Alex Dayton, LMHC

New York University, MA
Joined Freedom in 2009
Associate Clinical Director

Alex is the Associate Clinical Director here at Freedom Institute. He co-facilities the Evening Outpatient Program, is a member of the DBT consultation team, and works individually with adolescents, young adults, and adults. In addition to his Masters degree from NYU, Alex has completed training at Bellevue hospital and at FEGS working with adults with both chronic mental illness and addiction. He has worked with adults, adolescents, and children at the Brooklyn Center for Psychotherapy and on a research team at the Center for Health, Identity, behavior and Prevention Studies conducting HIV and substance abuse research. Alex has completed the Foundations in Family Therapy Course at The Ackerman Institute for The Family, received intensive training in DBT at Behavioral Tech, and has completed training in advanced practices for Motivational Interviewing.

“What makes Freedom Institute special is our ability to effectively treat a range of clients based on the diverse array of services that we provide. We have the ability to meet clients where they are in their recovery or desire to recover and we help move them towards a life worth living.”

Amy Berson-Sayers

Joined Freedom in 2015
Administrative Assistant

Amy is our Administrative Assistant and is responsible for administrative tasks and general organization of the front desk and reception area. Amy has a background in a variety of fields, including: event operations, advertising, and retail. She is a real ‘people person’ and a very well rounded member of our team.  Amy’s work at Freedom Institute allows her to continue doing the thing she loves most- being of service to others.

“I am thrilled to be part of a wonderful team that is devoted to helping people change their lives.”

Anne Bresnahan, CASAC-G

Joined Freedom in 2013
Adult Counselor

Anne has worked in the field of addiction with both adults and adolescents for over 20 years. She brings her love for and training in Psychodrama, Sociometry and Group Psychotherapy and utilizes Motivational Interviewing, CBT and DBT skills as well as Kundalini Yoga and meditation training for addiction recovery. Anne is a certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor with special credentials in treating problem gambling. Anne runs our weekly Men’s Advanced Recovery Psychodrama Group and founded and leads our Gambling Group, one of the first of its kind in the New York City area.

“Freedom Institute embodies a combination of a high quality of knowledge of addiction treatment and innovative thinking with the supportive and loving care for each other and for our clients. This is an exceptionally powerful formula for success in our field.”

Anthony Daverese

New York University, BA
St. Joseph’s Seminary, MA
Joined Freedom in 2013
Office Manager

Anthony is our Office Manager and Front Desk Receptionist, the first person you see as you enter our center.  He ensures a comfortable and warm welcome and performs a variety of tasks to facilitate the smooth transition of every client and visitor who presents themselves at our front desk. Anthony oversees the general operation of the office and essential needs to keep us running smoothly.

“Every organization has a beginning a reason for being. Freedom Institute’s roots are deeply embedded in its main purpose of revealing and reaffirming to all who come here the message of hope, healing, wellness and support for recovery.”

Barbara Bock, LCSW

Columbia University, MSW
Joined Freedom in 2007
Adult Therapist, Intervention Specialist

After receiving her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, Barbara started in the mental health field working with children, adolescents and adults. Over time, she developed a professional interest in the impact of disease on the psychological well-being of those who are ill, as well as how their illness would change the dynamics in their families.

At Freedom Institute, Barbara specializes in work with adults with substance abuse issues who are considering sobriety or who want help staying sober. She also works with family members and friends who hope to get their loved ones into treatment by way of Intervention.

“What I most appreciate about Freedom, in addition to working among a first rate staff, is the open and inclusive philosophy here. We offer services to anyone willing to consider sobriety, no matter where they are in their decision process to change, and we work collaboratively to include family and significant others in the healing process.”

