Dr. Lucene Wisniewski, Ph.D., FAED
Dr. Wisniewski (she/her) is an internationally recognized leader in eating disorder treatment and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, with more than 25 years of clinical and training experience. She has taught hundreds of workshops and continuing education seminars around the globe and has authored numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and invited book chapters. Dr. Wisniewski has also provided consultation and training to eating disorder clinics around the globe.
In addition, she has earned some of the highest awards and accreditations in the industry. In 2013, she received the Outstanding Clinician Award from the Academy for Eating Disorders, demonstrating her leadership in the field and her commitment to providing the best solutions for those with eating disorders.
Amy Kalasunas, LPCC-S, NCC
Chief Operating Officer and Director of DBT Services
Amy Kalasunas (she/her), LPCC-S, CCMHC, is a behaviorist with over 20 years of experience working within evidence-based treatment models. She has extensive training in DBT and its sub-specialty area of DBT for Eating Disorders, as well as DBT- PE, and supervision and consultation team adherence practices
Kalasunas is a DBT LBC Certified Clinician, functions as co-chair of the DBT LBC Publications Committee and serves on the DBT-LBC Communications Committee. A sought-after presenter, she consistently achieves the highest evaluation scores when presenting two- and three-day workshops on the topics of Dialectical Behavior Therapy, DBT and Complex Eating Disorders, and DBT-Prolonged Exposure and Eating Disorders.
Her clinical work has included developing, implementing, and evaluating program outcomes across the spectrum of clinical milieus, including inpatient psychiatric hospitals, Partial Hospitalization Programs, Intensive Outpatient Programs, community mental health agencies, specialty practice clinics, and private practice offices.
Dean Malec, Ph.D.
Therapist, Director of Training
Dean Malec, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and Director of Training for CEBTOhio. He completed his doctorate in counseling psychology from Cleveland State University in August 2020.
Dr. Malec (he/him) has received intensive training in Dialectical Behavior and Cognitive Behavioral therapies, and has worked with clients in settings such as university counseling centers, community based mental health, and eating disorder specialty clinics. He treats adolescents and adults with a variety of presenting problems, including eating disorders, anxiety and mood disorders, and difficulties with emotion regulation. Valuing evidence-based practices within the context of cultural humility, Dr. Malec welcomes working with people of all identities and life experiences.
As the Director of Training, Dr. Malec oversees CEBTOhio’s practicum/internship program and provides clinical supervision to trainees. Dr. Malec has several years of experience collaborating and training with members of the CEBTOhio leadership team. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family and friends and watching (and quoting) episodes of "The Golden Girls."
Cindy Pikus, Ph.D., CEDS-S
Senior Clinical Advisor
For more than 25 years, Dr. Cindy Pikus has worked with children, adolescents and adults with eating disorders at all levels of care, as well as teens and adults with mood or anxiety disorders. She also has extensive experience in program development, leading interdisciplinary treatment teams and providing clinical supervision.
Dr. Pikus received her B.A. and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from UCLA and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital. She joined the UCLA hospital staff as a therapist in the UCLA Eating Disorder Program and later served as Associate Director of that program. From 2013 to 2018, Dr. Pikus was the Senior Clinical Director of an adult inpatient and residential eating disorder unit in Colorado. She moved to New Jersey in 2018 to help design and open the first residential eating disorder program in the state and served as Executive Clinical Director of that program. She has received the Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and Supervisor designation from the International Association of Eating DisordersProfessionals (iaedp) and is a member of iaedp, the American Psychological Association and the Academy for Eating Disorders.
Dr. Pikus currently offers virtual sessions for individuals and families living in New Jersey, California or Ohio.
Leah Barron, LPC
Leah Barron, LPC, is a licensed professional counselor with CEBTOhio. Her clinical experience includes treating clients struggling with adjustment issues, anxiety, depression, emotional dysregulation, and traumatic experiences. Barron has previously worked in residential, agency, and private practice settings.
