155 County Road, Suite 12

Cresskill, New Jersey 07626 United States


44 Union Ave

Rutherford, New Jersey 07070 United States

Monmouth Beach

36 Beach Road, Building 13

Monmouth Beach, New Jersey 07750 United States

Meet Our Team

Welcome to our psychotherapy team! Most of our clinicians are from top U.S. programs such as Columbia University, Fordham University, and New York University, ensuring the best care and expertise to meet your needs.

  • Donna Strauss-Russo, LCSW
    Clinical Director/Founder of Connect Counseling & Wellness | All Locations

    Donna holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland and a Master of Social Work from New York University. With a wealth of professional experience, she has dedicated her career to extensive engagement, research endeavors, and the publication of scholarly articles within the realm of child welfare and trauma studies.

    Having honed her expertise through tenures at esteemed institutions such as the NYU Child Studies Lab, Audrey Hepburn Children's House, Children's Aid & Family Services, Bergen County Family Guidance, and Sage Day Schools, Donna established Connect Counseling & Wellness in 2012. Driven by the ethos of the person-in-environment model, her practice is committed to facilitating holistic improvements in patients' overall well-being encompassing physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions.

    Beyond her professional endeavors, Donna, a mother and cancer survivor, remains steadfastly dedicated to empowering individuals on their journey towards self-actualization and optimal health.

  • Jessica Ambrosini, LCSW
    Psychotherapist | Rutherford and Telehealth

    Jessica earned her Master's in Social Work from Fordham University subsequent to completing her undergraduate studies in Literature. Since the year 2000, she has dedicated her professional endeavors to serving New Jersey's most vulnerable populations, encompassing both children and adults. While maintaining her commitment to this cause, she embarked on her clinical journey in 2012. Jessica possesses a profound interest in fostering interpersonal connections, eliciting narratives, and facilitating the achievement of personal aspirations. 

    Recognizing the importance of cultivating strong therapeutic relationships, Jessica is adept at collaboratively assisting individuals in leveraging their existing competencies and strengths to pursue their treatment objectives. Her approach involves empowering clients to effectively address past adversities and navigate present challenges with enhanced resilience. With proficiency in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), she has adeptly supported individuals across diverse age groups with a spectrum of concerns.

    Beyond her clinical practice, Jessica harbors a passionate dedication to providing inclusive support to LGBTQ+ youth, their families, and adult individuals alike. She enjoys spending her free time with her dog and going on hikes.

  • Ashley Gordon, LCSW
    Psychotherapist | Cresskill and Telehealth

    Ashley is a dedicated professional with a strong educational background and extensive experience in the field of social work. She graduated from Lafayette College in 2011 with undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Women and Gender Studies, before furthering her education at Columbia University School of Social Work, where she earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2017. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Ashley has honed her skills in assisting individuals, groups, families, and couples facing a spectrum of challenges and diagnoses.

    Throughout her career, Ashley has demonstrated her commitment to supporting individuals of all ages through various mental health agencies and educational settings. Her expertise spans from managing anxiety, depression, and behavioral difficulties to addressing more complex issues such as autism, ADHD, OCD, and relationship challenges. Ashley is dedicated to creating a nurturing and affirming therapeutic environment for her clients, where they can feel supported and empowered. Outside of her professional endeavors, Ashley finds joy in baking, reading, crafting, and cherishing moments with her loved ones.

  • Lindsay Gordon, LCSW
    Psychotherapist | Telehealth

    Lindsay is a distinguished graduate of Brandeis University, where she earned her undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology in 2009. She furthered her academic pursuits at Columbia University School of Social Work, obtaining her Master of Social Work degree in 2011. Possessing licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Lindsay brings forth a wealth of expertise cultivated through her extensive professional background spanning mental health facilities and educational institutions including various therapeutic modalities tailored to each client using CBT, DBT and various psychodynamic approaches while considering client strengths.

