Caroline Fenkel’s passion lies in helping heal adolescents through the use of experiential therapy, group therapy, and animal-assisted therapy. Her career began with her love for horses: She majored in equine studies and minored in psychology at Delaware Valley University, then completed her master’s degree in social work at Bryn Mawr College. From there, she combined these two focuses through practicing equine-assisted therapy and other forms of experiential therapy, including Relational Trauma Repair and adventure therapy. Caroline has worked with adolescents and young adults at all levels of care, including outpatient and residential, at numerous national programs, including Rehab After School, Adolescent Advocates, Mirmont Treatment Center, Brightwater Landing, and Newport Academy. She is often assisted by her therapy dog, Graham. Caroline is currently earning her doctorate in clinical social work from the University of Pennsylvania.
Theodore Fallon, Jr., MD, MPH, is a graduate of Penn State School of Medicine, board certified in Internal Medicine, Child and Adult Psychiatry, Child and Adult Psychoanalysis, with training in various group, family and individual psychotherapies. He has practiced medicine for over 35 years, has been on the faculties of the University of Rochester, Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and is presently Associate Clinical Professor at the Drexel University College of Medicine and the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia (PCOP). He has served at Directors of a Psychiatric Emergency Service, the Child and Family Community Mental Health Services (Formerly Philadelphia Child Guidance Center) of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and chair of the Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Training Program at PCOP. He is author of numerous academic papers and a recent book Disordered Thought in Development: Chaos to Organization in the Moment. At the Center for Families, Dr. Fallon works with the staff, as well as the Adolescents and their families, bringing a unique eclectic mix of perspectives that includes a deep understanding of the development of the human mind from infancy to old age.
Jamison Monroe, Jr., brings years of personal recovery experience to his leadership of Newport Academy. Jamison is passionately dedicated to providing the highest-quality care to teens and their families facing mental health challenges and substance abuse. A prominent voice in the field of adolescent mental health treatment, he is a writer, spokesperson, yoga teacher, and fierce advocate of holistic learning and compassionate care for struggling teens. He is an active participant in the movement to reduce social stigma around psychiatric, mental health, and substance abuse challenges, through projects such as the Inspiration Foundation, the Global Adolescent Project, and Drugs Over Dinner. An expert in the field of teen treatment/rehabilitation, Jamison is regularly featured on CNN, FOX, ABC, and other major networks; on the Huffington Post and PsychologyToday.com; and at conferences including TEDx and the Aspen Ideas Festival. He testified before England’s Parliament on the subject of teen prescription drug abuse. Jamison’s treatment facilities have been recognized as the “most comprehensive in the US,” and have been covered by media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Fox News, and the Today Show. Jamison also produced the critically acclaimed documentary Behind the Orange Curtain, about the prescription drug abuse epidemic in Orange County, California. He is the recipient of the Freedom Institute’s 2014 Mona Mansell Award for his indelible impact on the recovery field and community.
Erin Ziegelmeyer’s passion for helping others cope with and understand emotions began at a young age and continued to flourish throughout college. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Erin majored in psychology and minored in communications, with a strong emphasis on research with eating disorders, body image, thin ideal, and the perception social media and social comparisons have on self-esteem. After completing her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at West Chester University, Erin has spent the majority of her career in residential rehabilitation facilities with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues, including treating individuals with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and other chronic mental health diagnoses. With clinical experience at facilities such as River Centre Clinic, Mirmont Treatment Center, and Keystone Center, Erin has developed an individualized, client-centered approach to therapy, utilizing mindfulness, dialectical behavioral, trauma informed, experiential, motivational interviewing, and cognitive behavioral techniques in an individual, group, and family based setting.
Kaitleen Gillis’ passion lies in aiding students who struggle in a traditional educational setting, to advance to their full academic potential. The teacher bug bit Kaitleen at a very young age. After her first day of kindergarten she encouraged her mother to come play school with her, in which she would be the teacher; her mother the student. She went on to graduate high school in New Hampshire transitioning to Emmanuel College in Boston Massachusetts. Kait majored in secondary education and English Literature, with a minor in Religious Studies and a Certificate in French. Kait then moved to Wilmington, Delaware where she completed the Teach for America program. While there, she earned her master’s degree in Special Education from Wilmington University. Kait has since worked with students in Wilmington, Philadelphia, and Camden before coming to the Center for Families. Kait’s unique set of educational skills coupled with her deep devotion to help students who struggle from underlying emotional issues makes her an exceptional educator at Center for Families.
Elizabeth McCarron, MSS, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker who is devoted to working with teenagers and young adults appreciating and valuing their creative minds and extraordinary resilience in the face of challenges. After graduating from Fordham University in New York City, Lizzy recognized her passion to support others by building trusting relationships and pursued training at Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, subsequently receiving her masters degree in clinical social work. Lizzy has had the privilege of working with adolescents through individual and group therapies in a range of settings including alternative schools such as the Mill Creek School and the Renfrew Center’s day treatment, intensive outpatient and outpatient treatment programs for girls and women with eating disorders. Lizzy is trained in a variety of treatment modalities, but first and foremost, values the potential of the therapist-client relationship in producing lasting change. She works diligently to build safe spaces for teens and their families to find new understanding and paths forward.
