The therapists at the Manhattan Center for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy include psychologists, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical externs. Each of them has different areas of expertise and training backgrounds. Learn more about our CBT therapists by clicking on any of the links below.
- Amber Belcher, Ph.D., Psychologist
- Carly Geller, Psy.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
- Anna Womack, Ph.D., Psychologist
- Kristen Piering, Psy.D., Psychologist
- Amoha Bajaj-Mahajan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
- Michelle Pavony, Ph.D., Psychologist
- Justin Arocho, Ph.D., Psychologist
- Rachel Chang, Psy.D., Postdoctoral fellow
- Leah Walsh, M.S., Extern
- Emily Olmsted, M.S.Ed., Extern
- Madalyn Liautaud, M.A., Extern
- Paul B. Greene, Ph.D., Director
Dr. Belcher is an expert in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and adjustment to medical illness. She provides services to adults using a cognitive-behavioral perspective that includes newer evidence-based therapies, specifically Motivational Interviewing (MI), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and mindfulness-based approaches. She is also certified in treatments for OCD (exposure and response prevention) and PTSD (exposure therapy). Her therapeutic approach emphasizes the client’s values and goals in developing a treatment plan that identifies challenges and motives for behavior change.
Dr. Belcher received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Delaware. She completed her predoctoral residency in Behavioral Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Behavioral Medicine and Rehab Psychology at Geisinger Medical Center. She has published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals in the areas of emotions, couples, and stress and coping. Her research has been recognized and supported by academic institutions, medical centers, and research facilities, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is a frequent speaker at both national professional meetings and local community events.
Dr. Geller is an expert in the area of OCD and anxiety-related conditions, including social anxiety, intrusive worry, trichotillomania, skin picking, perfectionism, and panic disorder. She has extensive experience treating adults with depression, emotion regulation difficulties, and insomnia. Dr. Geller integrates a range of evidence-based cognitive-behavioral treatments into her work, with an emphasis on exposure and response prevention (ERP), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mindfulness-based interventions. She believes in goal-oriented, patient-centered therapy, and her style is warm and collaborative.
Dr. Geller earned her B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan and her Psy.D from Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology at Yeshiva University. She completed her internship at Northwell Health’s Zucker Hillside Hospital. Her research has focused on the vulnerability and prevention of anxiety and mood disorders, as well as the role of guilt and shame in OCD.
Dr. Womack specializes in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety disorders and related concerns (e.g., intrusive worry, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, panic attacks), and chronic pain. She also enjoys working with individuals as they navigate life transitions and is highly skilled in career counseling. She utilizes cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based approaches, emphasizing evidenced-based interventions such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Her approach to therapy is highly collaborative. Dr. Womack has extensive experience working with LGBT individuals, women, and early career professionals.
Dr. Womack completed her Ph.D. in the APA-accredited Counseling Psychology program at the University of Southern Mississippi. She completed postdoctoral training at the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, where she received training in cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). She also works at Columbia University in the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. There she provides guidance on career planning and professional development to postdoctoral researchers.
Dr. Piering works with children, teens, and adults with a wide range of emotional difficulties, including OCD, insomnia, anxiety, panic, emotion regulation, and depression. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at The School at Columbia University. She has provided therapy to adults at the McShane Center for Psychological Services and worked with children, teens, and young adults on psychiatric inpatient units at Kings County Hospital, as well as in school settings.
Dr. Piering received her B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University, her M.S.Ed. from Pace University, and her Psy.D. in Clinical Child and School Psychology from Pace University. She has conducted research examining the role of familial support and creativity on the identity development of young adults with cancer. Her other research has focused on the role of creativity and parenting in both academic achievement and delinquency. Dr. Piering has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on family psychology and assessment and has led workshops on social emotional learning and development, as well as on executive functioning skills and strategies.
Dr. Piering is (also) the Lower School Psychologist at The Chapin School where she works with students in Kindergarten through third grade, as well as their families, individually and in groups. She also teaches skill-based social emotional lessons, provides consultation to teachers and families, leads workshops, and collaborates with teachers and other educators.
Dr. Bajaj-Mahajan is an expert in the area of stress and health in adults, especially as it relates to depression, anxiety, and adjustment to medical illness. She specializes in the treatment and management of insomnia, chronic pain, smoking cessation, women’s health and intimacy, and adjustment to medical illnesses. She also treats body-focused repetitive behaviors, such as trichotillomania and skin-picking. Dr. Bajaj-Mahajan uses an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral approach that integrates Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy (MCP) and mindfulness-based interventions.
Dr. Bajaj-Mahajan received her B.A. from Rutgers University. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in Clinical and Biological Health Psychology. She completed her pre-doctoral residency in Behavioral Medicine at Yale University’s School of Medicine. She has published in high-impact, peer-reviewed medical journals in the areas of social relationships, stress management, and health outcomes. Her research has been recognized and supported by academic and medical institutions including Rutgers University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Yale University’s School of Medicine. Dr. Bajaj-Mahajan has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of biological psychology and stress and health.
Dr. Arocho specializes in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders (including panic attacks/disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder/worry, phobias, and social anxiety disorder), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, insomnia, illness/health anxiety and body-focused repetitive behaviors (including trichotillomania and skin picking). He also has expertise working with individuals with a history of vasovagal syncope. His approach to therapy is encouraging and collaborative, and he employs evidence-based treatments including Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I), and Habit Reversal Training (HRT), among others. He is fluent in Spanish and is highly experienced in working with LGBTQ and ethnic minority individuals.
