Aspire’s therapists are fully licensed to practice in the state of Maryland. They are licensed psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors. A fully licensed therapist has either a doctorate or a master’s degree and has completed required post-graduate supervised training.
Our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP) is available to do medication evaluations and medication monitoring. There is a high demand for psychiatrists who accept insurance, and a limited number of psychiatrists who do so. For that reason, our PNP can only treat clients who are currently seeing a therapist at Aspire. We do collaborate with other psychiatrists and primary care providers who prescribe medication for our clients.
Ms. Carrie Zilcoski, LCSW-C, CAS
Dr. Zilcoksi (Carrie) has a doctorate in Social Science and a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work. She holds an advanced certification in treatment of addiction and trauma and she is Motivational Interview certified trainer. Prior to joining Aspire, Carrie was the former Division Director for Integrated Behavioral Health at Family Services Inc., a large non-profit based in Maryland. Carrie has also run a private practice in Bethesda, Maryland, for fifteen years. She also spent ten years working overseas and stateside for military bases assisting members and their families cope with stress from multiple deployments, suicide, grief, trauma and reintegration.
At Aspire, Carrie works with community leaders from the County and local non-profits to identify emerging needs to develop solutions for families who are experiencing hardship in Montgomery County. Carrie says she is, “passionate about making communities healthier”, and she brings that passion to Aspire. Carrie is married with two grown child, one “adorable” granddaughter and her second grandchild on the way. She also loves to cook!
America Caballero, LCPC
Therapy ensures better outcomes when the relationship between the therapist and client is collaborative in nature. As a bilingual therapist, I want to make sure my clients feel supported, safe, and free to explore difficult issues that are interfering with their daily functioning. Together, we develop a plan to reach their goals, learn coping strategies and skills to improve their quality of life.
I use an integrative approach that suits the needs of each individual client. Some modalities include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Christian Counseling, Mindfulness and others.
Many of the clients that seek my help are adolescents, couples, families, or individuals dealing with different types of anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, anger and resentment, divorce and infidelity, parenting, pregnancy and maternal depression, spirituality, family conflicts, reunification and cultural issues, life transitions, self-esteem, unwanted behaviors, and unresolved childhood trauma.
I have over 20 years of experience working in the human, social and mental health services, which include 10 years providing psychotherapy. I completed my degree at Texas A&M University and have an Advanced Master Certificate from Johns Hopkins University. I have certificates in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, TEAM therapy approach, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Interpersonal Therapy.
Main Office Clinic Therapists
Anagha Barve, PhD, MSW, LCSW-C
I am a mindful therapist who unconditionally accepts clients of various sociocultural backgrounds and age groups. I focus on a creating warm and friendly environment where clients feel safe to self-explore and improve. I specialize in anxiety spectrum disorder and relationship issues. I am certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness and anxiety management. I have a PhD in Psychology from Bombay University in India and an Masters in Social Work from Howard University in Washington D.C. I have over 17 years of experience and see adults and senior citizens.
Jody Brand Levine, LCSW-C
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
I have been in private practice since 1983. I received my Master’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania. I lecture for community groups and professional organizations on stress management and chronic illness and provide a broad range of clinical services including marital counseling and relationships, anxiety disorders and depression, life transitions, and grief/loss. I work with adolescents and adults.
Marti A. Crosby, LCSW-C
Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical
I am a licensed social worker in the state of Maryland and a Board Registered & Approved Supervisor, certified by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners.
I have worked in the social work field for over 30 years, and have developed extensive experience in several areas. Much of my training has included working with families with children of five years and older, adolescents, and young adults – as well as families going through the stages of divorce. I work with individuals, couples, and groups to address issues related to anger, depression, anxiety, low self-confidence, communication and parenting. I have also worked in substance abuse treatment programs [alcohol and drugs] and with sex offenders.
Chia-May Dougherty, Ph.D., LCPC, NCC, DCC, NBCCH
I have been practicing mental health counseling since 1997. I have a Ph.D. in Psychology with a concentration in Transpersonal Psychology in which I was trained to provide mindfulness-based and integrative psychotherapy with an integration of body, mind, and spirit to help clients achieve inner equilibrium and personal transformation. I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, a National Certified Counselor, a Distance Credentialed Counselor, and a National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. I also have two master’s degrees specialized in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and Community/Career Counseling.
I am specialized in anxiety/depression, relationship/adjustment issues, couples counseling, women’s issues, work issues/EAP, college students and stress, and personal/spiritual growth. I have eight years of experience in academic/career counseling in a college setting and six years of experience in human resources management. My primary approach to work with couples and individual clients is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy.
