About New England Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychiatry

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Mission Statement | Understanding I-CBT/CBT Treatment | Meet Our Staff

Mission Statement

Here at NECBT we consider it our mission to set the standard of Evidence Based Mental Health Treatment, and help as many people as we can while we do so! NECBT’s success is characterized by our clinical responsiveness to both individual and family needs, as well as our superior level of clinical treatment. Our growth and success is founded on dedication, expertise, experience and excellent patient outcomes.

Each member of our clinical team is dedicated to helping patients eliminate their anxiety and depression, gain control of their lives, and optimize each patient’s human potential by providing our consistent and Clinically-Proven, Evidence-Based solutions. NECBT is committed to treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated!

We are constantly refining our quality, expanding our capabilities, increasing our efficiency, and further elevating our already-superior level of patient care. NECBT is dedicated to raising the bar throughout mental health and the healthcare industry as a whole.

NECBT: moving mental health forward!

Understanding I-CBT/CBT Treatment

How we Work | What is CBT? | The Difference Between I-CBT and CBT | Does CBT Work? | Can I Discuss My Feelings? | Can I Discuss What Is Bothering Me? | Is CBT a Cure? | Medication Management

How I-CBT Treatment Typically Works

Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (I-CBT) is an innovative form of therapy that falls under the umbrella term of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). I-CBT was developed by American Psychotherapist Thomas A. Cordier. Although the therapy embraces the majority of guidelines and the implementation of CBT, the I-CBT concept also focuses a great deal on the interpersonal relationship between the patient and therapist as the primary source for patient improvement.

I-CBT not only serves as a treatment modality but is also a treatment system that coincides with individual treatment, involving various forms of I-CBT groups, behavioral training for parents and specialized treatment for children and adolescents with special needs. I-CBT is also very effective for military members and veterans struggling with PTSD and readjusting to civilian life. The treatment of patients and the training of clinicians using the I-CBT system are universal in that patient treatment and clinician training of the CBT methods are presented in a similar fashion.

Each patient is assigned one-on-one therapy, group therapy, and a variety of other treatments depending upon individual needs. When treating children and adolescents, we require parents to attend the first five sessions with their child or adolescent to better learn how to reinforce I-CBT strategies in the home environment and aid parents in dealing with their own difficulties. For many, the treatment lasts approximately 16 weeks.

Contrary to many interpretations of CBT, Cordier believes that therapy cannot be truly effective unless the patient trusts and generally likes his or her therapist. For the first part of therapy the therapist focuses a great deal on building rapport with the patient. CBT is taught in unison with rapport building through an organized manual that can be learned and understood by patients of all ages. The therapist helps the patient begin to think rationally by first challenging the quick, well-learned irrational thoughts, or “action thoughts,” that cause the patient’s negative emotions and unwarranted behaviors. When the time is deemed appropriate, the therapist begins helping the patient challenge his or her negative core beliefs (developed in childhood and reinforced as the years go on) by discussing and challenging assumptions based upon the patient’s negative core beliefs. Once the patient and therapist are satisfied with the progress that has been made, the patient is “graduated” from the I-CBT program.

The treatment of patients and training of clinicians using the I-CBT system is universal in that patient treatment and the training of clinicians are presented in a similar fashion through the presentation of the I-CBT manual.

Here is what you can expect during treatment at New England Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

Step 1: Come in for a Mental Health Evaluation. This may take place over the course of two sessions. After a diagnosis is determined, a treatment plan specific to your treatment goals is developed based on our I-CBT principles.

Step 2: After the evaluation, you will begin treatment. In most cases, depending on how ingrained your core beliefs are, treatment typically lasts approximately 16 to 20 weeks. However, with more severe cases of anxiety or depression, treatment can last much longer. In some cases, medication may be necessary.

Each session corresponds with workbook and self help assignments to help you reach your goals and stay on track. Each session works as a bridge into the next session. It is important that you attend each weekly session, otherwise you may lose ground on the work that you have been already doing. Lastly, we monitor your progress on a session by session basis using a test battery.

Step 3: Your therapist will begin to indicate that you are ready to move on, and will give you an idea of when your last session will be.

