Expanding to Meet Our Communities' Needs

skills of new staff

 

People aren’t cookies, so we don’t take a cookie-cutter approach to our counseling work! We are always looking for ways to broaden and deepen our clinical staff to meet the varied needs of our clients. That’s why we are so pleased to introduce our newest outpatient staff members who come from a variety of backgrounds: psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, professional counselor. They bring a wealth of talent and a passion for making a difference. We’re also delighted to welcome our two new prevention interns, who are rising leaders working with youth in Norwalk and Fairfield.

All new staff nov 2020-1

 

Dr. WeissDr. Goni Alexandra Weiss is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist and a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She values an empathetic, caring, comprehensive approach to patient care. She has extensive experience working with adolescents and adults struggling with emotional, behavioral, social, and relational problems.

 

Dr. Weiss treats patients with a range of mental disorders including ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD and Substance Use Disorder. Dr. Weiss has worked in outpatient, inpatient, psychiatry emergency room, and intensive outpatient programs. Her work has included serving as a Unit Chief Attending Psychiatrist on an inpatient unit, as a Psychiatry Clerkship Director, and Associate Professor of Psychiatry. She has taught and supervised medical students, psychiatry residents, and child and adolescent fellows. She has also been a presenter on topics such as “Resilience: Helping Teens Overcome Adversity,” “The Importance of Extracurricular Activities,” and “How to Talk to Your Teenager about Drugs and Alcohol.” 

 

Dr. Weiss completed her residency training in Adult Psychiatry and fellowship training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in NYC at the Mount Sinai-St. Luke's Hospital, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Her medical degree is from the Sackler School of Medicine-New York/American Program. She has been recognized for her work with a Most Compassionate Doctor Award and, in 2007, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Educational Outreach Program for General Psychiatry Residents Award.

 

Carolyn Dennett, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist with many years of experience servicing individuals, couples, and families in a variety of settings including hospital, outpatient, and school. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults struggling with issues related to depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, substance abuse, and relationship conflict.  In addition, Carolyn works with clients to identify and overcome academic, athletic, and vocational challenges. 

Carolyn uses a collaborative developmental approach to help clients work towards identified goals and healthy living. She also draws upon her training using a range of cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and psychodynamic techniques to support client growth.

Carolyn received her doctoral degree from William James College (formerly known as Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology).  She also received a Master’s degree in Human Development and School Counseling from the University of Rochester.  In her free time, Carolyn enjoys spending time with her husband and four children.

 

Suzanne Gallagher, APRN, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner who began her career as an RN in Manhattan and worked at Lenox Hill Hospital, Cornell Hospital, and NY Downtown Hospital. While at Cornell, she worked in the acute inpatient psychiatric unit where she found her desire to work in mental health.

 

Suzanne obtained her masters degree at NYU in 2010. She has her ANCC certification in Psychiatric-Mental Health and is a member of the AANP. She worked as an APRN at Project Renewal where she treated dual diagnosis men who were looking for permanent housing. 

 

Suzanne has a nonjudgmental and accepting way of working with her clients. She hopes through her work to help remove many of the stigmas associated with mental illness and provide the treatment these clients need.

 

Suzanne is currently raising her family in New Canaan. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exercising, reading and taking hikes with her dog.

Malaika Boyer-Seme, MS, LPCA is professional counselor who has provided supported employment and behavioral health services for over 12 years in mental health programs at DMHAS, the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services, & the Kennedy Center, Inc.

Her focus is to provide a safe and solution-focused environment for each client to learn to accept and cope with challenges such as Grief, PTSD & Limb loss, Depression, Anxiety, Vocational Stress, Spirituality, and Substance Use. She is known to be compassionate and respectful and provides a culturally sensitive and non-judgmental approach to her clients. She speaks English, Haitian Creole, and French.

Malaika received her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Bridgeport, CT. Prior to that she graduated with honors with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Minor in Sociology from the University of Connecticut.

In her spare time, Malaika is an international motivational speaker who brings awareness about disability rights, limb loss, and grief. She is also the co-host of a local TV show coaching advocacy and faith-based interventions. She lives in Westport with her husband of twelve years and their three children.  

Olivia Shah is our prevention intern for the Fairfield CARES Community Coalition. “Livy” is a junior at Fairfield Ludlowe High School, taking Honors and AP coursework, including Marketing and Art/Digital Photography. At school she is the Class of 2022 Vice President and a “Ludlowe Leader,” leading tours for incoming freshman. She is a sports lover who plays on the varsity soccer team, runs indoor track, and plays lacrosse.

 

Livy is also passionate about getting involved in her community. She has been a member of the Fairfield Chapter of the National Charity League since 2015. Her favorite activity through National Charity League is preparing and serving meals for Operation Hope. Olivia also volunteers through SASO (Student Athletes Serving Others). Thursday nights for Olivia means time spent at the SPF Youth Group of Greenfield Hill Congregational Church. Through SPF Olivia has gone on ASP Service trips in 2019 and 2020, helping to build and repair homes in West Virginia. Olivia also adores her other youth group at St. Anthony’s. This youth group orchestrates an annual Giving Tree benefiting Bridgeport Rescue Mission.

 

Livy was a member of the Fairfield CARES Youth Committee prior to being selected as our Prevention Intern. She is thrilled to be continuing her work with the Fairfield Cares Youth Committee by leading meetings and helping to manage the committee's social media.

 

 

Laila McGeorge is our prevention intern for The Norwalk Partnership. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sacred Heart University in December 2019 with a B.S. in Psychology and a B.A. in Philosophy. In her undergraduate career, she conducted three years of research regarding substance use and behavioral health in college students. She was also a member of Sacred Heart’s anti-vape task force as a vape peer educator and a research assistant at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. This past spring she became a published coauthor in The American Journal of Health Education.

 

Laila has a passion for social justice and has been a part of several service-learning trips through her university. She has aided nonprofits in Bridgeport, CT, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in La Plant, South Dakota and in Zipaquirá, Colombia.

 

Her career goal is to pursue a dual MSW/MPH degree and become a public health social worker focusing on prevention and health education in underserved populations. She is excited to be a part of Positive Directions and The Norwalk Partnership, and she can’t wait to engage with youths in our community! 

 

We're so happy to welcome these wonderful new additions! To learn more about our other staff members, click here

 

Topics: Counseling, Positive Directions Announcements

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