Clinical Psychology Training Staff & Contact Info

Psychology Department Contacts

Stacy Cruess, PhD
Director of Psychology and Training

Ms. Paula Snedeker
Administrative Assistant

Training Staff

* = Psychology staff who are part of the training staff

David Bendor, Psy.D.

A licensed clinical psychologist with the Institute of Living since 2008, Dr. Bendor is the Clinical Coordinator of the Medical Track at Young Adult Services. Before joining Young Adult Services he was the psychologist on the adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit. Dr. Bendor received his doctorate from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. He completed his internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Living. Prior to joining the staff at the IOL, Dr. Bendor worked at Riverside Community Care in Newton, MA where he treated children, adolescents, and adults in an ambulatory setting. Additionally, Dr. Bendor was a member of the Town of Newton Youth Outreach Program, the Town of Needham Suicide Prevention Coalition, and the Riverside Community Care Statewide Trauma Center.

Lauren Brush, Ph.D. *
Clinical Psychologist, Schizophrenia Rehabilitation Program
University of Vermont

Interests include evidence-based treatment for and assessment of individuals with severe mental illness, particularly those with schizophrenia and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.

Jennifer A. Caruso Psy.D. *
Staff Neuropsychologist
Arizona School of Professional Psychology at Argosy/Phoenix

Dr. Caruso is an adult clinical neuropsychologist at the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Chase Family Movement Disorders Center. Her interests include the assessment of patients with various movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Atypical and Secondary Parkinsonism, Essential Tremor, Dystonia, and Huntington’s disease, among others, as well as pre-and post-surgical evaluations for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) candidates.

Jimmy Choi, Ph.D.

Dr. Choi is a senior scientist at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center and staff psychologist in the psychosis day treatment clinics, where he directs the cognitive and physical fitness rehabilitation programs for adolescents and adults with psychosis. For the past 15 years, he was on the faculty at Columbia and Yale medical schools and a neuropsychologist at the VA Connecticut Health Care System and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he led NIMH and VA studies in psychosis and Alzheimer’s disease on treatment motivation, risk factors, and psychosocial rehabilitation. He currently conducts funded studies in psychosis on neurofeedback cognitive training, physical exercise, and suicide prevention.

Stacy Cruess, Ph.D.
Clinical Health Psychologist
University of Miami

Dr.Cruess is a staff Health Psychologist in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the Ayer Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Cruess specializes in the psychological treatment of adults with comorbid medical problems using evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatments. She has experience treating individuals with epilepsy, psychogenic nonepileptic spells, and other neurocognitive disorders, as well as other medical problems such as cancer, HIV, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Rosemarie Coratola, Psy.D., LMFT *
Clinical Psychologist, Child and Adolescent Inpatient Service
Antioch University New England

Clinical interests include individual, group, and family therapy with children and adolescents and couples’ therapy. Strength-based and trauma-informed treatment to address social-emotional and psychological difficulties.

Susan D’Ambrosio, PsyD
Staff Psychologist
Nova Southeastern University

Dr. D’Ambrosio is a licensed clinical psychologist and member of our team at Tallwood Men’s Health and Outpatient Health Psychology. She is trained and practices in a range of modalities including psychodynamic, CBT, solution-focused, and couples therapy. Her primary clinical interests include treating persons with suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, trauma backgrounds, chronic medical illnesses, and relationship issues.

James DeGiovanni, Ph.D. *
Clinical Psychologist
Temple University

Psychodynamic psychotherapy, group psychotherapy of severe personality disorders; object relation approaches to marital and family therapy. Treatment of adult inpatients. Efficacy of long-term group therapy in treatment of resistant and character-disordered patients. Brief treatment of depression and anxiety. Ericksonian and hypnotherapeutic models of psychotherapy.

Mara De Maio, Ph.D.
Director of Child and Adolescent Services
St. John's University

Treatment of patients with severe and prolonged mental illness, eating disorders, dually-diagnosed patients; group psychotherapy. Effects of gender-role socialization on behavior. Clinical and research interests include psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, and cognitive remediation.

Gretchen Diefenbach, Ph.D.
Louisiana State University

Behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies for anxiety disorders; research interests include the psychopathology, assessment, and treatment of anxiety and related disorders, in particular generalized anxiety disorder, trichotillomania, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Ralph Dodd, Psy.D. *
Coordinator, Grace S. Webb School
University of Hartford

Child and adolescent assessment and psychotherapy. Individual, group, and family psychotherapy of adult patients presenting with acute psychiatric disorders.

