Meet the Team at Child Therapy in Boston
Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW, Owner
Alison Ratner Mayer, LICSW is a Boston-based Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) providing therapy for children, adolescents, and families and is owner of Child Therapy Boston. She received her Master of Social Work (MSW) from The Boston College Graduate School of Social Work in 2005 and has a BA in Psychology from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Alison began her initial private practice in Atlanta, GA. After a successful and rewarding tenure in Georgia, Alison announced her providential return to Boston in 2014. Alison has a passion for working with children, teens, siblings, families, and groups. She is confident that she can help individuals and families struggling with different mental health diagnoses. Alison also enjoys working with clients who are struggling with self-esteem, parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, peer relationships, divorce, grief and loss, bullying, life transitions, well sibling support, and sexual orientation. One of her primary goals is helping others find happiness and success within themselves and within their family and peer relationships.
Alison’s approach to therapy is unique, thoughtful, and individualized for the clients and groups that she works with. She focuses on including parents in the therapeutic process to help bring about positive change, encourage open communication, and to ensure that skills can be generalized and applied outside of the therapy setting.
Julie Persampieri, LICSW
Julie Persampieri, LICSW, is a clinical social worker with a passion for helping children, adolescents, and families reach their full potentials. She received her Masters of Social Work at University of Maryland, Baltimore and her undergraduate degree in psychology at York College of Pennsylvania. Julie has worked with children, adolescents, and adults in various settings including outpatient therapy practices, psychiatric hospitals, and schools. Most recently, Julie has focused her practice on children, adolescents, and families in a residential treatment setting. In these settings, Julie’s work has helped individuals with trauma, anxiety, OCD, mood disorders/depression, social skills, ADHD, attachment issues, unique issues related to LGBTQ youth, eating disorders/body image, relationship problems, substance abuse, adoption, and self-harm.
Julie believes strongly in the healing power of relationships. In addition to developing a strong relationship with each client, she emphasizes the importance of family and social relationships. She advocates for parents to be part of the therapeutic process to facilitate lasting change. Julie believes in a highly individualized approach to therapy and strives to help her clients recognize their unique strengths to overcome challenges. A fundamental principle of Julie’s approach to therapy is that children and adolescents need to express themselves in ways that come naturally to young people, so she incorporates humor, play, art, and creativity into treatment.
Julie is excited to be joining Alison’s practice. In addition to individual and family therapy, Julie will be running social skills groups for children and teens of all ages.
Michelle Brenhiser, LICSW
Michelle Brenhiser, LICSW, is a clinical social worker with extensive experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families. Michelle’s social work journey began in New York State, where she received her Bachelor of Social Work in 2000 from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the State University of New York at Albany in 2002. Michelle’s professional career includes 15 years of experience with children and families challenged by various types of mental illness and significant behavioral difficulty, in addition to trauma, adoption, attachment, parent/child conflict, sibling conflict and social skills deficits. Her background includes being a program administrator at an inpatient mental health facility for several years, the completion of trauma evaluations, parental competency evaluations, the facilitation of social skills groups and individual therapy in the private sector. Currently, she is a full time social worker for Needham Public Schools, at the elementary level. She has helped numerous children and their families who are affected by: ADHD, anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation, divorce, grief/loss and academic deficits. She is passionate about providing education and strategies to assist her clients in managing and improving their mental health and/or social deficits, thus empowering them to create change. She is comfortable working with children as young as 3 – high school age and adults. If a child is her client, rest assured that Michelle will be involving the child’s caregivers in their treatment and supporting and educating them, as well. Michelle values open and direct communication, knowledge, patience, working hard, empathy, consistency, spontaneity, fun and of course, play. She is passionate about incorporating all of these areas into her work and would be grateful to work with you and your family.
Kate May, LICSW
Kate May is clinical social worker with extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and families. She received her Masters in Social Work at Simmons College in Boston and her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Vermont. Kate developed skills in CBT and DBT by working with adolescents in residential settings. She began her career at Germaine Lawrence, a long-term residential setting for adolescent girls. Kate later acted as the clinical director for Project Rebound, a residential treatment center for adolescent boys with mental health needs and substance abuse histories. While living in New Hampshire, Kate worked for West Central Behavioral Health where she helped to establish an Assertive Community Treatment team for adults with severe and persistent mental illness and acted as its founding team leader. During her tenure at WCBH, Kate also became certified as a trainer in Mental Health First Aid and provided educational seminars for schools and primary care offices. Kate returned to the Boston area to accept a position as the Program Manager at a community-based acute treatment (CBAT) unit at Franciscan Children’s. When not working, Kate enjoys volunteering with her Australian Shepherd, Bean, a certified therapy dog. Kate is excited to join the team and looks forward to running social skills groups and working with individual clients and families.
