MEET OUR STAFF
Melissa Rivera Marano Psy.D.
Melissa Rivera Marano, Psy.D. obtained both her Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Dr. Rivera Marano has provided assessment and therapy services as a Licensed Clinical Psychologist since 2001. During her career she has worked as an administrator of a youth based community organization and program researcher. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University teaching graduate students Cognitive Assessment and Learning Disability. She also co-teaches an Intro to Clinical and School Psychology undergraduate course.Dr. Rivera Marano is on the Medical Staff of Monmouth Medical Center working with the Regional Newborn Extension Program. Dr. Rivera Marano is also published.
As a private practitioner Dr. Rivera Marano provides clinical services to children through adults. Her clinical specialties include treatment of Anxiety Disorders using a Cognitive Behavioral Approach along with validated techniques that are individualized to each patient. Incorporation of mind-body understanding and techniques are integrated into the work with patients. Dr. Rivera Marano’s assessment services include neuropsychological assessment, pre-surgical assessment for bariatric surgery, psychological evaluation and forensic evaluation. She also provides psychological assessment and treatment for individuals involved in immigration proceedings, workers compensation and auto Injury.
Dr. Rivera Marano is a former Board Trustee on NAMI NJ and the New Jersey Psychological Association Foundation of New Jersey. Dr. Rivera Marano is an active member of the Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey, National Latino Psychological Association and New Jersey Psychological Association.
Michelle Pettenato, LPC
Michelle Pettenato is a Licensed Professional Counselor and obtained her Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University. Through both education and work experience, Michelle has clinical experience working with children, adolescents and adults in partial hospitalizations, intensive outpatient programs, and outpatient settings. Additionally, she has experience assessing, diagnosing, and counseling individuals struggling with a wide range of mental health issues and substance use disorders.
Michelle's approach involves genuine caring and acceptance, in a non-judgmental atmosphere, as well as utilizing evidence-based techniques (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy). She chooses counseling techniques that cater to each individual's unique needs while empowering them to be a part of their process of positive change and achieving their highest potential.
Amanda Lonnay, LPC, LCADC
Amanda Lonnay is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a passion in guiding others to a happier, healthier life. Mrs. Lonnay earned her Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Georgian Court University and was inducted into Chi Sigma Iota, National Honor Society, identifying her as an outstanding counseling student and professional.
Mrs. Lonnay has clinical training working with children and adults in intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalizations, inpatient programs and crisis settings. Additionally, she has experience assessing, diagnosing and counseling individuals suffering from a wide range of mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Mrs. Lonnay's approach involves genuine caring and acceptance, in a non-judgmental atmosphere. She chooses counseling techniques to cater to each individual’s unique needs, while empowering them to be a part of their process of positive change.
Mrs. Lonnay is grateful to be able to work in a profession that she truly feels passionately about. Outside of her profession, she enjoys outdoor activities, crafting and spending time with her loved ones, including her puppy!
Chelsie Winston, LPC
Ms. Chelsie Winston obtained her Masters of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University where she focused her studies on working with children and adolescents as well as couples. She has completed a certificate program in Marriage and Family Counselor to further her knowledge and expertise in this area. Ms. Winston is a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified Counselor. She has clinical experience working with clients of all ages in individual as well as couples and family counseling. Ms. Winston also has clinical experience working with those who have co-occurring mental health and addiction issues as well as eating disorders.
Ms. Winston utilizes the therapeutic techniques of cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing to engender self-awareness, insight and identification of personal strength within her clients. Ms. Winston is passionate and motivated to help her clients achieve their goals. Outside of the office, Ms. Winston spends her time training for 5K runs, learning new recipes and enjoying her friends and family.
Lena Gilman, LSW
“Our duty in this world is to find and develop our individual talents and gifts, our responsibility in this world is to give them away” Pablo Picasso.
Lena Gilman is a Licensed Social Worker LSW, reiki practitioner, artist, art teacher, photographer, and certified school social worker. A former member of the child study team in the East Brunswick public schools, Lena currently works with children, young adults, teens, families and couples as a therapist in our practice.
Lena has been working with children and families for over 20 years, and holds a Masters’ of Social Work from Rutgers University as well as a Masters’ degree in Education, from Wagner College, Staten Island, NY. As a certified art teacher with 12 years teaching experience, Lena worked in a middle school within the NYC department of Education middle school, where she was prompted to embrace her empathy and intuitive nature, and sought to understand how to better support our children and communities. In completing her second Masters’ degree Lena has refined her expertise in strengths based and solution focused therapies, with a therapeutic Cognitive behavioral persuasion, with a flair for mindfulness. Lena has completed clinical internships in school based youth services and Old Bridge public schools, as well as an art therapy internship with geriatric population through Pratt institute, NY.