Jennifer Ferrand, Psy.D. , ABPP *
Director of Wellness, Medical Affairs
Board Certified in Clinical Health Psychology
University of Hartford

Psychological assessment and treatment of adults with medical comorbidities, with particular interest in clinical hypnosis, behavior change including weight management, and coping with pain; program development including collaborative care models in the medical hospital.

Christina Gilliam, Ph.D. *
Staff Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center
University of Missouri-St. Louis

Dr. Gilliam specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy for adults with anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, and PTSD. She is also the director of the CBT training program at the Anxiety Disorders Center.

Danielle Gleason, PsyD
Staff Psychologist
Hawaii School of Professional Psychology

Dr. Gleason is currently the Clinical Psychologist for the Hartford Hospital Transplant Program and Comprehensive Liver Center. In her role she conducts psychosocial transplant candidacy evaluations and provides psychotherapy for patient living with end-stage organ failure. Her professional interests include behavioral medicine, solid organ transplantation, organ donation, mindfulness-based interventions, addiction treatment, bioethics, and health professional and caregiver wellness.

Scott Hannan, Ph.D. *
Program Manager, Anxiety Disorders Center
Fordham University

Dr. Hannan has expertise in the area of cognitive-behavioral therapy. He treats children, adolescents, and adults. His clinical interests include obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, panic disorder, and school refusal.

Erica Hollar, Psy.D. *
C/A Psychologist
Pace University

Dr. Hollar is a child and adolescent Clinical Psychologist at the Grace Webb School. She earned her Psy.D from Pace University and completed her internship at JCCA, a residential treatment facility in New York. She finished her post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Living on the child and adolescent inpatient units.  Her current clinical and research interests include psychological assessment, child development and parent-child relationships.

Bradley Jerson, Ph.D. *
Pediatric Psychologist, Connecticut Children’s
Fordham University

Dr. Jerson works within the Division of Digestive Diseases, Hepatology, and Nutrition at Connecticut Children’s. His clinical interests include incorporated evidence-based interventions into standard medical treatment and the application of the biopsychosocial model to GI conditions and other chronic medical illnesses.

Daniel Jones, PhD
Staff Psychologist
Eastern Michigan University

Dr. Jones has clinical interests in anxiety, posttraumatic stress, and chronic pain and health conditions, as well as research and clinical-administrative interests in transdiagnostic and low-intensity treatments, as well as developing systems to measure treatment outcome with patient-rated questionnaires.  He employs empirically supported cognitive-behavioral and acceptance- and mindfulness-based interventions to treat a variety of conditions.  He currently works at the Hartford Hospital Pain Treatment Center, providing group and individual psychotherapy focused on management of chronic pain, and also conducts psychological evaluations to assess candidacy for certain surgical interventions for pain.

Melissa Jourdain, Psy.D. *
Staff Psychologist
Nova Southeastern University

Dr. Jourdain is an adult inpatient psychologist who specializes in the treatment of serious mental illness. Additional clinical interests include: psychodynamic psychotherapy; mindfulness based interventions; recovery orientated therapy; individual, group, and family therapy; diagnostic and risk assessment; crisis intervention; program development; and systems change. Dr. Jourdain is involved in the supervision of the residents and fellows with training emphasis in developing Psychologists as leaders. Her research interests include the use of psychotherapy in inpatient settings, themes surrounding frequent re-hospitalizations, and mindfulness intervention for psychosis.

Diana Kolcz, Psy.D. *

Dr. Kolcz is a lifespan clinical neuropsychologist primarily involved with assessment and consultation for cases seen through our outpatient clinic. She supervises in the neuropsychology residency, internship programs and has practicum and undergraduate mentees.  She has clinical and research interests in psychological and neuropsychological assessment, TBI, dementia, movement disorders, wellness, and most recently has been working on research examining the neuropsychological sequelae of COVID-19 in long-haulers. She completed her child track internship and neuropsychology fellowship at the IOL.

Richard Lautenbach, Ph.D. *
Staff Psychologist, Coordinator of Group Therapy Services
Kent State University

Treatment of patients with severe and prolonged mental illness, eating disorders, dually-diagnosed patients. Group psychotherapy. Effects of gender-role socialization on behavior.

