Questions? Nassau (516) 714-4707 | Suffolk (631) 828-2264 | NYC (646) 939-5210

Jeanette Lorandini

LCSW & Director

There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free.

– Ajahn Chah

A life worth living

I was first introduced to DBT in 2008 when I was working with a client who had Borderline Personality Disorder. I referred her to a DBT treatment provider and during this transition, I learned of the many interesting things she was learning in DBT. I really liked working with clients who had Borderline Personality Disorder and the clients that others might define as difficult. I was able to connect with them, validate them, and offer change strategies through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Although I enjoyed working with this population, CBT was not as effective as I had hoped it would be for this often-misunderstood population. It was at this time that I decided to immerse myself in learning DBT.

In 2008, I started on a treatment team, invested in supervision, and became foundationally trained by Behavioral Tech. Later, I also attended other trainings by Behavioral Tech, including “Adolescents with Multiple Problems,” “Emotion Regulation,” “DBT- C for children ages 7-12,” and “Crisis Survival in DBT.”

I honestly just fell in love with DBT and it made perfect sense to me. I live my own life using these skills, and I teach others how to live by applying this incredibly valuable treatment. As the owner and director of Suffolk DBT, my journey has been incredibly rewarding.

This therapy is about meeting our clients where they are. When they walk through our doors, it is important for all of our office staff and our team of clinicians to create an environment of hope and acceptance.

My passion is to help families and their children to thrive. I work hard to help create an environment of safety, acceptance, and compassion for both our staff and for our clients.

When I meet a child or adolescent, I want them to know that here, at Suffolk DBT, they will be accepted as they are. I will work with them to embrace their own sensitivity, and to learn how to be brave and scared at the same time. As a DBT therapist, I am able to be warm, accepting, genuine, and “tread where angels fear to tread.” This basically means that it is my job to be warm, available, empathetic, and at the same time, blunt, and honest. I may even use humor to discuss serious issues. It is a style that kids find validating. These children feel like I understand them, and I do.

It is my job to walk with you through this journey. I may need to remind you of who you are and where you have been when you forget how far you have come. It’s important that I not only know you, but that I really know you. I am here to remind you of why you started this journey and to help you find “freedom from suffering.” I am here to to lead you to what Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT, defined as “a life worth living.”

Ready to speak with a licensed Mental Health Specialist?

Suffolk DBT Mental Health Team

Bridget Castro

Bridget Castro

LMHC
Shirly Aslan Joory

Shirly Aslan Joory

LMSW
Jeanette Lorandini

Jeanette Lorandini

LCSW & Director
Erika Lopez

Erika Lopez

Clinician & Intake Coordinator, LCSW
Victoria Nielsen

Victoria Nielsen

LCSW
Spencer Oliveira

Spencer Oliveira

LMHC, DBT-FC
Nelida Deleon

Nelida Deleon

LMHC
Ann Marie Pagano

Ann Marie Pagano

LMSW
Jonathan Kelly

Jonathan Kelly

LMSW
Jamie Thorbjornsen

Jamie Thorbjornsen

LMHC

Bridget Castro

LMHC

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”- Mary Anne Radmacher

Many of us feel unheard or that no one could understand what we have gone through in our lives. Many of us do not even know where to begin when telling our story when we enter into therapy. Bridget became a therapist to help her clients unravel the threads of their stories and gain the skills to live the life they deserve.

Bridget is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who is excited to be joining Suffolk DBT. She received her master’s degree in counseling from Long Island University. She also specialized in substance use counseling during her program and went on to receive her certification as a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor.

Bridget became interested in DBT when working in a mental health housing agency. Many of Bridget’s clients were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and she found that other forms of therapy were not as effective. She completed an introductory training in DBT and saw how this research driven approach could help so many people. As a yoga instructor, Bridget especially loved the emphasis on mindfulness. Bridget has worked with individuals with developmental disabilities and utilized her training to assist her clients to improve their emotional regulation skills and distress tolerance. Bridget also interned at a college counseling center where she gained experience working with teenagers and young adults.

