Our Team

Happiness is not something outside that you bring in. It is something inside that you bring out.

 Kristen Marsar-Perez, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Owner 

Kristen has a Masters in Social Work from Fordham University and received her Bachelor’s degree from DeSales University. With over 20 years of experience in Residential Treatment Centers, Group Homes, Schools, home settings, community, and private practice, she brings a high level of expertise to her practice.


She has a Certificate in Children and Adolescent Mental Health from Rutgers University and Trauma Certificate from Drexel University. Kristen also has certificates in Intensive Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Intensive Trauma Treatment Behavioral Therapy and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and attends Study Days and International Conferences on DDP.


Kristen has training on gender identity, depression, anxiety, intensive trauma treatment, attachment, and suicide prevention assessment, among others. She attends trainings each year to continue to increase her knowledge and better assist her clients, including the National Attach Conference and Psychotherapy Networker Symposiums.


Some of Kristen’s experience highlights include: Presenter on various mental health topics; Member of the Board of Suicide Prevention Coalition of Monroe County and Co-Chair of the Education Sub-Committee; Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC) for 13 years; Clinical experience with children of all ages and various mental health concerns including Autism; Provides clinical supervision to LSW and LPC’s in Pennsylvania; Part-time Adjunct/Lecturer at Marywood University for their Master in Social Work (MSW) Program; Faculty Liaison and Field Instructor at Marywood University.

Kristen opened Connections Counseling Services, LLC in 2013. A second location was added in August of 2017. The practice was originally opened to address the need for children with attachment and trauma issues but has developed into a practice that addressed all mental health needs. Many mental health concerns are from previous and current trauma issues. Her goal is to provide a level of consistency and continuity of care to all clients through a therapeutic relationship that will provide a process for change, healing, and adaptation.

Cheryl Torres, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
(Bilingual – Spanish)

Cheryl Torres is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). She specializes in individual, family and couples psychotherapy utilizing cognitive behavioral, solution-focused and psychodynamic treatment approaches. Her main focus and specialty is in trauma treatment. Her drive is to help people who have been through a traumatic or stressful experience. She works with patients and families of all ages as she helps them find a healthy perception of themselves while working towards coping with the effects of trauma.


Cheryl holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Montclair State University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Fordham University. She has received specialized training in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy, and in the areas of trauma treatment. She holds additional training in gender identity, suicide assessment, prevention, depression, anxiety, advanced trauma treatment along with various other diagnoses. In addition, she continues to participate in continuing education to further her knowledge base in working with children, adolescents, couples, adults, and families.

Shahida "Shae" Jones, LSW

Licensed Social Worker

Shahida (Shae) Jones is a licensed social worker. She received her Masters Degree in Social Work from Fordham University and has advanced training in trauma and attachment therapy modalities. Shae is passionate about working with children, adolescents, and adults that have experienced traumatic events in their lives. She is creative, compassionate, playful, and empathic in her approach. Moreover, she is caring and kind. When working with adoptive and foster children, Shae likes to find the hope that many have lost. She has certificates in Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy and TF-CBT and hopes to one day own an animal shelter that allows her to engage clients through animal-related therapy.

Matthew "Matt" Hooper, MS, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Matthew Hooper is a board-certified counselor licensed in the state of Pennsylvania as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Matthew also holds a license through the Pennsylvania medical board as a Licensed Behavior Specialist which is designed specifically for clinicians supporting minor clients on the Autism spectrum.  He received a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University and has been working in the field of mental health for over 10 years in a variety of settings including: at-risk boarding schools, emergency rooms, outpatient counseling, home-based wrap-around services, community-based programs for victims of domestic violence, school-based emotional support, individuals struggling with the unique issues of poverty comorbid with mental health concerns, transitional housing, crisis, geriatric patients as well with adolescents working on successful transfer into collegiate environments.  The bulk of his work, however, has been spent supporting persons looking for freedom from pain coming in the forms of both physical and emotional trauma.  As a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Matthew is able to work with clients in a holistic approach understanding that many people cannot benefit from talk therapy alone.  Sometimes clients are in need of unique interventions designed to address the whole body.

Matthew has spent numerous hours in completion of research and trainings in how both outward and internal traumas directly affect how a person thinks, acts, and speaks.  People often become frustrated with their place in life while ignoring the distinct impact that traumatic experiences have dictated their expressions.  Not only do traumatic events have the ability to derail our desire for a more productive position in the community, but sometimes people just feel stuck.

At this point, Matthew will utilize an integrative approach to counseling asserting that individuals are all unique and possess within themselves the strength to change.  Techniques involving solutions as a consequence become the focus rather than circulating in a problem saturated story.  Matthew will work with you to change your narrative and passionately work in collaboration of a more desirable outcome. While hereditary and societal issues are often influential, they are not necessarily deterministic.

