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Our Team

Our Team

Clinical Professionals

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Gary R. Spivack, MD
Medical Director

Arlington Office

Gary R. Spivack is a Board-certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry.  Over the past twenty-five years Dr. Spivack has run outpatient programs, day schools, residential treatment centers, therapeutic foster care programs, and inpatient / day hospital programs.  The article he wrote on ADHD vs. Mood Disorders fifteen years ago is still widely credited.  He believes strongly in the biopsychosocial model as the most appropriate for children and adolescents – with the goal of treatment to be to get the child’s and family’s development back on track.

After graduating from Rutgers Medical School, Dr. Spivack went on to complete his residency in Pediatrics and in Psychiatry at Georgetown University.  He completed his fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at George Washington University.  Dr. Spivack is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University, George Washington University, and James Madison University.

Watch an interview with Gary Spivack   Part 1 of 3   Part 2 of 3   Part 3 of 3

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Walker Lyerly, MD
Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatry

Arlington Office

Walker Lyerly is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who provides medication management and individual therapy to children, adolescents, and their families. He provides significant coordination of care with parents, pediatricians, and school counselors to optimize a child or adolescent’s treatment outcomes.

As a gifted psychopharmacologist and psychotherapist, Dr. Lyerly blends these skills to treat patients ranging from those with simple adjustment problems to highly complex and challenging patients including those with rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

He received his undergraduate degree from Davidson College, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and his medical degree from Duke University Medical School. Dr. Lyerly is Board certified in Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry, and has been in practice since 1992.

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James M. Harper, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Computer Addiction

Arlington and Mclean Offices

Dr. Harper grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia and earned his Bachelor of Music from Rice University in Houston, Texas. He then completed his premedical post-baccalaureate work at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He went on to Medical School, General Psychiatry Residency, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship all at Washington University in St. Louis and the affiliated Barnes Jewish and St. Louis Children’s Hospitals. He also was involved in a variety of research programs at different times ranging from Neuroimmunology, to Neural Systems involved in visual motor planning and prediction, to Functional MRI connectivity research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. He sees patients of all ages and with a wide range of diagnoses, but his particular clinical interests include anxiety disorders in children and young adults including generalized, social, separation, and other anxiety problems, as well as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He is also very interested in the nascent field in psychiatry of Internet Gaming Disorder and related computer/media use problems associated with other psychiatric illness. Dr. Harper strives whenever possible to use logical, diagnosis-driven medication management. He is also a strong advocate for medications being assistive to psychotherapeutic interventions, which should be concurrent to any medication therapy. He can perform evaluations on young children/preschoolers by special arrangement.

Currently Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Board Eligible in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Janice Caro, PhD
Comprehensive Psychological Evaluations
Individual, Family, and Marital Therapy

Arlington and Rockville Offices

Dr. Caro’s approach in working with others, whether they are children, adolescents, adults, or families is to empower her clients to make the changes they see important in their own lives. From the beginning of treatment, Dr. Caro focuses her clients on the outcomes they are looking forward to and in collaboration works with them through practical and solution oriented strategies to effect change. Often this is accomplished by increasing the tools they need in their emotional toolbox. This may involve improving creativity in problem solving, improving coping strategies, improving management of inner emotional material, improving skills of communication, improving strategies for interpersonal success, or resolving present or past issues that have been particularly painful. Frequently before treatment is initiated a comprehensive psychological evaluation is a good place to clearly define problem areas as well as to develop a treatment plan specifically geared toward achieving real and long-lasting solutions to presenting issues. Especially with children, early identification is very important in terms of working toward helping the child realize their potential.

Dr Caro grew up in a suburb of New York City. She received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and doctoral degree in psychology from Syracuse University. Dr. Caro completed an internship at Children’s National Medical Center in 1984/1985. Her professional career has spanned more than 20 years in the greater Washington, D.C. area working with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Her specialties include comprehensive psychological evaluations and individual, family, and marital treatment. Dr. Caro has worked in hospital settings, residential treatment centers, school settings, and outpatient clinics. Presently she works in both the Arlington, VA and Kensington, MD offices of Columbia Associates. Dr. Caro also supervises pre-doctoral graduate students in psychology. In addition, to her clinical work, Dr. Caro co-authored two books: Understanding Depressed Adolescents and Their Families and Assessing Adolescents.  She serves on the Board of the ARC of Maryland and The Maryland Assisted Technology Cooperative.