Bob Miller

Williams College, BA
Columbia Business School, MBA
Joined Freedom Institute in 2012
Chairman

Bob Miller has been Chairman of Freedom Institute’s Board of Directors since 2012. However, as the son of its founder, Mona Mansell, he has been intimately involved with the organization since its inception in 1976. A media entrepreneur and business executive with more than 40 years of professional experience, Bob brings his business acumen and strategic vision to his role and works closely with the leadership team to develop and execute an overall strategy for Freedom Institute.

“Freedom Institute is unique. We understand substance abuse and addiction and the corresponding implications on family dynamics like no one else. Our sole purpose is to improve the lives of individuals and families. It helped my own family and I am passionate about its mission and ensuring its success and growing our services to meet the needs of our community.”

Carolyn Licht, PhD

Fordham University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, PhD, NYS Licensed, Clinical Psychology, Specialization in child and family
Fordham University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Masters in Clinical Psychology
Marymount Manhattan College, Bachelors in Psychology
Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute, Core Training Program
Joined Freedom in 2013
DBT Therapist

Carolyn, one of Freedom Institute’s DBT Therapists, is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked extensively in the field of HIV, substance use, and trauma.  She has intensive training in Mindfulness Based Interventions, including MB-Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviors, MB-Cognitive Therapy for Depression, MB-Pain Management, and MB-Stress Reduction. In addition, Carolyn has Behavioral Tech, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Training and training in family systems and harm reduction therapeutic approaches.  Prior to her employment at Freedom Institute, Carolyn served as the Staff Psychologist at the Health & Education Alternatives for Teens (HEAT) Program in Brooklyn and as a psychologist at Columbia University Medical Center at Harlem Hospital. In these settings, Carolyn specialized in providing comprehensive mental health services to young MSM and transgender youth of color, and to culturally diverse, at-risk youth and adults infected and affected by HIV.  She also has a part-time private psychotherapy practice in Manhattan. Carolyn utilizes an integrative strength-based therapeutic approach that emphasizes the mind-body-spirit connection and encourages the development of skills to improve coping and communication.

“The capacity for change and growth is inherent in all of us. It is often our own insecurities and fears that prevent us from achieving our optimal potential. Freedom Institute creates a safe, respectful, and collaborative therapeutic space, and empowers clients to explore who they are and who they want to be as they develop skills to begin their journey of recovery and healing.”

Carrie Sanders, MPH, LCSW

Columbia University, MPH
Hunter College, MSW
Ackerman Institute for the Family, Post-Graduate Certification
Joined Freedom in 2009
Director of Family Services

Carrie manages our comprehensive and unique family therapy program and adolescent services as well as provides family, couples and individual therapy.  Carrie is also focused on developing new programs to meet the needs of the clients we serve. Carrie earned her Master’s in Public Health from Columbia University, and worked for ten years doing program development, clinical research and policy work in HIV, cancer and substance abuse. She then became a licensed clinical social worker and began her career providing family therapy and clinical supervision in the child welfare system. Carrie has a post-graduate Certificate in Family Therapy from the Ackerman Institute. She is passionate about her work with families and couples and the belief that family therapy is a crucial component in recovery and relapse prevention.

“Freedom Institute’s talented and dedicated clinicians, our commitment to clinician development to provide the highest level of counseling, and our collaborative work environment to provide the most comprehensive care to meet clients’ needs make us unique.”

Cassidy Litvack, MHC-LP, CASAC-T

Tufts University, BS in Psychology
Columbia University Teachers College, M.Ed in Counseling Psychology
Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, Two-Year Evening Program in Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Joined Freedom in 2017
Intake Coordinator

Cassidy joined Freedom Institute as a consultant to support the intake process and to provide individual therapy for adolescents and adults. Prior to joining Freedom Institute, she worked as a Senior Case Manager at City Recovery, a sober living facility, supporting clients around their recovery goals. She additionally spent time in Addiction Institute’s outpatient department, where she conducted over 200 assessments for individuals seeking substance abuse support and services. She is currently enrolled in a psychodynamic training program, has completed postgraduate training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and is a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor Trainee. Her varied training and professional experiences have allowed her to embrace an eclectic approach in which she emphasizes authenticity and empathy, a client’s history as well as his or her “here and now”, and most importantly each unique therapist-client relationship.

