OUR DEDICATED STAFF
We have assembled an elite team of clinicians who specialize in high levels of mental health care. Our dedicated staff of board-certified psychiatrists, and licensed counselors and social workers utilize empirically based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and a family systems approach to assist our clients in building a life worth living. Each of our clinicians embody values that center on caring and empowering people. These values are the foundation of Innerspace Counseling and they lay the path for your journey toward holistic wellness.
Ajita Shah, MA, LPC, NCC, ACS
Founder/Program Director at Innerspace Counseling, LLC
Ajita earned her master’s degree from Yeshiva University and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University with an additional certification in behavioral pharmacology. For the past decade, Ajita has been dedicated to creating and enhancing mental health and counseling programs across New Jersey to ensure that the highest quality of care is provided for all of the populations served. As an LPC, Ajita believes that education, training, and proper supervision are key to ensuring that clients receive the highest quality of care. Her goal in opening Innerspace Counseling in 2014 was to create an environment for clients that allowed them to enhance the quality of their lives in the safest and least restrictive setting. To that end, Ajita has created a strong DBT-based curriculum for all programs. This curriculum, along with the system’s-based approach provided at Innerspace, ensures that clients are learning concrete and usable skills that can be translated into any area of a client’s life. In addition to working with clients individually, the treatment team at Innerspace also regularly and consistently involves families in treatment. This allows for change not only within the client but also within the system; thus providing a platform for true long-term success.
- Recent Awards:
- Innerspace Counseling, LLC:
- 2016, 2017, and 2020 Best of Old Bridge Award in Mental Health Counseling
- Personal Award:
- 2017 Women of Distinction Award Recipient
Hema Vyas, MD
Dr. Vyas is a double board-certified child/adolescent and adult psychiatrist with two decades of experience in the field. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our team and clients from her outpatient work as well as her work in intensive outpatient and partial care programs throughout New Jersey.
She brings a holistic approach to her work with children, adolescents, and adults by combining meditation and mindfulness techniques along with medication when necessary. She approaches issues from their core and finds the best approach for each individual patient. She collaborates with Innerspace’s team of therapists and Nurse Practitioners to ensure each patient’s needs are met.
Dr. Vyas has expertise in treating Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, OCD, Mood Disorders, Behavioral Issues, and ADHD. She is a caring and empathetic provider who listens to the needs of her clients and their parents/families, guiding them toward finding long-term healing and wellness.
Ololade "Lola" Ekwere, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC
Lola has practiced for over 12 years in various capacities in healthcare serving patients and their families. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in Nursing, Cum Laude from William Paterson University in 2009, Lola began her career as an Intensive Care Unit nurse, catering to patients and families at their most vulnerable in the hospital.
Seeking advancement in her career and expanding her breadth of knowledge, Lola returned for further education and obtained a Masters Degree in Nursing from Rutgers University - UMDNJ, graduating with honors in her chosen concentration of Family practice/Primary care.
While practicing as a primary care advanced practice nurse (APN), she observed that several of her patients needed significant mental health care as part of their overall treatment and wellness maintenance plans. This led her to pursue additional training and certification in Psychiatric and Mental Health care from Maryville University, where she also graduated with Honors.
During her career and education, Lola developed comfort in treating individuals with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, sleep disorders and other common psychiatric disorders. Because she understands the interconnectedness of mental and physical health, she works collaboratively with each patient to prioritize and meet their mental health needs. Additionally, she is empathetic, listens and practices using evidence-based guidelines in order to provide the best available care for her patients.
Courtney Stone, MA, LPC, NCC
Director of Clinical Services
Courtney earned her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Caldwell College, and she has several years’ experience working in a variety of therapeutic settings. Through her hard work and dedication to clients’ served, she has empowered children and adolescents to create positive change in their lives.
In addition to her experience in the intensive outpatient and partial care settings, Courtney has also worked in community-based foster care programs with young children and their families. She has helped children through play therapy as well as other cognitive approaches (i.e. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy). She is a compassionate and professional mental health counselor who uses a variety of theoretical perspectives in individual, family, and group settings. Courtney strives to help individuals achieve the goals they have in mind for themselves and she enjoys engaging people in the process of positive change.
Francesca Enriquez, LPC
Francesca received her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Georgian Court University in 2012. She believes in meeting clients where they are at and using a Strengths Based Approach to help them feel positively about their therapeutic journey.
Francesca is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has an eclectic treatment background. She has worked in various treatment settings from foster care, private practice, traditional outpatient & partial care, to substance abuse and school-based programs. Francesca works with young children to adolescents and adults and is bilingual in English and Spanish.
Her approaches to counseling are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Strengths Based, and Client Centered. Francesca strives to assist her clients in identifying their challenges as well as finding realistic solutions that work for them to ensure they reach their personal and therapeutic goals.
Danielle “Dani” Paige, LAC, NCC
Dani obtained her master’s degree in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling from Georgian Court University. She is a firm believer in growing alongside of her clients, and takes a humble and relatable approach to providing support for those navigating through the obstacles life can present. For personal growth and development is a continuum, and Dani's motto is to always stay authentic, and above all else acknowledge that we are all human, sharing a very human experience.
Dani has experience working in an outpatient setting, providing support from acute to more substantial mental health difficulties. She has experience working with all ages and a broad range of cultural and ethnic populations. Dani utilizes an eclectic approach between CBT, DBT, Person-Centered therapy, and Existentialism when providing individualized treatment for clients. This is to ensure that each client is met with an individualized treatment plan that pertains specifically to their needs upon assessment.
Dani takes great pride in helping encourage a positive environment that fosters growth, compassion, and enlightenment.
