The Center’s mission is to perform the following functions in patient care:
Increase functioning and reduce symptoms of individuals suffering from panic attacks, phobias, and other anxiety disorders; Assist patients in the recovery process; Treat patients with dignity and respect in order to enhance self-esteem, personal satisfaction and improve the patient’s quality of life; Increase awareness of the availability and accessibility of resources in the community.
Our Phobia Counselors
Our Phobia Counselors work individually with patients to lay a foundation of cognitive-behavioral therapy and to teach and support patients in desensitization (exposure therapy) to the feared object or situation. Many of our counselors have experienced an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. They understand the devastating effect anxiety and panic can have on one’s life. They also know that with the proper treatment, one can learn to live a productive and joyful life.
Our counselors are graduates of the Center’s Phobia Counselor Certification Program.
|Judy Lake Chessa, L.M.S.W., Coordinator Judy Lake Chessa is a Licensed Master Social Worker. She has been the coordinator of the Anxiety & Phobia Treatment Center since 1996. As Coordinator, Judy supervises all operations of the Center, performs all intake assessments, and meets with clients for individual CBT therapy.Once a patient at the Center, Judy herself possesses a unique combination of both personal and professional knowledge of the treatment of anxiety disorders. “I have suffered with phobias and anxieties and know how life can be affected. I want people to know the freedom and joy that come from overcoming their fears.”|
|Martin K. Diner, M.D., Ph.D Martin K. Diner, M.D., Ph.D is both a physician and a psychologist. Trained in clinical psychology and preventive medicine, Dr. Diner has specialized in the association between health and behavior. He was formerly the Director of the Behavioral Science and Health Promotion Program at the School of Health Sciences and Practice of New York Medical College, and continues to teach there as a member of the faculty. In addition to leading the Health Anxiety Program at White Plains Hospital, Dr. Diner maintains a private practice, specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders.|
|John Gregory, Ph.D., group leader John Gregory, Ph.D., is the Administrative Director of the White Plains Hospital Center’s Department of Behavioral Health–a department that includes an Adult Outpatient Clinic, the Child and Adolescent Services, and the Continuing Day Treatment Program, as well as the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center (APTC). Dr. Gregory has worked with the APTC since 1982 and has led over fifty of its workshops for the treatment of phobic anxiety.|
|Donna Pappalardo, L.C.S.W., Group Leader
Donna Pappalardo is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who has been a practicing psychotherapist since 1983. In addition to working in a mental health clinic for three years and an outpatient psychiatric program at White Plains Hospital Center for ten years, she has been in private practice since 1989 in Eastchester, NY. Donna joined the Anxiety and Phobia Treatment Center in 1990 as a professional group leader in the Phobia Workshops, having trained under Dr. Manuel Zane. She has been one of the therapists on staff since that time and continues to be a group leader in our Nine-Week Workshops.
|Thomas Cirolia, L.C.S.W., Freedom to Fly and Phobia Workshop Group Leader
Thomas is a licensed clinical social worker who has been practicing psychotherapy since 2006. Thomas currently provides psychotherapy to adults, adolescents and children at the White Plains Hospital Behavioral Health Clinic. Prior to his position at White Plains Hospital, Thomas was the director of an outpatient substance abuse clinic for four years. Thomas specializes in Anxiety, Depression, and Relational Issues, in addition to leading our Freedom to Fly and Phobia Workshops.