“Freedom Institute is truly a family of clinicians who care deeply about their clients and the therapeutic process. There is an unparalleled level of commitment to supporting clients and their families around the profound challenges of addiction. Freedom is a community of individuals who are passionate about learning and growing as clinicians in order to continue providing the best recovery services possible.”

Courtney Stursberg Schiffrin, LCSW

New York University Silver School of Social Work, MSW
Ackerman Institute for the Family, Post-graduate Training in Family Therapy
Joined Freedom in 2015
Family Therapist

Courtney earned her Master’s in Social Work from New York University and specializes in working with couples and families. Courtney began her career at a community mental health center in Harlem working with clients triply diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, substance use disorders, and mental illness. She has worked with adolescents, adults, couples, and families managing mood, anxiety, substance use, and personality disorders at a large outpatient mental health clinic in Midtown Manhattan. She has also facilitated a weekly support group for parents, siblings and spouses in families suffering from the effects of addiction and mental illness at a renowned chemical dependency agency. Courtney has completed post-graduate training, earning her Certificate in Family Therapy from the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

“Freedom Institute’s emphasis on and dedication to the importance of family in recovery is what sets us apart. The staff here is committed to understanding the whole person and has tremendous respect and consideration for how addiction impacts the whole family.”

Dan Mierlak, MD, Ph.D

Dan joined the Freedom Institute in 2008. He completed his residency in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in 1993, and his fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at NYU Medical Center in 1996. He served as Director for Psychiatric Services at Smithers Treatment Center prior to joining Freedom Institute. Dr. Mierlak maintains a private practice in general and addiction psychiatry in Manhattan and Montclair, NJ.

Dana Rollins

University of Massachusetts at Amherst, BA
Joined Freedom Institute in 2012
General Manager

Dana Rollins is the General Manager at Freedom Institute. Dana began working with us in 2012 as a consultant helping with financial analysis. Her role has grown into overseeing finance and operations, including preparing financial statements, annual budgets, human resources and overseeing administrative and billing staff. Dana has over 20 years of experience in finance and operations in magazine publishing.

“I feel fortunate to be part of the outstanding team at Freedom Institute and that I am able to apply my financial background to something that is meaningful and helping individuals and families.”

Elisa Cameron, MHC-LP

Teachers College, Columbia University, EdM
The George Washington University, MPA
Joined Freedom Institute in 2016
Adult and Adolescent Therapist
 
Elisa is one of our Adolescent and Adult Therapists here at Freedom Institute. She is a member of our DBT consultation team and works with adolescents, young adults, and adults in individual and group capacities. Elisa has experience working with clients managing mood, anxiety, personality and substance use disorders in a variety of treatment settings, including preventive service agencies and private practice.  She earned her Master’s degree in Psychological Counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University as well as her Master’s degree in Public Administration from The George Washington University. Elisa has completed post-graduate training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) through Behavioral Tech and is continuing her post-graduate work at the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

“At Freedom Institute, we are committed to viewing clients and their struggles with substance abuse through a culturally competent and systemic lens. This enables us to provide compassionate and individualized care to our clients and their families throughout the recovery process.”

Fran Calafatello, LCSW, CASAC, SEP

Joined Freedom in 2008
Adult Therapist

Fran Calafatello facilitates our Early Recovery group and also counsels individual adults. Her work focuses on the integration of Western psychotherapy and Eastern holistic mind-body practices as well as incorporating recovery from trauma. As both an individual counselor and group facilitator, Fran uses mindfulness and meditation practices to support recovery and strengthen an individual’s capacity to deal with issues that arise in the process of becoming abstinent and living fully.

