MEET THE TEAM
Alison Lager is the Owner/CEO of Lager Counseling Services. The vision of LCS is that of triumph. Alison has always believed that people can change given the right tools, support and empowerment; people are capable and powerful enough to create the life of their dreams if given the right insight, awareness and actionable guidance necessary for the resolution of all of life’s problems. We credit most of the success of each client to our unwavering belief in their ability to change if they are willing. Alison has created an atmosphere that is warm, accepting, down to earth, and aesthetically pleasing to all the senses. She believes the atmosphere a client comes into should reflect our honor for them and their future selves. We NEVER lose sight of the clients greatness that is yet to be unleashed. We never give up on the infinite possibilities of all human beings. Our code is excellence. Our model is simple. Our philosophy at LCS is to be on the cutting edge of learning and personal development. Alison provides ongoing training in the latest techniques for healing and recovery. She trains each therapist to specialize in all areas of mental health and clinical technique. LCS is innovative style is unique in that once the symptoms are relieved, we step on the gas, rolling up our sleeves, beside the client toward their personal excellence in all areas of living.
Alison Lager, LCSW-R CASAC
Learn more about our therapists below.
Danielle Madonna, LMSW
Danielle is an LMSW who shines as a younger clinician who relates well to this generation. This makes her more approachable to children, teens and adults. She provides a depth of insight that is unusual for her age that gives her the understanding and ability to see the underlying obstacles to growth. She has a background in Psychology and Social Work that allow her to discuss the inner working of the brain to clients. Danielle believes that through vulnerabilities comes strength. Her personality is easy going and sweet. Danielle is our primary facilitator of the Popular Adult Children of Alcoholics or Dysfunctional Parents Group. This is a group that is a catalyst for life change for all participants. The outcomes are amazing when the participants face their core beliefs born in their younger lives.
Specialties: EMDR, CBT/DBT, Co-dependency, ACOA/Addiction, PTSD, Men's Issues
"Therapy is the opportunity to challenge/ discover yourself in a healthy manner within a safe environment.”
Joanne Autero, LCSW
Joanne is an LCSW who is well educated and deeply caring. She is a beautiful mix of a person, who is super smart and completely humble. She is willing to do whatever it takes to help her clients reach their goals, because she genuinely cares. If Joanne does not know an answer to a question, she will research all avenues until she finds one. The clients experience with her is one of warmth, comfort, growth, insight, and new found empowerment. Joanne has experience working with the elderly population, mothers and fathers who have adult children, grief, hoarding and in the past worked with children in the education system. Joanne is our main facilitator of our Moms of Adult Children Group which run every 10 weeks. A powerful group designed to assist moms with issues that arise with their grown children and their identity with this new stage in life.
Specialties: Geriatrics, Grief, Parenting, Illness, Christian Faith Counseling, Graceful Aging
"Hope is the anchor of the soul." - Hebrews
Dana Wedin, ART-BC, LCAT
Art Psychotherapist, Quality Assurance Manager
Dana is one of our Art Therapists. Dana is an amazing clinician who works with people of all ages in a unique and powerful way. She conducts Art Therapy groups for teens and adults and also offers individual Art Therapy. She works through the medium of different artistic tools to reach the heart of all different emotional issues. There is zero need for artistic skill. Dana also works with a wide variety of adults who are navigating through various life stressors such as anxiety, family dynamic matters, and depression.
Specialties: Art Therapy, Childhood Issues, Adjustment Disorders, Anger Management
""Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change." - Kamil Thomas
Tomasina Beckford, LCSW
Tomasina (aka Tina) is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 33 years of experience in the mental health and recovery fields. She earned her Master’s in Social Work from SUNY Stonybrook. She has not only provided direct psychotherapy services but has also helped to create and directed different mental health programs. Tina has experience working with adults, adolescents, children, families and couples, both individually and in group settings. She is trained in a variety of clinical modalities such as various cognitive behavioral therapies (DBT,) Family Systems, Relational, Client Centered, Integrative, Solution Focused, Emotionally Focused, Psycho Dynamic, Play Therapy and EMDR. She also incorporates 12 Step Programs, Spirituality and other alternative practices, such as meditation, guided imagery etc., into treatment for clients that are interested. Ms. Beckford strongly believes that there is no one road to happiness and mental health. She uses a non-judgmental, eclectic approach which she tailors to the specific needs of each client. Her primary areas of expertise are self-esteem, self-improvement, relationship issues, personality disorders, mood disorders/emotional regulation, OCD, eating disorders, PTSD and trauma. She believes the goal of treatment is to empower each client so that they can leave therapy with the skills they need to live the life that they truly want. Tina is passionate about emotional healing/recovery and is dedicated to her own ongoing training and supervision. There is always something amazing to learn about the human mind and spirit. Her interests include cooking, entertaining, gardening, working out, reading, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, self-improvement, and altruism.
