Dr. Buch received his medical training from Rush Medical College and completed his residency at Lutheran General Hospital in 2006. Over the years, Dr. Buch discovered that patients can struggle to stay consistent with their treatment due to the limitations of traditional office-based appointments. Long commute times, overbooking issues, and general discomfort when starting psychiatric care, can make patients less likely to prioritize their mental health. He created Skypiatrist to provide clients with convenient, high-quality, personalized psychiatric services so that they can access care from the comfort of their own homes. When patients are comfortable, they can effectively manage their mental health, which has a positive impact on all areas of their lives.
Dr. Buch is a board-certified psychiatrist who takes a compassionate, collaborative approach to medication management, actively working with all members of his clients’ medical teams to ensure optimal care. He is attentive, investigative, and strives to empower his patients to take active roles in their mental health.
In addition to seeing patients, Dr. Buch oversees a staff of compassionate, experienced medical doctors who have all achieved the highest level of training in medication management.
Dr. Isaac Nagel brings over fifteen years of psychiatry experience – including eight years of telemedicine experience – to Skypiatrist. After attending Columbia Medical School, Dr. Nagel completed his residency at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan before relocating to New Jersey, where he worked at the Saint Clare’s Hospital in-patient Psychiatric Medical Care Unit. Just before joining the team at Skypiatrist, Dr. Nagel worked for the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley.
As a Skypiatrist team member, Dr. Nagel provides medication-management for various psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Additionally, he has years of experience treating addiction as a co-occurring condition and extensive training in trauma and PTSD.
Dr. Nagel’s approach to treatment is genuinely collaborative. He empowers his patients to take an active role in their health and well-being to feel better and live fuller lives. When he is not practicing medicine, Dr. Nagel enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his wife and five daughters.
Dr. Grewal moved to the United States from India when she was sixteen. After attending college in Michigan, she received her medical training from American University of Antigua and completed her residency at Albany Medical Center in 2015. Before joining the team at Skypiatrist, Dr. Grewal was the Medical Director and Chairperson of the HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, where she oversaw both adult and adolescent patients. Dr. Grewal comes to Skypiatrist with experience in both office-based treatment and telemedicine.
Dr. Grewal takes a compassionate approach to patient care. She understands that connection and comfort are critical to positive treatment outcomes, and strives to create both whether she sees people in-person or via a telepsychiatry platform. She has found that patients are more likely to attend appointments and discuss difficult topics when meeting from the comfort of their own homes than they are when in the doctor’s office. In addition to seeing adult patients, Dr. Grewal treats children ages seven and older. She can also provide services in Punjabi, Hindi, and Urdu.
In her practice, Dr. Grewal encourages patients to take a full-body approach to their mental health, incorporating physical activity as much as possible. She is a proponent of meditation and yoga.
Dr. Nashwa Hasabou has been a practicing psychiatrist for 16 years. She completed her psychiatry training at Albany Medical Medical Center in Albany, NY, and was on faculty there until 2012. Dr. Hasabou strongly believes that while all human beings share universal struggles, each patient seeks out psychiatric treatment for unique reasons. She is dedicated to the "individual" and believes in caring for the whole self.
Dr. Hasabou is a collaborative psychiatrist who is happy to work with other healthcare providers to help her clients achieve maximum wellness. While she has a particular interest in women's mental health, Dr. Hasabou practices general psychiatry for patients eighteen years and older. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and playing the piano.
Dr. Jamil graduated from King Edward Medical University in Lahore, Pakistan. During his electives at Yale University, he developed an interest in research. Later, he joined a research team on Alzheimer’s disease at New York University, where he published a few research articles including two book chapters on Alzheimer’s disease. After residency, he completed a fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital. He later moved to New Jersey and became Medical Director of a psychiatry unit at Christ Hospital - Carepoint Health, while also working in private practice
An excellent listener, Dr. Jamil, prides himself on his ability to engage with patients on a deep level and achieve optimum results with as few medications as possible. He takes a collaborative approach to treatment and encourages his patients to explore other self-care pursuits such as psychotherapy, yoga, and physical exercise.