Fran has an MSW from Fordham Graduate School of Social Services and is a Certified Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, trained at The Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy. She also completed a two-year training in Eating Disorders, Compulsions and Addiction as well as in Somatic Experiencing, a treatment for trauma, at the William Alanson White Institute.

“Freedom Institute is a rare New York gem in the field of substance abuse treatment in that we provide a safe, healing and compassionate environment for clients and their families to discover and sustain new lives in recovery and experience true personal freedom. Always changing and open to new and better ways to serve our population, Freedom Institute incorporates the latest and most advanced evidence-based treatments to those who come to us for help.”

Frank Wells, LCSW

New York University, MSW
Joined Freedom in 2011
Senior Family Therapist

Frank earned his Master’s in Social Work from New York University and previously worked as a family therapist in the child welfare system as well as a counselor in outpatient mental health area working with the chronically mentally ill population. Frank has training and experience in crisis management and suicide prevention. Additionally, Frank has completed post-graduate training, earning his Certificate in Family Therapy from the Ackerman Institute for the Family, where he now teaches.

Frank provides whole-family, couple and individual therapy. He facilitates therapeutic support groups for spouses and parents in families suffering from the effects of addiction and mental health issues. Frank also conducts trainings at other treatment programs seeking to expand the range and impact of their work with families.

“The tremendous amount of training and clinical experience of the Freedom staff is exceptional. It reflects what is clearly a priority placed on clinical depth of service well beyond the average institutional setting. I am proud to be part of this team.”

Genoveva Garcia, LCSW

Western Institute of Technology & Higher Education (ITESO), BA, Psychology
Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College, MA, Social Work
Ackerman Institute for the Family, Post-graduate Training in Family Therapy
Joined Freedom Institute in 2017
Family Therapist

Genoveva Garcia is a bilingual therapist specializing in Family and Couples Therapy.  She brings to Freedom Institute’s team training and experience in trauma, immigration, families making the transition to parenthood, family reunification and adoption. Genoveva’s previous experience includes work as a therapist in outpatient mental health clinics helping clients with chronic mental illness; in grassroots organizations; and with college students in New York City.

Genoveva also is a Teaching Fellow, Associate Director of the Latino Youth and Family Immigration Project, and Faculty at the Center for the Developing Child and Family at the Ackerman Institute.  She maintains a private practice in New York City.

From her experience as a family therapists, she believes that families are significantly impacted and are an essential resource when someone struggles with substance abuse.  She thinks that healing and growth happen in the context of relationships.

“Freedom Institute honors the supreme value of family treatment integrated into its unique collaborative teamwork. I feel honored to be part of the team.”

Jayci Covert

Hardin-Simmons University, BBS
Joined Freedom in 2014
Billing Administrator

Jayci is our billing administrator and is responsible for handling the day to day billing for clients as well as assisting clients in submitting to insurance. Insurance companies can often be difficult to work with and Jayci is here to make that process as stress free as possible. With a background in several fields, including theatre and the arts, Jayci began as an administrative assistant at Freedom. She has worked her way up to this new role and is excited for the challenge and the possibilities to come.

“What makes working at Freedom Institute so special is being able to come to work every day and know that your ideas and voice will always be heard.”

Jennifer Flores

Joined Freedom in 2009
Chief Compliance Officer 

Jennifer’s passion for helping others began when she was a Peer Educator at Community Counseling and Mediation at the age of 14. She brings extensive experience in management, client service, and human resources to her role at Freedom Institute. As Chief Compliance Officer, Jennifer ensures that both management and employees are in compliance with the rules and regulations of regulatory agencies in our field and that company policies and procedures are followed. Outside of work, she avidly volunteers and promotes healing through journal writing.

“The extraordinary work that we do at Freedom Institute is indicative of the respect and value we have for one another. Each individual on our team matters and their unique perspective counts – and that’s exactly how we treat every client that comes through our doors.”

