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Meet Our Team

Read our team member bio's below.

Click here to learn more about HERO.

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Kathy AcostaLCSW | Founder

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Hi! I am a NJ- based licensed therapist. I am a first generation Latina and I am passionate about empowering other first generation adults. I understand the importance of healing from generational and unspoken trauma. Breaking down barriers and being the first to reach certain accomplishments can be exciting but also very exhausting. Our layers and experiences matter!

 

Much of my work is centered around trauma, working with survivors of interpersonal violence, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and intergenerational trauma. After experiencing something traumatic we often feel lost, hopeless, and can sometimes blame ourselves. I bring my expertise in trauma and mental health to help you process your feelings and heal. 

My approach is relational, culture inclusive, holistic, strength focused, and trauma informed. I also use EMDR and Brainspotting (BSP) a tools to process trauma. Clients would describe me as energetic, non judgemental, direct when needed, authentic, and positive.

 

Finding a therapist that can best help you can feel like an overwhelming task and it takes a lot of courage to take this step. Therapy is work and as your therapist I am here to walk alongside you and to hold that space for you. It’s important to be understood and seen. Let’s explore if we are a good fit, book a free 15 minute consultation.

If you are a Latinx professional in the mental health field, learn more about my consultation services at  https://www.heroconsultations.com/

Natalia Velandia, LCSW

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Our emotional pain grows in silence. It grows when we push down our negative life experiences, hoping that if they are put to the side, they won’t impact us. This coping mechanism works until it doesn’t; our wounded parts want to be seen and validated, not ignored. This first step of seeking therapy is the beginning of validating your whole self.

All emotional pain is experienced differently, which means healing will look different for everyone as well.

This is why my approach is integrative, incorporating different trauma-informed therapeutic modalities to be able to meet the different goals and needs of each individual. Incorporating from cognitive-behavioral, EMDr, mindfulness and inner parts work.


I work collaboratively with individuals in finding what is most effective for them. If you choose to work with me you can expect me to be warm, authentic and accepting of all identities. I strive to provide a culturally-affirming and compassionate space where trust can be built for a genuine connection to be established. Together, we will explore how the adversity you endured impacted your core beliefs, behaviors and emotional responses.

 

Special Interests and Training working with: 

- PTSD/Trauma

- Domestic Violence

- Sexual Abuse

- Racial trauma

- Assimilation Stress

- Breakups/ Separation/ Divorce

- BIPOC Millennials


Hablo español! English and Spanish sessions provided.

Claudia​ Rodriguez, LCSW

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My professional purpose in life is clear; it is to connect with children/youth and their families as they navigate uncertain times and accompany them as they rebuild a healing path of hope, resiliency, and self-compassion. 

My certification in TF-CBT and in-depth training in EMDR and Solution Focus CBT, have allowed me to guide families through their healing. Healing comes in various ways and I support each individual process towards the strengthening of their emotional and mental cores. 

I have worked with children/youth and families from all walks of life for the past 15 years through the NJ Children’s System of Care, the Morris County Domestic Violence agency, and other nonprofit organizations. I know that hurt does not discriminate, but I also know that facing those hurts can become our superpower! Children and youth are extremely resilient.

 

I pride myself in my hard work, compassion, and respecting the life and the dignity of all those who seek my support. I seek to understand and to empower. I strive to provide the support and guidance that each family hopes for when they need it and trust.

 

Hablo Español! Bienvenido/a!

Welcome!

Angela Vilas, LSW

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Hello! I am a licensed social worker with substantive experience in clinical settings. After experiencing how impactful depression and anxiety were during my teen years, I dedicated my career to helping others overcome feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Our minds can get stuck in a vicious, negative cycle that keeps us stagnant. Overthinking and racing thoughts can be overwhelming. Depressed moods can make us feel stuck. Constantly shifting moods can be exhausting. But there are ways to help lift ourselves out of the negative thought patterns that drive our emotions and behaviors. I use techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. 

 

I am dedicated to working with young teens, adolescents, and young adults that are struggling or just looking for support through a time chock-full of growth and change. By using a non-judgmental approach, clients under my care find a safe space to be open and honest about their victories and their troubles. The LGBTQIA+ community is welcomed and embraced as well. With extensive knowledge about the LGBTQIA+ community and the subcultures within, I aim to provide quality, culturally competent services. 

 

I have extensive experience providing care for those suffering from the following: 

 

Depressive Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

 

Therapy takes work and dedication from everyone involved, but a problem shared is a problem halved. You’ve taken the most difficult step already. You’re here and searching for assistance. You deserve peace of mind. Always remember that. Thank you for reading. I hope to see you on my calendar.