    Her comprehensive experience equips her to deliver consistently high-quality and compassionate care to her clients across the lifespan. Lindsay has supported individuals, couples, and families in navigating a diverse array of mental and behavioral health challenges. Her therapeutic interventions extend to addressing issues pertaining to anxiety, depression, trauma, ADHD, and autism spectrum disorder, among others. Beyond her professional expertise, Lindsay enjoys spending time with her loved ones, reading novels, watching tv/movies and traveling for new experiences.

  • Martha Kochanowski, LSW
    Psychotherapist | Rutherford and Telehealth

    Martha is a dedicated licensed social worker with a B.A. in Education and a B.S. in Psychology from Drew University, as well as a Master of Social Work from Fordham University. Fluent in both English and Polish, she offers sessions in both languages. Martha has extensive experience working with teens, young adults, and adults, using a genuine, empathetic approach infused with a deep curiosity and a variety of evidence-based treatment modalities.

    Specialized in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Intensive In-Community, and Behavioral Assistant methodologies, Martha is committed to creating a compassionate and non-judgmental therapeutic environment. She believes in the resilience and self-empowerment of her clients, focusing on collaboration and self-discovery for teens, young adults, and adults. Her approach helps clients improve their relationships with themselves and others, sparking motivation and fostering transformative change for holistic well-being in mind, body, and spirit. Outside of her professional work, Martha enjoys a wide range of activities such as practicing yoga and meditation, traveling, and engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing, and ice skating, depending on the season.

  • Julia Totten, LSW
    Psychotherapist | Monmouth Beach and Telehealth

    Julia received her BA in Psychology from Montclair State University and her Masters in Social Work from Fordham University. She is certified in Crisis and Resilience and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT). Julia utilizes eclectic therapy, an approach that adapts to each client's unique needs, which can involve various treatment methods and a combination of therapeutic tools to be most effective for the individual. Julia is familiar with working with all ages while practicing individual, group, and family therapy.

    Julia has cultivated a passion for journeying with her clients as they embark on self-discovery by creating an environment that is the most conducive for her clients.  Julia aims to create an empathetic, empowering, and judgment-free space for all her clients by building trusting relationships and using evidence-based practices. When not working, you can find Julia playing with her Frenchie, teaching herself to cook, playing tennis, spending quality time with loved ones, and going for walks on the beach. 

  • Joy Simha, LSW
    Psychotherapist | Cresskill, Rutherford and Telehealth

    Joy holds a Master's in Social Work from Ramapo College of New Jersey and her DBT Foundational Training through Behavior Tech, LLC. She is passionate about helping clients live their best lives by leveraging their strengths and overcoming their challenges. Joy has helped individuals and families overcome the emotional struggles involved in dealing with long-term health challenges and chronic disorders. She focuses on helping clients succeed in coping with anxiety, depression, personality disorder, and bipolar diagnosis. 

    Joy came into social work after a career in video production and nonprofit adventures. In 1998 Joy co-founded the non-profit The Young Survival Coalition which strengthens the community, addresses the unique needs, amplifies the voice, and improves the quality of life of young adults affected by breast cancer. Joy sat on the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program as a consumer advocate and served on the CDC Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women along with various panels for the Institute of Medicine. She helps clients define their goals, analyze their patterns and behaviors, cultivate and use their advocacy voice, and take action to improve the quality of their lives. In her free time, Joy enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, traveling, kayaking,  paddle boarding, and spending time with her Border Collie.

  • Sam Mottola, LAC
    Psychotherapist, Rutherford and Telehealth

    Samantha is a dedicated counselor with a diverse background in both visual arts and mental health counseling. After earning her BFA in Photography and Video from the School of Visual Arts in 2017, she pursued her passion for helping others by completing her Masters of Science in Educational Counseling at Monmouth University in 2022. Samantha's professional journey has led her to her current role as a School Counselor and Student Assistance Coordinator (SAC), where she channels her expertise to support adolescents in navigating life's challenges. 

