Meet Our Therapists
The therapists at Nickischer & Associates are sole proprietors who contract to work part-time in this practice. Most work for other practices or facilities. As a result, their schedules and openings vary according to their personal needs. We cannot guarantee an appointment with any specific therapist, though prospective clients are more than welcome to request to see someone specific. Therapists have every right to accept or decline a case based on their scope of practice, schedule, openings in their caseload, and intuition.
Kathryn Nickischer Friel, LPC, NCC
Kathryn is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania and a Nationally Board-Certified Counselor (NCC.) She has a BA from Marywood University, and a MS in Clinical Health Counseling from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM.) Kathryn worked as a family-based therapist for Northwestern Human Services (NHS) until 2012, when she started working in private practice, for both Olivewood Counseling and The Center for Integrative Psychotherapy.
In 2015, Kathryn opened her own private practice in Palmerton, PA. Since then, she has expanded her practice to three locations. In June of 2017, Kathryn was selected by Lehigh Valley Business as one of the 40 Under 40, an award that honors business professionals who have achieved entrepreneurial success while also contributing back to the community.
Kathryn works with adults struggling with a diagnosis of OCD, GAD or a phobia. She also enjoys working with couples. She is a volunteer at Manito Life Center and through a partnership, offers Equine Therapy to her clients. Kathryn is an Internal Family Systems (IFS) level two graduate. At this time, she is only accepting clients who are open to therapeutic work within the IFS model.
Lacey I. Binkley, LPC
With over ten years of experience as a therapist, Lacey’s clinical knowledge is a strength in her work as a therapist. Lacey holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Penn State, and an MA in Education and Secondary School Counseling. She is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist. Lacey has worked for various, well-respected mental health community agencies in both Pennsylvania and Florida. These include KS-MST, Children’s Home of Reading, Pennsylvania Counseling Services of Lebanon, and The Center for Psychology, in Fort Meyers, FL. As a program supervisor, Lacey’s Juvenile Court program won the 2010 Court Operated Program of the Year award.
Lacey enjoys working with teens and young adults. Her speciality treatment areas are trauma, PTSD, and personality disorders. Lacey also enjoys working with young adults who are struggling with relationship difficulties. She is currently invested in a Trauma-Focused CBT certification program. Lacey combines person-centered and cognitive-behavioral approaches to empower clients to discover their inner warriors and learn to love themselves. Her straight-forward approach and sense of humor allow for both fun and focus in the therapy space.
Lacey also consults as a TF-CBT Family Therapist for KS Consultants.
Susan Featro, LPC, Ed.D
Susan earned a B.A. from Lycoming College, a M.Ed. from Penn State University, and an Ed.D. from Wilkes University. After earning her doctorate in education and teaching in K-12 schools and at the university level for 15 years, Susan decided to pursue a M.S. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology and to work towards licensure. She graduated with a M.S. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Chestnut Hill College and has done additional training in trauma-focused CBT, in addictions, and in working with LGBTQ couples. Susan also works at a short-term residential psychiatric crisis center for adults.
Susan combines her background and experience in education, her background and experience in counseling psychology, and her training in yoga, mindfulness, and body-based therapies in serving her clients. She specializes in the treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), depression, trauma, addictive behaviors, relationship issues, and women's issues. Susan focuses on helping clients to grow in self-awareness and helping them to heal, grow, and find balance in their lives. She sees children, adolescents, and adults and also works with couples in the Lehighton office, offering daytime and evening hours.
Susan is a licensed teacher, and teaches for the Commonwealth Charter Academy. She is also an adjunct professor at a local university, and a vocal recording artist.
Rachel Little, LCSW
Rachel is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the state of Pennsylvania. She has two undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Social Work, and received her Masters Degree in Social Work from Kutztown University. She has worked as a family-based therapist providing in-home and community-based services, as well as a diagnostic clinician for residential treatment facilities
Rachel offers Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Holistic and Humanistic integrated approaches towards treatment for adults, families, couples, as well as adolescents. Her specialty areas include Depression, Generalized Anxiety, relationship issues between heterosexual and LGBTQ couples, and Adjustment Disorder. She also has experience working with individuals who have PTSD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and adolescents struggling with mood disorders. Rachel offers empathetic support in teaching valuable coping skills that can be utilized during the toughest of times. Rachel is objective and non-judgemental in her approach to therapy, and truly enjoys the client-therapist relationship.