Dr. Jamil believes that telemedicine’s convenience helps patients take a more proactive role in their mental health. Without the hours lost in waiting rooms or stuck in traffic, it’s easier to make and stick to appointments. Additionally, he finds that patients are more likely to open up when calling in from their preferred environment. He is committed to providing timely, high-quality medication management through Skypiatrist’s secure, HIPAA compliant video chat.
When he is not working, Dr. Jamil enjoys spending time with his family, watching TV, and listening to music.
Dr. M. Haroon Burhanullah is a board-certified psychiatrist with experience in consultation psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, and geriatric neuropsychiatry. He graduated from Dow Medical College in Pakistan before completing postdoctoral work in neuroimaging at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Burhanullah was a fellow in geriatric psychiatry at Johns Hopkins and did his psychiatric residency at Bergen Regional Medical Center, where he graduated as Executive Chief Resident. He has done clinical research on mood and memory disorders and Alzheimer's disease.
While at Bergen, Dr. Burhanullah was awarded the American Psychiatric Association’s Resident’s Recognition Award and was elected President of the Resident’s Chapter of the New Jersey Psychiatry Association. He has published in several peer-reviewed journals, including the highly respected American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. He serves on the International Alzheimer’s Association executive committee and is the president of the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent, Maryland Chapter.
Dr. Burhanullah is deeply committed to treating patients with complicated medical and neurological illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body disease, and traumatic brain injuries. He is passionate about working with the most vulnerable patients, including those with moderate to severe behavioral problems whose families often suffer from caregiver burnout.
Another cornerstone of Dr. Burhanullah’s professional practice is his experience in telepsych, which he deems valuable for the access and ease it provides to both doctors and patients. Though telepsych appointments are remote - he believes they can be just as beneficial as meeting in person.
During his free time, Dr. Burhanullah likes to play tennis and golf and spend quality time outdoors with his family.
A first-generation Canadian whose family emigrated from Greece, Dr. Panagiota Korenis earned an honors degree in Biology from Queen’s University in Ontario. She completed her doctorate in medicine at St. George’s Medical School in Grenada, followed by residencies and fellowships at Bronx Lebanon Hospital and New York University, among others.
In addition to her private practice, Dr. Korenis is Director, Residency Training: Bronx Care Health System and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. So she understands the challenges her busy telemedicine patients experience managing work, personal commitments, and their own physical and mental wellbeing.
Committed to fitness and nutrition, Dr. Korenis provides coaching and wellness training for other physicians. She’s treated patients living with severe mental illness and suicidal tendencies, though her Skypiatrist practice focuses on patients coping with burnout, depression, anxiety, and trauma. “I’ve had great success with people whose symptoms have resisted treatment, those who’ve tried other regimens in the past that haven’t worked.”
She chose psychiatry because it integrates her passion for neuroscience with human development. “With psychiatry, you can apply a holistic approach and take everything into account, from biology and genetics to people’s cultural and spiritual backgrounds.”
Dr. Korenis lives in Westchester with her husband, a doctor of radiology. “My husband is a local New Yorker with Puerto Rican and Trinidadian roots. So, together we have a great, mixed background which we’re committed to sharing with our young sons,” she says, adding, “My biggest passion is playing soccer with my kids, helping them learn to ride a bike or catch a baseball. Family workout time is essential.”
A New Jersey native, Dr. Chen is the youngest daughter of immigrant parents from Taiwan. She earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology from UCLA, followed by a Master’s in Psychology in Education from Columbia University, with Postbaccalaureate work in Pre-Health Studies from NYU..
She completed her medical degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.
By completing her training during a year when the world was forced to embrace digital technology, Dr. Chen already has many hours of telemedicine under her belt. “I’ve been practicing telemedicine already. It increases people’s access and takes away the challenge of travel and having to take off work” she notes.
Having worked in the high-stress environment of New York City, Dr. Chen is adept at treating a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. She is skilled in treating all adults, with a special interest in adolescent/college-age patients. She also looks to extend her work to working with other first- and second- generation Americans.
