Dr. Charisse Diaz PsyD LMHC Qualified Supervisor
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Charisse Diaz has 17 years of experience in the mental health field. She is also a qualified supervisor through the Florida Department of Health where she provides guidance and training for new counselors entering the field. With a warm and friendly style, she has treated a wide variety of issues and disorders and welcomes patients with any issue to work with her. Dr. Diaz specifically specializes in the treatment of anxiety related disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, trichotillomania, and excoriation disorder. Dr. Diaz primarily relies on behavioral activation, mindfulness-based interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and habit reversal training. She tailors her treatment individually to each patient.
In addition to her specialty in anxiety treatment, Dr. Diaz works closely with local pediatricians and has a special interest in working with children utilizing behavioral modification, parenting skills training, and play therapy techniques.
Dr. Diaz is a huge advocate in recognizing that mental health is brain health. Part of the issue surrounding the mental health is that it is a sign of weakness. On the contrary, our brains are amazing organs, but just as prone to diseases and disorders as any other part of the body. Dr. Diaz educates patients on brain health to assist them with a better sense of understanding.
Emanuel “Manny” Diaz MA, RMHCI, ADC-C
Chief Operations Officer
Manny has several years of experience working with children and adults with a variety of issues and disorders. His knowledge of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and trauma is extensive. He enjoys working with all ages and customizes a treatment approach that will assist you in feeling your best. Manny has a welcoming and strength-based approach that helps patients feel comfortable and at ease, making your time at therapy open and productive. He is also direct, when necessary, which motivates you to address issues you may not be initially aware of at your first intake session. Manny strongly relies on cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral modification, dialectical behavior therapy, and exposure and response prevention in his treatment methods.
Manny is also a Certified Attention Deficit Consultant Specialist by the American Institute of Healthcare Professionals. Due to his expertise in this area, he can provide assessment, diagnosis, education, and guidance for you or your child who may be struggling with symptoms of ADHD.
Dr. Carmen R. Ugalde, PhD, LMHC
Dr. Carmen R. Ugalde has extensive experience in the mental health field successfully working with children, adolescents, and parents in various settings, including private practice and school counseling. Her areas of expertise include parenting, emotional and behavioral disorders, adjustment disorders, stress-related issues, anxiety, and depression among many others. She is committed to helping her clients become their best selves through a highly personalized, collaborative, and strength-based approach. Her treatment modalities rely on cognitive behavioral therapy, rational emotive therapy, mindfulness-based interventions, integrative and holistic practices, as well as play and art therapy.
Dr. Ugalde is extremely knowledgeable and comfortable working with young children and is a native Spanish speaker and has frequently worked with youth and parents from diverse backgrounds.
Janece “JC” Caro LMHC
JC works hard to provide an environment that is accepting and supportive and simultaneously looks for ways that increase growth and healing. Her approach emphasizes skill-building, self-knowledge, and balance. She has been a therapist in a variety of settings for over 20 years, helping people deal with anxiety, depression, stress, self-esteem issues, marital and family conflict, and trauma in their lives and relationships. She has worked with children, adolescents, and adults and enjoys working with a variety of individuals, couples, and families. JC is kind and truly cares about her patients and their well-being. She continues to provide therapy with a sense of humor throughout her years of knowledge and experience. JC relies most on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and a patient-centered approach when caring for patients.
Additionally, she views her role in your life as being part of your team where she helps you determine what is best for you. It is through working together that she believes positive changes can occur.
JC also speaks conversational Spanish and is available to provide counseling in the language when requested.
Elizabeth Lewerke LMHC
Kada Stull, MEd, EDs, LMHC
Kada enjoys working with kids, teenagers, adults and providing parents with support and validation through the ups and downs of parenting. Kada graduated with her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from The University of Florida and she is in the process of becoming a Registered Play Therapist.
Kada takes a trauma-informed approach and uses attachment-based theory in her practice. She also utilizes CBT, Person-Centered and Mindfulness Based Interventions. She loves using Play Therapy Techniques as play is a child’s primary form of communication and processing. Kada has experience in working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Self Esteem, Adjustment Disorder and all the changes that life can throw at us from time to time. Kada believes we have everything we need inside us already to heal and grow, but sometimes we just need help tapping into those strengths. Kada aims to provide a safe environment to do just that.
William “Patrick” Smith LCSW
Patrick has more than eight years of experience in the mental health and addictions field, having worked in many different settings with diverse populations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a minor in Psychology and a Master of Social Work from Salisbury University. Patrick is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army, where he served multiple combat deployments. His areas of clinical expertise include: co-occurring disorders, trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, male sexual trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse/addictions, anger management, crisis intervention, grief/loss, couples and family therapy.
Patrick’s counseling approach is solution focused and utilizes various therapies such as: Cognitive Behavioral (CBT), Dialectic Behavioral (DBT), Strength-Based, Person-Centered, Rational Emotive Behavioral (REBT), Psychodynamic, Trauma Informed, and Acceptance Centered (ACT). Patrick is certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) which is one of the most effective psychotherapy tools to eliminate anxiety, depression, and trauma for immediate and lasting change.
