. Kelly’s areas of interest include adjustment disorders, depression and anxiety, specializing in perinatal adjustments and perinatal loss. Kelly holds a certificate of completion in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders from PSI.
Dan O'Brien is a psychotherapist with Samaritan Counseling Center and a graduate of the State University at Albany where he obtained a master’s degree in clinical social work.
With post graduate experience in the provision of therapeutic services to individuals, couples and families, Dan endeavors to support clients in their change efforts through the development of insights necessary to the recognition and reshaping of unhelpful communication styles, assumptions and other dysfunctional patterns undermining our connections to one another and stealing the joy from our relationships.
Dan provides individual therapy for those seeking relief from the frustration and dissatisfaction associated with depression, anxiety, grief, trauma and negative thought patterns that undermine self-esteem and individual empowerment as well as a host of other stressors we face in our ever-changing lives and communities.
Dan utilizes elements from a wide array of evidence-based treatment modalities to include CBT, DBT, traditional psychoanalysis, interpersonal therapies, mindfulness and the Couples Relational Renewal Model.
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Stephen is a resident psychotherapist at Samaritan who earned his Master of Education in clinical mental health counseling from The College of Saint Rose. As a counselor, he supports clients in gaining new insight and developing within the context of their families, relationships, career, and personal lives.
Working from a systems perspective to center therapy in a relational framework, Stephen employs interventions from family systems therapy, CBT, and reality therapy. His scope of practice includes working with people experiencing mood and anxiety disorders, marital conflict, family tension, and loss.
Stephen has a passion for discovering how life’s big questions impact the day-to-day. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature, philosophy and religion from Elmira College and an Associate of Science in graphic design from Westwood College. He has prior professional background in marketing, and enjoys time spent with his family, and designing games.
Rev. Jonathan Vanderbeck, MDiv, LCSW, completed his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Michigan, his Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI, and is currently enrolled at the University of Kentucky completing a Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree in advanced clinical practice. He completed additional training at the Vermont Center for Family Studies, received a Clinical Certificate in Bowen Family Systems Theory from Rutgers University, and is certified by the LGBTQ Institute for Family Therapy (LIFT) in New York City.
Jonathan works with individuals, couples, and families from a systemic frame, focusing on how all elements of a client’s life impact themselves and their relationships. He is sensitive to working with those from diverse backgrounds and has led trainings for both clergy and mental health professionals in the Capital Region on issues of race, gender, and sexuality.
Jonathan is also an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has experience working with issues of faith and spirituality from a systemic perspective. Jonathan is the Coordinator of Samaritan's Clergy and Congregational Care Program. He is available to consult with religious organizations in need of evaluation or crisis management, as well as to provide coaching to clergy working through systemic transitions in their faith settings.
Lindsy earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Ithaca College in 2010 and her Master of Social Work from the University at Albany in 2017. Lindsy has experience working in residential, community-based and outpatient mental health settings. As a resident psychotherapist at Samaritan Counseling Center, she uses an integrative approach to help individuals, couples and families overcome life's challenges. Lindsy meets clients with warmth and understanding and focuses on cultivating an atmosphere that encourages introspection, ultimately empowering clients to live with greater authenticity and peace.
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.
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Kelli Schuhl earned her Master of Social Work from the University at Albany. For the past 22 years she has devoted her career to working with children, adolescents and their caregivers as a school social worker. During this time she has provided individual counseling, group counseling, and parenting groups to meet the diverse needs of the students and families within the community. Kelli also recognized teachers' increasing need for mental health support and piloted therapeutic groups for teachers experiencing compassion fatigue and burnout.
Kelli joined Samaritan Counseling in the summer of 2021 and works with children, teens and adults. She provides a non-judgmental, compassionate, strengths based, and client centered approach. Kelli utilizes CBT, DBT, and mindfulness, among other evidence-based therapeutic interventions, and assists her clients in creating personalized wellness plans that will restore balance, and bring a renewed sense of peace and fulfillment to their lives.