Staff

Lidia D. Abrams PhD, Executive Director

Resolve’s executive director and clinical supervisor is Dr. Lidia Abrams, PhD, licensed psychologist in New Jersey and New York, Diplomate of the Board of Rational Emotive/Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Fellow and Supervisor of the Albert Ellis Institute. Dr. Abrams has trained with the founder of rational-emotional behavioral psychology (REBT), Dr. Albert Ellis. She has co-authored articles and books on various topics in psychology. She has served on the board of New Jersey’s Association for Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and continues to work on a committee to help improve family court processes in New Jersey. She is currently a member of the New Jersey Psychological Association’s Ethics committee. Dr. Abrams is Expert Witness for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) and serves as forensic evaluator for Union County Family Court. She was honored as person of special Value by the Union County Mental Health Association.


Debra FerroLMFT, PhD, Director of Family Services

Dr. Debra Ferro is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in New Jersey and has been providing services at Resolve for 10 years. She is a former elementary education teacher, having taught at the kindergarten and fifth grade levels. Dr. Ferro holds graduate degrees in Human and Organizational Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. She has also completed her doctoral degree in General Psychology. For her doctoral dissertation research, she explored the relationships between parenting styles, adolescent identity styles, and social media usage and addiction in young adults.

Dr. Ferro is an adjunct psychology professor at Union County College, teaching Child and Adolescent Psychology, as well as Life Span Development. She has been nominated for the Dr. Richard F. and Barbara Neblett Prize for Educational Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

She has presented to various audiences on adolescent stress and anxiety, stress management in the workplace and has been a guest lecturer on Emotionally Focused Therapy at Kean University. In addition, she has facilitated groups for children of divorce, social skills in middle school and parenting skills for children with special needs.

At Resolve Dr. Ferro carries a large caseload of individuals, families, and children/adolescents and is certified in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). She also conducts custody and best interest evaluations, as well as visitation risk assessments and provides court testimony as necessary. In addition Dr. Ferro supervises a large number of interns and professionals working towards their license at Resolve.


Samantha BrownPsyD – Licensed Psychologist, Clinical Supervisor

Dr. Samantha Brown is a licensed psychologist who has been serving clients at Resolve Community Counseling Center since 2014. She began as a practicum student while working towards her doctoral degree at Chestnut Hill College and has remained with the agency in some capacity since that time. Dr. Brown completed her postdoctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Lidia Abrams and became a licensed clinical psychologist in May of 2021. She primarily provides individual therapy services to adult clients. Dr. Brown also provides psychological evaluation and assessment services to a wide range of clients, including many court-referred clients. In addition to the treatment and assessment services she provides, Dr. Brown serves as a clinical supervisor for student trainees and interns at the agency.


Clinical Staff

  • Dominique Outlaw-Howell

    PsyD – permitted psychologist
  • Angelisa Guillford

    LPC – licensed professional counselor
  • Mary Ann Hill

    LPC – Licensed professional counselor
  • Lauren Picerni

    LPC – Licensed professional counselor
  • Richard Schilare

    LCSW – Licensed clinical social worker
  • Michael Taub

    LPC, LCADC – Licensed professional counselor and addictions counselor
  • Jonna Berman

    LAC – Licensed associate counselor
  • Sophia Cardoso

    LAC – Licensed associate counselor
  • Yohselyn Daniel Burns

    LAC – Licensed Associate Counselor
  • Sean Foley

    LSW – Licensed social worker
  • Kate Gullo

    LAC – Licensed associate counselor
  • Jennifer Hernandez

    LAMFT – Licensed associate marriage and family therapist
  • Zoey Kyriacou

    LAC – Licensed associate counselor
  • Laura Sevilla

    LAC – Licensed Associate Counselor
  • Sasha Ortiz

    LAC – Licensed Associate Counselor
  • Idania Mercado

    MA – counselor
  • Diane Wallace

    MA - counselor
  • Jawann Westerman

    MA- counselor
  • Bracha Schechter

    LAMFT – Licensed associate marriage and family counselor
  • Daniel Watson

    MA – counselor and doctoral student

Interns

Resolve serves as internship site for several colleges and universities including Kean, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Montclair University, William Patterson, Fairleigh Dickinson, NYU, Chestnut Hill College and Capella. We provide internship opportunities for students in masters’ of counseling programs and doctoral programs in psychology. Our excellent reputation allows us to choose the most promising interns, who most often are hired to continue on at Resolve as counselors.