Specialties: CBT/DBT, EMDR, Family Systems, Play Therapy, Emergency Trauma Response
"“Happiness is determined more by one's state of mind than by external events.”
- Dalai Lama
Rivka Hyman, LMSW
Rivka is an LMSW who exudes a passion for helping others. She carefully and uniquely utilizes the right treatment plan according to each individual. Her abilities include but are not limited to psychotherapy, trauma therapy, family systems, and CBT. Rivka comes to the space with compassion, warmth, and no judgment. It is with her empathy that she emphasizes a safe space with her clients. She reinforces the feeling of trust in a space for all. Rivka is willing to go above and beyond for her clients to make sure they are becoming the best versions of themselves. Rivka empowers her clients by strengthening them during their darkest and finest moments. Rivka is humble, accepting, adept, and dedicated to her work. Above anything else, her wish is to help others see their intrinsic worth and emotional strength.
Specialties: Somatic Therapy, Trauma/PTSD, Existentialism, Inner Child Work,
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” - Rumi
Kathleen Mckiernan, LMSW
Kathleen is an LMSW who's passion for a person's mental well being is a driving fore informing her practice with clients. She is down to earth, insightful and believes in connection and meeting her clients where they are along their journey in life. She takes a humanistic approach and has experience working with adolescents and young adults in the clinical setting. She also has done work in crisis intervention and has experience with traumatic grief counseling for individuals of all ages. Kathleen is inspired to decrease shame and stigma for those who are struggling and makes it her mission to do so by increasing the conversation surrounding mental health. Kathleen is currently seeing clients via Telehealth and is at our Main Wantagh office on Thursdays.
Specialties: Teen Wellness, Co-dependency, Self-Harm, Self-Esteem, Crisis Intervention
“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind." - Taylor Swift
Alliah Irtan, LMSW
Alliah is a younger LMSW with experience working with several different populations. She is empathetic and dedicated to the growth and wellbeing of her clients. Alliah supports her clients diligently along their therapeutic journey. Her biggest priority is ensuring that her clients feel heard and recognize the four walls surrounding them are a safe space where they can freely discuss whatever they wish.
Specialties: Self-Esteem, Adjustment Disorders, Family Conflict, Adolescent Issues
“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful parts of us.”
- David Richo
Alexandra Silver-Thompson, LMSW
Allie is a Licensed Master Social Worker who uses a strength-based approach to help others reach their full potential! She has many years of experience working with children and adolescents, as well as with adults and families in a clinical setting. Allie's outgoing, bubbly personality along with her ability to listen in an effort to understand, will have you feeling comfortable and at-ease. Allie's main priority when providing clinical care is for her clients to feel safe, heard and hopeful. She has a true passion for the field of social work and remains determined to help and empower whoever walks through her door!
Specialties: Self-Esteem, Family Counseling, Adolescent Issues, ODD, Anxiety/Depression
“Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Susan Klein, LCSW-R
Susan has joined our team possessing 25+ years of clinical experience as a Director and counselor in both mental health and substance use disorder programs. Susan does great work with men, women, couples, and families. Susan actively collaborates in the treatment process, providing education, feedback and clinically proven strategies to support your successful achievement of your desired goals. She believes in the power within us all to overcome challenges while achieving more joy and satisfaction in our everyday lives.
Specialties: Couples Counseling, Anger Management, Addiction, Personality Disorders
"Happiness is not by chance, but by choice." - Jim Rohn
Thomas Pica, LMSW
Tom is a Licensed Social Worker and Alcohol/ Substance Abuse Counselor who has experience working in many different settings, including schools, hospitals, and residential treatment centers. Tom also with a variety of ages and genders. Tom’s educational background in Psychology and Sociology provides him with insight and knowledge on a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, substance use, trauma, and self-development. Tom is a compassionate and genuine clinician who believes in taking a person-centered approach to therapy. Tom will go above and beyond to assist his clients in achieving their goals. Tom will create an accepting and warm space to enhance the process of therapy and assist clients in overcoming obstacles and reaching their potential.