Lena is a strong proponent of a psycho-educational approach and looks to increase mindfulness, reduce emotional reactivity and improve social emotional and interpersonal function collaboratively with clients. Lena works diligently to increase awareness, understanding and optimal support through environmental and personal assimilation. Compelled to understand, support and promote emotional, and physical well-being Lena works therapeutically combining art, body based and complementary modalities to foster self-discovery & awareness. Lena’s studies include art therapy, play therapy, loss and bereavement, developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorders and ASD. Lena has experience working with individuals with anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, mood disorders, as well as learning disabilities. Lena Independently researches mindfulness, holistic health and aromatherapy. Lena advocates improved quality of life through increased executive function while supporting families and individuals through learning styles, strengths and behavioral interventions as assessed by client need.
Rebecca Edelsberg, Psy.D.
Dr. Edelsberg’s clinical work is focused on Cognitive Behavior Therapy and helping her clients develop self-awareness and insight towards the behavior, mind, and body connection. Dr. Edelsberg believes in a collaborative approach to therapy to form a working relationship to build inner strength. She believes in collaborating with multidisciplinary providers when needed. Dr. Edelsberg also has a large interest in exercise, the mind-body connection, and how physical activity improves cognition.
Dr. Edelsberg received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Rhode Island, her Masters of Science in Education in School Psychology from Long Island University, and completed her doctorate in School Psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Rebecca is a Certified School Psychologist in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. During her doctoral training, Dr. Edelsberg received extensive training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy for emotion regulation, Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety and Depressive Disorders, Neuropsychological Assessment, and practicum experiences in Neuropsychological based interventions for the schools. Dr. Edelsberg completed her Pre-Doctoral Training in the Piscataway Township School District and was a member of the Child Study Team. Dr. Edelsberg has extensive experience working with children and adolescents in schools, psychological assessments, assessments for learning disabilities, and executive function assessments and interventions. She also has a large interest in research on how physical activity improves executive functions in children and adolescents diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Jacqueline A. Ramirez, PH.D
Jacqueline A. Ramirez, Ph.D.
“Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly,
a way of communicating” – Simon Sinek.
Dr. Ramirez obtained her Master’s degree in Education from Richard Stockton University, a Master’s degree in Science in Applied Psychology, and Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology from Walden University. Upon completing her doctoral degree, she was inducted into the National Honor Society, identifying her as an outstanding psychological student. Dr. Ramirez is a native Spanish speaker who has provided psychotherapy and assessment in both English and Spanish.
Dr. Ramirez completed her Pre-Doctoral Training in a Non-Profit Agency and a Private Practice Settings. Through working experience, education, school teaching, outpatient, and in-home settings, Dr. Ramirez has experience working with children and adolescents with a history of school tribulations, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She also has experience working with adults and families with a history of Anxiety and Depressive Disorders and PTSD. Dr. Ramirez incorporates a research-supported treatment approach, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Family Therapy.
Dr. Ramirez believes that everyone has the potential to bring something unique and extraordinary. Her vision of a world is where people learn to respect, accept, and embrace differences. Dr. Ramirez is an active member of the New Jersey Psychological Association, the Latino Psychological Association of New Jersey, and the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Heather Blumert, Psy.D
Heather Blumert is a Licensed Psychologist and obtained her Doctorate in School Psychology from Rutgers University. Heather has had clinical experience working with children and adolescents at the Haven Counseling Center in Piscataway, NJ. She also has had several years of experience working at the elementary school level. During her time there she created, implemented, and monitored individual behavior intervention plans as well as school wide behavior support programs. Heather also led individual and group counseling sessions focusing on self esteem, inattention difficulties, anti-bullying, and more.
Dr. Blumert is excited to continue in clinical practice especially with the focus on assessment. Outside of her profession, she enjoys spending time with her husband, son, daughter, and other extended family.
Helizhabeth Cruz, Ed.S., NCSP
Helizhabeth Cruz, Ed.S., NCSP, obtained her Educational Specialist Degree in School Psychology from Rider University in May 2017. Since then, she has been employed in a unique, counseling-based role in an urban school district where she addresses the needs of immigrant and refugee families in a variety of ways. Helizhabeth has also worked with children of all ages in other environments throughout her various roles as a teacher, summer camp counselor, afterschool program coordinator, and college-bound program mentor. Helizhabeth considers herself a lifelong learner by constantly engaging in professional development opportunities. She received her New Jersey Teacher of Students with Disabilities and Teacher of Preschool through Grade 3 in July 2014 and is currently attending Fairleigh Dickinson University for her Psy.D. in School Psychology. Additionally, she is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists and serves on the executive board of the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists.
Helizhabeth will be assisting with assessment-related tasks at MRM Psychological Testing and Clinical Services. She is eager to take on more of a testing role and nurture her assessment skills. However, outside of the practice, Helizhabeth enjoys spending time with her husband and children as well as taking advantage of the beach and anything summer-related.