Dr. Arocho received his B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from The College of William and Mary, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University, where he conducted research on the role of moral disgust in OCD and PTSD. He completed his predoctoral internship at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, where he trained in outpatient, partial hospital, and HIV-clinic mental health services, as well as psychological assessment. He has also worked in inpatient hospital, university counseling, forensic, and community mental health settings.
Dr. Arocho serves as an adjunct faculty contributor to the Predoctoral Psychology Internship Program at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in Newark, New Jersey. In this capacity, he interviews prospective interns, leads training for interns on diversity issues, and serves as an expert evaluator for intern case competency exams.
Michelle Pavony, Ph.D.
Dr. Pavony specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of depression, OCD and other anxiety disorders, and is certified in Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD. She utilizes Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills to address eating disorders, social phobias, and interpersonal conflicts. She takes an individually-tailored and collaborative approach in her work with adolescents, adults, and couples, and has further clinical interests in life transitions and identity struggles.
Dr. Pavony completed her B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. at Binghamton University, where she conducted and published research on pain perception and borderline personality disorder. Her pre-doctoral internship included training in the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and The UConn Health Center’s School of Medicine. She then completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at New York-Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center, where she received training in Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP). TFP is an empirically-supported treatment for personality disorders. She also has experience in correctional health, having served as Clinical Supervisor and Associate Director of Mental Health in a specialty forensic program.
Dr. Chang specializes in treating adults experiencing depression, insomnia, as well as anxiety problems including social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, intrusive thoughts, health anxiety, procrastination, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She also treats trichotillomania, skin picking, emotion regulation difficulties, relationship problems, and eating disorders. Dr. Chang has extensive experience in providing evidence-based CBT treatments such as Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Prolonged Exposure (PE) for PTSD. She regularly integrates Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and mindfulness-based interventions into her work. Her clients note her warm and genuine manner and her emphasis on their individual goals, values, and needs.
Dr. Chang received her B.S. from Virginia Tech, her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her Psy.D from La Salle University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. She also received comprehensive training in providing DBT with adults, teens, and families. She has trained in community mental health and school settings. Dr. Chang is fluent in Mandarin and has a research interest in cultural influences on mental health-seeking attitudes amongst minority populations.
Ms. Walsh is a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University. She works with individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, OCD, and emotion regulation problems, with a particular interest in helping those with co-occurring medical illness and psychological difficulties.
Prior to joining MCCBT, Ms. Walsh completed training in neuropsychological assessment at the Epilepsy Center at Mount Sinai. She also worked in an inpatient setting focused on mood disorders at New York-Presbyterian Behavioral Health Services. She has also completed rigorous training through several research clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) for manualized therapies, including Meaning-Centered Psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapies for caregivers of patients with cancer and older adults with cancer. Ms. Walsh holds a B.S. in Psychology and an M.S. in Behavioral Health from Tulane University. She is also a predoctoral research fellow at MSKCC where her research focuses on prognostic understanding and aspects of uncertainty in cancer and its treatment.
Ms. Olmsted is a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Fordham University. She works with individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and substance use issues with a particular interest in helping those with concerns related to gender and sexual identity.
Ms. Olmsted is trained in motivational interviewing, acceptance and commitment therapy, and psychodynamic therapeutic approaches. Prior to joining MCCBT, Ms. Olmsted received training in individual and group therapy at Pace University’s Counseling Center. She has also been involved in extensive research with couples and people in the LBGTQ+ community through Columbia University’s psychology department and Hunter College’s P.R.I.D.E. Health Research Consortium. She received her B.A. from Smith College.
Ms. Liautaud is a doctoral student in the Health Psychology and Clinical Science program at the City University of New York. She works with people suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance abuse and has a specific interest in working with individuals from communities that face chronic identity-based stigma and marginalization.
She has trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal processing therapy, and attachment-focused psychotherapy. Prior to joining MCCBT, Ms. Liautaud completed extensive clinical training in the provision of short- and long-term integrative psychotherapy to college students at Brooklyn College’s Personal Counseling Program.
She holds a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University. Her research at the Hunter College Gender-Based Violence Lab investigates social determinants of health among trauma-exposed sexual and gender minority people, with an emphasis on understanding how stigma-related stress “gets under the skin” to impact physical health.
Dr. Greene is an expert in the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), OCD, depression, overeating, panic attacks, health anxiety, and the applications of mindfulness and meditation in the treatment of anxiety. He specializes in helping survivors of rape, assault, and accidents who develop posttraumatic anxiety. He has training in the use of exposure and response prevention, cognitive processing therapy, prolonged exposure therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia.
He received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University and completed postdoctoral training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Greene served as an assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine for six years. At Mount Sinai, he conducted research and supervised medical residents. He served as principal investigator of an NIH-funded research project that trained over 300 social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other clinicians in cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Dr. Greene has been invited to speak about his research in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is a certified meditation instructor and a teacher of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. MBSR is based on the ancient practice of meditation and has been demonstrated to be effective for people struggling with anxiety, chronic pain, hypertension, and other medical disorders.