Specialties: Substance Use, Men's Issues, ODD, Personality Disorders, Self Development
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” - Carl Jung
Kayla Mozdanowski, LMSW-LP
Kayla is an art therapist on our team who is committed to helping her clients learn how to build self-knowledge, expand perspectives, and make life more meaningful. She offers art therapy as a tool for self expression and communication—combining traditional talk therapy with the creative process. She believes when words cannot fully express a feeling or experience, artistic expression can allow for new perspectives and deeper understanding. Kayla takes a collaborative, person-centered, and strength-based approach to help her clients reach their goals, while creating a safe space to feel heard and understood. She meets her clients where they are at with a down-to-earth, warm, and compassionate personality.
Specialties: Eating Disorders, Art Therapy, Teen Wellness, Family Dynamics, Client Centered
"Art can permeate the very deepest part of us, where no words exist.” - Eileen Miller
Jenna Santos, CAT, ART-LP
Jenna is an Art Therapist who joins our team with enthusiasm to bring a creative outlook to the therapeutic space. She works from a collaborative, strength-based approach, always believing in her clients power to flourish and thrive. Jenna works both individually and in group settings with clients of all ages. There is zero need for artistic skills, artistic experience is never a requirement to participate in Art Therapy; Art knows no bounds. Jenna's work utilizes the art medium as another from of communication and self-expression. In addition to Art Therapy, Jenna also works with adults struggling with substance use and helps her clients navigate in a safe and healthy way. Our paths of personal and emotional growth are always intertwining. Jenna joins her clients on their paths with a supportive and kind nature.
Specialties: Art Therapy, Brain Tap Specialist, Social Anxiety, Addiction, ADHD, DBT
"Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it, summon it, from even the most tragic of circumstances." - Toni Morrison
Keri Napolitano, LMSW
Keri is an LMSW who utilizes an eclectic approach to therapy that is developed around her clients individual needs and goals. She values the use of evidence-based approaches and the therapeutic relationship to assist clients with improving symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mood disorders, as well as, developing tools to promote healthy lifestyle changes. Keri supports her clients through humor and compassion. She is driven and focused, helping to lead her clients towards their personal versions of "success."
Specialties: OCD, Adjustment Disorders, Sexual Issues, Motivational Interviewing
"Nothing is forever except change." - Buddha
Annie Ruvolo, LMSW
Annie has been in the education field for ten years. Her background in meditation and mindfulness will create a safe space to bring about a holistic approach that leads to our best selves. Annie's practice emphasizes a mutual development of goals as well as ongoing evaluations. Her calm inviting nature offers a pathway for utilizing the power of the therapeutic relationship. Annie works with clients of all ages, both male and female and is able to help her clients navigate through various mental health matters. Annie has extensive experience facilitating Divorce & Separated Groups for both faith based communities and the secular population.
Specialties: Divorce/Separation, ASD, Mindfulness, Catholic Faith Counseling
"Social Work is the art of listening and the science of hope."
Kirstin Ostroski, LMSW-LP
Kirstin is a recent graduate from Stony Brook’s school of social welfare. She has great experience working with children, adolescents and young adults as they develop and work through life’s transitions. She believes that everyone has the ability to change when given the right support to do so and maximize their human potential to meet their social needs. With clinical work encompassing multiple types of therapy, she helps individuals overcome various mental health battles such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and poor self-esteem. Kirstin perceives therapy as non-judgmental healing that is uniquely created to fit each individual and their current situation. She is aware of the importance that the rapport created between the client and the therapist is crucial for successful outcomes. Kirstin has true passion for the field of social work and empowering others to reach their goals and live their best life.
Specialties: ADHD, ODD, Teen Issues, Learning Disabilities, Anxiety/Depression
“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
- James Baldwin
Jeannette Santulli, PMHNP-BC
Child and Adolescent Specialist Nurse Practitioner
Jeannette is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner specializing in child and adolescent psychiatry for the past 13 years. Jeannette is proficient in medication management and formulating diagnostic impressions. She is passionate about nurturing, empowering, and helping children and adolescents to maintain a sense of worth and purpose in life. Jeannette excels at genuinely connecting with her patients due to her own personal childhood experiences. She is deeply empathetic and committed to improving the lives of her patients by providing them and their parents with the necessary guidance and tools. She is now branching out to treat the young adult population as well. Jeannette has a love of nature, gardening, flower arranging, and music. She is also an avid lover of cats!