I started working at Aspire Counseling in 2005 and I am bilingual speaking fluent English and Mandarin Chinese. I practice deep empathy with clients focusing on their strengths and uniqueness through an I-Thou relationship. I help individual clients cultivate a transformative self to achieve their full potential and help couples integrate their “I” identity into a “We” identity in the couplehood to foster a fulfilling and healthy relationship.
Nancy Ebb, LCSW-C
Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical
I have been at Aspire Counseling since 2001. I see children, adults, adolescents, and seniors for therapy and serve as Aspire’s Clinical Director. Your decision to seek therapy may have been a tough one; I try to make therapy feel safe and welcoming. I strive to develop a collaborative, respectful relationship with clients, because therapy works best when we’re a team.
I have a particular interest in cognitive-behavioral therapy, an evidence-based approach that works well for anxiety, depression, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. I also see people with less specific symptoms that keep them from thriving. I have a particular interest in pre- and post-partum depression and in the relationship between physical and mental health challenges. I have advanced training from the Behavior Therapy Training Institute in providing exposure and response prevention therapy for clients with obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific kinds of anxiety disorders.
Therapy is not one-size-fits-all. My clients and I work together to develop an approach that matches their needs, personality, and comfort level. While cognitive-behavioral therapy is my starting point, I often integrate other approaches (such as mindfulness and psychodynamic therapy) into our sessions, and welcome your input about what works best for you.
Sharon Fisher, LCSW-C
I feel privileged to engage with clients as they experience changes in life. I enjoy working with adolescents, adults and seniors.. My list of specialties are anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), grief, relationship issues, life transitions. I have a Cognitive Processing Therapy (trauma) certificate for PTSD; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy training and certifications and Dialectic Behavioral Therapy training. The school I attended was Catholic University for my MSW degree. I have 15 years of experience and I work with tweens and elderly.
Gabriele Glynn, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Are you suffering from depression, anxiety, loss, or relationship issues? Are you looking for help to understand yourself better, to grow, to be more accepting of yourself and others? Are you searching for meaning in your life? Going through a major life transition?
As a psychotherapist I strive to help you explore what is wrong in your life, to understand why it is troublesome to you, and to help you generate solutions using your own resources. I view clients as unique individuals, and I see my relationship with a client as collaborative—a journey of discovery by two equals. My theoretical approach to therapy incorporates cognitive-behavioral, existential, and person-centered theories.
I work with individuals and couples from all walks of life, and I tailor my style in response to the individual client’s needs and preferences.
My Master’s degree in counseling is from Johns Hopkins University. I joined Aspire Counseling in 2007.
Esther Forrest, LCSW-C
Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical
I am a bilingual therapist (Spanish/English) and have expertise in working with families with reunification /adoption issues, couples therapy, parenting skills, adults and children 6 years or older dealing with childhood trauma. I also have experience with mood disorder illness such as Anxiety, Dysthymia, in addition to Perinatal /Post- Partum Depression. I have been working at Aspire Counseling for the past three years.
Cary Gamboa Sweet, LCSW-C
I have worked in reproductive health care, social services and psychotherapy since 1992. Areas of practice include anxiety, depression, grief, conflict resolution, self-esteem, relationship issues, and family dynamics. I have a Masters from University of Maryland School of Social Work. I have over 20 years of experience. I work with youth (late adolescents) and adults.
Frederika Granger, LCSW-C
I help people maintain their quality of life through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I specialize in seniors, anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Hoarding. I attended the National Catholic School of Social Service MSW 1995. I have 23 years of experience. My certifications are Clinical Supervisor, Maryland State Board of Social Work. I work with ages between 18 to 100.
Brian Higgins, LCSW-C
Sometimes there are difficult bumps in the road during our journey through life. The helping hand of a mental health professional can many times guide and support us through these troubled times. Or, perhaps, you are looking for the opportunity to mature and grow, explore your feelings, express your needs more readily, or improve your relationships. As a therapist, my approach is to raise the client’s awareness of his/her inner feelings and thoughts. However, my expertise also includes the spiritual dimensions behind the client’s issues and concerns if requested.
I have just joined the Aspire therapy team as of September of 2017. I am a graduate from the Hunter College School of Social Work, New York City, NY. I have been practicing social work in various and diverse capacities since 1987. I have been engaged in private therapy practice for the last several years with an emphasis on individual, couples and group therapy. I have additional training in addressing mental health disorders and substance abuse, such as primary (alcohol and illicit drugs) and secondary (e.g., gambling, sex) addictions.
