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.
Innerspace Counseling, LLC:
2016 and 2017 Best of Old Bridge Award in Mental Health Counseling
2017 Women of Distinction Award Recipient
Courtney Stone, MA, LPC, NCC
Assistant Program Director, Licensed Professional Counselor
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.
Arthur S. Platt, D.O.
Dr. Arthur Platt has been practicing psychiatry for 40 years. During that time, he has had many roles, including the Chief of Adult Psychiatry at United Hospitals Medical Center, Newark, NJ, the Psychiatric Medical Director of “The Harbor” — an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility — and as the Medical Director of the Wayne Counseling Center. Dr. Platt has also been an Assistant Clinical Attending Psychiatrist at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and he has held the same title at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ in the Department of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Platt also has a private practice in which he practices General Psychiatry with a sub-specialty in Confrontational Psychotherapy, and he has developed unique methods for attaining a positive response to therapeutic input.
For more information about what is a D.O., please go to: https://osteopathic.org/what-
Jodi Ster, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Coordinator, Master’s Level Therapist, Licensed Social Worker
Jodi received her master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University, following an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Ramapo College. Jodi is currently a licensed clinical social worker who is educated in addiction treatment. Jodi has several years of experience interning and working with dual-diagnosis adolescents and adults in an outpatient setting. Jodi is passionate about client-centered therapy and believes in a multi-disciplinary approach, as she recognizes that each client will have specific and unique needs. Jodi utilizes various treatment modalities in her therapy, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
Jennifer E. Platt, D.O.
A proud third generation osteopathic physician, Dr. Jennifer Platt graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed an osteopathic rotating internship at Seton Hall University – St. Michael’s Medical Center. She went on to Rutgers (formerly UMDNJ) Robert Wood Johnson Medical School where she did her residency in psychiatry, as well as fellowships in both child/adolescent psychiatry and forensic psychiatry. Dr. Platt is currently board-certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry; the American Board of Adolescent Psychiatry in Adolescent Psychiatry; and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in child, adolescent, adult, and forensic psychiatry.
Dr. Platt is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the Co-Coordinator of the Forensic Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Module for the NYC Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Consortium.
In addition to her work at Innerspace Counseling, Dr. Platt has a private practice in Cedar Grove, NJ where she specializes in psychiatric consultations for special education planning purposes. She has been sought as a consultant by both parent attorneys and school district attorneys for her expert testimony and her thoughtful and nuanced consultation reports.
For more information about what is a D.O., please go to: https://osteopathic.org/what-is-osteopathic-medicine/what-is-a-do/
Melissa Maranzano, M.A.
Community Outreach Liaison
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, poverty, and addiction. 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.
Lindsay Sowder, MA, LPC, NCC
Per Diem Therapist
Lindsay earned her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Caldwell University, following a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology also from Caldwell University. She is currently a Nationally Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. Lindsay has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in the partial care and intensive outpatient settings. She feels privileged to be a trusted part of each person’s personal healing process, and notices that every person’s process will be unique. She finds it important to take a multidisciplinary approach to working with each client, and feels strongly about including practices such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy. She also feels passionately about incorporating different approaches such as mindfulness and aromatherapy. By doing so, each individual will receive a specialized treatment that’s unique to them. Lindsay enjoys working with people throughout their therapeutic journey, and encourages people to find the strength to grow, develop, and achieve their personal goals.
Angelina Colon, MS, LAC, NCC
Angelina is a Licensed Associate Counselor and a National Certified Counselor whose background includes working with children, adolescents, adults and families in both school and community mental health settings. Angelina received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Kean University and Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Monmouth University, where she was inducted into Chi Sigma Iota, the National Honor Society for Counseling Students and Professionals. Angelina specializes in working with children and adolescents experiencing anxiety, depression, mood changes, adjustment difficulties, and family stressors. She also has experience working with clients at an inpatient level of care. Angelina’s approach to counseling draws from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with evidence-based techniques. Angelina takes a person-centered approach to therapy and a collaborative relationship to formulate realistic goals with accessible strategies that the individual client can apply in their life. Angelina strives to provide a therapeutic setting in which clients feel comfortable sharing thoughts and feelings, while also developing a sense of empowerment.
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.
Kellen Polito, LSW
Per Diem Therapist
Kellen received his Master’s degree in clinical social work with a concentration in family and children studies from Monmouth University. Prior to earning his Master’s degree, Kellen received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Montclair State University. Kellen is actively working towards his licensure as a licensed clinical social worker. Prior to and along with his work at Innerspace Counseling, Kellen has a decade of experience working with dual-diagnosis adults in a supportive housing setting. Kellen also volunteers with children who are living with family members who are actively seeking treatment for addiction issues. Kellen strongly believes that the best approach to successfully working within mental health is a client-centered therapy, highlighting each individuals uniqueness and individual strengths. Kellen utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy approaches when working with our clients.
Nicholas Diaz, MA, LAC, NCC
Nicholas earned his master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Caldwell University, following a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in both Sociology and Criminology from Rutgers University. He is currently a Licensed Associate Counselor as well as a Nationally Certified Counselor. Prior to coming to Innerspace Counseling, Nicholas completed his Internship experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in the partial care and intensive outpatient settings, as well as working with adults in an inpatient setting. He has a deep passion and desire to aid individuals in reaching their goals and developing as people. Nicholas finds it crucial to the therapeutic process to take a holistic as well as a collaborative approach to working with each client and utilizes several therapeutic modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Reality Therapy. Similarly, Nicholas works with each client from a Trauma-Informed method of care, understanding that past experiences may shape an individual’s ability to cope with emotional pain. In doing so, he treats every client as an individual with their own past experiences, values, beliefs, and perspectives. Nicholas strives to develop a safe, empathetic, and trusting environment that will allow each client to reach their full potential.
Susan Robertiello-Manley, M.A.
Educational Support Specialist
Susan earned her bachelor’s degree in education from New Jersey City University and a master’s degree in school counseling from Kean University. Susan has 32 years of experience as a teacher and school counselor in public education. She has taught at the elementary, middle and high school level, and has served as a school counselor at the elementary and middle school level.
Susan has had a career marked by her dedication and involvement with students and families. She has served as a Homeless Liaison, Intervention and Referral Services chairperson, 504 coordinator, teacher, and counselor. She utilizes her expertise to assist the teens in the Partial Care Program to remain on track to achieve their educational goals while in program.