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What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Our favorite question! Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a problem-solving and action-oriented therapy which has been found to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders. This therapy is a universal treatment for several different problems and has no barriers when treating ethnicity, gender, education, or age (other than young children). CBT works on issues and behaviors of the "here and now," emphasizing current life factors that maintain the problem, though past experiences can be directly relevant to the patients’ distress and is welcomed into the discussion.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapists help patients understand that, although biological and environmental conditions can contribute to problems, to a large degree the patients themselves create their own psychological disturbances and have the ability to significantly change these disturbances. Therapists play an integral part in correcting the irrational evaluations, emotions, and behaviors of their patients by guiding them toward rational goals and purposes and assisting them in generating alternative courses of action.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy also helps patients to understand that distorted patterns of thinking have problematic emotional and behavioral consequences. Teaching patients to self-monitor their thoughts and feelings on a day-to-day basis, through the utilization of a workbook that corresponds with weekly treatment, helps patients unravel core beliefs and their relation to ongoing feelings and behaviors. In cognitive behavioral treatment, patients learn to detect and dispute their irrational beliefs by discriminating them from their rational alternatives. Over time, this enhanced awareness will lead them to actively challenge their dysfunctional thoughts by employing cognitive, emotive, and behavioral methods of change.

Preceding every single feeling we have or action we take is a deep-rooted thought in our minds. The human brain is biologically wired to our bodies to respond to a stimulus by first thinking, then feeling, and finally, responding by acting or behaving (in this precise order). Therefore, if we change our thoughts, then naturally our feelings and actions will also change.

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What is the difference between I-CBT and CBT?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an umbrella that includes a number of goal-oriented therapies that focus on individual thoughts as being the cause of behavioral health issues. CBT includes such diverse treatments as Cognitive Therapy developed by Dr. Aaron Beck, Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy developed by Dr. Albert Ellis, Rational Living Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, among others.

Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (I-CBT) also falls under the umbrella term of CBT. However, I-CBT not only serves as a CBT modality, but is also a treatment system that coincides with individual treatment, involving various forms of I-CBT groups, behavioral training for parents and specialized forms of treatment for children and adolescents with special needs. I-CBT is also very effective for military members and veterans. The treatment of patients and the training of clinicians using the I-CBT system are universal in that patient treatment and clinician training of the CBT methods are presented similarly.

The main function of I-CBT that sets it apart from other forms of CBT is the focus on the relationship built between the patient and the therapist. While we believe that it is using the CBT skills that will ultimately lead to positive change in your life, we also believe that those changes will not take hold unless you form a real trusting bond with your therapist, believe that they care about you as a person, and form a working alliance with them to help you get better. The relationship is the foundation on which the CBT skills are built.

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Does CBT Work?

CBT has been proven to be one of the most effective forms of treatment for Anxiety and Depression. However, there is a tremendous amount of skill involved in delivering the treatment effectively. At New England Center for CBT, our track record for helping patients is excellent. Over 90% of all people that have worked through our I-CBT treatment have experienced significant change in the way they feel. We have been working on an ongoing study that examines the results of each patient’s daily outcomes and overall treatment. In our depression study, there have been significant decreases in patients’ depression scores when comparing their first session to their last session. A patient may first come in with a score as high as a 64 in our Depression test, but after leaving may have a score as low as 0! CBT doesn’t work for everyone, however, we’ve found that when you combine an individual that is motivated to feel better, an empathic and supportive therapist, and usage of comprehensive CBT with a highly trained therapist the results are terrific.

Does CBT work for children?

It is difficult to deliver CBT to children, but they are our favorite challenge and one of our specialties. Their brains are still developing, so speaking to children in terms and definitions that they can grasp is key to success. Overall, our method for treating children is to incorporate the CBT with various therapeutic techniques such as Play Therapy and Yoga. However, what is instrumental in our children’s success is the parent coaching and Behavioral Parent Training that most patients’ parents need to attend to support and reinforce the child’s treatment.
Please see our pages on Children & Teens for more information.

What if my teen is resistant to seeing another therapist?