In her role at CEBTOhio, Barron works with individual adults and adolescents using evidence-based treatments, such as Unified Protocol and DBT, and serves as a DBT skills training group facilitator. Leah leads with compassion and creativity while practicing evidence-based interventions.
Barron graduated with her M.A. in counseling and art therapy from Ursuline College in 2022. She has a background in visual art, earning her BFA in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2015 and working in studio, museum, and gallery environments prior to training as a therapist.
In her free time, Barron enjoys reading, making art, and keeping up with the Real Housewives cinematic universe.
Social Work Intern
Ayanna Bates is a therapist intern at CEBTOhio. She currently attends Columbia University School of Social Work where she is receiving intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Bates graduated cum laude from Queens College with a B.A. in psychology.
Bates has experience providing clinical services under supervision that are anti-oppressive, trauma informed, and strengths-based. She has supported clients experiencing depression, anxiety, grief and trauma. Bates also has experience working with children and adolescents with Autism in behavior reduction and skill acquisition.
During her free time, Bates volunteers with Project HEAL and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, two organizations dedicated to supporting people with eating disorders, mood disorders, and suicide ideation. She also enjoys watering her growing indoor plant collection and rewatching her favorite sitcoms.Email
Denise Ben-Porath, Ph.D.
Dr. Denise Ben-Porath earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Kent State University. In addition to her role as a treating clinician at CEBTOhio, she is a professor in the Department of Psychology at John Carroll University.
Dr. Ben-Porath has over 20 years of experience as a DBT practicing clinician with difficult-to-treat multi-diagnostic individuals, including but not limited to those diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety/depression, eating disorders and personality disorders.
As a seasoned clinician and researcher, her experience of applying DBT to various treatment settings extends to residential settings, day treatment programs, inpatient units, VA hospitals, correctional facilities, community mental health centers, and private practice settings. She has provided hundreds of trainings, both national and internationally; and is a DBT trainer for Behavioral Technology (B-Tech), which was founded by Marsha Linehan, the developer of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Dr. Ben-Porath is the author of over 30 publications, including recent publications Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: An Update and Review of the Existing Treatment Models Adapted for Adults With Eating Disorders, and Physical Health-Related Counseling Issues: Eating Disorders, Elimination Disorders, and Chronic Illness/Disability Counseling.
Amanda Bruening, Ph.D.
Amanda Bruening, Ph.D. specializes in assessing and treating eating and weight-related disorders. She has worked with children, adolescents and young adults with eating pathology, both at inpatient and outpatient levels of care.
Bruening has received extensive training in evidence-based treatments, including Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Family-Based Treatment (FBT), and is working toward advanced certification in FBT through the Institute of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders. She also has advanced training in comprehensive Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Much of her published work has focused on the unique intersection of disordered eating and substance abuse - and understanding the motivators, such as using substances to achieve weight-related goals - for the sake of informing intervention efforts.
Her approach to treatment focuses on fostering open communication and connection to create a collaborative therapeutic environment. The ultimate goal is to assist individuals and their families in getting back to life as they once knew it. Viewing parents as the experts on their child and family culture, Bruening works collaboratively to implement a culturally-responsive treatment plan that addresses each family's unique needs.
In her spare time, she balances her love for traveling and exploring the outdoors with quiet days at home with family.
Jennifer Campbell, LISW
Jennifer Campbell, LISW, comes to CEBTOhio with her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University. She is a DBT LBC Certified Clinician and has several years of experience delivering evidence based treatments, including comprehensive DBT, CBT-E, ACT, and DBT-PE for clients across various levels of care.
Her specialties include treating teenagers and young adults struggling with eating disorders, chronic emotion dysregulation, trauma, and concerns with rigid cognitions and fixed thinking.
In addition, Campbell serves as co-chair of the Residential & Inpatient Special Interest Group for the Academy of Eating Disorders and serves on the Academy's SIG Oversight Committee. She has also served as team leader for the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action (EDC) for the state of New Jersey.