Xavier Bonilla, PsyD, LPC
Clinical Psychologist

Arlington Office

Dr. Xavier Bonilla is a graduate of the American School of Professional Psychology (ASPP)- Washington DC with a Doctorate of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology. He is also a graduate of Capital Bible Seminary and ASPP with a Masters of Arts in Counseling and Clinical psychology, respectively. Xavier is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Maryland, DC, and Virginia. He has been working in the field for over 10 years having a wide range of experience working with various populations that have different challenges. He is experienced in individual as well as group psychotherapy.  Dr. Bonilla also provides psychological assessment and evaluations for various psychological challenges.

Dr. Bonilla’s areas of specialty include: Mood Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Depression, Grief & Loss, Cognitive Assessment, Personality Assessment, and Group Psychotherapy.  He has experience working with Mood Disorders, LGBTQ Clients, Psychotic Disorders, Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse, Marital Counseling, and Grief & Loss.

Dr. Bonilla firmly believes in aligning and joining with the client to provide assistance for their past and present challenges.  He is a strong advocate for the needs of his clients and believes in providing therapy that is individualized and specific for their needs. Dr. Bonilla uses an Integrative-Psychodynamic approach with clients.  This approach looks at the client through a developmental lens and how past experiences impact their current choices and decisions.  However, the integrative component means that he uses a variety of techniques from Family Systems and Cognitive-Behavioral Theory to assist the client with various difficulties.

Advanced Practitioners

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Kasie M. Cassell, MSN/Ed, WHNP-C, PMHNP
Director of Advanced Practitioners
Specialty: Women’s Health, Perinatal Anxiety and Mood Disorders

Arlington and Chantilly Offices

Kasie M. Cassell is a dual licensed board-certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). She has been with Columbia Associates in Psychiatry since 2011. Over the past 14 years Kasie has worked as a Registered Nurse (RN) and/or Nurse Practitioner (NP) in multiple areas of nursing as well as pioneering and developing the Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Program for the treatment of depression in our outpatient practice.

After graduating from Penn State University in 2004 with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Kasie went on the join the United States Air Force where she served 4 years as an Active Duty RN and Captain at the United States Air Force Academy. After separating from active duty, in 2012, Kasie received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in Nursing Education at George Mason University. She then continued her education by attending the University of Colorado Denver where she received her Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Post Master’s Certificate in 2014. Kasie also completed her Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post Master’s Certificate in 2018 at Drexel University.

Kasie is currently piloting a new division of Columbia Associates called The Perinatal Project. Her focus is on women’s mental health and wellness across the lifespan with a specialty focus on Perinatal Anxiety and Mood Disorders.

Kasie was recognized by The International Nurses Association as a Worldwide Leader in Healthcare and Top Nurse Practitioner in Virginia in 2017.

Stacey Whitaker, PA-C
Physician Assistant

Arlington Office

Stacey Whitaker is a NCCPA board certified Physician Assistant. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara and went on to complete her Masters of Medical Science in Physician Assistant studies from Nova Southeastern University in Orlando, Florida. Stacey has worked in behavioral medicine since graduation, working with patients in the outpatient setting, in assisted living facilities and in a crisis stabilization unit treating depressive disorders, ADHD, anxiety disorders, bipolar spectrum disorders and schizophrenia. Stacey has experience working with patients suffering from addiction, treating alcohol abuse and opiate dependency.  Stacey has also worked with military veterans completing disability and compensation examinations.

Stacey is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Virginia Academy of Physician Assistants.