In addition to practicing here, Rachel facilitates equine assisted psychotherapy at Manito Life Center, where she currently serves as a Board Member for their non-profit charity organization.
Holly A. Mullen MSW, LCSW
Holly is a Pennsylvania Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Kutztown University in 2008 and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Marywood University in 2013. Holly has been in private practice for the past 8 years working with adults, adolescents and couples. Her specialties include the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, marital issues, premarital counseling, blended family challenges, career and life stage adjustments. Holly utilizes Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Strengths and Mindfulness based approaches, with a focus on strength and resilience. As a therapist, Holly seeks to promote a safe and healing environment where you can unveil your personal inner strengths and develop a plan for lifelong growth and healing. Holly welcomes the opportunity to assist you in your journey toward personal growth and healing, offering improvement of your life’s experiences for years to come.
Holly is a full-time employee at Lehigh Valley Health Network as a medical LCSW in the Care Management Department.
Roslyn Birnbaum, LPC
Roz brings with her a fantastic reputation in the field and a following of clients who truly respect her. Roz has a BA from Pennsylvania State University, and received her MS in Counseling Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. Roz is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Dual Diagnosis Counselor who specializes in emotional, mental health and drug/alcohol issues.
Roz provides a safe environment where you can explore your issues to gain insight and develop skills to make positive life changes. Her therapeutic areas of expertise include depression, anxiety, trauma, mental and physical abuse, self esteem, ADHD, life transition issues, and codependency. She also helps those with chronic pain problems in regaining confidence.
Kerin Oksienik, LPC
Kerin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania and additionally recognized as a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Lafayette College in 2009 followed by her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Services from Lehigh University in 2011. Kerin has several years of experience working in outpatient treatment settings helping individuals to gain stability over their mental health symptoms and co-occurring substance use disorders to be able to live fulfilling lives.
Kerin specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, addiction, trauma, and relational conflict. She works with adults, adolescents, and couples using a therapeutic approach that integrates elements of cognitive behavioral, solution-focused, and person-centered therapies. Kerin understands the importance of having a safe, supportive environment to feel validated in while confronting some of life’s most challenging times. She develops this through a genuine, caring approach while helping to change unhealthy thought patterns that could be getting in the way of personal growth and satisfaction.
Peter D. Ellison, LPC, CCDPD
Peter is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania and is a Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Saint Joseph’s University in 2002, as well as a Master of Arts degree in community counseling (2004) and an Education Specialist degree in mental health counseling (2005), both from Seton Hall University. Peter has extensive experience providing care within various clinical settings. This includes inpatient and outpatient substance use treatment programs, working within a psychiatric and addiction medicine practice, and as an independent practitioner.
Peter has training and experience in working with adults who are seeking help for managing depression and other mood issues, anxiety, substance use issues, relationship struggles and stress management. He has provided group therapy, individual therapy and couples therapy, and specializes in the use of Cognitive Behavioral, Interpersonal and Person-Centered therapy skills and techniques. Peter views each person as a unique individual with their own set of strengths and capabilities that can be developed and used to help challenge and overcome personal issues.
Peter is a full-time therapist at Nulton Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Slatington, where he treats adults with co-occurring disorders.
Joseph Young, LPC NCC
Joseph is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania and a Nationally Board-Certified Counselor (NCC.) He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and his Master’s degree in Mental Health and Counseling from Antioch University. Joseph has worked as a Family-Based Therapist providing in home and community-based services enhancing feelings of empowerment and self-efficiency so families can help themselves and their children become psychologically self-sufficient. He worked as a Multisystemic Therapist (MST) empowering teens, young adults, individuals, and families using an eclectic approach tailored to the unique needs of each new client and family.
Joseph’s clinical vision is to ensure a safe environment for clients to explore and to assist clients in the discovery of their strengths, building support systems, and developing healthy lifestyles to set the foundation for life successes. He employs a cross-disciplinary therapeutic approach utilizing modalities which include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused, Person-Centered Therapy, Psychoeducation, and mindfulness, helping clients navigate Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression, life stressors, and family and relationship issues.