Campbell is independently licensed in New Jersey and Ohio. When not in practice with her certified therapy dog, she volunteers at Comfort Zone Camp for grieving children, and enjoys water sports and competing in triathlons.
Social Work Intern
Ella Cannon is an aspiring social work professional pursuing her LMSW degree in Dr. Andre Ivanoff’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy training program at Columbia University School of Social Work. In the program’s DBT research lab, she contributes to studies evaluating the nuances of this therapeutic approach.
Cannon earned a B.A. in psychology and sociology from Colby College. She has worked as an educator at 3East, the well-known adolescent DBT residential unit of McLean Hospital. There, she led skills groups and provided one-on-one coaching sessions to help teens navigate the challenges of emotional dysregulation, self-harm, and suicidal tendencies.
In her free time Cannon enjoys long walks around New York City with her dog Richard, and spending time with family and friends at the Jersey Shore.
Jessica Cusimano, Psy.D.
Jessica Cusimano (she/her), PsyD., is a post-doctoral fellow at CEBTOhio. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from William James College in August 2023.
Dr. Cusimano has experience providing both individual and group therapy to clients across the lifespan in a variety of settings including residential treatment, private practice, and university counseling centers. Additionally, prior to graduate school, she worked as a Crisis Intervention Specialist at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. Dr. Cusimano is particularly passionate about working with survivors of sexual violence, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and neurodiverse individuals.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her fiancée and their two dogs, reading, and watching TV.
Janessa Garcia, M.A.
Janessa Garcia (they/them), M.A., is a fourth-year doctoral student in The University of Akron’s Counseling Psychology program. They graduated with a B.A. in psychology and Women’s & Gender Studies from Roosevelt University in Chicago, and earned their M.A. in counseling psychology from The University of Akron.
Garcia has completed practicum trainings at The University of Akron’s Psychology Department Counseling Clinic and at Cleveland State University’s Counseling Center, where they conducted intake assessments, provided individual therapy, staffed emergency walk-in sessions, and lead the Trans* Student Support group. They have experience working with adolescents and adults with presenting concerns that have included anxiety and mood disorders, trauma, and life transitions, among others. Garcia especially values evidence-based practices within a holistic understanding of a person’s environment, and welcomes working with people of all identities and life experiences.
In their spare time, they enjoy family and friends, reading fantasy books, and rollerblading and roller skating.
Amanda Groves, LPCC
Amanda Groves, LPCC, is a licensed professional counselor with CEBTOhio. She completed her MA degree in clinical mental health counseling from John Carroll University in 2020, and her MA in higher education from Baldwin Wallace University in 2014.
Serving as an individual therapist and DBT skills trainer, Groves is trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and evidence-based treatments of emotional disorders. Her areas of interest include the treatment of anxiety, depression, emotional eating, adjustment and life transitions, academic and career exploration, relationship issues and bereavement.
Groves has over 10 years of experience working at various college and universities across the United States supporting the diverse needs of young adults. In addition to her experience in the collegiate setting, she has worked in the community as a mental health counselor in therapeutic foster care, supporting children and adolescents who have suffered severe neglect and trauma.
Hannah Heffner, LPC, ATR-BC
Hannah Heffner (she/her) is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board-Certified Art Therapist. She is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and is a DBT-LBC Certified Clinician. She has extensive history working with adolescents, young adults and their families who have presenting concerns such as depression, suicidality/self-harm, anxiety, autism, low self-esteem and trauma.
Heffner uses evidenced based modalities such as DBT, CBT, TF-CBT, and ACT. Depending on the client's goals and preferences, she uses these modalities in combination with art making to strengthen skills and insight. In addition, she works from an anti-oppressive and social justice framework and has a passion for working with LGBTQ+ people who are exploring their identities. She holds a post master's certificate in Affirmative Therapy and values using evidenced based approaches such as the AFFIRM model which focuses on CBT tenets to improve the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ teens and their caregivers.