In 2021, Bridget attended the DBT-C training through Behavioral Tech to further share DBT treatment with children and their families.

Bridget welcomes individuals from all walks of life and values supporting her clients to find their unique gifts and strengths. She feels that the most effective therapeutic relationship is built on trust and authenticity. Bridget is eager to work as a DBT therapist at Suffolk DBT and support her clients to gain the skills to be the best versions of themselves.

Shirly Aslan Joory

LMSW

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou
Shirly is a Licensed Master of Social Work in New York State. Shirly completed the Advanced Standing Master of Social Work Program at Columbia university, and attained her New York state licensure shortly afterwards. She is currently accruing hours towards her clinical licensure. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work Program at the City University of New York.

Shirly completed her graduate level field placement, and beyond, at The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) where she began to specialize in working with individuals and groups with an Asperger or similar profile.  She completed her undergraduate level field placement at the Addabbo Family Health Center, an ambulatory clinic, in case management.

Prior to undertaking full time studies, Shirly had worked as a direct service professional for the intellectually and developmentally disabled community for several years.

Shirly also has a background in theater and the performing arts. She finds a great connection between social work and acting, as they share “trying to step into someone else’s shoes” and developing empathy.

Shirly first started learning about DBT in one of her Master’s level clinical classes. She was immediately drawn to this structured yet versatile therapy, as she believes its components deliver much needed support to many different populations, as well as the BPD community that it was originally designed for.

Shirly sought out, and is thrilled to be working at Suffolk DBT, as part of a unique team. Shirly strives to ensure that every individual feels “seen” and “heard,” and that they feel supported in meeting their full potential.

Jeanette Lorandini

LCSW & Director

As Founder and Director of Suffolk DBT, Jeanette Lorandini works with families, children, adolescents, and adults utilizing the evidence-based approach of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Jeanette helps clients develop self-awareness, embrace emotional sensitivities, and ultimately engage more productively with themselves and their environments. She makes it her mission to tailor Suffolk DBT’s approach to each client, teaching key DBT skills that hone strengths and recognize struggles. Jeanette understands and is sympathetic to the fact that most people are nervous to start therapy. “DBT is about meeting people where they are,” says Jeanette. “When our clients walk through our doors, our supportive team creates an environment of acceptance and hope.”

Jeanette knew from a young age that she wanted to help and heal people. To pursue this goal, she attended SUNY Potsdam for her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. During her time at Potsdam, Jeanette’s mentor, a psychology professor who taught ‘Theory of Personality Disorders’ suggested she apply to graduate school and become a therapist. One year later, Jeanette arrived at Stony Brook University to pursue a Master’s Degree in Social Work to better understand complex mental health support.

After graduating in 1992 and attaining her license to practice therapy, Jeanette worked with several clients who were emotionally sensitive, one of whom was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Jeanette found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was useful but knew her client needed more to thrive. After recommending a therapist who specialized in DBT to provide additional support, Jeanette became intrigued by her client’s improvement and the practical skills she began employing. Jeanette had always dreamed of an approach that was more effective for those dealing with PTSD, suicidal ideation, anger management, self-harm, and trauma. That was the impetus for Jeanette to immerse herself in the art of DBT. She completed Advanced Training for DBT Practitioners and is has received advanced training through the Linehan Institute: Behavioral Tech in DBT for treating children, adolescents, and adults who’ve experienced various life challenges including trauma.

In 2009 Jeanette decided to open her own practice, Suffolk DBT, with the goal of establishing a group of intensively trained DBT therapists to alleviate suffering in the community. In addition to a robust therapist team, Suffolk DBT is a teaching practice for graduate students attending regional colleges including Columbia University. Jeanette deeply believes in the efficacy of DBT living her own life in accordance with its skills and teaching others how to apply DBT to their everyday lives.

Erika Lopez

Clinician & Intake Coordinator, LCSW

My Philosophy: Erika believes that getting to know ourselves can be uncomfortable and hard, but necessary work to better understand who we are and what mark we want to leave on the world around us.

