MEET THE TEAM

Alison Lager, LCSW, CASAC

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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.

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DANIELLE MADDONA,
LMSW, SENIOR CLINICAN

JOANNE AUTERO,
LCSW

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.  

 

"Therapy is the opportunity to challenge/discover yourself in a healthy manner within a safe environment.”

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.

"Hope is the anchor of the soul."

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JOANNA GILMOR,
 MENTAL HEALTH &
SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST

Joanna is a school psychologist who is warm, kind, and understanding. Her presence is that of ease and understanding. Someone who genuinely cares while having a long career in Psychology. Joanna works well with children and adults of all ages. She is a person who makes you feel at ease and open as soon as you meet her. She is a very integral part of our team and is successful and caring with each client.

“Our ability to grow as a person is infinite. Supportive therapy can help improve your overall emotional well being."

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DANA WEDIN, ATR-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.

"Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change."

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THOMAS PICA,
LMSW

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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.

 

 "Happiness is not by chance, but by choice."

Jim Rohn

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.

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are”.

Carl Jung 

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KERI NAPOLITANO,
LMSW

Keri 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."

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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.


"Social Work is the Art of Listening and the Science of Hope."

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JENNA SANTOS,
ART PSYCHOTHERAPIST

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. 

"Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it, summon it, from even the most tragic of circumstances." 

Toni Morrison

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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. 

 

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

Rumi

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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.

 

“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful parts of us.”

David Richo

 

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KIRSTIN OSTROSKI, 
MSW-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. 

 

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

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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.

 

“No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind."

 

Taylor Swift

BOARD CERTIFIED
NURSE PRACTITONERS 

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. 

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JEANNETTE SANTULLI, 
Board Certified 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! 

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RACHEL CONVERTINO,
Practice Director

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 fits 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.

"Life is a beautiful thing."

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KERI SCARPULLA,
Practice Manager

FORTINE MARGARITIS,
Wantagh Office Coordinator

Fortine is our Wantagh Office Coordinator and looks forward to greeting you with a smile and warmth. We value Fortine's humor and ability to light up any room! Fortine holds a positive outlook by looking at the brighter side of every situation and is always eager to help others. Fortine truly enjoys interacting with each and every person who enters the practice or makes a phone call. Fortine is a firm believer of faith over fear. Fortine also believes that no one has to struggle in silence, it’s okay not to be okay. Fortine is an advocate for ending the stigma that surrounds asking for help and promotes being kind to your mind because mental health matters. 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 into their personal milestones while at our practice. You’ll always feel welcomed and comforted with Fortine the face and voice of the Wantagh office. She is so happy to be apart of this team and excited to meet all of you soon. 

 

“No one is you and that is your power."

Keri is one of our Practice Managers 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 Lead Placement Specialist. Keri works closely with our Placement Team to ensure that new clients are properly 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 and believes her management style is approachable and relatable. With a background in administrative work and assistant roles, Keri ensures the office runs smoothly across a wide variety of areas. Keri truly enjoys engaging with each and every person that calls or enters Lager Counseling, she believes a little kindness can go a long way. Keri is an advocate for mental health and therapy herself. Her personal Core Values align with our Core Values as a practice which makes for a great pairing. Keri looks forward to using her inviting and uplifting presence to make your experience at Lager Counseling Services all you want it to be. A quote that Keri has lived by her whole life per the advice of her mother; 

 

“Slow and steady wins the race.”

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Insurance & Billing Specialist Team

Our Insurance and Billing Specialist Team work with providers to determine benefits and resolve claims issues for our clients.

 

Our team works with all the providers to ensure that they have all the administrative tools they need to work successfully with our clients.

 

Most of their work is behind the scenes and is focused on keeping the practice running smoothly for everyone.

SARA KITSON,
Placement Specialist

Sara is our Placement Specialist and a part of the Administrative Support Team here at Lager Counseling Services and works out of our Annex and Bohemia locations. 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 where she will receive her License in Mental Health Counseling as well as her CASAC (Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor). Sara hopes to become a full-time therapist upon the completion of her degree as it has been her dream job since she was eight years old. She is especially passionate and looking forward to working with populations that struggle with drug and alcohol addiction as the recovery process is extremely unique to each and every individual. Sara’s main goal is to ensure that each client feels heard during their Initial Phone Screening and that all their needs are properly met by a therapist that she and our Practice Owner/Clinical Director Alison Lager select together. Sara loves talking to and getting to know each and every client she gets to speak with; her energy and openness allows for clients to feel comfortable sharing with her.

 

“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

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REBECCA SANTIAGO,
Evening Office Coordinator

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 and looks forward to working with clients at LCS. 

 

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”

Maya Angelou