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Staff Members

The clinical psychologists and psychotherapists at AICT provide the highest quality cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression, anxiety, phobias, eating disorders, personality disorders, child and adolescent problems and family and marital problems.

Current Staff:

* Denotes Licensure in NY State


Robert L. Leahy (B.A., M.S., Ph.D., Yale University), Director, completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Medical School under the direction of Dr. Aaron Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy. Dr. Leahy is the Past-President of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Past-President of the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy, Past-President of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (NYC), and Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill-Cornell University Medical School. Dr. Leahy is the Honorary Life-time President, New York City Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Association and a Distinguished Founding Fellow, Diplomate, of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. He has received the Aaron T. Beck award for outstanding contributions in cognitive therapy.

He was Associate Editor of The Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy (serving as Editor 1998-2003). Dr. Leahy is now Associate Editor of The International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill. Dr. Leahy serves on a number of scientific committees for international conferences on cognitive behavioral therapy and is a frequent keynote speaker and workshop leader at conferences and universities throughout the world. For a listing of professional presentations click here.

He is author and editor of 25 books, including Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders (with Holland), Overcoming Resistance in Cognitive Therapy, Bipolar Disorder: A Cognitive Therapy Approach (with Newman, Beck, Reilly-Harrington, & Gyulai), Cognitive Therapy Techniques, Roadblocks in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychological Treatments of Bipolar Disorder (ed. with Johnson), Contemporary Cognitive Therapy, The Therapeutic Relationship in the Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapies (ed. with Gilbert) and The Worry Cure which received critical praise from the New York Times and has been selected by Self Magazine as one of the top eight self-help books of all time. His book The Worry Cure has been translated into nine languages and is a selection of the Book of the Month Club, Literary Guild and numerous other book clubs. Eleven of his clinical books have been book club selections. His two recent popular audience books are Anxiety-Free: Unravel Your Fears before They Unravel You and Beat the Blues Before They Beat You: How to Overcome Depression.

Dr. Leahy's recent clinical books include Emotion Regulation in Psychotherapy: A Practitioner's Guide (with Tirch and Napolitano), Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Second Edition (with Holland and McGinn), and Treatment Plans and Interventions for Bulimia and Binge-Eating Disorder (with Zweig). He is the general editor of a series of books to be published by Guilford Press--Treatment Plans and Interventions for Evidence-Based Psychotherapy. His books have been translated into 18 languages and are used throughout the world in training cognitive behavioral therapists. His latest book, Keeping Your Head after Losing Your Job, was published in 2013. He published Emotional Schema Therapy in 2015 and his book, Cognitive Therapy Techniques Second Edition, will be published in the summer of 2016. He is completing an edited book in honor of Aaron T. Beck, the founder of cognitive therapy, to be published by Guilford and a popular audience book on jealousy.

He has been featured in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, Newsweek, Psychology Today, Washington Post, Redbook, Shape, First for Women, Women's Health, Self Magazine, USA Today Magazine and many other magazines and newspapers worldwide and he has appeared on national and local radio and on television (20/20, Good Morning America, and The Early Show).

For information on media coverage of Dr. Leahy's work please click here. To hear a podcast by Dr. Leahy on worry, click here. To read Dr. Leahy's Anxiety Blog on Psychology Today, click here. You can also read Dr. Leahy's blog on Huffington Post here. He is currently working on books for clinicians on emotional processing.

Laura Oliff, Ph.D., Associate Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, (Ph.D., New School for Social Research) is a licensed psychologist in the state of New York, Founding Fellow and Diplomate of The Academy of Cognitive Therapy and a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Dr. Oliff has been trained extensively in both cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic approaches to therapy. With twenty-five years of clinical experience with individuals, couples and families, she specializes in the treatment of bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety, health anxiety, a broad range of eating disorders and adult ADHD. Other areas of interest include the development of effective career/workplace strategies, conflict resolution at work and home, relationship enhancement, coping with infertility and deciding among alternative parenting options later in life. Making healthy adjustments to your own life transitions or those of family members such as attending college, career changes, divorce, retirement and aging are also areas of focus. 

Dr. Oliff has been responsible for supervising and training numerous psychology externs and post-doctoral candidates in cognitive behavioral therapy at the Institute over the years. She continues to incorporate mindfulness, acceptance and compassion focused therapy skills with traditional cognitive behavioral therapy in her work with individuals and couples.

Melissa D. Horowitz, PsyD, Director of Clinical Training, Director of Eating Disorders and Weight Management Program, is a New York State licensed psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), social problem-solving, motivational interviewing and mindfulness-based approaches. She works with adolescents, college students, adults and families. Dr. Horowitz specializes in the treatment of eating disorders (binge eating disorder, bulimia, anorexia) and body-image and weight-management issues in both men and women. She also specializes in the treatment of mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders (generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder, phobias), and obsessive compulsive and related disorders (trichotillomania, skin-picking, body-dysmorphic disorder). Additional areas of expertise include insomnia, grief, procrastination, perfectionism, substance abuse, personality disorders and chronic health issues. Dr. Horowitz has been intensively trained in working with individuals struggling with regulating their emotions, impulsivity, poor problem-solving skills, interpersonal conflicts and self-injury.

Dr. Horowitz received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and received an M.S. in clinical health and counseling psychology as well as a joint M.S. and PsyD in clinical psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. In addition to her formal academic training, Dr. Horowitz completed externships at the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research, Hahnemann University Hospital/Drexel University Department of Psychiatry and Medicine – Neuropsychology Division, University of Pennsylvania Center for Weight and Eating Disorders and the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (AICT). Dr. Horowitz completed her psychology internship at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center in Waianae, Hawaii, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Cognitive and Behavioral Consultants of Westchester. Prior to joining AICT, Dr. Horowitz was a supervising psychologist in the Behavioral Health Department at Kings County Hospital Center and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Iona College.