In her free time, Dr. Chen loves exploring the parks in New York and her native New Jersey, snowboarding in Vermont, and spending time with her family.
Dr. Paul grew up in suburban Ohio and earned a degree in chemistry from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. After a year of graduate studies in organic chemistry, she decided to attend medical school, spending two years at Ross University and then two more in New York City, completing her clinical rotations in Brooklyn and Queens, followed by a psychiatric residency at St. Luke’s Roosevelt affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Both her parents are physicians (a pathologist and orthopedic surgeon), and her older sister is a psychiatrist who recommended she focus on child and adolescent psychiatry after seeing how well (the future) Dr. Paul connected with her children.
Dr. Paul believes Skypiatrist’s telemedicine model is a natural fit. “I have been practicing psychiatry for over 12 years and doing Tele-psychiatry for three. I enjoy it and believe patients just feel more comfortable talking from home.” Applying her expertise in ADHD, mood, and anxiety disorders, she will work with both younger patients and adults.
Beyond her practice, Dr. Paul has a busy home life that includes books, gardening, exercise, and parenting. “My husband is a writer and I’m a big reader, especially of fiction, and I have two (pre-adolescent) kids. My family not only keeps me busy but gives me insight I use to connect with patients of all ages.”
Dr. Christina Lakshmi Persaud is a true New Yorker born in Chelsea and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. She graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior in 2006 and a Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree. She also earned a Masters in Biomedical Sciences degree at Tufts Medical University.
Dr. Persaud received her Doctor of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University and completed her psychiatry residency at Boston University Medical Center, where she was chief resident in her final year.
She is realizing her dream of connecting helping her fellow New Yorkers as an attending psychiatrist.
A provider of color and the first doctor in her family, Dr. Persaud covers a spectrum of psychiatric and psychological concerns, including but not limited to: anxiety, depression, mood disorders, PTSD, psychiatric effects of medical conditions (psychosomatic medicine), academic and professional stress, and navigating cultural dynamics.
Additionally, she breaks down the internalized stigma often held by patients seeking mental health care for the first time. “Therapy should be part of primary care,” Dr. Persaud says.
Like many during the pandemic, Dr. Persaud embraced telepsychiatry out of necessity. She was diagnosed with COVID in March 2020: “To keep working, I got into telemedicine. It’s been a godsend to me and the people I’ve been working with. I think telemedicine actually enhances the quality of care,” she says. As part of her COVID recovery, she is preparing to power walk the 2021 TCS New York City Marathon.
Like many of Skypiatrist’s doctors, Elisabeth Gray brings a wealth of life experience to her work. But, although she’s had a comparatively unorthodox path to psychiatric medicine, one thing has always been a constant—a passion for helping people.
A native of upstate New York, Dr. Gray received her BA in Studio Art from Williams College before earning her MS in Mathematics from Syracuse University. For years, she helped struggling college students complete their remedial math requirements. But it was volunteering and later working professionally as an EMT that gave her the confidence to pursue medicine.
Through her residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Dr. Gray remembered her time working on the ambulance and felt a calling to specialize in psychiatric medicine. “I always liked helping the patients where you had to puzzle it out, which is a big component of psychiatry. The patient says something and you’re looking for the space between the words,” she recalls.
A career with New York State Office of Mental Health, Office of Addiction and Substance Abuse Services, and other state agencies followed. Now retired, Dr. Gray is excited to work in a practice with a variety of people, adding that she’s especially open to helping transgender patients.
As an attending psychiatrist at Jacobi Medical Center’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) Unit and Buffalo Psychiatric Center inpatient unit, Dr. Albassam works with patients dealing with complicated scenarios of PTSD, psychosis, mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety, panic disorders, and substance use.
Before his residency, Dr. Albassam published articles in two editions of Psychiatric Annals. He worked in psychiatric research at Zucker-Hillside Hospital on Long Island and Bergen Regional Medical Center in Paramus, NJ, and as a medical interpreter and public health worker in San Jose, California, where he worked with refugees from all over the world. He graduated from BronxCare Psychiatric Residency in 2019 and obtained his certificate as a psychodynamic therapist from the prestigious Psychoanalytic Association of New York.