Nursing Professionals

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Lorrie Spivack, BSN, RN
Nursing Director

Arlington Office

Lorrie J. Spivack is a Registered Nurse who received her Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She has spent her nursing career dedicated to psychiatric nursing. Lorrie began working as a staff nurse at Dominion Hospital in 2000, after 2 years she became Assistant Clinical Manager and was later promoted to Director of Youth Services. She continued to advance her career at Dominion by stepping into an interim CNO for 2 years and then became Director of Admissions. Lorrie later retired from Dominion after 12 years and became Nursing Director and Office Manager at Columbia Associates in Psychiatry. She is commited to working with people who suffer from mental illness and helping to recover their mental health in order to live their lives to its fullest potential.

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Marybeth Friedman, RN
Assists Doctors, Pharmacists, and Patients with Medication Management

Arlington Office

Marybeth received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Hawaii, and her A.D.R.N. from Middlesex Community College, MA. She has worked exclusively in psychiatric settings, including 15 years at Dominion Hospital in Falls Church VA.

Other Specialty Staff

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Madeline Suss Bishop, LCSW
Adolescent and Adult Therapist. Ins Therapy and Family.  Positive Therapy Approach.

Arlington, Rockville, and Mclean Offices

Madeline Suss Bishop, LCSW has an Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland. She has a BA in literature from American University; and she did graduate work in Medieval Literature at the University of Maryland. She credits her epiphanies while working on her master’s thesis in medieval literature for shifting her focus from teaching to being a therapist. She is also a graduate of the two-year Gestalt training program at the Washington Center for Consciousness Studies. Currently she is working towards her certification in applied positive psychology.

Madeline has been a practicing clinician for over 20 years. For more than half of that time she has worked in acute care settings where she gained considerable experience working with clients with mood disorders: bipolar, depression, anxiety. She has also worked as a private practitioner for just as long and she is comfortable using a variety of skills and techniques: cognitive behavioral exercises, meditation and visualization. Her approach is strength based and solution oriented and her manner is authentic with a relaxed use of humor when appropriate. She specializes in working with adolescents and adults doing individual, family, couples and group therapy. She believes that we all have the ability to thrive and flourish and she encourages care of the whole person.

In her free time Madeline enjoys weight lifting, boxing, golfing with her husband and hiking with her dogs. She is also dedicated to reading and writing about topics that contribute to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

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Rebecca Berman, LCSW, MLSP
Group, Individual, and Family Psychotherapy

Arlington and Bethesda Offices

Rebecca Berman specializes in treating eating disorders, self-injurious behavior, and self-esteem. She works within the eating disorders treatment team at Columbia Associates to coordinate the most effective and supportive treatment. Rebecca is also the Clinical Supervisor for the Renfrew Center of Maryland. Rebecca holds two graduate degrees from Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, one in Clinical Social Work and one in Law and Social Policy. A native of Northern Virginia, Rebecca returned to the area after graduate school to follow her passion to empower youth towards greater self-acceptance.

Rebecca offers group therapy which provides a safe, creative therapeutic environment for adolescent girls to express emotions, share thoughts, challenge unrealistic expectations, explore body image, build self-esteem, and honor self-worth.

Watch an interview with Rebecca Berman, LCSW   Part 1 of 2    Part 2 of 2

To listen to an interview with Rebecca Berman, LCSW,  Click Here  (then click on the Podcast button on the following page)

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India Walsh, LCSW
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

Arlington, Mclean, and Reston Offices

India obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Virginia Tech. She also obtained her 2nd degree in Political Science with Minors in both Sociology and Philosophy also at Virginia Tech. While working as Child Protective Services Investigator for Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services, India chose to return to school and earned her MSW from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is an LCSW. During her work with the County, India specialized in cases of Medical neglect, Emotional Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Chronic Neglect. She is a Certified Forensic Interview under the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Finding Words Program.

She has worked with families troubled by substance abuse, mental health disorders and legal issues during her career with the child welfare system in Virginia. She is a Certified Expert Witness for Child Welfare and Child Sexual Abuse. Seeking out additional direct service within the behavioral health field, India accepted a position as a Clinical Therapist at Dominion Hospital. India is experienced working with children, adolescents, and adults in the inpatient as well as partial hospitalization programs. She also has experience with Family therapy work as well, specializing in Strategic Family Therapy and Structural Family Therapy. More recently, India has been working with individuals and families in the private practice setting.

