Our Associates

Amye L. Fried, LCSW-C
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Rebecca Kullback, LCSW-C
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Heidi Carlson, PhD
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Paul DelGrosso, LCSW-C, LICSW
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Julie Derby, LCSW-C
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Karen Garman, LCSW-C
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Caryn Harris, LCPC, NCC
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Gabrielle Holder, LCSW-C
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Emily Jones, LCSW-C
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Heather Kirby, LCSW-C, CSAC, M.Ed.
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Joy Martini, LGSW
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Allison Nordlinger, LCSW-C
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Alexandra Swe, LICSW, LCSW-C
Katherine Whorton Todman, LCSW
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Robyn Wechsler, MD
Chris Whitaker, LCSW-C, ATR
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Amye L. Fried, LCSW-C,

Amye is a co-founder of Metropolitan Counseling Associates, LLC and has been providing individual, group and family therapy to children, adolescents and young adults in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for over 15 years. She is currently the clinical director of the ASCEND Intensive Outpatient Program at MCA. Amye is also leading the development of Launch Well; a non-profit organization providing education, prevention and support through redefining opportunities for success for young adults who are at risk for anxiety and depression within traditional paths of launching.

In addition to her comprehensive clinical work and program development, Amye serves as a certified clinical supervisor, and educational advocate for students with emotional and/or learning challenges, a parent guide and a consultant in the community on issues of mental health and wellness. Amye graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emory University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and from Smith College with a Masters degree in Clinical Social Work. Amye has completed 5 years of postmasters clinical training with a specialization in family and group therapy. She has served as a keynote speaker at private and public schools, hospitals, colleges and professional conferences on topics including the teen-parent relationship, child and adolescent social dynamics, eating disorders, exercise abuse and childhood trauma.

Amye is committed to implementing empirically based treatment and practice, and has published multiple abstracts and co-authored a paper on the relationship between problematic exercise and various forms of psychopathology. In the July 2009 issue of the Washingtonian Magazine, Amye was cited as one of the best adolescent therapists in the DC metropolitan area. In addition to her depth of work, Amye is the mother to two incredible active boys.  Alongside her cherished family time, she enjoys being a loyal friend and die-hard Baltimore Ravens fan.

Rebecca Kullback, LCSW-C,

Rebecca is a co-founder of Metropolitan Counseling Associates LLC. Since 1992, she has worked extensively providing hospital based and outpatient psychotherapy to adolescents, young adults, adults and families. Rebecca received her MSW in clinical social work from Smith College School for Social Work and subsequently worked at Chestnut Lodge Hospital where she treated patients with severe character pathology and mood disorders alongside some of the most renowned mental health providers in the country. With increasing interest in prevention, Rebecca began working in school systems in both special education and independent schools.. She has worked on staff, as a supervisor, and as a consultant to many local schools and was the Upper School Director of Counseling at Sidwell Friend School, in Washington DC prior to moving into full time private practice.  At MCA she consults to the ASCEND intensive outpatient program and Launch Well, the developing non-profit organization for education, prevention and support of young adults.

Rebecca speaks regularly to school and community groups on issues pertaining to adolescent and young adult development, and has served as an advisor to authors and businesses in efforts to support teen health and wellness. Rebecca has a special interest working with individuals and families on adoption related experiences by providing counseling, education, and support. She is well versed in the unique challenges faced by adoptees and adoptive families and was a participant in a pilot program used to develop an advanced certification for adoption competent therapists.  She is a certified supervisor for the Maryland Board of Social work and has worked on the adjunct faculty of Catholic University School of Social work teaching advanced family therapy theory and practice.

Rebecca believes that successful treatment requires a systems approach that incorporates consideration of the influences of family, school, and community with individual development.  She also believes that awareness and acceptance are key ingredients to effective change, and is an avid supporter of mindfulness programs and their role in healthcare.  She is a DBT Supervisor and leads our DBT program and parent groups. Rebecca earned a BFA in painting and when not having fun with her family, she loves to paint and is equally happy as a studio or makeup artist.

Heidi Carlson, PhD

Dr. Carlson is Director of Educational and Vocational Services. Heidi earned her PhD in Educational Studies from Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in Educational Resiliency among Adolescents.  She also holds a Masters in School Psychology and has training and expertise in evaluating educational and psychological challenges.  At MCA Heidi brings her in depth knowledge of the interplay of biological, psychological, cognitive and developmental variables in providing sophisticated, yet concise ADHD evaluations.