Kera Passante is a Nationally Certified Counselor who utilizes creative techniques and the concepts of mindfulness and experiential learning to help clients overcome past struggles and become empowered to move forward in their lives. Kera believes in a client-centered approach and recognizes that sitting-in-a-chair therapy doesn’t work for everyone. She completed two Bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy from Temple University and then completed her Master’s degree in counseling from West Chester University. Kera has been teaching yoga since 2011 and is certified in teaching kids, adolescents, and adults along with trauma-sensitive yoga training. Kera teaches yoga in therapy to help clients realize their full potential and learn skills for optimal living through mind-body-spirit education and integration. Kera is also an outdoors enthusiast and believes in the therapeutic value of being in nature and trying new things. Kera enjoys leading others through the personal transformations that can take place through adventure and experiential therapy and learning about oneself through overcoming challenges. Kera currently leads weekly community groups for addiction recovery and mindfulness at the Center for Families.
Nicole Ciocco is a dedicated team member, helping admit teens to Center for Families partial, intensive, and outpatient programs. She works hard with families to ensure that their children get the level of care they need and guides families through the admissions and intake process. Nicole has a background helping individuals reach their fullest potential as Therapeutic Staff Support and has worked diligently with Life Counseling Services admissions team and administrative support. Nicole has obtained her Bachelors in Psychology from Coastal Carolina University and is currently obtaining her Masters in Counseling from Rosemont College.
Eric Tankel, a Chester County native has returned home to help those young adults and adolescents who struggle with addiction and mental health issues. Eric provides therapeutic services at Center for Families and works in private practice at Therapeutic Alliance. He also brings therapeutic services into the Synergy House men’s recovery residences in West Chester and Pottstown, PA. Eric holds a Masters of Science in Education with an emphasis in school and mental health counseling from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a licensed professional counselor and a certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor.
Katie Sabo, a Licensed Professional Counselor, has earned a Masters of Arts in Clinical Counseling from La Salle University. She holds a national counseling certification as well. She has extensive experience treating men and women with anxiety, depression, trauma, substance abuse, and a range of other mental health issues. In particular, Katie is passionate about helping adolescents and young adults in developing a stronger sense of self, emotional regulation, and navigating relationships. In addition to her private practice work, Katie also brings therapeutic services to the women at Thornbury Farm’s sober-living house. In 2016, Katie received the Caron foundation’s Unsung Hero award and in 2015 Katie received the staff member of the year award at Adolescent Advocates.
Pam and Bill Roberts are parent advocates dedicated to supporting families in recovery. Pam holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for the last 16 years. Bill was educated overseas and has been in the environmental business for 30 years. They are both in long-term recovery, as are their children. For the past eight years, Pam and Bill have been active in starting and expanding parent support groups on the East Coast, interacting with hundreds of parents, therapists, recovery service providers, nonprofits, and government representatives to educate and transform parental behaviors—which they consider to be a prerequisite for improving prospects for a reconnected family. Since 2012, they have been preparing a series of Parent Support Group manuals that include the personal experiences of dozens of group members and their therapists. The manuals serve as resources for parents and other family members to gain a better understanding of the disease of addiction, how it impacts the whole family, and how behavioral changes associated with “parental recovery” translate to giving their kids a better chance for a healthy, drug-free life.
Kim Porter, a Certified Family Recovery Specialist, is Executive Director of the nonprofit Be a Part of the Conversation, operating since 2011 with the mission to create effective, culture-changing community programs designed to increase awareness of the effects of alcohol and drug use. Kim also serves on the Regional Advisory Board of Caron Treatment Center and is a recipient of Caron’s Brian Early Community Leadership Award. Kim is a member of the Advisory Board for The Bridge Way School, Pennsylvania’s only recovery high school, and serves on Montgomery County Commissioner’s Drug Overdose Task Force. She holds a degree in journalism/public relations from West Virginia University, and has more than 25 years of experience in marketing and graphic design, including owning a small business and serving as marketing coordinator for the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation’s Board of Directors. Today, she directs her creative energy into spreading the word about Be a Part of the Conversation. Kim leads the Serenity for Parents group on Wednesday nights at 7PM.
Deonte Simpkins is the Care Coordinator at Center for Families. Deonte’s dedication to helping young people struggling with mental health and substance abuse becomes most apparent in his history of speaking commitments for adolescents and young adults for various local non-profits and sharing his experience with multiple high schools and middle schools. Deonte was also a key note speaker at multiple conventions focusing on young people in recovery. He currently serves as the Vice President of RAM Recovery Program, West Chester University’s collegiate recovery program. Deonte’s professional background is diverse serving as a clinical lead for Malvern Institute and Recovery Centers for America.