Kathleen Schlegel, MFT

Thomas Jefferson University, MFT
Ackerman Institute for the Family, post-graduate training
Joined Freedom in 2016
Family Therapist

Kathleen recently joined the Freedom Family team in 2016.  Prior to joining Freedom Institute, Kathleen worked as a couples and family therapist for Citizen Advocates providing therapy for individuals, couples, and families living with mental health and/or substance use disorders. She earned her Master’s in Couple and Family Therapy with a specialization in Sex Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University.  Kathleen is currently pursuing post-graduate training at the Ackerman Institute for the Family.

Kathleen’s practice at Freedom institute is devoted to providing therapeutic support for couples and families struggling with substance abuse.  She believes that change is more likely to happen when the family is engaged together in the process.

“Freedom Institute recognizes the necessity for systemic intervention and the modality that successfully treating an individual means engaging their family and social support system. I’m honored to join the treatment team at Freedom Institute, utilizing a multidimensional and holistic approach to strengthen and heal couples and families.”

Madeline Guven

Madeline Guven
Pratt Institute, BFA
Joined Freedom in 2015
Administrative Manager

Madeline is our Office Administrator and front desk Receptionist, here to give a warm welcome to our clients or colleagues over the phone or face-to-face. She is responsible for a variety of tasks but mainly general operation of the office. With a background in graphic design, she is extremely valuable in keeping order and organization at the office.

“I am surrounded by warm, caring individuals in a very welcoming environment. This really makes Freedom Institute a special place to work and one that I enjoy coming to every day.”

Mark Sturgeon, LCSW

Rutgers University, MFA
New York University, MSW
Joined Freedom in 2013
Adult DBT Therapist

Mark is one of our consultant-counselors with more than 20 years of working with individuals and families, adolescents and adults struggling with the disease addiction. He understands that chemical dependency is a disease of isolation and that recovery therefore happens within the context of relatedness and community. Mark has experience in both inpatient and outpatient treatment for adolescents as well as adults. Mark originally came to New York as an actor after earning his MFA at Rutgers University, but his passion for working with people became more and more compelling and culminated in his returning to formal studies to gain a second Master’s degree in social work from New York University in 2005. Mark is trained and worked for three years in the field of attachment, working with parent/child dyads utilizing video feedback to develop and foster healthy and secure attachment.

“What is special about Freedom is we understand that human beings learn, grow and develop within the context of relationship. We are passionate about the process of recovery and the extraordinarily gifted team at Freedom Institute is second to none in their dedication, focus, and integrity in the service of helping individuals and families impacted by the disease of chemical dependency.”

Michael Davidovits, PhD, LCSW

University of Michigan, BA
Pennsylvania State University, MA & PhD in Philosophy
Columbia University, MSW
Ackerman Institute for the Family, 
Externship Program in Family and Couples Therapy
Joined Freedom in 2014
Family Therapy Clinical Supervisor

Michael is part of the supervising faculty at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, a Lecturer in Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine Program, and a Supervisor in the Family Medicine Residency Program at Columbia University School of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Davidovits also has a private practice in Manhattan and lectures nationally and internationally on topics relating to family therapy and couple’s therapy.

“At the Freedom Institute we look at a person’s struggles with substance abuse in the context of their life as a whole.  The change that could make the difference could come from anywhere in complex constellation of factors that provide meaning, connection and happiness in an individual’s life.  We have to keep looking and examining the therapeutic work from every possible angle in order to find the right intervention.”

Michael Fayne, Ph.D

Fordham University, BA
Columbia University Teacher College, MA
Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies at Adelphi University, Doctorate
Joined Freedom in 2007
Clinical Psychologist Consultant

Dr. Fayne is a clinical psychologist who has served as the consulting supervisor of adult chemical dependency treatment since 2007. Dr. Fayne has also treated addiction in hospital and clinic settings and in private practice for over 25 years, and has authored several papers regarding aspects of addiction treatment. In addition, he is a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, trained at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society. He conducts mindfulness classes, workshops and courses, and is highly interested in the application of mindfulness-based practices to addiction treatment.