Prior to joining our group, Heidi built a successful tutoring and college counseling and consulting company, She has extensive experience helping adolescents, young adults and families identify the strengths, interests and challenges that best inform educational and vocational planning. She integrates her work as an Executive Function tutor and coach with this insight to help our clients develop strength based goals and be successful. Heidi rounds out her scope of work providing single subject tutoring to all ages and is adept at helping students develop more independent organizational and study skills.

Heidi is working tirelessly in the development of Launch Well the non-profit arm of our young adult program and is a passionate advocate for celebrating the unique strengths of each individual that define success. Her hard work is consistently reflected in the enormous achievement of her students and clients. She is a lead member of our ASCEND team and oversees the life skills, educational and vocational support in the program.  Her immersion in her work is rivaled by her committed volunteer work with area homeless families and her unrivaled fierce love of football.

Paul DelGrosso, LCSW-C, LICSW 

Paul is a clinical social worker who has broad experience providing psychotherapy to adults, adolescents, families and groups. He has a particular interest working with trauma and has expertise in all three of the evidence-based psychotherapies considered to be the “gold standard” treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Prolonged Exposure Therapy, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and EMDR.

Paul comes to MCA with a diverse background treating complex behavioral health conditions in a wide range of settings, including seeing active duty military personnel at the Department of Defense, adolescents and families at the DC Department of Mental Health school-based mental health program, and individuals and families at The Counseling Center at St. Columba’s in Tenleytown.

Paul earned his MSW from Catholic University in DC. He spent his advanced year internship at the Inpatient Schizophrenia Research Program at NIMH where he worked with patients involved in research as well as their families. Paul also completed four years of advanced clinical training in Family Systems Theory and Psychotherapy at The Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in Georgetown. Family Systems provides an avenue for clients to recognize the role social systems play in maintaining problems.

Paul is currently completing an advanced clinical training and certification program at the Schema Therapy Institute to gain additional expertise to help clients. Schema Therapy is an innovative therapy that targets attachment trauma, self-defeating life patterns, and characterological problems – and is particularly useful for personality disorders and similarly complicated conditions.

Paul’s long fascination with human behavior drew him to the field of psychotherapy along with his passionate belief that every individual has the capacity to achieve positive change.

When not being a “therapy nerd,” Paul enjoys fumbling at CrossFit, watching TV dramas with complex characters, and trying his hand at fiction.

Julie Derby, LCSW-C

Julie is a primary member of our ASCEND team and a lead therapist in our adolescent DBT program.  Julie has an extensive background working with adolescents, young adults and families with specialized training and an experience with young women struggling with a wide range of eating disorders. Her previous eating disorders work included providing treatment to acute eating disorders patients and families at the Renfrew Center. She is well versed in the continuum of care from hospital through outpatient therapy, and is able to lead clients and families through discharge planning into sustained progress.

Julie also has expansive experience working with teens on the Autism spectrum and their families. She spent several years as an individual and group therapist at Kennedy Krieger and developed competence helping her students reach far beyond initial expectations by identifying and protecting their strengths.  Julie also has training and experience as an individual and group therapist providing Dialectical Behavior Therapy and is a primary DBT skills group leader at MCA.

Julie is a mother to two teenagers herself.  Despite the fact that her professional skills and commitments have led to e vast expansion of her practice, Julie finds precious time to read, bake and travel with her friends and family.

Karen Garman, LCSW-C,

Karen is a clinical social worker licensed in both Maryland and the District of Columbia, who specializes in work with children and families. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and her Master of Social Work degree from Howard University. She completed the seminar series in Infant and Young Child Mental Health, as well as the post-graduate certificate program in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy at the Washington School of Psychiatry, where she has also served as a guest instructor.

Karen has over 18 years of clinical social work experience. Her expansive work includes the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore providing clinical services to children with special physical and medical needs in foster care; and clinical work at the Foundation Intermediate School in Maryland, focusing on the social, emotional, and therapeutic needs of children with significant emotional disabilities. Immediately prior to MCA, Karen worked at the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children, where she provided assessment and treatment to children birth through 11 years old, therapy to children and families, support and guidance to parents, and mental health consultation in daycare/preschool settings.  She continues to provide consultation and supervision to the Lourie Center and is one of our most seasoned supervisors with graduate students and licensed clinicians.

Karen specializes with children experiencing a range of emotional and behavioral difficulties. She has particular interest and expertise in helping young children and parents to develop strong and healthy attachment relationships, providing early intervention in social-emotional and developmental struggles, and in working with children and families on issues related to grief and loss, trauma, social difficulties, emotional regulation, and anxiety. She is also committed to wellness and really enjoys working with parents who have general questions about child development.  Karen loves to spend time with her family and uses her extensive knowledge of child development to make sure that there is always a place to play in our offices.