    Samantha firmly believes in providing a safe and healing environment for people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations. With a focus on cultivating empathy and curiosity, Samantha's approach is eclectic and supportive, tailored to each individual's unique journey toward healing and growth. She values building respectful relationships with clients. Outside of her professional endeavors, Samantha finds joy in photography, art, cooking, and cherished moments with loved ones.

  • Lauren Krolick, LAC
    Psychotherapist | Cresskill and Telehealth

    Lauren has attained her Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling and Wellness from New York University. Prior to her tenure at NYU, she completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Manhattan College. Possessing a robust background in community counseling, Lauren has adeptly served a diverse clientele including children, adolescents, individuals, couples, and groups.

    Proficient in various therapeutic modalities such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, internal family systems therapy, and DBT, Lauren specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, offering tailored interventions to address a spectrum of concerns. Her clinical awareness extends to assisting clients struggling with conditions ranging from OCD, social anxiety, and depression to challenges related to self-esteem and family dynamics. Throughout her practice, Lauren consistently demonstrates empathetic understanding and fosters a supportive therapeutic environment characterized by positive regard. Beyond her professional pursuits, Lauren enjoys working out, reading novels, watching reality tv, and spending most of her time outdoors. 

  • Raina Tellado, LAC
    Psychotherapist | Cresskill, Rutherford and Telehealth

    Raina graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Rutgers University and subsequently obtained her Masters in Mental Health Counseling and Wellness from New York University. With a comprehensive background, Raina has cultivated her expertise working with children, adolescents, and young adults across various concerns and treatment objectives. Additionally, her involvement with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has equipped her with valuable experience in engaging individuals of diverse ages, cultural backgrounds, and mental health needs.

    While Raina finds value in employing Cognitive Behavioral and Psychodynamic approaches in therapy, she remains steadfastly committed to tailoring treatment modalities to suit the unique needs of each client. Central to her practice is the provision of an empathetic, non-judgmental, and inclusive therapeutic environment, welcoming individuals of all ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations to embark on their journey toward personal growth and goal attainment. Outside of her professional pursuits, Raina enjoys leisure activities such as video games, TV/film, spending quality time with loved ones, and reading.

  • Tiffany Melone, BBA, CPC, CBCS
    Revenue Cycle Manager

    Tiffany, a dedicated healthcare professional, holds a BBA in Health Services Management and a minor in Coding from Berkeley College, along with an Associate degree from the same institution. Certified as a Professional Coder (CPC) by the AAPC and as a Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) by the NHA, she ensures compliance with regulations in mental health facilities across New York and New Jersey. Implementing billing procedure improvements, Tiffany prioritizes therapeutic endeavors, aiming to create an administrative obstacle-free healing environment. 

    Outside of work, she enjoys literature, particularly true crime and suspense, drawing inspiration from her role as a devoted mother of two, driving her to excel both personally and professionally.

  • Destiny Maikranz, CBCS
    Revenue Cycle Associate

    Destiny, holding an Associate degree in Health Services Administration from Berkeley College, specializes in medical coding and billing within the billing department. Motivated by family advice and a desire for a career compatible with parenthood, she found fulfillment and flexibility in Health Services Administration, particularly after the birth of her son. Starting with an internship at CCW during college, Destiny sharpened her skills, leading to a full-time offer upon completing her degree in April 2023. This role not only allows her to excel professionally but also provides valuable time for family. Outside of work, she finds joy in nature, whether at the beach or engaging in outdoor activities, and cherishes moments with loved ones and playful pets. Balancing dedication to her career and devotion to family, Destiny approaches each day with gratitude and enthusiasm, aiming to make meaningful contributions both professionally and personally.

Schedule an Appointment

Please fill out the form below or call us at 201-399-7225 to schedule an appointment.


155 County Road 

 Suite 12 

 Cresskill, New Jersey 07626


44 Union Ave

Rutherford, NJ 07070


36 Beach Road

Building 13

Monmouth Beach, NJ 07750