Patrick strives to provide a compassionate and understanding environment for individuals to explore their concerns and find solutions. He works collaboratively with each individual while establishing a trusting relationship to assist in motivating them to grow and seek their true potential. Patrick’s motivation lies in having the ability to support, plan, coordinate, and implement evidence-based practices to bring significant improvement to the success of his clients, their families, and communities in which he serves.
Holly Gardner MA RMHCI
Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern
Holly brings a unique 15 years of experience in the mental health field, including working on an inpatient psychiatric unit, and most recently running an Adult Trauma Recovery Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient program.
Holly specializes in treating post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, mood disorders, and relationship difficulties. With such an array of diagnoses she treats, Holly is aware of and utilizes various approaches that best fit an individual’s needs. The various treatment approaches that she uses include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Schema Therapy, Prolonged Exposure Therapy, and Exposure and Response Prevention. She also includes the use of art and music to help individuals communicate and process through difficult times.
Holly will be providing small groups for Dialectal Behavior Therapy/Schema Therapy and Trauma, which will be for adults only.
Holly is a Massachusetts native, living in the sunshine state for the past 6 years. While not working Holly can be seen on the rugby field and competing in local triathlons.
Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern
Lauren enjoys working with adults, couples, and children ages two and older, along with providing parental support through a love and logic approach. Lauren received her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is a Doctoral student in the Counselor Education and Supervision program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Lauren works with a variety of issues including attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reactive attachment disorder (RAD), adjustment disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety, self-esteem, depression, and couples counseling. Additionally, Lauren has experience with grief counseling having led support groups for children who experienced the significant death of a loved one and co-facilitated a support group for adults who experienced a death from suicide.
Lauren’s approach is trauma informed. She utilizes skills and techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Person-Centered therapy using a strength-based approach along with Mindfulness-Based Interventions. When working with children and teens, she utilizes play therapy skills and techniques into her sessions. Lauren wants to provide a safe environment for all ages to explore their past, who they are today, and where they want to be tomorrow.
Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern
Elizabeth Hinckley is a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern who has been working in the mental health field for several years. Elizabeth completed her undergraduate studies at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in Communication and went on to complete her Master of Arts degree in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida.
Elizabeth has a passion for working with adolescents and young adults with anxiety, depression and mood disorders. Elizabeth’s collaborative and strength based approach assists clients in self navigation and exploration. She also utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to help clients work towards their goals for wellness, and incorporates a trauma informed lens in her practice. Elizabeth is welcoming and affirming of individuals of all gender expressions and sexual orientations.
Cindy Dion, MA
Cindy has had dual careers. After earning her M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Cindy worked as a counselor to children, adolescents, and families creating and implementing developmental, educational, and behavioral plans. Following this 7-year tenure, her career took a complete turn as she landed in the live entertainment industry as a marketing executive working in arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, and museums for over 20 years. She believes that the basis of her success was derived from her psychology training as it assisted her in understanding consumer behavior and its psychographics. Upon the conclusion of a hectic and accomplished career, she came “full circle” and returned to her roots. Cindy joined the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as a volunteer. As a trained facilitator, she leads NAMI’s mental health support groups on a weekly basis. Additionally, Cindy is a trained Certified Recovery Peer Specialist where she uses her lived experience as someone with a mental illness to work one-on-one with others.
Cindy is your initial contact when you reach out to our practice. She will converse with you regarding your experiences and needs, resulting in matching you with the best clinician who will be most effective. She will review financial costs, intake documents, and arranging your first session. We know that you will love interacting with her as much as we do!
Laura will likely be one of your initial contacts when you reach out to our practice. Laura is warm, friendly and kind. She treats every potential client with care and respect. She will listen to your concerns and match you with the perfect Clinician for you. Laura will then guide you through the paperwork process and will contact you with insurance verification information so that you know all costs associated with treatment upfront. With a degree and background in Business Administration, Laura is attentive to details, making sure that your intake process is as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Jose has many years of experience working with insurance companies and account management. Jose is here to guide you through the process of verifying your insurance and understanding costs associated with your treatment. Jose is caring and pays great attention to detail. He will ensure that the financial aspects of your treatment are well understood and claims are filed with your insurance company in an efficient manner.
Animal Assisted Therapy Dog in Training
Marley is a purebred Goldendoodle who is currently in training to provide Animal Assisted Therapy to those who choose to benefit from her during their sessions. Marley comes from champion bloodlines and has older siblings who serve in many helping capacities, working with First Responders and in hospital settings. As Marley is currently in training, her ability to fully interact is a bit limited as she works towards full certification. We hope that Marley brings our patients peace and joy in sessions for those who are comfortable with this. Please note that having Marley in your sessions is completely optional.