Matthew’s experience is with children, adolescents, adults, and has specialized trainings to work with older adults. Furthermore, he has received moderate to advanced training in: Attachment disorders, PTSD, Trauma, Personality disorders, Mood disorders, ADHD, Depression, Grief, Emotional regulation, Anxiety, Dementia.

Theologically-based sessions are available if requested.

Matthew is working towards board certification in hypnosis through the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists.

Zlata Berezhna, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker
(Bilingual – Russian)

Zlata Berezhna is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Behavioral Specialist in the state of Pennsylvania. She received her Masters’ Degree in Social Work from Marywood University and her Bachelors’ degree in Social Work from Bloomsburg University. She has been working in the field of mental health for over 6 years in a variety of settings including: schools, home settings, community, and outpatient agency.


Zlata believes in creating a safe and non-judgmental space for clients to share and work towards their goals. Zlata’s therapeutic approach is to provide support and counseling to help clients effectively address their personal life challenges. Zlata’s approach to therapy incorporates cognitive behavioral and strength-based approach. Areas of interest include anxiety, ASD, depression, trauma, life transitions, and communication issues. Zlata is bilingual and can conduct therapy sessions in Russian. She is committed to assisting each individual to build on their existing strengths to live their best possible life. 

Maria De Jesus Perez, LCSW 
(Bilingual - Spanish)
(Pronouns: she, her, hers)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Maria is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Behavior Specialist in the state of PA.  She holds a Masters in Education and a Masters in Social Work, and has over 15 years of experience working with children, families, and adults.  Maria has provided therapeutic services in home, school, community and outpatient settings, and has been trained in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eco Systemic Family Therapy (ESFT). Maria also holds a certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I).


Maria believes in the dignity and worth of every person regardless of ability, race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc.  Her therapeutic approach is a combination of strengths-based, solution-focused and trauma-informed, as well as teaching skills of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and shame-resilience.  Maria believes that cultural factors are critical to the way individuals navigate through life. She works hard to address cultural matters, to understand how these may impact one’s perception of the world. Additionally, Maria strives to create a safe and non-judgemental space, while also teaching individuals to feel "comfortable with the uncomfortable" to gain a better understanding of their authentic self. Maria is passionate about her work and her ultimate goal is to empower others to reach their full potential.

Dina Cervasio, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Dina Cervasio is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelors degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University and her Masters degree in Social Work from Marywood University. She has been working with various populations within the mental health field for over 8 years. She has worked with both children and adults in the home, community, crisis residential and emergency room settings. She has experience with wrap-around services, case management and crisis intervention.


Dina’s approach is easy-going and empathic with focus on assisting clients with identifying patterns that may be hindering growth and a more positive outlook. Dina’s therapeutic style is to meet the individual through elements of positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy and client-centered techniques. She is committed to helping each individual along their journey of being their best possible self.

Jenna Sargent Thorn, LCSW 
(Pronouns: she, her, hers)

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Jenna is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s Degree in social work from Marywood University. Much of Jenna’s work as a social worker has been dedicated to working with children, teens, and families. Jenna utilizes a strengths-based approach through a trauma-informed lens to support folks through difficult and stressful times as well as through the journey of self-exploration. 

Jenna’s approach is grounded in the healing nature of a trusted,  therapeutic relationship. Her work incorporates a number of therapeutic techniques and strategies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, strengths-based and solution-focused therapies, play and art therapy techniques, and mindfulness. Jenna looks forward to helping folks reveal their innate capacity to heal and reach their unique goals.

Ligia Delorme, LSW 
(Bilingual - Romanian)

Licensed Social Worker

I am a Licensed Social Worker. I graduated from Marywood University with a Master’s Degree of Social Work (Behavioral Health Specialization) in 2017. I am also ESFT (Ecosystemic Structural Family Therapy) certified. As a licensed clinician, I have provided therapy to individuals and families as a Mobile Therapist, Behavioral Consultant Specialist, School-Based Therapist and Outpatient Therapist. I have experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in the home, community and school settings. I also believe in a collaborative approach between clients and the therapist, which will empower clients to make their own decisions. I believe in using evidence-based practices during my sessions, which should be individualized to meet clients’ needs and specific circumstances in their lives.

My goal is to facilitate healing by identifying and addressing the underlying cause of my clients’ distress, instead of temporarily putting a “patch” on the wound. I believe everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. I believe everyone’s actions are ultimately driven by a desire to be accepted, respected and loved, and I use a person-centered approach in my sessions. I incorporate CBT and motivational interviewing techniques into my clients’ sessions as well, because I truly believe in their efficacy, as evidence-based treatment approaches.