However, Dr. Albassam’s story with psychiatry began in Iraq, where he was born, raised, and attained his medical doctorate from Bagdad University College of Medicine. In Iraq, his dissatisfaction with medicine would inform his approach to working with patients. He endeavors to build a collaborative, patient-centered, and non-judgmental treatment setting to further the development of a meaningful therapeutic relationship. He maintains a holistic approach to care, understanding the importance of obtaining symptomatic relief with a feeling of overall well-being through insight and empathy. His training in psychodynamic therapy consolidates his approach to patient treatment and his ability to transform his encounters with patients into a fruitful and rewarding experience for both patient and provider.
Dr. Albassam lives in NY with his wife and two children. He’s a published author of short stories and literary translations of poetry, movie reviews, and classical music criticism.
Born in New York City, Dr. Pan spent her childhood and early teen years in Taiwan. She returned to the United States to attend high school in western New York state, and then onto SUNY University at Buffalo, where she earned an undergraduate degree and later M.D. from Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“I chose psychiatry because it gives me the opportunity to listen to people’s stories and be there with them through difficult life events,” Dr. Pan says.
To expand her horizons to see adults as well as children and adolescents, Dr. Pan completed her psychiatry fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. An anime fan, she believes her interests sometimes reflect those of children and teens, giving her a unique perspective.
Dr. Pan treats anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, PTSD while encouraging therapy. “I am excited about the evidence supporting combined treatment of medication and therapy so that the emphasis isn’t only on medication,” she says.
Noting the necessities that arose from the COVID-19 lockdowns, Dr. Pan is enthusiastic about working in telemedicine. “Since the pandemic, telemedicine has shown that it’s really easy to adapt to different situations. I see that increasing,” she says. “Telemedicine helps make it easier for patients to access care, and I think we will be seeing a continued increase in telemedicine going forward.”
An avid traveler, Dr. Pan has made numerous trips to Japan and visited Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand, and Hungary.
For almost a decade, Dr. Sabatino has been helping America’s veterans cope with complex issues, including severe depression, anxiety, trauma, and neuro-cognitive disorders. He earned his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and physics at Binghamton University and his Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Buffalo before completing his psychiatry residency at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City.
Positions as a staff psychiatrist at United Health Services Hospitals in Binghamton and Brookhaven Memorial Hospital in Patchogue brought Dr. Sabatino back to his native New York. His work at Northport VA Medical Center set him on a path to work with former active-duty service members.
Dr. Sabatino is a board-certified psychiatrist who believes strongly that the therapeutic approach should be tailored to each patient’s needs. “For me, the most important things are listening to my patients, understanding what their personal goals are, and learning about their personal preferences in terms of treatment options. I am grateful for the opportunity to offer my patients the best in evidence-based care to help them achieve the results that they are looking for,” he says. “With therapy, one size definitely doesn’t fit all.”
Dr. Sabatino has been practicing telepsychiatry since 2018, and though he doesn’t feel that it spells the end of in-person treatment, he acknowledges that it is the wave of the future. “Patients like the convenience that this technology provides. Telepsychiatry is going to be an empowering option for them going forward.”
Dr. Shilpa Thayyullathil is a psychiatrist from New Jersey who has practiced for over 10 years in New York State. The daughter of a geriatric physician, she credits her father with her early interest in medicine and passion for science. These influences led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biology at Oberlin College, followed by a Medical Degree from St. George University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.
As an attending psychiatrist, Dr. Thayyullathil has worked primarily in outpatient settings. Demographics have included people with chronic mental health disorders, living with HIV and AIDS, a history of homelessness, and substance use disorders. She has provided lectures on various topics such as assessing and managing the residual symptoms of depression, pregnancy and psychotropic medications, suicide, verbal de-escalation, and the management of agitated patients with psychotropic medications.