Haydn Briggs brings unconditional positive regard to each client he encounters. His experience includes speaking on substance abuse and mental health awareness for various non-profit organizations and public high schools in Chester County. Further Haydn has expertise in investigating how altered developmental changes in reward responsiveness may account for the relationship between parent and offspring depression at the Child and Adolescent Development of Emotion, Personality, and Psychopathology Lab at Temple University. Haydn co-founded Temple University’s Collegiate Recovery Program, helping to facilitate groups. Haydn is due to complete his BS in Neuroscience at Temple University in May 2018, and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work upon graduation. Kid, Haydn’s dog, will be pursuing his certification as a therapy animal in order to assist Graham in the pet assisted therapy at Center for Families.
Meryl Lammers is a Board-Certified Music Therapist, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who privately contracts with individuals, groups, and organizations with a variety of needs in the Greater Philadelphia Area. During her studies at SUNY New Paltz for Music Therapy, Meryl presented a research study at the National Music Therapy Conference in Atlanta, GA in 2002 on the Effectiveness of Drum Circles. In 2004, she completed her Music Therapy degree and became Board Certified following the completion of an intensive 1200 hour internship through a local hospice company. Meryl became trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA Therapy) at the Anderson Center for Autism, where she worked with over 130 children with Autism via music therapy. In her 13 years as a music therapist, Meryl has served thousands of clients with a spectrum of needs using music therapy, including hospice patients and their loved ones, children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, sufferers of PTSD, dementia, and drug and alcohol addiction, and the general population through drum circles and group events. She has acted as a supervisor for music therapy practicum students from SUNY New Paltz and Immaculata University, mentors colleagues, and continues to provide education and advocacy on music therapy to a variety of schools, hospitals, nursing homes, local government agencies, and other organizations. Meryl’s broad range of experience helps her to guide those she serves through the intentional use of music for their growth, healing, self-expression, and communication.
Kaitlin Staples is a registered board certified art therapist (ATR-BC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Kaitlin is an extremely intuitive, compassionate, humorous, and creative clinician. She is very direct and authentic in her work providing her patients with a real sense of who she is as a person. Kaitlin practices primarily in a psychodynamic and humanistic framework. She also has a strong interest in depth psychology and Jungian theory. She has extensive experience with addictions, trauma, eating disorders, dual diagnosis, depression, anxiety, and general mental health concerns. Kaitlin has worked in various levels of care including outpatient, medication assisted, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, and inpatient settings. She has worked with children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. She is currently the President of the Delaware Valley Art Therapy Association, a Key Advisor to the Pennsylvania Art Therapy Licensure Council, adjunct faculty member in the graduate art therapy department at Marywood University in Scranton, PA, Art Psychotherapist at Therapeutic Alliance in Malvern, PA, and owner and founder of her private practice The REAL Healing Studio, LLC in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. In addition to Kaitlin’s clinical work, she is also an advocate for anti-diet culture and body positivity movements. She is passionate about these movements as in addition to being a therapist she is also an eating disorder warrior herself. Kaitlin facilitates Women’s Art Therapy Group on Wednesdays 3-4:30pm and Adolescent Art Therapy Group on Wednesdays 5-6:30pm at Center For Families.
Erik specializes in working with children and teens diagnosed with autism, intellectual disability and behavior disorders. He was a clinician for Devereux for over 13 years before he started his private practice. Eleven years ago, Erik and his wife decided to try to take what they know worked in the clinical setting and apply it at home. To this end, they started to provide foster care for special needs children. The result has been a sometimes frustrating, but always enlightening and wonderful roller coaster ride. Erik quickly learned that what was possible in the clinical setting was not always workable in the home setting. He learned that even when the behaviors were manageable, life with an autistic child is very different from that of the neurotypical child. A fact that is not always apparent to his fellow clinicians. Today, he combines this hard won personal experience with what he knows works in the clinic to help families support their loved ones. Erik is also a martial arts enthusiast with black belts in Taekwondo and Bujinkan Budo Taejutsu. He coaches his school’s TKD competition team and loves watching his team members grow and flourish not just as martial artists but as good human beings. Eric has a BA in Music and BA in Psychology from Moravian College, a Masters of Counseling and Human Services from Lehigh University, Member in good standing of the American Counseling Association and the Pennsylvania Counseling Association, Theraplay Level 1 certified, QPR suicide prevention and intervention gatekeeper instructor, and is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
Graham is a seven-year-old hypoallergenic Goldendoodle. He is a therapy dog earning his certification through the nationally recognized nonprofit organization Pet Partners. Graham’s calm and gentle nature makes him a favorite among clients and staff. Clients enthusiastically share that Graham brightens their day and intuitively understands them. His unconditional love offers them confidence and encouragement, and can become a catalyst for lasting change.