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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 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.

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. 

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

Licensed Social Worker

Maria is a Licensed 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, LSW

Licensed Social Worker

Dina Cervasio is a Licensed 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, LSW 
(Pronouns: she, her, hers)

Licensed Social Worker

Jenna is a licensed 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.

Jessica Waller Wade, LCSW 

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Jessica Waller Wade is a licensed clinical social worker. She
received her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from East
Stroudsburg University in 2012 and her Master’s degree in
Social Work from Marywood University in 2015. She has
worked with various populations within the mental health field
for over 5 years. She has worked with both children and adults
in the home, community, and correctional setting. She has
experience with wrap-around services, case management and
crisis intervention.

Jessica believes each person has innumerable strengths and
innate positive qualities that must be utilized to help reach goals.
Her goal is to help people identify and utilize these strengths and
the systems around them to increase wellness.

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.

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