Alex Dayton, LMHC

New York University, MA
Joined Freedom in 2009
Clinical Director

Alex Dayton was appointed the Clinical Director at Freedom Institute in 2018, after serving as the Associate Clinical Director since 2016.  A member of our Executive Leadership Team, Alex oversees and manages the operation and development of the clinical program at Freedom Institute.  He also facilitates groups, is a clinician on the DBT consultation team, and works individually with adolescents, young adults, and adults.  In addition to his Masters degree, 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 New York University conducting HIV and substance use research.  Alex has completed the Foundations in Family Therapy Course at The Ackerman Institute for The Family, received intensive training in DBT and advanced practices 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.”

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.”

Caroline Hill, LMHC

Adler School of Professional Psychology, M.A.
Washington College, B.A.
Joined Freedom Institute 2018
Admissions Counselor

Caroline Hill joined Freedom Institute in October 2018 as our Admissions Counselor, bringing to this role experience working in numerous facets of the substance abuse and mental health fields. From inpatient treatment and intensive outpatient treatment to individual and group counseling, and sober living, Caroline has worked with clients and their families in every stage of recovery. As Admissions Counselor, Caroline coordinates all aspects of inquiries, assessments, and admissions at Freedom Institute for the morning intensive outpatient program, evening outpatient program and individual and family services. Caroline works with both the clinical team and the client to ensure that each client has a treatment plan that best supports them and their unique needs. Caroline collaborates with Frank Wells, Director of Family Services, to coordinate our comprehensive (family) assessments in order to support family healing in the context of substance abuse and addiction.

Cassidy Litvack, LMHC

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
Adult Therapist

Cassidy joined Freedom Institute as a consultant to support the intake process and to provide individual therapy for 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.”

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.”

Edward Steen, PhD

New York University, PhD in Clinical Psychology
McGill University, BA in Psychology
Joined Freedom in 2017
Psychological Assessments

Edward Steen joined the Freedom Institute team as a consultant to provide psychological assessments for clients.  Dr. Steen’s assessments not only provide clinical information that can inform treatment, but also act as a motivational and therapeutic intervention in and of itself to help clients jump-start and get traction in their recovery.

In addition to his role at Freedom Institute, Dr. Steen has a private practice as a Clinical Psychologist. He has worked as Supervising Psychologist in the Department of Addiction Psychiatry, Beth Israel Medical Center and as a Supervisor of Psychological Assessment, Clinical Psychology PhD Department, Columbia University,

Dr. Steen began his work in the field of addiction while interning at North Central Bronx Hospital. He worked as a staff psychologist in an addiction clinic at the Jacobi Medical Center and then as the Program Coordinator for their Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Center. While at Jacobi, he pursued his other clinical interest of psychological assessment, and rose to be the head of the hospital-wide testing committee, teaching and supervising interns and staff members on complex cases.

“Working as a psychologist has always been the most gratifying to me, and the most effective for clients, when I am working as part of a high-caliber team, and each member of that team brings a different skill set and piece of the puzzle to the table.  I am particularly excited to join such a team at Freedom Institute and make my contribution.”

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.”

Francesca Adair MA, MFT, LPCC

Antioch University, MFT
Joined Freedom in 2018
Individual and Family Therapist

Francesca joined Freedom Institute after relocating from Los Angeles, CA.  A native New Yorker, Francesca moved to Los Angeles in 1998 to pursue acting, found her way into the Juvenile Hall system as a teacher and quickly realized she wanted to pursue an MA in psychology.  She began her career working with acute mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders and has continued to serve this population in residential and outpatient settings since 2004.  Francesca discovered she was a true clinician/administrator hybrid after being recruited to launch several successful treatment program in Los Angeles.  Having been involved extensively in direct client service as well as program development and oversight, she is continually awed and inspired by the courage and passion of recovering clients and the providers who facilitate this amazing process.

“The extensive and on-going training of its clinical staff, the commitment to meeting clients and their families where they are in order to facilitate authentic lasting change, and the rigorous evidence-based services offered at Freedom Institute are truly exceptional.  Having landed here from the shores of Malibu treatment, I feel incredibly grateful to be a part of this exemplary team.”

Frank Wells, LCSW

New York University, MSW
Joined Freedom in 2011
Director, Family Services

Frank Wells joined Freedom Institute as a family therapist and was appointed Director of Freedom Institute’s Family Services in 2018.  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, MSW
Ackerman Institute for the Family, Postgraduate Training in Family Therapy
Joined Freedom Institute in 2017
Family Therapist

Genoveva Garcia is a clinical social worker, specializing in family and couples therapy with 17 years of experience.  She uses a systemic frame to help families heal in the context of substance abuse and addiction.  She facilitates parent and significant others support groups.  In addition, Genoveva has experience with issues around trauma, chronic mental illness, infant mental health, and life transitions.  Genoveva is a teaching faculty at the Ackerman Institute for the Family and maintains a private practice seeing families and individuals in New York City.

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

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.”

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

M.S.W., Fordham University, NYC
BA, SUNY College at New Paltz, NY
Joined Freedom in 2016
Senior Director, Business Development

Peter Lazar joined Freedom Institute as its Senior Director, Marketing & Community Relations in 2016 and now spearheads business development.  A member of the executive leadership team, Peter is responsible for overseeing marketing, business development and client and alumni relations, as well as contributing to strategy and organization development for Freedom Institute.  Peter is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and an expert in business development with more than 20 years of experience in the field of recovery both as a clinician and in outreach.  He has been a visiting lecturer at Boston College, Adelphi University, and the Institute for Addiction Studies at NCADD Westchester as well as an adjunct professor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT.

“What I love about Freedom Institute is that rarely does one find a complete package of experienced, fair-minded, and committed professionals under one roof.  Freedom has been so for over 40 years, and it is an honor to help carry on that tradition and 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.”

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.”

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.”