What Sessions With Erika Look Like: Erika ensures that the relationship and rapport between herself and a client is mutual, as it is vital for clients to feel comfortable enough to be honest in sessions to facilitate the necessary work to build a better life. She makes an effort to continuously check in throughout sessions about how a client is feeling and remove any form of miscommunications or misinterpretations that might occur while utilizing DBT tools.

More About Me: Growing up in an environment where she consistently felt invalidated and unheard was a painful experience. Erika struggled with self-esteem, relationships, behavioral issues, and personal trauma. She was lucky enough to find a few safe adults that saw she was struggling and were patient in teaching her valuable skills on how to survive emotionally, mentally, and physically. Once she found her own way to therapy and began to experience what it felt like to be heard, understood, and cared for, Erika’s outlook changed for the better. Erika’s lived experience continues to motivate her to help others suffering with their mental health. Life is too short to spend sufferring being unhappy and unfulfilled. Being able to show clients a healthy, supportive and educational relationship is one of her favorite things about being a therapist. Erika hopes to help clients the way she was helped so that they too can experience life being happy, feeling heard and understanding that they matter.

Erika has experience providing mental health treatment in a variety of settings including a family shelter in the Bronx, a women’s shelter in Suffolk County and a skilled nursing facility. She has worked with families and individuals to provide therapy, workshops, and guided group meditations to people with varying diagnoses ranging from ages 10-65+.

Specialties

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Trained
  • Trauma Focused

Additional certifications

  • DBT Foundational Training with Behavioral Tech, 2022
  • CAMS Certification, 2022
  • Treating Emotional Avoidance in Stage 1 DBT: Using Informal Exposure Strategies, 2022
  • SIFI Certification, 2022

Education

  • Fordham University, Bronx NY, Masters in Social Work, 2019
  • Molloy College, Rockville Centre NY, Bachelors in Social Work, 2018
  • Nassau Community College, Garden City NY, Associates in Human Services, Sociology and Anthropology, 2016

Victoria Nielsen

LCSW

“Being highly sensitive does not at all rule out being, in your own way, you are a tenacious survivor.” – Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D.

Victoria Nielsen is a Licensed Social Worker in New York State. Victoria began her journey into the mental health field by completing her undergraduate education at The State University of New York at Oswego where she studied psychology and cognitive science. This is where Victoria first became interested in DBT and took it upon herself to further dive into Marsha Linehan’s research and development of DBT. Victoria continued her education, receiving her Master’s degree in Social Work at Stony Brook University.

She has since fulfilled NYS requirements to gain licensure. Victoria has worked in a multitude of settings, including psychiatric hospitals, mental health outpatient facilities, community residency programs, emergency foster care settings, and private practice. Victoria has provided individual and group therapy to individuals living with a wide range of diagnoses and symptomatic behaviors. During these experiences, Victoria would often work with client’s wanting to learn healthy ways to manage their emotions, and maladaptive coping skills. It was with these clients that Victoria would find herself returning to DBT skills as other forms of therapy were helpful, but she could sense the need for a more specific therapeutic approach designed for these individuals particular needs. She also started to see the complexity of the clients who required the full DBT treatment. She came to learn that adherent DBT requires, individual, diary cards, skills group, skills coaching, and for the provider to be on a consultation team. This is when she pursued employment with Suffolk DBT.

Victoria greatly values the diversity of clients and is open to working with individuals at all stages of their lives. Victoria welcomes individuals of all ages, genders, race, and all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Victoria believes a key component of therapy is providing a warm, safe environment for individuals seeking mental health treatment. Victoria firmly believes it is best to practice with compassion, empathy, understanding, and acceptance. She believes this is a vital aspect in assisting individuals to gain a better understanding of their symptoms, and guide them towards enhancing their strengths, and independence.

Spencer Oliveira

LMHC, DBT-FC

My Philosophy: Spencer believes that every person’s life is a gift and deserves a therapist who can provide unconditional positive support in their efforts towards self-improvement.