Our team of experts has excellent skills building trust with some of the toughest adolescents. Many of our teen patients were resistant when they began therapy, but now love the treatment, and even look forward to attending each week! We believe that teens like knowing that they are working with an individual that won’t judge, can teach them important life skills, and provide them with a new way of looking at situations. I-CBT is an excellent treatment option for most teens. If they give it a try for a week a two, they may find it was just what they were looking for and a refreshing change from some of their former therapists. We also offer a variety of treatment groups depending on what challenges the teen is facing.

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Will I be able to discuss my feelings and what is bothering me?

This is a very common question! The answer is ABSOLUTELY. This is the rapport building aspect, or Psychodynamic and Interpersonal aspect, of our treatment. As therapists we are trained on various models of treatment and these are incorporated into your treatment. Some approaches work for some but not for others. Discussing your thoughts and feelings is essential to the success of your treatment. However, unlike many other forms of therapy we will do something with the information that you provide, rather than just simply asking, “How does that make you feel.” We are going to apply your feelings and thoughts and discuss end goals to the behaviors.

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Is CBT a cure?

As of right now, this is one of the best methods of treatment for Anxiety and Depression. You cannot cure someone of depression or anxiety, but you can help people feel in control of their lives. CBT may not work for everyone, but with our treatment most of the people that challenge their irrational thinking and begin implementing their skills learned in sessions, see significant changes occur. Ultimately, the CBT therapist encourages the individual to be self-reliant and incorporates relapse prevention into treatment in order to maintain progress after discharge. Patients may return for a “tune up” on occasion, a session from time to time, when particularly stressful events arise.

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Medication Management

Is medication necessary?

Sometimes. In some cases medication is necessary depending on the nature of the patient’s condition. However, even when medication is necessary, our treatment goal is to have the patient off medication as soon as possible. We are easily able to coordinate care between therapy and medication management to improve outcomes.

Regarding children, we prefer to use therapy before recommending medication. Even in the case of ADHD or ADD, behavioral treatment is our first course of action.

Our policy: Medication only when absolutely necessary.

Do your Psychiatrist and Psychiatric APRN treat children, adolescents and adults?

Yes. Dr. Muralee specializes in children and adolescents. ADHD and Autism Spectrum Mild to Moderate are her specialties. She is also certified to treat adults.

Our APRN, Darlene Przasnyski, handles the majority of our Medication Management, and she has experience working with all age groups.

What is the cost for Medication Management?

NECBT Medication Management currently accepts Medicaid A-D, Tricare, and Anthem. However, we are always working on paneling for new insurances, so when you call to schedule your appointment, please know your insurance information and check in with us about your options. Otherwise, fees are out of pocket. We accept MASTERCARD, VISA and H.S.A. accounts.

• Assessment Fee is $175.00
• Medication Management Appointment Fee is $115.00
• Additional paperwork, such as letters for the court system or additional work to coordinate care outside of the practice costs a prorated fee of $150.00/hour.

We offer a sliding scale for Medication Management for patients who are in our practice and using our I-CBT treatment.

We believe strongly that if medications are going to be used, the patient will benefit tremendously from I-CBT treatment.

If you need a Forensic Evaluation please have your attorney call to make arrangements on your behalf; different fees apply. Costs range from $150.00 to $2500.00.

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Meet Our Staff

Thomas A Cordier, MA/LPC, CRLT, CCBT, DICBT
Founder/Owner NECBT

Thomas created the ICBT treatment program and the child program at NECBT & Psychiatry, implemented by all the clinicians at New England Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Psychiatry. Thomas has researched extensively the affects of an interpersonal approach to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and created a model and manual that is easily comprehensible regardless of the patients learning abilities. In addition, Thomas trains each of his clinicians with a training program that he has developed. His concept is innovative and may possibly revolutionize the way that mental health treatment is delivered. His treatment is highly structured while still centering its approach on the relationship between the patient and the clinician in order to break into a patient's core thoughts and belief system.

Tom has an extensive background in the clinical treatment of children and adolescents as well as adults. He completed his graduate practicum in 2002 at Yale University under child psychologist and 2008 American Psychological Association (APA) president Dr. Alan Kazdin; while at Yale Tom worked extensively on the assessment and behavioral issues of children and adolescents experiencing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder.