In addition to counseling in this practice, Joe is a TF-CBT Family Therapist for KS Consultants.
Heidi Mack, LPC
Heidi is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Moravian College and her Master of Science degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology, with a focus on Marriage and Family Counseling, from Chestnut Hill College.
Heidi has over ten years of experience working with children, adults, couples, and families in outpatient and community health settings. She takes an eclectic approach to therapy by utilizing a combination of cognitive behavioral, solution-focused, and person-centered therapies. Heidi believes in the importance of building a strong therapeutic relationship to help her clients heal from past experiences, learn skills to cope with challenges, and explore their personal growth.
Elizabeth Vegetabile, MS, LPC
Elizabeth is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Pennsylvania. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from York College of Pennsylvania in 2011 and a Masters in Clinical and Counseling Psychology with a focus on Child and Adolescent Therapy from Chestnut Hill College in 2013. She also has a postgraduate certificate from Chestnut Hill College in Trauma Studies that she earned in 2017. She has a variety of experiences working in outpatient therapy settings with children, teenagers, and adults.
Elizabeth provides a safe and positive environment for her clients to heal and grow. She uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy to help clients through a range of issues including anxiety, depression, trauma, self-esteem, family stressors, relationship issues and life changes. She works with children as young as six years old using play to help them understand their complex emotions. She works with all of her clients regardless of age with a level of respect and understanding and knowing that the therapeutic alliance is a beneficial part of the healing process. She wants all of her clients to feel validated, yet challenged by their therapeutic work as they move towards bettering themselves and becoming healthier, happier individuals.
Elizabeth offers therapy in both the Allentown and Lehighton locations. Elizabeth is a mental health counselor for Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Allentown.
Waded Baquerizo-Mahuad, MA, LPC
Waded is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Pennsylvania. She is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in her home country of Ecuador. She received her graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling from Kutztown University. She has worked as a Mobile Therapist for children providing home and community services. In addition to her career in private practice, she works as a professional counselor for a Community-Based Agency. Waded has experience working with a variety of mental health diagnoses that include Generalized Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, ADD, and trauma.
Waded focuses on building insight in order to create self-awareness, personal improvement and growth. Her approachability and openness to the human experience fosters a safe and accepting environment. She uses a humanistic, person-centered approach, while also utilizing mindfulness and sensorimotor techniques. Waded is bilingual in Spanish and English, and especially enjoys providing counseling to Latin American and Hispanic community members as a proud bicultural practitioner of compassion.
Ann Goodrich, LCSW
Ann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in the states of Pennsylvania and New York. She earned both her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from Adelphi University in 2012. Ann went back to school to pursue a career in social work after raising her children.
Ann has many years of experience working with individuals with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Ann specializes in mood disorders, as well as paths to sobriety. She enjoys working with people in recovery, helping them to develop the self-awareness and coping skills necessary in order to redefine their lives. In addition to using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT,) Ann utilizes mindfulness, Positive Psychology and behavior therapy in assisting clients to set life goals.
Marissa Cruz, LPC, LBS
Marissa is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Behavior Specialist (LBS) in the state of Pennsylvania. She earned her BA in Psychology from Cedar Crest College, and MS in Clinical Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy from Chestnut Hill College. Marissa has worked for several years providing behavioral and family therapy to children, teens, and families in community and outpatient settings.
Marissa has experience in treating couples, families and individuals encountering anxiety, depression, developmental/spectrum disorders, and ADHD. She uses an integration of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT,) Humanistic approaches, and psychoeducation in her work. Marissa strives to provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where one can explore difficulties, gain insight, and begin the journey to radical self-acceptance.
Vince Confalone LPC, NCC
Vince is a Pennsylvania Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Nationally Board-Certified Counselor (NCC). He earned his BA in Sociology from Moravian College, and his MS in Counseling from The University of Vermont.