What Sessions Look Like: Spencer knows that there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to mental health treatment. Instead, he addresses each client as a unique case and works with them to develop a treatment plan to cater to their unique needs. Spencer works with clients of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and sexual orientations.

More About Me: In his personal life, those around Spencer feel comfortable confiding in him. Those who get to know him quickly build rapport due to his candid and lively disposition. Spencer puts his full heart and soul into each client, aiding them in their journey towards a life worth living.

Specialties

  • DBT informed CBT to address
    • Autism
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Interpersonal effectiveness
    • Mindfulness and Dialectical Thinking
    • Self esteem
    • Imaginal Exposure and Guided Imagery
    • Life transitions

Additional Certifications

  • Foundational Certification in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy through Behavioral Tech, August 2021

Education

  • SUNY Albany, Albany NY, Bachelor’s of Criminal Justice and Psychology, May 2014
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York NY, Master’s of Forensic Mental Health Counseling, December 2016

Nelida Deleon

LMHC

“It’s okay to be scared. Being scared means you’re about to do something really, really brave.” —Anonymous

Nelida Deleon is an exceptional bi-lingual clinician who brings a broad range of clinical experience to our practice. Nelida has worked extensively with children, adolescents, and families for more than 20 years. She has also worked with couples and adults of all ages in a variety of settings, including early intervention, residential, clinics, probation, community centers, and school settings.

Nelida attended Long Island University CW-Post to earn her Master of Science degree in Counseling, and then went on to obtain her Mental Health Counselor License and Provisional Certification in School Counseling.

Nelida’s clinical experiences at Queens Counseling Services, Pathway Pros, Longwood School District, Suffolk County Juvenile Probation and Clinical Care have given her invaluable experience with substance abuse, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, ADHD, child and adolescent conduct, and other mental health-related concerns and disorders. She has used several different modalities to aid clients in overcoming life changes, barriers, trauma, and crises, including crisis management, behavior modification, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy. Through working in a variety of settings, Nelida has learned the importance of collaborative services with other professionals such as medical providers, psychiatrists, school personnel, and court liaisons.

Nelida’s passion for working with children and adolescents stemmed from working with at-risk adolescents and families at a residential setting; it was there that she decided to further pursue her career in the mental health field. Since then, Nelida has worked with a mission and passion to help children, adolescents, adults, individuals, and families overcome life barriers in order to build healthy, successful lives and relationships and to become productive members of our society. Currently, she is motivated and committed to the application of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. She completed the Advanced Case Conceptualization and Treatment Planning given by Nancy Gordon, LCSW. Additionally, Nelida attends our weekly consultation team meetings.

Ann Marie Pagano

LMSW

My Philosophy: Ann Marie abides by the philosophy that everyone deserves an empathetic therapist who will treat them with respect and dignity, while providing a safe and open environment where clients feel like they belong.

What Sessions With Ann Marie Look Like: Ann Marie seeks to create an environment where clients feel comfortable to express themselves in a nonjudgmental environment. She strives to support her clients to the best of her ability and teach DBT skills along the way, with a possible reference or two from TikTok.

More About Me: As an adoptee herself, Ann Marie knows just how hard it can be for those who are adopted to feel supported when intense feelings arise. She guides families and individuals through these feelings from the perspective of an adoptee. During her internship, Ann Marie saw tremendous growth in her clients and witnessed the power of DBT and its influence. She found her passion working with children, adolescents, and families and works with clients to be an advocate for them and an active member of their support system. She strives to be a part of every client's journey towards creating a life worth living.