Tom is a retired military captain and served 23 years in the United States Air Force and National Guard where he became a medical officer specializing in hospital management and administration. Tom learned additional clinical skills in the military and incorporated these skills in the management of his own medical practice (NECBT). His background is well rounded and his goal is to help as many patients as possible, so they can learn to live a happier more fulfilled and rational life.

Sunanda Muralee, MD

Dr. Muralee is NECBT's acting child and adolescent psychiatrist, however she is also an expert at treating adults. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and a Consultant Psychiatrist at The Boys & Girls Village in Milford, CT as well as Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven, CT. She did her residency training in Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and her fellowship in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at Yale Child Study Center, New Haven, CT. She has published over 20 articles in peer reviewed journals on various topics in psychiatry. She is also the Associate Editor of two psychiatric textbooks; Comprehensive Review of Psychiatry and Clinical Assessments in Psychiatry: Mastering Skills and Passing Exams. Her areas of special interests in Child &Adolescent Psychiatry include Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders.

Darlene Przasnyski, APRN

Although at NECBT our focus is not on medication-based therapy, we acknowledge that some patients will need to be on certain medications, at least for a brief period of time. For the rare patient who might need to be prescribed medication while working with one of our Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapists, we do offer Medication Management.

Darlene Przasnyski, as an APRN, is an integral part of our Medication Management team. Darlene has been an APRN, specializing in psychiatry, since 2007. She holds a B.S. in Nursing from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, ME, and an M.S. in Nursing from the Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Program at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, CT, where she is currently studying for her certification as a Nurse Practitioner in Family Mental Health.

Having held numerous positions throughout her twenty-two year tenure at Cedarcrest Regional Hospital, Darlene has an impressive and extensive background. She has also worked on psychiatric units at both the Institute of Living and Hebrew Home. In addition to her work at NECBT, Darlene is employed at Community Renewal Team, working with dual-diagnosed patients. She also works with autistic children at Focus in Canton, CT.

Simon A. Julien, Ph.D
Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

Dr. Julien holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Studies from the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in Minnesota, a B.A. and M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, as well as an Associate of the Arts in Psychology from Bronx Community College of the City University of New York. He has extensive experience with behavioral healthcare as a Behavior Specialist in center/residential as well as home-based settings. Dr. Julien is also highly skilled at working with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder in addition to other severe behavioral, developmental, intellectual, and trauma (PTSD)/ mental health related issues.

Dr. Julien’s special interests include Child, Adolescent, Adult, and Family Therapy. Additionally, Dr. Julien is also well-versed in treating Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety, Divorce, Domestic Violence and Abuse, Relationship Issues, Depression, Parenting Issues, Trauma, and PTSD.

Andrea Schear LCSW, CICBT
Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

Andrea Schear is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with twenty years of experience as a Child, Adolescent and Family therapist. Andrea has the innate ability to form relationships and connect with people regardless of their age. Whether she's on the floor with a toddler playing in a castle, in the middle of a serious board game with an 11-year-old, doing a relaxation meditation with an anxious adolescent, reawakening the playfulness in parents, or listening to the weekly challenges of an adult suffering from depression, you feel her warmth and understanding. She is an expert at ICBT and incorporates its principals into all her treatment milieus. In her work with teens and adults Ms. Schear utilizes elements of cognitive behavioral therapy to promote rational thinking. She has extensive experience in treating adult and childhood depression, anxiety, trauma, sexual abuse and Bipolar disorder. She has also had great success in treating Reactive Attachment disorder; a childhood disorder many clinicians shy away from treating due to its lengthy course and often uncertain outcome.

Beth Brady, MA, LPC
Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

Beth is a licensed professional counselor with 10 years of experience treating adults, adolescents and families. She has experience working with individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, grief and loss issues, trauma and PTSD, co-occurring disorders and stress related to life transitions. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from University of Hartford in Connecticut. Beth has worked for many years in a community mental health setting including a Partial Hospitalization program, Intensive Outpatient program and Outpatient program where she treated patients with co-occurring disorders.