Shannon Hilbert, LCSW 

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Shannon Hilbert is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Pennsylvania.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University.  She holds a Master's Degree in Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Practice  and specialization in Children, Youth, and Families from Temple University.  Shannon also has a certification as a School Social Worker through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Shannon has over 25 years of experience working with children and adolescents who have experienced trauma and struggled with attachment and trust issues.  For over 20 years, she worked with youth involved in the child welfare system as well as with their foster families.  Shannon also has experience working as a therapist in a school-based partial hospitalization program helping children overcome mental health and behavioral issues so that they can return to learning in a traditional classroom environment.  She has experience working with youth with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder as well as with those suffering from anxiety and depression.

Shannon has received training in trauma-informed, client-centered care.  Her therapeutic style is based upon forming a trusting relationship with the client and creating an environment in which the client feels safe, cared for, and respected.  Shannon incorporates play therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as a strength-based, solution-focused approach in her clients' sessions.  Her goal is to help each client recognize their value and potential to live a fulfilling life. 

April Orr, LSW 

Licensed Social Worker

April Orr is a Licensed Social Worker who uses an eclectic approach to meet the client where they are; her goal is to help them find their voice in their mental health journey.  April has worked with children, adolescents, adults, families, and groups. She is trained in the complex treatment needs of the LGBTQA population and is an ally to all. Her treatment approaches span from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, DBT, Strength Perspective, Interpersonal, and Solution Focused. 

Her background includes work with college-aged adults who had transitional concerns, children and young adults with autism spectrum disorder, teens/ young adults who have conduct disorders and/or mood disorders, sexual assault/domestic violence survivors, and families with complex needs.  April enjoys working with young women to help them find their voice, strength, and self-love. 

April graduated from Marywood University in 2018 with her Masters of Social Work. Her concentration of study was on children and families. She received her LSW in 2018 and is currently pursuing her hours to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Specialized Areas Include: ADHD, Anxiety/Panic Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Conduct Disorders, Couples Counseling, Easting Disorders, LGBTQ+, and PTSD.

Deano Graham, LSW 

Licensed Social Worker

We are so much more!

My purpose and intent is to inspire the world to emotionally heal and express the goodness within. This is possible because we are so much more than we realize. Hi there, my name is Deano. I've been a mental health professional for close to a decade. My experiences have taught me that healthy relationships are the foundation of any and all things great. Generally speaking, I specialize in helping people: understand and cope with their emotions, explore/experience their potentials and create their personal sense of peace. I know it sounds vague; these
are just the net results. Each individual has their own personalized and tangible path.

You are not alone. We all go through things. We all hurt. We all want to heal and feel better. Your experiences, current situation and perspective is unique. I'd like to listen, understand and respect you on the simple merit of who you are. You decide if, when and how you'd like to create changes in your life. My approach is eclectic, meaning I pull from various techniques to best meet your specific needs. As mentioned earlier, relationships are the most important part of everything. So through the highs and the lows; together we grow.

At this point in time, I come to you with a decade’s worth of experience in the mental health field. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Marywood University. I am a licensed social worker, with additional training in mindfulness, DBT, anxiety, depression, grief and trauma-informed care.

I appreciate you for taking the time to read this. No matter what happens next, I wish you the greatest good life has to offer.

David James, MA 

Mental Health Counselor

I am pre-licensed mental health counselor who completed my Master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Kutztown University in 2022. I am currently working under the supervision of qualified and experienced Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker to become licensed by the end of the 2024. My experience includes  working with family-based single parents, children, and adults. I specialize in assessing various disorders, including PTSD, trauma, abuse, anxiety, depression, and autism spectrum disorders, as well as other concerns such as developmental issues and working with terminally ill clients.

I am trained in several therapeutic techniques, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Reality Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Person-Centered Therapy. I also can integrate, adapt, and modify my approach to meet the needs of each client. My goal is to meet clients where they are and work to understand their past experiences while providing support and guidance to develop new ways of thinking and improve overall awareness, leading to a positive mindset and objective behaviors.

I believe in the power of faith as a source of hope, balance, correction, and inspiration. Faith can aid in thought processing and actions for clients, particularly those with addictive tendencies. I have additional skills in dance movement therapy, meditation, and a passion for animals, particularly horses and service animals.

Finally, as a health coach, I focus on fitness and nutrition to promote positive behaviors and overall wellness. I use my skills and experience to challenge my clients to understand their reality, not just their perception. Together, we work to build a partnership that supports mental stability and helps them achieve their future goals.