Specialties

  • DBT-C
  • Adoption
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Families

Additional Certifications

  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Foundational Training, Behavioral Tech, October, 2022

Education

  • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY, Masters of Social Work, May 2022
  • Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton FL, Bachelors of Social Work August 2016

Jonathan Kelly

LMSW

My Philosophy: Jonathan wholeheartedly believes in the power of DBT to decrease suffering and help clients move towards a life worth living.Working With Me: With clients, Jonathan strives to take an in-depth look at recurrent behavior patterns, explore their origins, and discover how to break free of them. With compassion, and the use of DBT skills, Jonathan seeks to guide clients to a life free of suffering.More About Me: During the first year of his doctoral program in Neuroscience, three of Jonathans colleagues were hospitalized due to suicidal behavior. Each one was treated with Intensive Outpatient DBT. John witnessed firsthand their rapid transformation and improvement. Seeing the positive impact that therapy had on his peers inspired him to change career paths, leading him to pursue a career in mental health counseling.Specialties
  • Interpersonal conflict
Education
  • Columbia School of Social Work, New York NY, Advanced Clinical Practice - Master’s of Social Work, May 2022
  • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY, Bachelor’s of Science in Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience, May, 2018

Jamie Thorbjornsen

LMHC

My Philosophy: Jamie believes that it is vital for us as people to understand who we are. She knows that It can be a hard process to confront this, but seeks to authentically connect with clients and be part of that journey and help them be the best they can be.What Sessions With Jamie Look Like: Jamie strives to build strong working relationships and authentic connections with every one of her clients, creating an environment of honesty and transparency.More about me: Growing up being told she was an emotional and sensitive person, Jamie felt that she needed to quiet her feelings for the benefit of others. Jamie began therapy in college and learned it was a helpful tool that so many others can benefit from. She then decided to pursue her own journey towards becoming a Mental Health Counselor.During Jamie’s graduate studies she fell more and more in love with the counseling profession. She threw herself into her work and made a promise to her younger self that she would make a difference in someone’s life. During her internship, and soon to be first job after graduation, Jamie would do her own research on behavioral therapy which inevitably led to an interest in DBT as a career. She is passionate about using DBT to provide others with the skills they need to create a life worth living.Specialties
  • DBT
  • Adolescents
Certifications
  • DBT Foundational Training with Behavior Tech, 2023
  • DBT Skills for Adolescents and Families, 2023
  • CAMS Certification, 2023
Education
  • Long Island University Post, Brookville NY, Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, 2020
  • SUNY College at Brockport, Brockport NY, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, 2018

Interns

Marc Jakobi

Marc Jakobi

Christopher Montano

Christopher Montano

Social Work Intern
Laurissa Hartnett

Laurissa Hartnett

Social Work Intern
Julia Stanger

Julia Stanger

Social Work Intern
Alexandra Kastamonitis

Alexandra Kastamonitis

MA Clinical Psychology Candidate

Marc Jakobi

Marc Jakobi is currently working towards his Masters in Social Work at the Columbia School of Social Work.

As an intern at SuffolkDBT, Marc will be offering mental health support to clients over telehealth and at the Manhattan location. He has experience working with traumasurvivors, and doing case management with adults struggling with housing insecurity.

Marc is currently a part of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy program at Columbia University under Andre Ivanoff

Believes that the DBT skills can be useful for everyone and strives to use them as well, believes that clients are doing the best they can, and Marc strives to hold a non judgmental stance

Areas of interest are emotion dysregulation, impulse control, anxiety, and depression.

In his free time, Marc enjoys spending time with his partner and their 2 pets, a rabbit and a cat, watching movies or playing games with friends.

Christopher Montano

Social Work Intern

Christopher is currently working towards a Master of Social Work specializing in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at Columbia University. He holds a Bachelor of Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He will offer mental health support to clients through telehealth and in person at the Manhattan Suffolk DBT location. Christopher has experience working at a university’s disability office, mental health coaching program and a crisis text line where he worked with individuals with disabilities, college students, and adults. A few areas of clinical interest for Christopher include anxiety, depression, ADHD, and Bipolar Disorder. Christopher believes that everyone can improve with the right guidance. He is currently learning how to guide and teach skills groups and assist with intake sessions. Christopher looks forward to working with individual clients.

Outside of Suffolk DBT, Christopher teaches English as a second language to low-income immigrants at a non-profit. He enjoys exploring the city with his friends and running at Central Park.

Laurissa Hartnett

Social Work Intern

Previous degree: BA In English

Degree in progress: Master of Social Work - First year

School: Stony Brook University

Experience: worked with children with disabilities through the church as well as over summers growing up.