Veronica Zapata Velez, LCPC, NCC
I have a psychology with a focus in neuropsychology degree from CES University in Medellin, Colombia and a masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University. I am currently doing a Doctorate Program in Counseling Leadership and Supervision at the Cumberlands University, CACREP accredited.
Prior to Aspire I was a mental health therapist in the trauma services department at Montgomery County, MD. I have worked on completing assessments, crisis intervention, and individual and group therapy. I have experience working with children and families who have experienced abuse and traumatic experiences — especially victims of crime and sexual assault.
My training includes a year learning the evidenced-based intervention of Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), and Theraplay, Marshack Interactional Method as well as expressive arts (play and sand) therapy. I believe in the power of healthy relationships as corrective experiences. Supporting bilingual and bi-cultural children, adolescents, and adults who have experienced trauma and emotional challenges is a true passion of mine.
Rebecca Letterman, LCSW-C
Rebecca is Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of MD who is passionate about helping individuals maintain positive mental health. Her specialties include trauma (working within the Military), depression, military and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer adults and adolescents. She works with ages 12 years and older. Rebecca believes everyone can benefit from therapy at some point in their life, and that taking care of your mental health is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Kathy Lunsford, LCSW-C
Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical
I believe that a therapist’s most important tasks are to build trust, to inspire hope, and to create a safe environment for distressed clients to begin the process of change. For over 35 years, I have helped clients to understand and heal from childhood traumas (such as physical and sexual abuse and neglect), partner abuse, family conflicts and painful losses. By drawing upon a person’s strengths, resilience, and wisdom, I can establish a partnership that allows one to identify and change self-defeating patterns of behavior that involve fear, anxiety and isolation from others. In an atmosphere of respect and non-judgmental acceptance, I work collaboratively and creatively to provide the tools and skills that can enable one to accept and integrate past hurts and disappointments, and create a new sense of empowerment and optimism to deal with life’s challenges. My areas of expertise are trauma recovery, depression, anxiety and issues with early life attachments.
Carol Juran, Ph.D
As a psychologist, I bring a warm, respectful attitude towards working with my clients to achieve their therapeutic goals. Psychotherapy is a collaborative process that I adopt to match their needs and preferences. My specialties are individual therapy with adults of all ages and with couples, to focus on relationship issues, anxiety, depression, OCD, and adult ADHD. I attended the University of Maryland for Masters Degree and a PhD. I have over 25 years of experience. I see individuals between the ages of 20 and 85.
Chris Mark, LCSW-C
My goal is to build a safe and trusting therapeutic relationship so stressors can be identified, and together, a solution focused treatment plan can be developed. My specialties include, major life transitions, anxiety, depression, individual, couples, and family therapy, building on personal strengths, broadening self understanding and learning new skills will be used in pursuing the established goals. I attended the University of Maryland School of Social Work. I have over 35 years of experience and I see older adolescents, young adults, adults and seniors.
Emma Ridgway LCSW-C
I believe that psychotherapy is a collaborative process therefore I work collaboratively with individuals to help them discover and work towards the goals that they establish. I use practical action oriented approach known as Rational-Emotive Cognitive Behavior Therapy. This technique encourages a direct focus on emotional problems, helping clients to understand their thoughts, beliefs and behaviors that cause them to maintain these problems. By developing this understanding clients are able to overcome problems and lead happier lives.
I am a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical. I received a Masters Degree from the University of maryland School of Social Work. I have extensive training and certificates in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy from the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City.
Gary Saltzman, Ph.D
I am a licensed psychologist. For more than three decades I have worked to help the children, adults and families of Montgomery County to overcome life’s challenges.
Karen Scalio, LCSW-C
I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2006, primarily with children, adolescents, and young adults.
I am passionate about helping young people thrive. I like to challenge my clients to find their inner strength, as this creates a lasting healing effect. I engage my clients with creative interactions to reduce stress, improve self- esteem, challenge negative thoughts and emotions and help them develop effective coping skills. I use a variety of integrated approaches including play therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, relaxation, and other creative therapy techniques. I like to build a working relationship that best meets my client’s goals. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Psychology (Honors) and a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Concentration in Mental Health from the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. I have 12+ years of experience. I have 150 hours of Play Therapy Training and I am working towards becoming a Registered Play Therapist. I see 3 to 23 years old.