She uses directive and non-directive play therapy techniques with young children as well as task-centered, solution-focused and cognitive-behavioral techniques while working with older children and adults.

India enjoys helping families grow in the areas of parenting, adjusting to change and communicating effectively. India believes that everybody has the ability to conquer the difficulties they experience in life and come out a stronger person on the other end.

India is a member of the National Association of Social Workers. She is trained in TF-CBT Directive Play Therapy and is also Certified in Sand Tray Therapy.

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Frani Gallagher, LCSW
Adolescent and Adult Individual, Group, and Family Therapy. Sleep Problems.

Arlington and Mclean Offices

Frani Gallagher is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who has extensive experience working with children, adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, family stress, parenting and attachment associated with adoption, and difficult life transitions. Frani has a Masters of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.A in Psychology and Family Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has experience working in a myriad of settings including a therapeutic foster care agency, therapeutic day private school, and a domestic violence shelter. In addition, Frani has over six years of post-graduate experience working at an acute psychiatric hospital as a Clinical Therapist and has also served as Interim Social Work Director.

She specializes in supporting individuals and families in a collaborative fashion by providing interventions tailored to the individual needs of each client. Her therapeutic approach ranges from short-term therapy specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to more long-term individual and family work. She provides a nurturing, interactive and engaging environment for her clients to help them gain a stronger sense of self and navigate them through their life stressors. In family work, she provides strategies that will help resolve conflict and improve communication to strengthen the family unit. She looks forward to engaging her clients through a process of discovering their own worth and capabilities, while transforming their approaches to life’s challenges to instill self-assurance and ultimately, to thrive.

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Yelena Boex, LCSW
Adolescent and Adult CBT and Group Therapy

Arlington and Mclean Offices

Yelena Boex is an adolescent, adult and family therapist specializing in the provision of evidenced-based treatment for a range of psychological difficulties and disorders including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem/poor self-image, relationship difficulties, and family stress. Ms. Boex provides services in both outpatient and inpatient settings and blends Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with an interpersonal process in therapy. She believes that the key to effective treatment begins with the quality of the relationship and connection between a therapist and client, as well as an inherent interest in understanding what drives our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Ms. Boex fuses her natural ability to empathize and offer unconditional positive regard with an interactive and warm therapeutic style to help guide her clients towards building self-awareness, and ultimately, in realizing their own worth and abilities.

Ms. Boex completed her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Maryland and her undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia. Her clinical internships included community mental health and psychotherapy training at Catholic University Counseling Center. Yelena was born in Uzbekistan and is fluent in Russian.

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Deborah Jeffery, RD, LD
Registered, Licensed Dietitian

Arlington and Mclean Offices

Deborah Jeffery is a registered, licensed dietitian providing nutrition counseling to help clients meet their goals for wellness. She works with clients to develop healthier eating habits taking into consideration their lifestyles and food preferences. Deborah’s dietetics degree is from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and she completed her training at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in the field of nutrition for over 20 years and her extensive experience includes pediatrics, adolescents and eating disorders. Deborah is an active member of the Northern District Virginia Dietetic Association. She is also a member of the American Dietetic Association and the Behavioral Health Nutrition Practice Group.

Administrative Staff

Lauren Sheehan
Administrator Emeritus

Andrew Cassell
Financial Director

Insurance Claim Specialist

Tessa Doets, MSW
Associate Practice Administrator

Tessa Doets joined Columbia Associates in 2018 as Associate Practice Administrator.  She is responsible for the daily administration of the front office and coordinating patient care.  Tessa completed her Masters of Social work from Flinders University and has an extensive background, working both overseas and domestically, in the education and healthcare sector.

Willa Weeks
Assistant Administrator

Hospital and Outpatient Accounts Specialist

Willa Weeks joined Columbia Associates in 2017 as Assistant Practice Administrator.

In her role, Willa leads our team of dedicated staff and is responsible for the daily operational management of the Practice on behalf of the partners. Willa has an extensive background in the healthcare field and is dedicated to meeting the needs of our patients. Willa’s interests include Global Health, Health Advocacy and Policy. Willa enjoys volunteering abroad and within her local communities.

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