Mary Beth Medvide, Ph.D.
Mary Beth earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Boston College. She also has a masters degree from Boston College in Mental Health Counseling and a masters degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in Psychology of Education. Mary Beth completed her predoctoral internship and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College where her training focused on trauma interventions for children and adolescents.
Mary Beth has clinical experience working in educational, outpatient, and community settings where she has provided both individual and group psychotherapy to children, adults, and families and has conducted psychological testing. She enjoys working with children and adolescents diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders. Mary Beth utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy as well as other child centered approaches in the work she does with children and teens. She also teaches psychology courses in the Mental Health Counseling masters program at Boston College.
Mary Beth is excited to join Child Therapy Boston and is looking forward to providing both individual therapy and social skills group therapy in the Westborough office.
In her free time, Mary Beth enjoys running and being active with her two Australian Shepherds.
Jennie Bogaert, LMHC
Jennie has worked with children for over 20 years providing individual, family, and group counseling services. Jennie received her Master’s in Counseling from Boston College and her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University. Jennie started her career by providing home and community based counseling services before she became Program Director at Wayside Youth and Family Services. Jennie currently works as a Behavior Specialist/Guidance Counselor at a public elementary school in Southborough where she is able to continue her passion working with children, helping them to see and reach their full potential. Jennie helps children realize their strengths, build social skills and social awareness that impact their relationships with others, and grow both emotionally and socially. Jennie specializes in working with children and adolescents with anxiety, depression, social skills deficits, low self-esteem, and ADHD.
While providing individual and group therapy to children and adolescents, Jennie believes in including parents in the process and providing and information, feedback, and support that parents are looking for. Jennie is excited to join the Child Therapy Boston team and will be seeing individual clients and running social skills groups in the Westborough location.
Jennifer Isgro, LMHC
Jennifer Isgro, LMHC is a practicing mental health counselor with many years of working experience in various types of roles; including community based, in-home, and residential services, clinic and school-based outpatient counseling, therapeutic mentoring, and emergency mental health care. Jennifer obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Loyola College Maryland and her Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Assumption College with a dual concentration in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Child & Family Therapy. Jennifer also has training in recreational therapy, experiential education, sensory-based interventions, expressive therapies, and trauma-specific counseling methods. Jennifer is a proudly certified Life is Good ™ Playmaker, emphasizing healing through play and optimism. Jennifer enjoys using all of this training for individual, sibling, couples, family, and group counseling. Jennifer has for the past three years, facilitated social skills development groups for children and early adolescents. Jennifer additionally has facilitated groups that are specific to bullying prevention and female-related topics. Jennifer’s goal as a therapist is to be able to promote client self-advocacy, efficacy, and esteem to maintain healthy and successful lives. The most important thing in treatment is the therapeutic relationship, and to Jennifer, this is the vehicle through which therapeutic growth can occur. Jennifer believes that allowing a client the opportunity to receive empathy, a safe and supportive environment, and unconditional positive regard will promote mindfulness of their treatment.
Jennifer is excited to join the Child Therapy Boston team in Needham and Westborough where she will be providing individual and family therapy as well as social skills group therapy.
Vicki Reiszner, LICSW
Vicki Reiszner, LICSW is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a commitment to helping children, young adults, and families reach their goals. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology with a concentration in mental health services, which inspired her to pursue her Master of Social Work at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Vicki has worked with children and adolescents in a variety of settings including residential/group home, community-based, and within therapeutic and public school systems. Vicki specializes in working with LGBTQ individuals and their families in order to promote social and emotional health and well-being. Vicki has also helped young adults who have experienced a range of mental health challenges, including trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and struggles with appropriate social skills, emotional regulation and attention, sense of positive self, and engagement in safe and healthy behaviors. Vicki is dedicated to providing culturally responsive and inclusive treatment, and believes in the importance and significance of building a trusting relationship and validating a young person’s experience to help inspire and facilitate an effective course of treatment that is specific to the needs of each child, young adult, and family.
