Connections Counseling Services LLC

Stroudsburg 570-424-5100 | Marshalls Creek 570-730-4211

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 Hooper, MS, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

Matthew Hooper is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Behavioral Specialist in the state of Pennsylvania and received his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University. He 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, community-based programs for victims of domestic violence and individuals struggling with the unique issues of poverty comorbid with mental health concerns, transitional housing, crisis, as well with adolescents working on successful transfer into collegiate environments.

Matthew utilizes an integrative approach to counseling asserting that individuals are all unique and possess the strength to change within themselves. He, therefore, incorporates techniques involving solutions while focusing on how a person’s thought processes often hinder their own ability to clearly define the problem as “the problem” while understanding that they are separate from the struggle although impacted. Hence, while hereditary and societal issues are often influential, they are not deterministic.

Matthew’s experience is with children, adolescents, adults, and has specialized training to work with older adults. Populations include, but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, disenfranchised grief, ambiguous loss, traumatic brain injury, mood disorders, family systems, cognitive deficits, trauma, and attachment. Theologically-based sessions are available if requested.

Phillip Long, LCSW, MPA

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

​Phillip has a Masters’ degree in Social Work and Public Administration from Marywood University, and a Bachelors’ degree in Psychology from Indiana University of Bloomington. He has spent 20 years working in the mental health and education fields as an administrator, counselor, therapist and advocate. He has provided successful services to a wide-range of populations in a wide variety of settings.

Phillip has a particular interest in family dynamics, and the legacy traumatic experience has on family functioning.  In his exploration of the topic he has pursued advanced training in Eco-systemic Structural Family Therapy.  He is also an institute trained Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist.  His past practice has resulted in a strong clinical background in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). 

Phillip’s approach to therapy is highly client centered and informed by empirically driven practice.  The overarching objective in facilitating change is creating an environment of curiosity to process and explore past behavioral and cognitive patterns that no longer serve the individual or family in the present.  In short, individuals and families have a remarkable capacity to heal, and as a therapist Phillip considers himself fortunate to be able to support this capacity.

Kay Pollard, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Kay Pollard is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with over 20 years experience working in both New York City and Newark, NJ school providing counseling services to children, adolescents and families. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work from Hunters College and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Lehman College. She has specialized training in trauma, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury, panic disorders and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

She is a caring, compassionate clinician that holds a strong belief that the individuals she works with possess the potential for positive change and healing. She adheres to a “whole person” approach that focuses on one’s mind, body and soul. She specializes in helping individuals manage stress effectively through the use of techniques including mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy and a strength-based approach.

Zlata Berezhna, LSW

Licensed Social Worker

Zlata Berezhna is a Licensed 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. 

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