Working with 9/11 survivors for the past few years, she has developed a strong interest in incorporating alternative treatments such as nutrition, yoga, and therapeutic techniques with traditional psychotropic medications in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition to PTSD, her areas of expertise include adjustment disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. Dr. Thayyullathil takes a minimalistic approach to prescribing psychotropic medications, while encouraging the use of supportive/talk therapy and alternative treatments to maximize one's success in their path to recovery.
Dr. Tavakkoli brings a unique perspective and professional background that includes years of work in public health and leadership roles. The road that led him to work as an inpatient psychiatrist at Rockland Psychiatric Center in New York started in the Middle East in pre-revolutionary Iran. In Tehran, Dr. Tavokkoli worked as a general practitioner after earning his MD and Master of Public Health from Tehran University. He intended to continue working in the public health system, but years of political instability prompted him to pursue his studies in the United States.
While earning his Master’s in Global Health and Population at Harvard, he realized he missed working with patients, particularly those facing mental health issues stemming from living with HIV/AIDS. “I worked with one of the first HIV clinics in Iran,” where he recalls, “a lot of patients had mental health issues.” Working with the United Nations AIDS Programme in Iran, Dr. Tavakkoli established the first nationwide network of people living with HIV providing psychosocial support for each other. In 2020, he launched and supervised the first COVID-19 inpatient psychiatric unit in New York’s Hudson Valley.
Patient convenience makes telepsychiatry appealing to Dr. Tavokkoli. “It can be hard for people coping with mental illnesses to get themselves together and go to the doctor,” he says, adding that he believes both talk therapy and medication management are essential to effective treatment.
A resident of Westchester, he enjoys running, cooking Persian food, photography, and studying world cinema.
Although he’s spent the better part of the past decade working in the greater New York City area through the Bronx Healthcare System–where he is currently Emergency Psychiatry Fellowship Director–Dr. Ameen’s earliest work in the mental health field began in a very different environment.
Born in Iraq, Dr. Ameen graduated from Baghdad University in 2005. “After graduation, I was working in war zones with limited resources,” he recalls. And it was his work with refugees in Cairo that inspired him to pursue a career in mental health. “When I went to Egypt, I wanted to help, and I found the best way for me to help with refugees was in the mental health field.”
After moving to the United States in 2010, Dr. Ameen attended Harvard University and served as U.S. Medical Advisor at the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Ameen works with people experiencing PTSD, mood disorder, and adjustment disorder and emphasizes work with multicultural patients. He is fluent in Arabic and specializes in working with Arabic and Muslim patients, explaining, “I believe I have a deep understanding of the coping strategies that they use.”
Married and the father of two children, Dr. Ameen loves traveling, and learning about other cultures, and has spent time working abroad in New Zealand and with the faculty of St. George University in Grenada. “That’s one reason I’m excited to work for Skypiatrist,” he says. “I can be anywhere.”
Dr. Jans has always had a love of music. She grew up playing piano and flute and continued her studies throughout her undergraduate years, eventually earning a B.A. in Music from Iowa State University in Ames, IA. But “medicine was always part of the plan,” says Dr. Jans, who purposefully chose to study music as she knew the rest of her education would be dominated by science.
It was at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine that she found her specific calling. “I went to medical school with an open mind and explored different specialties throughout my education,” she remembers. “I was drawn to psychiatry because I was interested in hearing a patient's life story and was honored to become a part of their lives in that way."
She is currently working as an outpatient psychiatrist in both Iowa and New York, where she helps a wide range of patients experiencing life challenges that include anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Like many of her contemporaries, telepsychiatry was part of her residency. “We discovered its advantages, especially with providing care for people in more rural areas who couldn’t travel,” she remembers. Dr. Jans follows all state and federal telepsychiatry regulations so she is unable to prescribe controlled substances at this time.
Dr. Jans also enjoys teaching, including her work supervising and training psychiatry residents at The University of Iowa. “Teaching is something I’ve always enjoyed,” says the mother of two young children, who still makes time for music in her life as a flutist in her local community band.