Beth’s special interests include anxiety disorders, women’s trauma, Depression and grief and loss issues. Beth is knowledgeable in dialectical behavior therapy, interpersonal cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques for relaxation.

Ryan Roberts, MS, CICBT
Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapist

Ryan received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from St. Lawrence University and her Masters of Science Degree in Mental Health Counseling from SUNY Oswego. Ryan holds extensive experience working with young adults, adolescents, children, and their families. Ryan is skilled in working with children and adolescents that have been sexually abused, physically abused, or witnessed violence as she specializes in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as well as Interpersonal Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Ryan’s areas of specialty are anxiety, depression, PTSD, anger management, and ADHD.

Anna Couture
Instructor of Yoga Programs

Anna recently completed her BS in biology from CCSU. While working on her degree she familiarized herself with yoga by building a strong personal practice. She was able to maintain physical and mental wellness through out her studies by channeling the pressures of college onto her yoga mat. She recognized the importance of yoga as a type of preventative medicine and was eager to share this gift with others. She went on to study yoga at the Yoga School Institute and now holds an RYT 200 hr teaching certificate. Her training consisted of a focus in Sadhana yoga (Yoga of spiritual practice) while focusing on Sadhana Vinyasa and Sadhana Hatha flows. The program also covered the art of teaching, pranayama (breath work), yoga anatomy and physiology, meditation techniques and Ayurvedic herbal medicine, among others subjects. She has habituated herself with the human body and how each component acts together as a total system. Each class will be gauged on the student’s abilities and adjusted to meet their personal needs. Yoga is a personal practice and each student will be encouraged to focus on his or her individual needs. We practice together, alone.

Jennifer Richard
Communications Specialist

Jennifer, as our Communications Specialist, is NECBT's contact for marketing and community outreach. Her role at NECBT is to help educate and inform the community not only about the services we offer at NECBT, but also the various social events NECBT offers to the public. Jennifer also maintains an open channel of communication between NECBT and the offices of medical providers, ensuring that providers are aware of how our superior mental health services can increasingly be integrated into their patients' course of treatment.

Jennifer holds an M.A. in Medieval Studies and a B.A. in English and Psychology, both from the University of Connecticut. She also has an extensive background in both education and customer service. Jennifer is also a certified Reiki master in the Usui method. In her free time, Jennifer leads "Tomorrow’s Voices," a choir for children aged 9-17. She also likes to sing, play the guitar, run road races, and practice yoga.

Kim Bronson
Associate Executive Director of Administration

At NECBT, Kim wears many hats, all of them invaluable. She is the first contact that many patients make with NECBT. Kim is happy to answer all of the initial questions that one might have about CBT, I-CBT, and what one might expect to experience as a patient at NECBT. Coordination of patient care begins with your first call to Kim. Kim also offers continued support to patients, answering questions regarding scheduling, insurance, and other concerns that might arise throughout the treatment process. She ensures that there is a constant and strong line of communication between clinicians and patients, and offers clinicians her assistance whenever she is needed. Kim also assists with NECBT’s Teen Group, frequently sitting in, facilitating, and planning activities.

Kim is a native of Wethersfield, CT. She holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut, where she repeatedly made Dean’s list and participated in two on-campus Community Outreach programs. Kim also has extensive customer service experience predating her time at NECBT, and truly loves working with people.

Jennifer Cordier
Executive Director of Community Relations & Programs & Patient Care Supervisor / Co-Founder of NECBT / Co-Owner

Jennifer takes on multiple roles at NECBT. Her collaboration with Thomas has been the driving force behind the NECBT business model. Together Thomas and Jennifer work diligently to bring the NECBT treatment model to full light while providing the highest level of care to patients who often have had limited success with other treatment modalities. Jennifer is inspired by the ICBT model and all the people it has helped since its inception in 2004. Jennifer supports the work of her clinicians by providing them with the support they need to thrive in a very fast paced setting. Jennifer's background as a successful business owner of two former businesses and her extensive background in corporate and retail marketing have served as a catalyst pushing NECBT to the forefront of mental health services in Connecticut.