Taylor Strothmann, MA, LAC
Taylor earned her master's in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Children and Adolescents from Montclair State University. She also has a master's in Counseling Psychology from Felician University. Taylor has experience working with children who were patients of the Pediatric Subspeciality Hospital at St. Joseph's Hospital. She has also worked with adults who suffer from a dual diagnosis of severe mental health disorders and substance abuse in a partial hospitalization program. She also has experience as a community support service professional. Taylor’s approach includes an eclectic person-centered theory that focuses on changing your thoughts to reduce the frequency and intensity of symptoms. She is also very interested in psychoanalysis and inner child work. Taylor is excited to be working in this level of care so that she may help our clients reach their goals and improve their overall wellness.
Lauren Spiegel, MA, LAC
Lauren graduated from Kean University with her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Prior to her masters, she graduated with her Bachelor of Art in Sociology from William Paterson University. Lauren has experience volunteering at a women’s crisis center and working in the partial care and IOP setting. She is eager help clients realize their full potential.
Lauren believes in having an open, honest, and empathetic relationship with her clients. She believes everyone’s situation is different and takes a personal and unique approach to each client and their therapy. Lauren utilizes a strength-based approach along with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy in her approach to counseling. She works with children, adolescents, and adults. She is currently working towards gaining her LPC.
Mariah Moench, LAC
Mariah obtained her master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Stockton University. She is a dedicated clinician who is devoted to helping her clients recognize their strengths and build upon them as they navigate through life’s challenges. As someone who has experience working with individuals of all ages, Mariah is conscientious of her clients’ specific needs and works with them to help reach their full potential. Although her theoretical approach is mostly person-centered and strengthsbased, Mariah also has experience in working in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy outpatient settings, which she incorporates into her work with clients as well.
Mariah believes that everyone deserves a chance to feel seen and heard. Through her individualized work with children, adolescents, and adults, she balances empathy and acceptance with challenging her clients to develop the skills they need to achieve their goals. Mariah is currently in the process of working towards becoming an LPC and looks forward to continuing to expand her knowledge and experience in the future.
Franki Berliner (they/them) LAC
Franki graduated from Stockton University with their master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Prior to this, they graduated with their bachelor of arts in psychology with minors in holistic health and childhood studies. Franki has been interested in mental health since growing up watching friends and family members go through their own mental health journeys. They wanted to be able to help not only their friends and family but others as well, which lead Franki to where they are today. Franki is a firm believer that people's experiences, feelings, and overall being are valid.
Franki has experience working in outpatient and inpatient settings with a diverse range of clients and mental health diagnoses. Franki has interests and experience in several different fields, including but not limited to trauma, LGBTQ+ mental health, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, substance use, personality disorders, etc. Franki works with all ages and can speak conversational ASL. Franki uses an eclectic approach that includes CBT, DBT, person-centered, etc. They believe in learning, growing and changing from their clients just as much as their clients learn, grow and change from them. Franki looks forward to learning and experiencing more as they work towards becoming an LPC.
Anthony Zazzarino, PhD, LPC, ACS, CPRP
Per Diem Therapist
Anthony Zazzarino, PhD, LPC, ACS, CPRP is a per-diem group therapist with Innerspace Counseling since 2016. Dr. Zazzarino uses an integrative approach when supporting clients, grounding his work from a strengths perspective. Additionally, Dr. Zazzarino is an Assistant Professor with Rutgers University, School of Health Professions, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions where he is a core faculty in the master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling and the doctoral program in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. Additionally, Dr. Zazzarino is the field experience coordinator for the Counselor Education and Supervision track. Dr. Zazzarino is actively presenting at local, state, national, and international conferences related to affectional and gender minorities; multiculturalism; psychiatric rehabilitation methods; counseling services; housing; and supervision practices. In addition to his work at Innerspace Counseling and Rutgers University, Dr. Zazzarino provides outpatient counseling services at his private practice and clinical supervision for counselors who need supervised clinical hours in New Jersey.
Lisa Quaglia, MA, LPC
Per Diem Therapist
Lisa obtained her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from the College of Staten Island following her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York, College at Purchase. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who helps older teens and adults who suffer from anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or substance abuse who want to begin to heal and find peace. Lisa has experience in various levels of care and treatment settings including mental health and addiction. She works with depression, anxiety, trauma, and dual-diagnosis substance use.
Lisa utilizes multiple modalities including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT),Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI) to help her clients gain skills and improve their lives.
Community Outreach Liaison & Clinical Support Worker
Jordan earned her Bachelors' Degree in Counseling and Human Services from The University of Scranton. Jordans background is in non-profit homelessness rehousing, case management and academic guidance counseling. She is dedicated to assisting clients and their families through difficult processes. To do this, she prioritizes maintaining/ building a large resource network in the community, in hopes to promote positive outcomes and wellbeing. Jordan also has a personal and professional passion for advocacy and advancement in the mental health and human services industry.
Melissa Maranzano, M.A.
Director of Program Development & Quality Assurance
Melissa earned her Master’s Degree in Child Advocacy & Policy from Montclair State University. Her undergraduate degree is in English literature from the College of Staten Island. Melissa has nearly 20 years of experience in social services working in foster care and preventive services, as an advocate, behavioral assistant, parent coach, and volunteer & community partnership coordinator. She has experience in training, program planning and evaluation, and case management. She is dedicated to building strong community relationships to promote positive health and well-being and is committed to improving outcomes for children and families affected by abuse, mental health issues, and poverty. She utilizes her expertise to evaluate and improve programs and to share Innerspace Counseling’s mission and offerings throughout the community, assisting families, patients, and colleagues with mental health needs and referrals.