Although she works with people of all ages, Dr. Tamirisa has always had an affinity for helping younger patients. Born in India and educated in Dubai, she completed her medical studies in the United Arab Emirates, where she was initially interested in pursuing pediatrics. Her focus would shift to mental health later in medical school.
“I was always interested in adolescent and childhood mental health issues, including autism,” she recalls. While working and meeting with child psychiatrists during her residency at St. Louis University Hospital, she focused her interest on adolescent psychiatry. In 2018, She completed her studies in child and adolescent psychiatry from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and almost immediately started working with patients online.
“I was working in telemedicine before Covid. It felt like a great option to be able to do what I love professionally, and be able to be present for my son. I felt I could reach a broader range of patients in different states and be part of different settings of care from my home office.
In the future, Dr. Tamirisa plans to work remotely and continue to care for my patients from wherever she is. “With Skypiatrist, with telemedicine, I’ll be able to work with my clients from India or anywhere else while maintaining my licenses in the states.”
When she isn’t caring for patients and her family, Dr. Tamirisa enjoys taking on new hobbies, which center around the kitchen. “I enjoy dabbling in cooking and making Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, and other cuisines with a vegan twist.”
Patricia Sage-McLean, LCSW-R, hails from a small town in upstate New York. After receiving her BA from Binghamton University, she completed her MSW at the University at Albany School of Social Welfare. She received advanced training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy from Upstate Medical University at SUNY Syracuse. For the last four years, she has been part of a multi-disciplinary team at Lourdes Center for Pain and Wellness. Before that, Patricia worked for a substance abuse facility and an inpatient psychiatric hospital.
Patricia strives to create a safe space where her patients feel welcome and validated. She takes a person-centered approach, allowing for self-exploration of past and current struggles to work on problem-solving and growth. She focuses on strength building and working on areas of life that they value most. Interested in the human being behind the story, she facilitates a therapeutic relationship that encourages patients to open up about their lived experience. Patricia has worked with patients online for two years and sees teletherapy as a solution to the transportation, scheduling, and accessibility issues commonly associated with in-office care.
While she specializes in treating personality disorders, Patricia has extensive experience treating schizophrenia, chronic pain, substance abuse issues, stress, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, grief, and coping with life changes. In her free time, she enjoys working on her daughter’s farm and playing golf. She is also an avid nature photographer and animal lover.
Michele grew up in Ohio, attended Tulane University in New Orleans, and completed a bachelor’s degree in English at The College of New Rochelle. She later earned her master’s in Counseling Psychology at Antioch University, becoming a licensed mental health counselor in 2012.
An integrative therapist, Michele describes her practice as: “A highly personalized, evidence-based approach that combines carefully chosen complementary theoretical interventions. This may look like traditional talk therapy, concrete skill-building, or the discovery of the interconnectivity of thought, emotions, and behavior. Its success is contingent on a trusting, accepting relationship between client and therapist.”
Her areas of expertise include relationship issues, family conflict, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, and trauma. “My therapeutic style is compassionate and curious, with a great appreciation for the power of humor!” She continues, “Whether you want to untangle the past, feel overwhelmed by the present, or worried about the future, I strive to create a safe place to support your needs.”
Initially a doubter, Michele now sees significant value in teletherapy. “Obviously, it’s convenient, but also there’s a discernible shift in the dynamic when you are meeting online as opposed to having clients come to your office and communicate in your space. Most appear more comfortable speaking from their own environments while I get interesting glimpses into their lives real-time.”
A mother of three adult children, Michele recently relocated from Vermont to Rhinebeck, New York, to be closer to her daughter Claire who lives in NYC.
Passionate about helping youth and families, some of Dr. Barnes’ earliest work with patients was providing therapy to some of New York’s highest-risk children who were directly or indirectly affected by the 9/11 terrorist attack. She has since provided services in private and institutional settings helping both child and adult clients maneuver life’s challenges.
A native of Queens, NY, where she currently provides private counseling, Dr. Barnes has had a unique career path to working in mental health. She earned a BA in Art History from Empire State College. “I loved independent studies,” she recalls. “I continued onward with my studies.” She received an MA in Counseling Psychology from Norwich University Vermont College and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education from Northcentral University in Arizona.