Suzan Sigmond, LCSW-C
I look at how your difficulties are impacting those around you and vice versa. I specialize in family therapy and adolescents. I graduated from the University of Maryland with an undergraduate and went to Catholic University for MSW. I have over 52 years of experience. I work with ages 13 and up.
Francine Urgenson, M.S., CAGS, LCPC
I believe in an individual, client centered, integrative approach to psychotherapy. The needs of my clients determine the approach and strategies used to achieve their goals. The atmosphere created is non-judgemental and collaborative, giving each person unconditional positive regard. I conduct Play Therapy for children from 3 to 10, and use an integrative approach and Ego State Psychology for Trauma with adults. I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Johns Hopkins University and a certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Clinical Community Counseling (CAGS). I have over 18 years of experience and certificates in Play Therapy and Sandtray Therapy and Ego State Psychology for Trauma. I work with 3 years old to 80 year olds.
Randee Weiss, LCSW-C
I have been a practicing psychotherapist for more than 30 years. I earned a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University. My area of expertise is with adults who are struggling with depression, anxiety, low self esteem, grief, anger, personal relationships and LGBT issues.
Barbara Wilson, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
I provide a safe and accepting place where I can help my clients look at the issues they are facing in their lives. My philosophy is to honor the worth and dignity of every human being. I strive to build a trusting relationship with my clients in order to help them gain insight and be empowered to make changes to improve their lives. Some of the issues clients may be experiencing include anxiety, depression, including postpartum depression, anger management, grief and loss, identity development in young adults, relationship & intimacy issues, parenting, and illness/pain. I work with youths and adults.
Community-Based Program Therapists
Cristina Astrada-Keeling, LCPC
Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program Manager – Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Cristina is the Program Manager for Aspire’s Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program. Cristina graduated from John Hopkins University in 2013. Since graduating Cristina has worked in the field as a bilingual therapist helping individuals overcome trauma. Her experience includes working at the DC Rape Crisis Center to help survivors and secondary survivors of sexual assault; working with Community Connections to help youth and families in the Washington D.C. area, and as an in-home therapist to help individuals suffering from a spectrum of mental health issues. Most recently Cristina was working as trauma therapist for women and children at the Betty Anne Krahnke Center (Domestic Violence shelter of Montgomery County) and, at the Outpatient Mental Health Department of Family Services, Inc. She is trained in human trafficking and effective treatment of survivors, as well as in maternal mental health, and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Cristina is an advocate for all her clients. She values the relationships she builds with them. From experience, Cristina knows that in order for her to truly help the individuals recover, she must build partnerships and connect them to social support systems to reduce barriers and stigma in obtaining mental health resources. Cristina uses an integrative approach that includes strength-based therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy with a focus on trauma, as well as psychodynamic approach to address unresolved past issues. Cristina teaches her clients self-regulation skills to help reduce stress and anxiety. She currently work with children, adolescents, and adults with a range of issues to improve their quality of life.
Clara Paynter, LCPC
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
I have over five years of experience working as a therapist with Latino and other immigrant communities, and 10 years of experience working in the mental health field. I provide therapy in Spanish and English to individuals and families. I am bringing my passion for cross cultural connection and community empowerment to my role as Aspire Program Manager of behavioral health services at MobileMed clinics. I worked with Aspire an additional two years as a therapist with Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, providing in home therapy to women with perinatal mood disorders.
Sandra Martins, LGSW
I am a Bilingual Therapist for Aspire’s Integrated Behavioral Health Program with Mobile Medical Care, Inc. I provide individual short term therapy treatment, and case management for adults who suffer from a variety of diagnosis including, but not limited to anxiety, depression, sleep, trauma, stress and grief. I am an active advocate against the negative stigmas associated with mental health disorders through psychoeducation. In my practice I use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, mindfulness, relaxation techniques and coping skills through a tailored treatment plan. I graduated from the University of Maryland, School of Social Work in 2016 and was a Healthcare Initiative Foundation scholarship student. I work with adults.
Jennifer Reynolds MSW, LMSW
Jennifer is the Program Manager for our Trauma Informed School Awareness Program
I believe the therapeutic relationship (between client and therapist) is essential and that the client is the most important element in the interpersonal and relational interventions of therapy. I use client-directed, strengths-based, culturally-informed interventions that promote healing, growth, and empowerment.
You are the foremost expert on yourself and my goal is to meet you where you are and harness your unique abilities, knowledge of self, and resources to get you to where you want to be.Together, we will establish your therapeutic and personal goals. We will identify your areas of strength, which will serve as a foundation for success and an engine for change and we will identify and strengthen those areas that need reinforcement.