Caryn Harris, LCPC, NCC

Caryn is a licensed clinical professional counselor and a national certified counselor in Maryland who specializes in working with children, adolescents, young adults, and families. She earned her Bachelors degree from Tufts University where she doubled majored in psychology and child development. Caryn received her Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from George Washington University. As well as Caryn’s work in private practice, she is also a member of the Ascend program.

Prior to joining MCA, Caryn worked full-time at the Jewish Social Service Agency as a clinician providing individual, group, and family therapy. Caryn worked primarily with children, adolescents, and young adults exhibiting depression, anxiety, ADHD, learning disabilities, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Caryn also led many social skill therapy groups for children and adolescents. She was a lead clinician in the Building and Fostering Friendships summer camp at the McLean School in Potomac, Maryland. Additionally, Caryn provided support and guidance to parents, mental health consultations, and case management.

Caryn uses a combination of cognitive-behavioral and expressive therapies as well as family systems approaches to help clients manage and overcome social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. Caryn is passionate about empowering pre-teens, adolescents and young adults with the skills and coping mechanisms to improve self-esteem, manage stress, and navigate the difficult transitions into adulthood.

In addition to Caryn’s clinical work, she is also the co-founder of About Time, a tutoring service for children, adolescents, and young adults struggling with executive functioning, time management, and organization. Caryn works with clients to develop effective strategies that will enhance overall functioning at school and at home. Caryn joins the ranks of Baltimore fans at MCA. In addition to traveling locally to catch the Ravens and O’s games; she enjoys traveling and exploring the food scene in and outside DC.

Gabrielle Holder, LCSW-C

Gabrielle is a clinical social worker licensed in both Maryland and Washington, DC and has broad experience providing psychotherapy to adults and adolescents. Gabrielle has a particular interest in helping adolescents and parents develop strong and healthy relationships, and working with clients who have a keen interest in identity development. As a woman of color, her mission is to provide client focused and culturally relevant therapy. She focuses on the social and emotional needs of her clients and works closely with families providing parent workshops and consultation.

Gabrielle earned her Bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland and her graduate degrees in education and clinical social work from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and did further graduate work in a doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gabrielle has over thirteen years of clinical social work experience and over twenty years of experience working in the field of education. She has worked in independent schools as a Counselor in New York, California and currently is a Counselor at The Georgetown Day School in Washington, DC. Her expertise has taken her from The Horace Mann School in Riverdale, NY to The College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA and also as a Counselor for graduate students at the San Francisco Art Institute. Prior to becoming a clinical social worker, she worked in Admissions and in the field of Diversity and Inclusion, and has been a teacher for a multitude of age groups. Gabrielle has been trained in mind-body awareness and stress management through the Benson-Henry Institute. Her ideology in working with clients stems largely from positive psychology. Gabrielle incorporates her extensive knowledge and clinical skills with a strengths based approach, utilizing a perspective of client strength and resiliency to provide individual psychotherapy.

In her free time, Gabrielle enjoys serving as Co-Chair of the Smith College School of Social Work Alumni Board and spending time outdoors – hiking, running and biking with family, friends and her dog. She cherishes creativity and also enjoys attending museums, dance and music productions and creating her own messy art.

Emily Jones, LCSW-C 

Emily is a licensed clinical social worker, specializing in working with children, adolescents, young adults and families. Emily received her Masters degree in clinical social work from the University of Michigan.  She has worked extensively with children and families in community based outpatient mental health, school, and residential settings. Emily has extensive training in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT), play therapy, neurosequential treatment (implications of trauma on the brain), and group psychotherapy.

Prior to joining MCA, Emily worked full time as a psychotherapist for the Reginald S. Lourie Center School for children with emotional disorders, where she provided individual and family therapy; as well as crisis intervention and behavioral management for her clients. She is certified in using TF-CBT to work with children and parents who have suffered from trauma or traumatic loss. Emily also has training and experience in working with children with problem sexual behaviors, as well as a diverse population of children with extreme emotional dysregulation. Emily emphasizes intensive attachment focused interaction with the parents/care givers of the children she works with, and believes that supportive parent coaching is key in the success of a child’s therapeutic process.

Emily has more recently expanded her practice with more focused work and training in group psychotherapy and working with young adults and adults. The energy, creativity and artful lens Emily brings to her clinical work also translates to her style, and Emily is our resident consultant on interior design and décor.

Heather Kirby, LCSW-C, CSAC, M.Ed. 