As a mental health counselor for Project Cope, she delivered individual and group counseling, including Social Cognition Interactive Training (SCIT), smoking cessation, family education, and anger management. As a MICA therapist, Dr. Barnes worked closely with clients diagnosed with mental illness and chemical addictions.
She focuses on helping military service members, LGBTQ individuals, and business leaders in private practice. She enjoys working in telemedicine because of the democratizing effect it has had on reaching patients and looks forward to the new developments to continue helping people. “So many of us in the field are coming up with ways for more people to access mental health practitioners.
“Psychiatry and counseling have come a long way since the start of my career,” she remarks. “People young and old have become more vocal about shattering stigma to get help."
Growing up in the college town of Binghamton, NY, Jason found his calling early in life while taking a high school psychology course. He would go on to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from SUNY Oneonta before returning home to earn his Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from SUNY Binghamton.
“I’ve always had a calm demeanor, and, even as a teenager I would help people with their problems,” says Jason, who later applied his concern for young adults while working for Child Protective Services before entering grad school.
He currently works as Clinical Supervisor at an Outpatient Mental Health Clinic where he helps his patients (who range in age from five to adulthood) deal with an array of life’s challenges, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and behavioral disorders.
A firm believer that developing a trusting therapeutic relationship is essential to patient success, Jason emphasizes the importance of creating a calm, warming environment, explaining, “I believe therapy should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.”
Jason sees many advantages to working with patients online. “With adults, I’ve been surprised at how much can be achieved through virtual visits. You get to see into people’s personal lives, their home environment, and overall living situations. That’s very helpful.”
In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights, spending time with his wife and their Lhasa Apso, and winter getaways to Florida.
Gabrielle Brainard’s path to working with people seemed meant to be. As a resident of a small town in western New York State, she grew up in Arkansas and spent some time in New York before starting her advanced education in Maryland. However, it was in Baltimore, where her aunt was a psychiatric nurse in a behavioral health hospital, that she was exposed to therapy.
After getting her Bachelor’s in Sociology and Law Enforcement at Towson University and studying abroad in London, she continued her education, earning a Master of Social Work degree at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in Pennsylvania. Now she spends most of her days utilizing her training as an LCSW, MSW, and trauma counselor working with young people at an alternative education high school and providing counseling services to adults via telehealth.
“Social workers are knowledgeable and helpful in many areas—medical, school, home, and family. It’s a versatile field and is person-centered,” she says, also emphasizing how telehealth opens up a spectrum of treatment options for people in small, rural towns. “Living in a rural area, transportation tends to be a huge barrier, as is having limited resources. Telehealth opens up opportunities for individuals to receive treatment from the privacy and comfort of their own homes.”
As a mother of three, Gabrielle has a passion for traveling. Growing up, she visited all 50 states with her mother and now is building a ‘travel bucket list’ which includes Iceland and New Zealand.
Sheila grew up in a large family on Long Island, where she learned the importance of helping one another. “My parents encouraged us to consider the needs of the whole family.” This mindset helped Sheila develop the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Years later as a student at California State University, Fullerton, this early lesson would guide her course of studies.
“I started as a business major but knew it wasn’t for me,” she recalls. An undergraduate course in psychology was a turning point for her. “I discovered that this was what I was meant to do.” After earning her bachelor's, she returned to New York where she completed her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University.
Through her twenty-plus-year career in mental health, Sheila has worked in clinical and private settings. In addition to helping adults with a wide range of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, relational and substance-abuse-related troubles, she has helped many patients deal with grief.
She uses a variety of therapeutic approaches when working with patients. “Most individuals struggle today due to negative thoughts patterns that guide their choices and behaviors. Therapy is about examining and redefining core beliefs so patients can make better, more informed decisions about how they live their lives today.”
Raising her own family on Long Island these days, Sheila enjoys sharing her love of baking, biking, books, and Broadway shows, with her husband and daughters.