Timothy LaVigne, Ph.D. *
Pediatric Psychologist, Connecticut Children’s
University of Vermont

Dr. LaVigne is a pediatric psychologist at Connecticut Children’s. His work in the Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine includes conducting multi-disciplinary new patient evaluations (with physician, nursing, physical therapy, and occupational therapy colleagues) and providing individual, group, and family-based interventions for patients with chronic pain. He is also establishing biofeedback services within the division and serves as the primary psychologist for the Chronic Headache Program. His current research projects involve examining virtual reality interventions for chronic pain and the family history of pediatric patients with somatic symptom and related disorders.

Hannah Levy, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center
Concordia University

Dr. Levy specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy for adults with anxiety and related disorders, particularly OCD and PTSD. Her research focuses on biological, behavioral, and cognitive mechanisms of anxiety and related disorders, with the ultimate goal of improving current treatments by targeting these mechanisms.

Nicholas Lombardi, Psy.D. *
Psychologist, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Program
University of Hartford

Treatment of adults and adolescents with borderline personality disorder. Personality disorders. Dialectical behavioral therapy. Mood and anxiety disorders. Individual and group psychotherapy. Cognitive and personality assessment

Carrie Lukens, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist
University of Hawaii-Manoa

Dr. Lukens joined the Division of Health Psychology in 2016. She provides psychological assessment of adults pursing bariatric surgery and works with patients with chronic diseases including obesity and diabetes. Her clinical interests include weight management, motivation enhancement, diabetes management, adherence to behavior change, and cardiovascular disease management.

Peter Lucchio, Psy.D *
Health Psychologist

Dr. Peter Lucchio completed his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the University of Hartford, and is currently a licensed clinical psychologist at Hartford Hospital/Bone and Joint Institute. He specializes in the practice of clinical health psychology. He has specific interests in chronic pain conditions, improving psychological readiness for surgery, recovery from injury in athletics, as well as optimizing athletic performance. Dr. Lucchio provides educational in-services to physical therapy and orthopedic staff within Hartford Hospital’s Rehabilitation Network on utilizing psychologically informed care with patients.

Kelly Maynes, Psy.D. *
Pediatric Psychologist

Dr. Maynes is a pediatric psychologist at Connecticut Children's within the Child & Adolescent Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry Service and within the Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine. She enjoys multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to pediatric care with special interests in the assessment and treatment of disordered eating and feeding in a pediatric hospital setting and use of cognitive-behavioral therapy in promoting pain self-management and skill development.

Michelle Mirsky, Psy.D.
University of Hartford

Dr. Mirsky is a member of our Bariatric Team within the Institute of Living's Health Psychology Department. Clinical interests include health psychology and behavior change, with focus on weight management within the surgical and medical weight loss programs. Provides diagnostic assessment and individual psychotherapy.

Adrienne Miscimarra, Psy.D 
Health Psychologist, Surgical & Medical Weight Loss
University of Indianapolis – Psy.D, M.A.
University of Notre Dame – B.A.

Dr. Miscimarra completed her doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the University of Indianapolis and went on to complete her post-doctoral residency in health psychology at the VA Connecticut Health System – West Haven/ Yale University School of Medicine. She has been a member of the IOL’s health psychology department since 2018. Dr. Miscimarra is currently a licensed clinical psychologist within the Surgical and Metabolic Weight Loss Program in the Central Region. Her particular areas of interest include: obesity, stigma and motivation underlying health behaviors, improving psychological readiness for weight loss surgery, self-compassion centered therapy models, and integrated healthcare.

Heather Murray Latin, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist, Anxiety Disorders Center
Drexel University

Psychological assessment and delivery of cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety and related disorders; research interests include identifying common mechanisms associated with the development and maintenance of emotional disorders, developing a transdiagnostic treatment approach targeting common underlying mechanisms of emotional disorders

Kevin O'Shea, Psy.D. *
Clinical Psychologist
American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Washington, DC

Integration of psychodynamic, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral techniques and perspectives in time-limited individual, group, and family therapy for depression, anxiety disorders, and character pathology. Late adolescent, adult, and older adult populations. Special interest in the treatment of substance use disorders and dementia.