Vicki is motivated and excited to join the Child Therapy Boston team to provide LGBTQ young people with social skills and life skills training to help increase their ability to use healthy communication and be successful in the world. Vicki is also looking forward to working with children and young adults to build healthy emotional regulation and attentional skills, positive sense of self, and utilization of safe and healthy behaviors to enhance social and emotional wellness.
Leigh Skal, LICSW
Leigh Abuisi Skal, LICSW is a mental health clinician and school-based counselor who has spent the last 10 plus years working with children, teens, adults, and families. Leigh earned both her Bachelor in Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees from Wheelock College. She has extensive experience having worked within state systems, private agency-based care, and most recently, within school-based systems in Connecticut assuring that students meet both academic and social emotional needs and goals. Recently, Leigh developed and implemented social skills groups for high school students outside of Boston. Leigh’s approach incorporates child & teen centered therapeutic interventions, mindfulness skills, a strengths-based philosophy, and family centered psychotherapeutic approach. Leigh’s interventions serve to solve problems and meet goals in a sustainable and maintainable way both at home, in school and with peers. Leigh enjoys working with children and teens in group settings to help develop social and life skills that they can carry with them. She enjoys equipping children and families with critical thinking skills, modeling empathy, involving humor, encouraging mindfulness, promoting positivity and to most importantly have fun in the group sessions. Leigh feels passionate about providing a safe, fun and supportive environment as it is essential for growth and establishing a positive therapeutic relationship. Leigh believes when those needs are met the change is remarkable! Leigh is excited to be part of the Child Therapy Boston team in both Needham and Westborough.
Mindy Skura, LICSW
Mindy Skura, LICSW, is a clinical social worker with vast experience working with children, teens, elders and families. Mindy received her Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University and a B.A. in Sociology from Brandeis University. Mindy’s experience over the past 8 and ½ years has included working with Kindergarteners through High School Seniors as a therapist and school counselor where she has worked with children both individually and in groups. Mindy currently works as a School Adjustment Counselor at a middle school in Maynard where she is able to provide individual counseling and social skills groups to countless students. She has helped many children and families who have challenges in the areas of ADHD, anxiety, trauma, emotional dysregulation, and children who need academic and social skills support. Mindy keeps busy in the summers as Unit Head at Camp Grossman, a day camp where she manages a unit of approximately 150 children going into 3rd grade. She supervises the teenage counselors while ensuring that the children are safe, engaged, and happy. Mindy feels so fortunate that she can combine her love of the outdoors with her love for children and has made camp her home away from home. Mindy prides herself in using various creative and dynamic modalities to keep kids motivated and engaged and loves when children are learning by doing and having fun. Mindy believes in open communication with the families of her students and believes in providing consistent feedback, such as strategies and consistent language, as well as ongoing support.
Mindy is passionate about working with children and teens and is excited to be joining the Child Therapy Boston team. Mindy will be providing social skills group therapy in the Needham office.
Jessica Spaman, LICSW
Jessica Spaman is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed School Adjustment Counselor. She received her MSW from Boston College. Jessica has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families across a range of settings. She completed clinical training at Pathways Academy, a highly specialized therapeutic day school at McLean Hospital’s Center for Neurodevelopmental Services, where she taught social pragmatics groups and provided clinical support to students with autism spectrum and related disorders. Jessica has worked across McLean Hospital’s inpatient, partial and residential programs specializing in the treatment for a range of mental health diagnoses. Over the last five years, Jessica has been providing assessment and treatment to children, adolescents and families with a range of challenges including mood, anxiety, trauma, emotion dysregulation, attachment issues, self-harm, ODD, ADHD, school avoidance and parent/child conflict. She has diverse group experience developing and leading social skills, life skills and community service groups. In addition, Jessica has also been providing clinical supervision for MSW interns and master level clinicians.
Jessica has a passion for empowering youth to reach their full potential. She takes a strength-based approach when working with youth and families and integrates a range of evidence-based, fun and engaging practices. The foundation for all of her work is developing a therapeutic relationship built upon mutual respect and trust. She enjoys working with children and adolescents to help improve self-esteem, increase self-efficacy, develop healthy ways to cope with emotions, navigate friendships and relationships, and build resiliency. Jessica enjoys developing creative group programming to keep kids and teens engaged, motivated and feeling socially connected. In addition, Jessica has a fitness background as a certified personal trainer and enjoys integrating therapy and movement to have fun, strengthen minds and bodies, develop healthy habits and improve overall wellbeing. Jessica is excited to join Child Therapy Boston and will be running social skills groups and seeing clients in the Needham location.