“There is a consistent level of close attention to each client, a genuine caring about the client as a person that I have not seen elsewhere. The staff is enthusiastically committed to expanding their knowledge about state-of-the-art treatment approaches, and developing the broadest possible repertoire of treatment methods, to truly provide individualized care to each client.”

Michael Noth, LCSW, CASAC

Hunter School of Social Work, MSW
Joined Freedom in 2005
Therapist 

Michael has over 20 years of experience working both as a clinician and administrator, including work with severely emotionally disturbed and traumatized children in secure settings; counseling individuals in adult mental health treatment; directing substance abuse in-patient detox units and out-patient treatment clinics; maintaining a private practice.

At FI, Michael works with individual clients, co-facilitating the Morning O/P DBT group (MOP Group), as well as facilitating the long-running Evening Early Recovery Group. Michael is a senior member of the DBT treatment team. Additionally, he supervises all step-down group facilitators/consultants and MSW Interns. In 2014, Michael launched our prolonged exposure therapy treatment option for clients who suffer from PTSD.

“Freedom Institute is unlike any place I’ve ever worked either as a clinician, or as an administrator. Our team of counselors – in fact and our entire staff — has a driving passion to assist the client in goal achievement and healing. And while evidence-based approaches are employed, staff offers an eclectic approach to clinical work, integrating different views and conceptual understanding of the human condition, which is essential, given how multi-dimensional and complex people are.”

Mildred Pisciotta, LCSW-R, CASAC

Columbia University
New York University
Joined Freedom in 2008
Adult Therapist

Mildred joined Freedom Institute in 2008 as a consultant.  As a certified social worker, Mildred went onto post masters training earning her SIFI certification.  She has taught and trained social work interns from Columbia University and NYU.   After 25 years, working as an Executive Director, Clinical Director and Supervisor in outpatient substance programs in the New York area, Mildred continues in her passion as a therapist at Freedom Institute.  She provides therapy for individuals addressing Chemical Dependency, Relapse Prevention, PTSD and dual diagnosis. She often states that her most compelling work was on 911 working with FEMA and providing Critical Incident Stress Debriefing and therapy to the families of the victims of 911.

 

Peter Lazar, LCSW

Fordham University, MSW
Joined Freedom Institute in 2016
Senior Director of Strategic Development

Peter brings years of experience in marketing and clinical program development to his role at Freedom Institute.  Over the past 21 years, Peter has also served as a therapist in various treatment organizations and maintained a private practice with a focus on addiction.  As part of the leadership team at Freedom Institute, he will be responsible for overseeing marketing, business development and customer relations, as well as contributing to strategy and organizational development.

“As a professional who has been associated with Freedom Institute for over a decade, I am continually amazed by the unwavering level of commitment to clients and their families in helping them become the next-best version of themselves. I am honored to be a part of this team.”

Rachel Russell, MA

St. Mary’s University, MA
Joined Freedom in 2007
Chief Clinical Officer

For nearly 20 years prior, she worked in youth and family programs, primarily in underserved communities, as a therapist then program director and grant writer. Initially hired to work alongside Freedom Institute’s executive director implementing a development infrastructure to better support Freedom Institute’s clinical practice, Ms. Russell then assumed operational responsibilities and increased her collaboration with the clinical team. Rachel was appointed a member of Freedom Institute’s leadership team in 2010, and has been highly involved in supporting new initiatives in clinical programming.

“What makes Freedom special is the caliber of people here.  Everyone is excellent at what they do, and personally fantastic on top of that.  Whenever I go to conferences or speak with outside consultants, I invariably hear glowing feedback about our staff.  It makes me proud to be here, and grateful to have such an amazing team.”