SOME KEY ASPECT OF OUR APPROACH TO WORKING WITH CLIENTS
Therapists at Resolve integrate a number of therapeutic techniques largely based on the presenting problem of the client.  However, the primary approach of most Resolve therapists is one based on Rational-Emotive/Cognitive Behavioral.  Below is a summary of the distinctive aspects of the methodology.
  1. The de-emphasis of early childhood is paramount. While CBT/REBT accepts the fact that dysfunctional emotional states are sometimes originally learned or aggravated by early teaching or irrational beliefs taught during development.  It proposes that these early-acquired irrationalities are not automatically sustained over the years by themselves.  Instead, people must actively and creatively re-instill them t. Consequently the CB/REBT usually spends very little time on the clients’ parents or family upbringing; but is fully able to them to bring about significant changes in their problems with life. The therapist demonstrates that no matter what the clients’ basic irrational philosophy of life, nor when and how they acquired it, they are presently disturbed because they still believe this self-defeating world- and self-view. If they will observe exactly what they are irrationally thinking in the present, and will challenge and question these self-statements they will usually improve significantly.
  2. Emphasis on deep philosophical change and scientific thinking. Because of its belief that human neurotic disturbance is largely ideologically or philosophically based, CBT/REBT strives for a thorough-going philosophic reorientation of a people’s outlook on life, rather than for a mere removal of any of their mental or psychosomatic symptoms. It teaches the clients, for ex ample, that human adults do not need to be accepted or loved, even though it is highly desirable that they be. REBT encourages individuals to be healthily sad or regretful when they are rejected, frustrated, or deprived. But it tries to teach them how to overcome feelings of intense hurt, self-deprecation, and depression. As in science, clients are shown how to question the dubious hypotheses that they construct about themselves and others. If they believe (as alas, millions of us do), that they are worthless because they perform certain acts badly, they are not merely taught to ask, “What is really bad about my acts?” and “Where is the evidence that they are wrong or unethical?” More importantly, they are shown how to ask themselves, “Granted that my acts may be mistaken, why am I a totally bad person for performing them? Where is the evidence that I must always be right in order to consider my-self worthy? Assuming that it is preferable for me to act well rather than badly, why do I have to do what is preferable?”Similarly, when people perceive (let us suppose, correctly) the erroneous and unjust acts of others, and become enraged at these others, they are shown how to stop and ask themselves, “Why is my hypothesis that the people who committed these errors and injustices are no damned good a true hypothesis? Granted that it would be better if they acted more competently or fairly, why should they have to do what would be better?” CBT/REBT helps clients understand that their demands and judgments of others is the basis of anger and conflict – not merely a result of the action of those who offend.
  3. CBT/REBT teaches that to be human is to be fallible, and that if we are to get on in life with minimal upset and discomfort, we would better accept this reality — and then unanxiously work hard to become a little less fallible.
  4. Use of psychological homework. CBT/ REBT agrees with most psychodynamic,  Freudian, neo-Freudian, Adlerian, and Jungian schools that acquiring insight, especially so-called emotional insight, into the source of their neurosis is a most important part of people’s corrective teaching. It distinguishes sharply, however, between so-called intellectual and emotional insight, and operationally defines emotional insight as individuals’ knowing or seeing the cause of their problems and working, in a determined and energetic manner, to apply this knowledge to the solution of these problems. The rational emotive behavior therapist helps clients to acknowledge that there is usually no other way for him to get better but by their continually observing, questioning, and challenging their own belief-systems, and by their working and practicing to change their own irrational beliefs by verbal and behavioral counter-propagandizing activity. In REBT, actual homework assignments are frequently agreed upon in individual and group therapy. Assignments may include dating a person whom the client is afraid to ask for a date; looking for a new job; experimentally returning to live with a husband with whom one has previously continually quarrelled; etc. The therapist quite actively tries to encourage clients to undertake such assignments as an integral part of the therapeutic process.The REBT/CBT practitioner is able to give clients unconditional rather than conditional positive regard because the REBT philosophy holds that no humans are to be damned for anything, no matter how execrable their acts may be. Because of the therapist’s unconditional acceptance of them as a human, and actively teaching clients how to fully accept themselves, clients are able to express their feelings more openly and to stop rating themselves even when they acknowledge the inefficiency or immorality of some of their acts.In many highly important ways, then, rational emotive behavior therapy utilizes expressive-experimental methods and behavioral techniques. It is not, however, primarily interested in helping people ventilate emotion and feel better, but in showing them how they can truly get better, and lead to happier, non-self-defeating, self-actualized lives.