A. Brooke Walters Pellegrino, PhD *
Staff Psychologist
University of Mississippi

Dr. Pellegrino’s interests include research in headache and sleep disturbance and seeing patients with these conditions. Dr. Pellegrino is an invited reviewer for the journal Headache, is a member of the American Headache Society and American Psychological Association (Health Psychology Division). Dr. Pellegrino is licensed in Connecticut and New York and she currently works as a Clinical Health Psychologist at the Hartford Healthcare Headache Center.

Brianna Pollock, Ph.D. *

Dr. Brianna Pollock is a clinical psychologist with clinical and research interests in psychodynamic and mentalization-based psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, personality pathology and the intersection of diversity, equity and behavioral health treatment.  She is a staff psychologist at the Institute of Living (IOL), Professional’s Intensive Outpatient Program, and also completed her pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the IOL. She is involved in training psychology fellows, interns and practicum students in areas of advanced psychodynamic theory and research in the psychology department.

Carolina Posada, Ph.D. *
Staff Neuropsychologist
San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego

Neuropsychological assessment of older adult patients, Spanish-speaking and bilingual patients.

Elyse Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Health Psychologist
University of Vermont

Dr. Rosenberg provides group, individual, and family therapy services within the Young Adult Medical Track. Her clinical interests include pediatric and health psychology, consultation, and cognitive-behavioral approaches to treatment. She has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, families, and multidisciplinary teams to provide services for people with co-occurring medical and psychiatric challenges. She has a special interest in examining ways of promoting physician training in assessment and interventions for suicidal ideation and behavior, and consulting and collaborating across disciplines to promote suicide prevention.

Ila Sabino, Ph.D. *
Staff Health Psychologist
Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University

Clinical interests include integrated mental health and primary care, behavior change, and weight management.

Melissa Santos, Ph.D.
Division Chief of Pediatric Psychology, Connecticut Children's
Texas Tech University

Dr. Santos is a pediatric psychologist at Connecticut Children's conducting individual, group, and family-based treatment of pediatric obesity. She also provides the psychological assessment of adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery. Her research is in the treatment of pediatric obesity and factors influencing weight maintenance.

Laura M. I. Saunders, Psy.D., ABPP *
Child Psychologist
Board Certified in Clinical Psychology
University of Hartford

Child, adolescent, and family psychotherapy; behavioral management strategies; clinical interests in children with attentional, hyperactive, impulsive, and disruptive behaviors; research in gay/lesbian youth issues.

Elisabeth Scherpenisse, Ph.D. *
Clinical Psychologist, Grace S. Webb School
University of Tennessee

Psychological assessment, particularly projective techniques; personality disorders; psychotherapy with children and adolescents; school avoidance; group psychotherapy in a school setting; identity development in adolescence; mechanisms of change in psychotherapy.

Geoffrey Schnirman, Ph.D.
Clinical Neuropsychologist
Fordham University

Dr. Schnirman is an adult neuropsychologist at the Ayer Neuroscience Institute Chase Family Movement Disorders Center. He completed his doctoral internship at the Brockton and West Roxbury VA Medical Center and a two-year post-doctoral neuropsychology fellowship at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. His clinical interests include dementia, developmental disorders, and cerebrovascular risk factors.

Dana Shagan, Psy.D. *
Program Manager, Schizophrenia Rehabilitation Program
University of Hartford

Severe, persistent mental illness, adults, group, cognitive rehabilitation, diversity, equity and inclusion

Marissa Sicley-Rogers, Psy.D. *

Dr. Marissa Sicley-Rogers completed her graduate training in clinical psychology at Antioch University New England. At the Institute of Living, she completed her pre-doctoral internship in child and adolescent psychology and a postdoctoral fellowship in lifespan psychological assessment and group psychotherapy for suicide prevention with adolescents. After completion of her fellowship, she joined IOL’s Psychological Testing Service in 2017 as a staff psychologist where she provides clinical and assessment supervision to both pre-doctoral interns and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Sicley-Rogers’ primary clinical interests and activities include psychological testing and consultation, risk assessment, suicide prevention and intervention, and group psychotherapy.

Jessica Sierra, Ph.D. *
Clinical Psychologist-Division of Health Psychology
University of Connecticut

Psychological assessment of adults, with a focus on bariatric surgery and transplant candidates. Provide individual therapy for medical patients.