Heather is a Clinical Social Worker licensed in Virginia and Maryland. Her broad experience includes work with children, adolescents, groups, and families. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Heather worked in a variety of settings including residential treatment, special education, adventure-based therapy, a runaway shelter, and addiction treatment. In 1999, she received her MSW from the University of Maryland, following internships at the Children’s Outpatient Unit at UMMS Walter P. Carter Clinic and the Montgomery County Crisis Center.

Heather’s commitment to prevention led way to her Master’s in Special Education from George Mason University in 2012. She worked as both a clinician and an administrator in special education settings in Virginia for over ten years. Alongside her administrative and clinical work in schools; Heather sought training and experience in Gestalt Therapy and experiential treatment holding a position as an Equine Therapist at the Alice C. Tyler Village of Childhelp East where she worked with children who are in residential treatment for abuse and neglect.

Heather is the founder of Kirby Clinical Solutions where she integrates her extensive experience in education, prevention and treatment.  In Virginia, she offers equine therapy to all ages through Project Horse. Heather has also shared her depth of knowledge in her award winning book; “Wild at Heart, Adolescents Horses and other Kindred Spirits.”  At MCA, she is a principal member of the ASCEND IOP and oversees the addictive behavior treatment in the program.  She also is a powerful ally and leader in the community for GLBSTQ youth and runs support groups for adolescents and young adults in both Bethesda and Virginia.  Heather’s frequent trips between Virginia and Maryland make her by far the most experienced driver and our resident expert on Bluetooth.

Joy Martini, LGSW

Joy holds a BA in Interpersonal Communications from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Over the past decade she has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults in different academic and therapeutic capacities. Joy joined MCA as an assistant director of the Quest therapeutic summer camp and has since held several roles including treatment coordinator for the ASCEND program.

Since becoming a member of the MCA team, Joy has pursued her MSW degree from the Catholic University and will graduate in spring 2015. Alongside her clinical training and work, Joy works as an organizational coach and tutor with children, adolescents and adults with executive functioning disorders, dyslexia. ADHD and depression. Prior to MCA Joy worked for almost a decade in early childhood development as a teacher at the Outdoor Nursery School.  She has completed the “Strategies that Work” tutor training program by Dr. William Stixrud.  Joy is particularly interested and accomplished in developing strategies to connect with children, teens, and young adults who have been frustrated and discouraged about learning. She is also certified in the Ortin-Gillianham multi-sensory approach to teach reading and comprehension to school age children who struggle with traditional approaches to learning.

In her MSW program, Joy is broadening her clinical experience working with underserved youth and families.  At MCA, Joy oversees our Mind Up program and is a persistent advocate for mindfulness and other practical methods to strengthen prevention, health and wellness. In addition to her professional practice of mindfulness and her “executive function” for MCA, Joy loves yoga and practices avidly. She also balances the calm clarity of yoga with family fun boating the Chesapeake and on the basketball court.

Allison Nordlinger, LCSW-C

Allison is a licensed clinical social worker, who has been working with children, teens, young adults and their families for over 14 years. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her M.S.W. from the Catholic University School of Social Service. Allison has worked in community- based mental health clinics, school settings, and in private practice.  Prior to building her clinical practice, Allison worked as a counselor in the independent school community and is a resource for school consultation and advocacy.

Allison has a broad range of experience working with a diverse population including adjudicated children and adolescents. She consults with schools and speaks regularly on adolescent issues, in particular helping teens manage anxiety more effectively.  She is a primary member of the ASCEND IOP and collaborates regularly with a wide network of providers in the DC area. Allison is also one of the more experienced family therapists at MCA and brings her systems experience to her work with individuals, families and groups. Allison is steadfast about prevention, and often works with families by providing parent guidance, psychoeducation and support. Allison’s authenticity, sense of humor and generosity make her a highly sought after adolescent therapist.  She is extensively trained in multiple theories of practice and routinely integrates insight-oriented therapy with a cognitive/ behavioral approach to meet the unique treatment needs of her clients.

Allison cherishes her time with family and friends. In addition to her two adorable children she is the proud parent of a lively lab (who is eager to join the ranks of our in house therapy dogs but is just too big!)

Alexandra Swe,LCSW-C, LICSW

Alex is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with children, adolescents and young adults. She earned her Bachelors degree from the University of South Carolina where she majored in Psychology and minored in Social Work. Alex received her Masters degree in Clinical Social Work from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining MCA, Alex worked in child welfare within the District of Columbia, primarily with children and adolescents in therapeutic foster care. Additionally, Alex worked within the DC Public Charter school system at an alternative high school, providing behavioral support services to 9-12th graders. Alex has years of experience working with children and adolescents with extensive trauma history, behavioral challenges, anger management challenges, ODD, ADHD, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and socio-emotional concerns.