Interests: Listening to True Crime podcasts, practicing Tae Kwon Do and Pilates, reading folklore genre or mystery genre novels, and baking.

Something Personal: I am a returning student having graduated over 15 years ago. The reason I am pursuing a degree in social work is to help advocate for children with special needs in the school systems to ensure the children and their families have the support that is needed to ensure success in academics.

Why DBT: What interested me about DBT is that I am trying to practice more mindfulness in my everyday life and the practice of DBT will help translate to better coping skills, better relationships and managing the daily stressors of life. It’s all about living in the present.

Julia Stanger

Social Work Intern

Previous degree: BA in Psychology with a minor in communications

Degree in progress: Master of Social Work - First year

School: Stony Brook University

Experience: 10+ years of childcare, 5+ years of coaching/group-leading experience, observingtherapy groups.

Interests: Coaching, wedding planning, spending time outdoors, mental healthcare, advocacy,emotional validation.

Something Personal: I am an LGBTQ+ equal rights and anti-discrimination advocate.

Why DBT: DBT appeals to me because I love the comprehensive aspects. It is excellent forindividuals who would like a more involved approach to therapy that includes beneficial skillsand accountability. I believe I am an emotionally sensitive and empathetic person which leadsme to feel connected to therapy, and DBT specifically.

"But things work out, you know? Even if it doesn't feel okay for a long time, or even if itfeels like things will never be okay again, everything works out in the end."- Lauren Morrill “Meant To Be”

Alexandra Kastamonitis

MA Clinical Psychology Candidate

My Philosophy: Alexandra strongly believes that every individual deserves to have the ability and access to seek mental health treatment in order to work towards a life worth living, free of suffering.

More about Me: After being exposed to DBT through working at Suffolk DBT, Alexandra realized the passion she had for helping children and their parent’s navigate the challenges of life through the use of DBT skills and therapy She is is currently pursuing a specialization in DBT-C to learn more about DBT therapy for children.

Specialties

  • Children

Education

  • Stony Brook University, Stony Brook NY, Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, Pre-Med, 2021
  • New York University, New York NY, Master’s of Clinical Psychology, ~Spring 2024

Staff

Denise McDonald

Denise McDonald

Office Manager
Meghan Webster

Meghan Webster

Administrative Assistant
Kaitlyn Schleede

Kaitlyn Schleede

Receptionist

Denise McDonald

Office Manager

Denise is a long-standing and invaluable member of the Suffolk DBT team. She joined the team in 2012 and with her unmatched work ethic, Denise was quickly promoted to the position of Office Manager. As the Office Manager, she handles all client intakes, appointments, insurance verification, filings, billing, and oversees the schedules of the entire team.

Denise’s down-to-earth nature ensures that everyone who visits the office feels comfortable and at-ease. Denise is passionate about making every person, especially clients, feel welcome and at home at every Suffolk DBT office. She is more than just the Office Manager, she is Jeanette’s right hand, a friend to every member of the staff, and an integral part of the Suffolk DBT team.

Meghan Webster

Administrative Assistant

Meghan started working at Suffolk DBT in the Fall of 2020 as an intern while finishing her senior year at St. Joseph’s College. After completing her internship, she came back to Suffolk DBT as a part-time Administrative Assistant. In June 2021, Meghan graduated from St. Joseph’s College with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. She plans to attend Adelphi University this fall to pursue her master's degree in Social Work.

After completing her internship, Meghan realized she had a passion for DBT. DBT is unlike any other therapy and has seen the light it’s brought into not only the patient's life but their loved ones. She wants to focus her career on helping the people who don’t have an advocate. Meghan firmly believes that everybody deserves a chance to live the best life they possibly could! She’s eager to continue learning what Suffolk DBT has to offer!

Kaitlyn Schleede

Receptionist

Kaitlyn is the welcoming voice you hear on the phone and the smiling face you see behind our reception desk. She is always ready to help and loves meeting all our patents!

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