Jessica Silva, Psy.D. *

Dr. Silva specializes in individual, family, and group psychotherapy with children and adolescents. Clinical and research interests include complex trauma, attachment, chronic mental illness, and psychological assessment.

Kristin Slyne, Psy.D. *
Staff Neuropsychologist
University of Hartford

Dr. Slyne received her PsyD in clinical psychology from the University of Hartford. She later completed her doctoral internship in Clinical Neuropsychology at Yale University and her two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Neuropsychology at the University of Connecticut, School of Medicine. She is presently a Clinical Neuropsychologist at Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living and the Hartford HealthCare Memory Care Center. Clinical interests include traumatic brain injury (TBI), vascular risk factors, movement disorders, and dementia. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Slyne has participated in several research studies, presented at professional conferences, and enjoys teaching/supervising trainees. Research interests are similar to clinical interests and include the following: TBI, vascular risk factors and late-life depression, movement disorders, and dementia. She serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

Kimberly Stevens, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist
Southern Illinois University

Dr. Stevens works at the Anxiety Disorders Center and specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. Her clinical interests include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Michael C. Stevens, Ph.D.

Dr. Stevens is a licensed clinical psychologist who received his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut in 1999. His training emphasized clinical neuropsychology at an internship at the West Haven VAMC and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He joined the Institute of Living and Yale Psychiatry in 2003 where his primary role has been contributing to the growth and success of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center. Since that time, he has been the Principal Investigator or a co-investigator on dozens of R01-level NIH grants that use neuroimaging, EEG, neurocognitive, and genetic methods to better understand a variety of different neuropsychiatric disorders, including ADHD and other disruptive behavior disorders of childhood, Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Illness, Autism, psychosis, TBI, and recently both alcohol-related addiction as well as the effects of cannabis on the brain. Much of this clinical research work focuses on psychiatric illnesses from adolescence until early adulthood, and incorporates both concepts and methodology that examines distributed neural networks in the brain. Most recently, Dr. Stevens has become interested in using neuroscience findings to accelerate development of novel, non-pharmacological clinical interventions optimized for specific disorders and patient subgroups. This includes techniques like cognitive training, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Dr. Stevens serves both as an adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University and a resource at the Institute of Living for developing the IOL’s clinical research infrastructure and supporting the IOL psychiatry resident and psychology training programs.

Warren Thime, Ph.D.
Per Diem, Clinical Psychologist, Schizophrenia Rehabilitation Program
Fordham University

Severe mental illness; group, family and individual psychotherapy, assessment.

David Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP *
Director, Anxiety Disorders Center
Board Certified in Clinical Psychology
University of Arkansas

Behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies for anxiety disorders, particularly OCD and PTSD; treatment outcome research; experimental psychopathology; cognitive models of anxiety; clinical psychopharmacology.

Emily Wakefield, Psy.D. *
University of Hartford, Hartford, CT
Pediatric Psychologist

Dr. Wakefield is a pediatric psychologist in the Division of Pain and Palliative Medicine at Connecticut Children’s. She provides outpatient individual and group interventions for children and adolescents with chronic pain conditions. Her research interests include racial bias, stigma and quality of life among pediatric pain populations.

Blaise Worden, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist
Rutgers University

Dr. Worden received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Rutgers University. In 2009 she completed her predoctoral internship at the Greater Hartford Internship Consortium in Hartford, CT. In 2012 she completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Anxiety Disorders Center and has remained on staff as a licensed psychologist. Her clinical and research interests include treatment outcome assessment and mechanisms of change underlying empirically supported psychological treatments. Dr. Worden is also involved in several research projects at the Anxiety Disorders Center, including studies on the treatment of hoarding disorder and co-occurring anxiety and substance use disorders. Dr. Worden specializes in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders. She has particular experience with cognitive-behavioral treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder, and substance dependence.

Aieyat Zalzala, Ph.D. *
Counseling Psychologist

Dr. Zalzala is a counseling psychologist with clinical interests in providing insight-oriented therapy to individuals suffering from severe mental illness, with special emphasis on schizophrenia spectrum disorders. She is involved in training fellows, residents and interns across disciplines in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Research interests are centered on improving treatment for those with SMI and the intersection of multiculturalism and social justice in mental health care.