Specialties: Medication Management, Behavioral Assessments, Child/Adolescents
Children see magic because they look for it.” - Christopher Moore
Board Certified Nurse Practioners
Here at Lager Counseling Services, we have a team of Board Certified Nurse Practitioners who can help our clients interested in Medication Management Services. Our NP's are able to prescribe and manage clients' medication through follow up appointments in person or via Telehealth. Our NP's are highly skilled and trained in the field of psychiatric medications and client care. They also with all clinicians collaboratively to ensure consistent client care and encourage the process of growth.
Dedication. Expertise. Passion.
Rachel is our Practice Director. She has a background in Administration, Neuroscience and Psychology. She works closely with our Placment Team to ensure that new clients are properly placed with therapists that will fit their clinical needs. Rachel's leadership skills ensure the functioning of the practice, while offering an organized and motivational aspect to our team. She works closely with both the clinicians and clients, ensuring that the core values of Lager Counseling Services are maintained and that any person who walks through our doors has a pleasurable and welcoming experience. Rachel is Alison Lager's right hand to all aspects of leading an accomplished professional and compassionate team.
"How do you define success? Happiness within yourself." -BK
Keri is one of our Admission Coordinators here at Lager Counseling and also assists with Practice Development. Keri has worked within LCS in many different roles such as Office Coordinator, Placement Specialist, and HR Representative. Keri works closely with our Placement Team to ensure that new clients are aware of our services and placed with therapists that will fit their clinical needs and goals. Keri helps to create a welcoming and safe environment for all new and existing clients across all three of our offices. Keri believes organization is key when helping maintain a successful practice. A quote that Keri has lived by her whole life per the advice of her mother;
“Slow and steady wins the race.” - Michael Bassey Johnson
Fortine is a senior Office Coordinator who looks forward to greeting you with a smile. We value Fortine's humor and ability to light up any room! Fortine looks at the bright side of every situation and is eager to help others. Fortine truly enjoys interacting with each and every person who enters the practice. Fortine is a firm believer of faith over fear. She also believes that no one has to struggle in silence, and that it is okay not to be okay. Fortine is an advocate for ending the stigma that surrounds mental health. Fortine shares, "asking for help is the first step, you’re more precious to this world than you’ll ever know." Fortine is intrigued by learning more about others and watching clients blossom at our practice. You’ll always feel welcomed and comforted with Fortine.
“No one is you and that is your power." - Dave Grohl
Senior Office Coordinator
Christine is a recent graduate from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. As the first person that a new patient often encounters from our practice, her warm demeanor, and cheerful personality combine to provide clients with hope and confidence. Christine has future plans to further her education in the mental health field. She views the role of a mental health professional as a calling of the highest order. She believes being healthy, physically, mentally and spiritually is a life pursuit, a journey not a destination, a ride we should all humbly embrace.
"One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn't fall apart."
- Linda Poindexter
Wantagh Office Coordinator
Sara is our Placement Specialist and a part of the Administrative Support Team here at Lager Counseling Services. Sara graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a B.A. in Psychology and is currently enrolled in a Master’s Program at Hofstra University to obtain her LMHC and CASAC. She is especially passionate and looking forward to working those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction as the recovery process is extremely unique to each individual. Sara’s main goal is to ensure that each client feels heard during their Initial Phone Screening. She is honored to listen to a client in need. Her energy and openness allow clients to feel comfortable sharing which ensures they are placed with a therapist that will be an excellent fit. Sara is also in charge of terminations and groups!
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” - Barbara De Angelis
Rebecca is part of our Administrative Support Team and works out of our Main Wantagh location in the evening. She holds a BA degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a BSN degree in Nursing. Rebecca enjoys connecting with people and is very passionate about the importance of the mental health field. She strives to make sure everyone around her feels welcomed and accepted. Rebecca also provides billing support to the practice and works closely with our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners; maintaining their schedules and ensuring that medication
management runs smoothly for each client.
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” - Maya Angelou
Evening Office Coordinator
Qiara is a billing specialist who has over 10 years experience working with clinical insurance. She is an essential part of our practice and helps to ensure that each client has a detailed understanding of their cost of services. Qiara is an empathic and direct team player. She goes out of her way to simplify the sometimes complicated process of insurance benefits.
"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” - Maya Angelou
Kalisa is a billing and verification specialist who has drive and enthusiasm. She keeps billing organized and is available to answer questions that may arise during your time as a client with us related to finance. Kalisa has passion for administration and is always working to find a solution to any problem.
"The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do." - Kobe Bryant