Reina Zelonky, LMFT, CASAC

Pepperdine University, MA, Clinical Psychology
Ackerman Institute for the Family, Post-graduate Training in Family Therapy
Joined Freedom in 2017
Family Therapist

As a consultant in our Family Program, Reina draws on her extensive training and experience both in house and in her current private practice specializing in young adults, substance use disorders and families.  Reina’s approach to treatment is energetic and warm.  She strongly believes in the power of couples and family therapy and the notion that healing occurs in relation to others.

Prior to joining Freedom Institute and starting her private practice, Reina was the Family and Program Director at Serenity, a sober living facility, where she developed a framework for working with families and expanded the women’s program, and the Intake Coordinator for Hazelden Betty Ford’s young adult intensive outpatient (IOP), where she developed the curriculum for an education support group for families and parents.  Earlier in her career, Reina was the lead women’s therapist for the Veterans Administration in Los Angeles. She worked one-on-one with individuals returning from Iraq and Afghanistan struggling with substance abuse, depression and PTSD. Reina has training from Ackerman Institute of the Family in Family Therapy and specifically in Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples and also has completed training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy through the Marsha Linehan Behavioral Tech institute. Reina is a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).

“There aren’t many places like Freedom Institute. Its commitment to helping families develop stronger bonds and skills to navigate crisis is unique. This is a place where families heal and learn how to break negative cycles of interaction, cultivate closeness and grow in a system of acceptance and nurturing.”

Ryan Murphy, MS, CASAC

New York Institute of Technology, MS
York College of Pennsylvania, BS
Joined Freedom in 2013
Intake Coordinator and DBT Therapist

Ryan has worked in the field of addiction for the past 12 years. He has experience as an individual counselor for client’s inpatient and outpatient programs, facilitating IOP (intensive outpatient program), and working with doctors on medication management. At Freedom Institute, Ryan conducts the initial assessments and makes sure the client is set up with the best possible care we can offer.

“I enjoy working at Freedom because I strongly believe the staff really cares and truly wants the best for their clients. We work well together as a team and are always looking to learn more about addiction.”

Syd Hap, MA

Pratt Institute, BFA
New York University, MA
Joined Freedom in 2004
Director, Freedom Institute Art Therapy Program

Syd Hap brings the healing and transformative powers of art making to those facing specific life challenges, including grief and loss, trauma, chemical dependency recovery and other compulsive behaviors. For over thirty years Syd has led workshops and classes for children and adults, helping them to explore and express their natural creativity and imagination.

Syd directed the art therapy program at Samaritan Village Veterans Treatment Center in NYC for ten years (1998-2008), and facilitated Life Enrichment Workshops at the Caron Foundation. She also works as a consultant to the Sexual Addiction Treatment and Training Institute and as the Creative Arts Director at Center for Personal Growth and Creativity in NYC. Dr. Andrew Weil, best-selling author and leading practitioner of Integrative Medicine, has cited her work in his publications and social media. As an artist, Syd is a doll sculptor and mixed media artist.

“Art making is a highly effective therapeutic intervention for people in recovery. Freedom Institute recognizes that the creative process can be healing and a powerful tool for self-exploration and increasing self-esteem, and art therapy has been a valued component of Freedom’s IOP for over ten years.”

Tessa Kleeman, LMHC

Brown University, BA
Lesley University, MA
Gestalt Associates for Psychotherapy, Certificate, Gestalt Therapist
Behavioral Tech, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Intensive Training
Hudson Valley Psychodrama Institute, Advanced Student
Joined Freedom in 2001
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program Director, Adult Therapist

Tessa Kleeman joined us as an Adult Therapist and is also our Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program Director. She coordinates FI’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Treatment across each modality, individual group and family, to maintain adherence to empirically proven protocols and consistency in application.

“What makes FI special is the level of skill clinicians bring to their relationships with clients. FI supports on-going personal and professional development so that clinicians here are versatile and have a deep understanding of their impact on others. It helps us be the best at helping our clients.”