In her spare time, Alex enjoys traveling, listening to music and trying all the food DC has to offer.

Robyn Wechsler, MD

Dr. Wechsler is the consulting psychiatrist for the ASCEND IOP, a consultant to Launch Well and routinely collaborates in the treatment of clients and families in our outpatient practice. Robyn also has a very busy child, adolescent and adult psychiatric practice in Chevy Chase Maryland where she brings a wealth of knowledge and exceptional skill to her accomplished and comprehensive work.

Robyn is on the faculty of Georgetown University Hospital Department of Psychiatry and was a staff supervisor and psychiatrist there prior to full time practice. She has been affiliated in fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine. She received her medical degree from the University of Maryland and completed her residency at the University of Pittsburgh Western Psychiatric Institute.  After NYU she moved west and prior to joining the staff at Georgetown was a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Children’s Institute in Los Angeles.

Robyn integrates a sophisticated knowledge and practice of medicine with warmth and enthusiasm for her patient’s success and well-being. Her wisdom, competence and energy make her a highly sought after provider and an invaluable asset to Ascend. Robyn is also passionate about the importance of meaningful and enjoyable experience in mood stability and when not treating her patients she is active with her loving family and may be found hiking or doing impressive flips on the trampoline.

Chris Whitaker, LCSW-C, ATR

Chris is a clinical social worker, licensed in both Maryland and Virginia and a registered art therapist. Chris’ experience with adolescents, young adults and their families extends over 25 years. Her training began in the criminal justice field after graduating with a BS in the Administration of Justice from American University. With her understanding and application of the universal language of art, she obtained a Masters in Art Therapy from George Washington University and entered the field of mental health working in psychiatric inpatient units with adolescents. During her early career, she also worked in special education working passionately with emotionally disabled students. The tremendous value in working with individuals in the context of family and larger systems led to her pursuit of her MSW, and a commitment to helping clients repair, achieve and sustain healthy relationships.

Her training at the Family Therapy Practice Center under Marian Walters in Washington, DC, laid the groundwork for her extensive family work including specialized work with sexually abused adolescents and their families. Chris has been with MCA since we opened and has been both a leader in outpatient practice and a key participant in the development and evolution of the Ascend program.  Throughout her career she has also been a member of the Montgomery County Executive Board on both the Victims Services Association and Citizens Review Panel on Child Protective Services. Now in fulltime private practice, Chris incorporates her extensive knowledge and clinical skills providing individual, family and group psychotherapy to adolescents and adults. She is a member of the ASCEND team and oversees Art Therapy at MCA.

Chris is a tireless advocate for clients’ strengths. Her warmth and compassion extends to all, and translates into her role as in-house staff “therapist.” Her office is by far the most visited by our entire staff. Chris’ love is further reflected in her large family and house of pets including her most recent addition Berkeley, her enormous “puppy.”

Katherine Whorton Todman, LCSW-C

Katherine has been providing individual, family and group therapy in the private and public sectors since 1996. Alongside Chris, Katherine joined MCA in our beginning and has been an accomplished individual, family and group therapist for adolescents and adults. Her practice focuses treating anxiety and depression. She has also done extensive work treating eating disorders and issues related to loss and bereavement. Katherine graduated with honors from Chapman University and earned her Masters degree in clinical social work from Smith College. Additional training includes completion of the adult psychotherapy program at the Baltimore Washington Center for Psychoanalysis and advanced clinical training at the Clinical Social Work Institute in Washington DC.

In addition to her considerable clinical training, Katherine is competent in threat assessment and trauma response and was on the ground providing crisis management and support following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Katherine began her practice with a focus in hospice and medical social work and then worked with the severe and chronically mentally ill at Chestnut Lodge Hospital until closing. Currently, she works at the National Institute of Mental Health with a focus on human subjects protections for research participants.  Her expansive work in research and ethics is a consistent asset to our group and is seen in our outcome- based studies in the Ascend program and in-house ethics adherence and training.  She also provides ceaseless and sophisticated attention to the complexity of variables that impact clinical work and helps our team safeguard the integrity of practice.

Katherine is adjunct faculty at the University of Alabama and the Catholic University Social Work graduate schools. She is also a field instructor, supervisor and an affiliate faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth graduate school of Social Work.  Katherine loves to travel and if she is not working hard in Bethesda, she is likely on the beach with her husband and his family in the Dominican Republic.

Contact Us

7201 Wisconsin Ave
Suite 700
Bethesda, MD 20814

Phone/fax 301 654 7770