Heffner enjoys using humor and irreverence in sessions and believes she is forever learning from her clients. She also finds pleasure in getting messy with art and house projects, kayaking, camping and experimenting in the kitchen with her partner. She has a senior cat, an excitable dog, and will often be seen talking to her plant babies.
Sarah Hope Lincoln, Ph.D.
Sarah Hope Lincoln, PhD. (she/her) is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children, adolescents and families. She has an expertise in treating anxiety, depression, self-harm, trauma/PTSD, autism spectrum disorders, psychosis, and behavioral disorders of childhood (e.g., ADHD).
Her theoretical orientation and training experiences include both Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard University and completed her internship at Bellevue Hospital and New York Langone Medical Center. She is also an assistant professor in the department of psychological sciences at Case Western Reserve University.
As the intake coordinator, Kauffman (he/him) is the front door of CEBT. All inquiring patients speak with him first to touch base about what they are looking for and to schedule initial assessments and consultations. He will answer any questions you may have about our practice and clinicians.
Kauffman graduated from Kenyon college in 2021 with a BA in molecular biology. Since then, he has been living in New York City pursuing music. He plans to apply to medical school in the summer of 2024 and hopes to become a family doctor.
In his free time, you can find him playing gigs, running, hospital volunteering, sewing, and spending time with his friends.
Michelle Lupkin, Ph.D.
Dr. Michelle Lupkin specializes in the treatment of children and adolescents with eating disorders, including those presenting with suicidality and non-suicidal self-injury. She is the founder and former clinical director of the Eating Disorders Program at Montefiore, and has extensive experience providing supervision and training in DBT and FBT to psychology interns, psychology externs, and psychiatry and pediatrics residents and fellows.
Dr. Lupkin earned a B.A. in economics from Barnard College, Columbia University; and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with health emphasis from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University.
She has presented at international conferences on the integration of DBT and eating disorders, and provides ongoing consultation and supervision to hospitals and clinicians on the implementation of evidence-based treatments for eating disorders across different levels of care. Dr. Lupkin is the owner and clinical director of Lupkin Psychology PLLC, a private practice in New York City, Westchester, and New Jersey. She trains CEBTOhio clinicians and consults with CEBTOhio on Adolescent DBT as well as the integration of DBT and FBT.
Sarah Moran, Psy.D.
Sarah Moran, Psy.D. earned her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology. She operates from a variety of evidence-based treatment models including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Her clinical work has spanned across residential settings, intensive outpatient treatment, medical settings, and private practice offices.
Dr. Moran has a strong passion for working with individuals who experience trauma, mood disorders, suicidality, and emotion regulation difficulties. She believes that a strong and collaborative therapeutic relationship is the cornerstone for creating enduring change through therapy. When she’s not providing clinical care, she enjoys participating in book clubs, cuddling up with her cat Rhett, and spending time with her family and friends.
Liz O'Connell, LISW, LCSW-R
Liz O'Connell, LISW/LCSW-R, is a licensed and independent clinical social worker. She specializes in working with adults with eating disorders, mood disorders, pervasive emotion dysregulation, and a history of trauma/PTSD.
O'Connell completed her foundational training in DBT through Behavioral Tech in 2016 and is a DBT LBC Certified Clinician. She has completed multiple advanced trainings in DBT, including in DBT for Eating Disorders, DBT Prolonged Exposure, and DBT-PTSD for Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She was previously the associate clinical director of an outpatient and IOP eating disorder treatment center in New York City, where she received ongoing consultation from Dr. Wisniewski and trained in Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders (CBT-E). She became interested in working with people with eating disorders during her graduate level internship at New York State Psychiatric Institute's inpatient Eating Disorder Research Clinic. She has also trained in Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) for OCD.
In addition to her DBT training, O'Connell has trained in Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Processing (AEDP), an attachment-oriented trauma therapy. She received her MSW from NYU and her BA from Brown University. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, video gaming and trying to cram as many native plants as possible into her yard.
Blessing Opara, B.G.S.
Blessing Opara, B.G.S (she/her) is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Program at The University of Akron. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2019 with a Bachelor of General Studies in Psychology.