Vince has worked in the field of mental health for the last 7 years. His experiences range from residential treatment facilities for adolescents, outpatient therapy, school-based counseling, and home-based family therapy. Vince specializes in family relationships, Generalized Anxiety, Depression, Panic Disorder, life transitions, adolescents, young adults, and trauma informed care. Vince believes in a therapeutic approach that is driven by a strong therapeutic relationship, goal oriented treatment, and strength-based interventions. Vince has formal training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Functional Family Therapy (FFT).
Whitney Keefner, LPC, NCC
Whitney is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Pennsylvania and a Nationally Board-Certified Counselor (NCC). She earned her BA in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Vermont in 2014 and a MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling from the University of Vermont in 2018. Whitney has worked as a Family and Community-Based Clinician for the Howard Center in Burlington, VT, before moving to Philadelphia in 2021, where she then began working as an Outpatient Therapist for Wedge Recovery Centers in North Philly.
Whitney works with teens and adults, and especially loves working with couples. Whitney is Certified as a Skilled Cognitive Behavioral Therapist in a Community Setting, and is currently training in the Drexel Motivational Interviewing and SBIRT program. She specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, trauma, relational conflict, life transitions and co-occurring disorders.
Whitney focuses on helping her clients through a combination of processing/exploring experiences, skill building to increase emotional regulation as well as learning and discussing psychoeducation to help better understand and make sense of our experiences. She places the utmost importance on the therapeutic relationship and in fostering a space that feels warm and safe for clients to be able to authentically express themselves in.
Cindy Dempsey, LPC
Cindy is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Pennsylvania. Cindy holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Delaware and an MS in Clinical Health and Counseling Psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). In addition, Cindy has obtained post-master's graduate credits in Addictions, Psychopharmacology, Career Counseling and Child and Adolescent Therapy.
Cindy began her career in counseling working with individuals in outpatient settings, residential settings, schools, and home-based settings. She has worked with clients of all ages and developmental levels—including clients with anxiety, depression, and adjustment issues; clients with stress-management concerns, career concerns & planning, and clients working through family-related difficulties.
Cindy uses her strong background and graduate education in cognitive-behavioral concepts/therapy in order to help clients work through a wide-range of concerns such as anxiety, stress, panic and depression. She aims to provide an environment where individuals can feel understood, accepted, and confident that common goals will lead to success. Additionally, Cindy is trained in trauma therapy and recovery where she works to help client’s address current and more complex past traumas in a caring and understanding setting.
Ellen Lutz, Office Manager
Ellen is the friendly voice you hear when you call to make an appointment at our practice. A graduate of Quakertown High School and Lansdale School of Business, Ellen has worked in business administration for over 15 years. Professional, courteous, and truly caring, Ellen is an asset to the practice, and will gladly help you with any scheduling, insurance, or billing questions that you may have. Ellen is the proud mother of Parker, Abby, and Hudson.
Ryan B. Gibbs
Coming with over twenty years of experience in the communications and entertainment industry, Ryan is a coach and consultant with a BA in communications from Marywood University. He specializes in managing the anxiety of finding a work/life balance and navigating overwhelming personal and professional environments. His curated advice and thoughtful conversation springs from an established career in the Broadway Community as a producer, director, and educator. Ryan has contributed to prominent entertainment projects on Broadway and around the world. Working in high pressure and overwhelming situations his entire professional life, Ryan applies his process and experience to his clients’ journeys. He can be a source of support to help someone get their own “voice in the room.” Whether that work is a corporate setting, a freelance engagement, or the development of intellectual property.
Ryan’s laser focus, good humor and open mindedness have made him a well-respected consultant to many organizations and professionals across a variety of industries. Additionally, he uses his experience to help clients create a system to process and prioritize their instincts during moments of life that can quickly overwhelm: marriage, family planning, contract negotiations, real estate planning, estate executing and even public speaking. The focus of a session is to take whatever aspects of a client’s life that are overflowing or underserving and use that to inform a focused plan in a safe space for success. To Ryan, the priorities are clients making decisions as their authentic self and sleeping well at night because of it. Areas of expertise include collective bargaining, the role of the father in fertility treatments, the journey of estate planning, conquering the stress of freelance work, and maintaining work/life balance.
You can also get to know Ryan and his work a little better by spending some time on his website: www.ryanbgibbs.com