Alexandra Waidelich, LAC

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Throughout life, we go through many different phases. Some phases come with their own set of challenges and make us feel stuck, powerless, and unsure of what to do next. No one should have to experience these feelings alone. The key to overcoming feeling lost is to understand how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors impact one another. 

 

Using a safe, respectful and non-judgmental approach, my goal is to give you the tools you need to find your inner strength and feel validated, empowered, and ready to tackle whatever obstacles you face in the future. My approach is integrative, inclusive, and personalized, celebrating everyone's unique qualities, perspectives, and experiences. I pull from multiple therapeutic modalities, like cognitive-behavioral therapy and DBT. 

 

I specialize in women's issues. Women are incredibly strong and resilient, but navigating life as a woman can be challenging. My experience with women's issues encompasses motherhood, including parenting, pregnancy, fertility, and postpartum depression and anxiety, as well as sexism and societal pressures women face today. 

 

I also have extensive experience helping adolescents and adults with learning difficulties.  Learning difficulties pose obstacles both academically and professionally. I help clients with motivation, attention, and executive functioning issues. I work with my client to learn strategies and skills that truly work for them, resulting in long-term change. 

 

You don't have to figure everything out on your own. Therapy is a collaborative and supportive effort built on trust and hope. Together, we'll navigate what you're going through, what you need, and how to accomplish your goals. I look forward to going on this journey with you!

Kate CamisaLSW

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If we’ve lost hope for the future it can be difficult to see how to make lasting, positive changes. Experiencing a loss, a stressful/traumatic situation, or having difficulty managing intense emotion can lead to feeling defeated. We can also feel a sense of isolation when we are experiencing challenges with relationships, feeling unheard by the people closest to us, or feeling like we’re a burden to the ones we love.

In recognition of the strength and courage it takes to start therapy, it is my belief that all people should be met with empathy, compassion, and respect. Also equally as important is feeling like we are able to start taking steps towards making those changes for the better, and to get some relief from the weight we’ve been carrying. Whether you’ve been to therapy before or if this is the first time, everyone deserves a safe space to explore, identify, and process the challenging emotions preventing happiness and enjoyment of life.

My approach includes the belief that all people have strengths and are capable of accomplishing successes, and no success is a  “small” success. My commitment is to collaborate to build off those existing strengths to work towards instilling hope and making positive, lasting changes. Everyone’s perception and definition of success is different, which is why I believe collaboration to foster growth is an important part of any therapeutic relationship.

Much of my work has been focused on working with survivors of domestic/interpersonal, family, and/or generational violence. More specifically, I have been trained and certified in The Danger Assessment. I specialize in assisting to identify healthy vs. unhealthy relationship dynamics and identifying/developing ways to increase safety and/or effective relational boundaries. My experience has led beyond working with survivors of domestic/interpersonal violence to working with and assisting to stabilize families at risk of out of home placement,  reunification, and pre- and post-adoption counseling.

My approach combines my professional philosophy of the strengths based/empower approach with being person centered. I also pull from training in the Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Treatment modality to better understand the impacts of various life experiences. 

 

Other specific areas of training and experience include:

 

- National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative

- Bereavement & Grief Support Training

- Human trafficking

- Generational trauma

Lori Petrozzello, LSW

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Suffering, trauma, and problems are an unavoidable part of the human experience.  Yet, we don’t have to struggle alone.  In fact, our ability to connect to helpers is what enables us to cultivate inner growth.  As a person-centered therapist, I will join you to uncover your strength.  Together we will explore what enables you to heal, recover, and feel better.  My guiding principle: It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to reach out for help.

As a licensed social worker, I have experience working with adults of all ages and backgrounds in social service agencies and in higher education.  Male, female, and non-binary clients have said that they feel comfortable talking with me because they find me kind, approachable, and down-to-earth.  

In addition to social work, I studied meditation in depth for fifteen years and became a meditation teacher in 2007.  As a result, I am open to a wide range of spiritual and religious beliefs, including agnostic and atheist.  I can bring that view into our work together and, if you choose, we can incorporate mindfulness exercises in our sessions.

I have a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University where I double majored in Art History and Psychology.  My master of social work degree is from Fordham University where I specialized in family systems.  Currently, I am working on earning my clinical licensure.  

It’s important you find a therapist you like and trust, book a free consultation to see if we are a good fit.

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