Opara has completed her previous practicum trainings at university counseling centers, where she provided therapy to both students and community members, administered intake assessments, and co-led a psychoeducational ACT skills group. She has recently completed a practicum training at Summa Family Medicine Center, where she conducted neuropsychological assessments, provided individual therapy, and served as a behavioral health consult within an integrated care team.
In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family.
Melanie Rista, LMSW
Therapist & Training Coordinator
Melanie Rista LMSW, graduated from Columbia University’s School of Social Work where she participated in the intensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training program and lab under the supervision of Dr. Andre Ivanoff, Ph.D. Prior to completing her graduate work, she graduated Cum Laude from Hunter College with a B.A. in psychology.
Rista received her foundational training through Behavioral Tech in 2020 and subsequently completed several advanced trainings in DBT for eating disorders and families. Rista has received training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) from the Beck Institute for personality disorders, anxiety, and depression. Rista works to provide comprehensive DBT to adults and families in Ohio and the greater NY/NJ area. In addition to her work as a therapist, Melanie also provides training and consultation management at CEBTOhio.
In her free time Melanie enjoys long walks around NYC and spending time with friends and family!
Sandra Rublee, LISW
Sandra Rublee, LISW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker. She earned her master’s degree in clinical social work from the University of Maryland in 2018.
Rublee offers evidence-based treatments for adults and adolescents for a range of problems such as mood disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and trauma. She has experience in individual therapy, family therapy and group therapy.
Previously, Rublee worked in different clinical settings in U.S., Europe and South East Asia. She has experience in the field of eating disorders at all levels of care – from in-patient hospitalization to outpatient. Her clinical practice is informed by research, and her style of therapy is collaborative with a focus on the client’s needs and goals.
Rublee has extensive training and experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Family Based Treatment (FBT) or Maudsley, Enhanced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT-E), Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), and techniques from psychodynamic therapy. She has extensive DBT training from The Linehan Institute and through consultation with CEBTOhio founder Dr. Lucene Wisniewski.
In 1989, Rublee received a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a minor in microbiology; and in 1991 she earned a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Zürich, Switzerland. At the Birkbeck College, University of London, U.K. she received a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamics in 2002.
Lindsay Varkula, Ph.D.
Lindsay Varkula, Ph.D. (she/her) is a licensed psychologist specializing in treating eating disorders, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and developmental and complex trauma.
Dr. Varkula has utilized a variety of evidence-based therapies to provide specialized eating disorder treatment to individuals in partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient care; she particularly likes to utilize Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and practices that foster mindful self-compassion. Dr. Varkula is an expert in helping heal PTSD and complex trauma from a trauma-focused perspective.
She is especially interested in treating individuals who have survived multiple aversive events and/or who have not received needed nurturing from others. She is an EMDR Certified Therapist and provides Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy, an evidence-based treatment for PTSD.
As a counseling psychologist, Dr. Varkula believes in assisting clients in achieving wellness across life domains. She has provided supervision, consultation, and professional training, especially on topics related to eating disorders, diversity, and complex trauma. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the EMDR International Association (EMDRIA).
Conor Wall (he/him/his) is currently a second-year master’s student studying applied psychology at Rutgers University. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University.
As a psychology aide at CEBTOhio, Wall assists in initial assessments and documentation. Other responsibilities include assisting in scheduling, billing and general clinician support. Wall has particular interests in DBT, working clinically with LGBTQ+ populations, and child psychology.
Wall has had the opportunity to intern in multiple settings including the Department of Psychiatry within Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, and the Rutgers Psychology Child Development Center. In his free time, you can find Wall hiking, camping, singing, or participating in theatre.
Valerie Wong (she/her) is a second-year clinical psychology Ph.D. student at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She graduated with a B.S. in psychology from Yale University.
Her research interests lie in the reward processes driving restrictive eating and other weight loss behaviors, and she is funded by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.
In her free time, Wong loves to read, hike, and spin in an aerial hoop.