In addition to treating clients, Dr. Horowitz is a visiting scholar and clinical psychology supervisor at Columbia University, Teachers College, where she supervises doctoral students. Dr. Horowitz conducts CBT workshops and is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker on topics relating to CBT and DBT generally and on topics relating to eating disorders in particular. She has been quoted in publications such as Weight Watchers Magazine, Shape, and Headspace. Dr. Horowitz is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the New York State Psychological Association and the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Susan Trachtenberg Paula, Ph.D., Clinician, is a New York State licensed psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and cognitive-behavioral play therapy.She works primarily with clients of all ages, from very young children to adults, and with families. Dr. Paula specializes in the treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and emotional dysregulation in children and adults.  She also treats and specializes in mood and anxiety disorders across the life span and in helping parents develop effective skills for managing difficult behavior in their children.

Dr. Paula received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Rochester, and her Ph.D. in psychology from Indiana University, where she was granted a university fellowship and NIMH Research Traineeship.  Dr. Paula completed her psychology internship at the University of California at Irvine Medical Center and Clinica del Nino, in Orange County, CA.  In her 26 years as a psychologist, Dr. Paula has directed day treatment programs for children and youth with disruptive behavior disorders,  ADHD, and PTSD, a program providing treatment and support to those impacted by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and participated in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, promoting evidence-based treatments for PTSD in children and adolescents.  She has also been training and supervising other therapists in CBT and evidence-based treatments for PTSD for over 20 years, most recently as the director of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services Martha K. Selig Educational Institute.  Dr. Paula has authored journal articles and book chapters on child sexual abuse, aggressive behavior in children, cognitive-behavioral play therapy, and anxiety disorders, and helped develop the National Center for PTSD’s web-based training on STAIR (Skills Training in Affective and Interpersonal Regulation), an evidence-based treatment model for PTSD.  The training can be accessed at STAIR Online Training.

Scott Woodruff, Ph.D, MBA, Director of Obsessive Compulsive Treatment Program, Clinician  is a New York State licensed psychologist specializing in traditional cognitive behavioral treatments and mindfulness-based therapies. Dr. Woodruff practices full-time as a clinician at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and serves as a clinical psychology supervisor to Columbia University's Ph.D. program. He has worked in research programs at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, and the Catholic University of America and has published and presented on anxiety, mindfulness, and positive and negative emotions. He has treated clients at the Behavior Therapy Center of Greater Washington, a nationally recognized center specializing in OCD spectrum and anxiety disorders, and treated veterans at the Philadelphia VA, Baltimore VA, and Washington D.C. VA Medical Centers.

Dr. Woodruff’s treatment areas of focus include problematic anxiety and OCD, workplace stress and emotional intelligence, depression and everyday life dissatisfaction, ADHD, and insomnia. He also works with a variety of other complaints, including couple distress, anger, and substance abuse. Dr. Woodruff graduated Phi Beta Kappa from New York University’s College of Arts & Sciences in 2001 and holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business. He completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to moving into psychology, he worked for Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Bank and served in multiple positions within finance and media. He has commented on psychological issues for several publications, including Men’s Health and Quartz, and appeared on the AMHQ morning show.

Heather Glubo Ph.D, Director of Behavioral Medicine, Clinician, is a New York State licensed clinical psychologist with extensive experience in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and specialized training in health psychology. Dr. Glubo’s clinical health psychology training focused on the mind-body connection in treating neurological and medical conditions. She completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship and a predoctoral internship (APA Accredited) in Clinical Neurorehabilitation Psychology at New York University Langone Medical Center, Rusk Rehabilitation. Dr. Glubo uses a biopsychosocial approach in her practice. She considers the biological, psychological and social factors that influence the way her clients feel, think and act, and how those factors impact overall health. Her behavioral medicine work is informed by evidence-based treatments used to help those suffering from concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), headaches, pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Additionally, she provides neuropsychological evaluations to assess cognitive functioning, which is used to inform her cognitive treatment aimed at improving attention, memory, processing speed, language, visual-spatial skills, and executive functions.

Dr. Glubo received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a Health Emphasis (APA Accredited) at Yeshiva University, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Academically, Dr. Glubo publishes peer-reviewed journal articles and abstracts, and she presents at national and international conferences. Dr. Glubo’s contributions to the field were recognized as an invited speaker at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) Young Investigators Symposium and with several postdoctoral and predoctoral research awards. She currently serves on the New York State Psychological Association’s (NYSPA) Division of Culture, Race and Ethnicity and was a fellow in its Leadership Institute in 2014. Dr. Glubo also served as the Northeast Regional Advocacy Coordinator and as a representative on the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Committee for the Advancement of Professional Practice.

Peggilee Wupperman, Ph.D. (University of North Texas), Clinician, is a New York State licensed psychologist who is currently an associate professor at John Jay College/City University of New York and an assistant clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Wupperman completed her pre-doctoral fellowship at Yale School of Medicine, attended a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington under the direction of Marsha Linehan (founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy; DBT), and returned to Yale School of Medicine for an advanced postdoctoral fellowship in the Psychotherapy Development Center.

Dr. Wupperman has authored several journal articles and chapters on topics such as mindfulness, emotion regulation, psychotherapy development, and dysregulated behaviors (also known as self-destructive, addictive, or impulsive behaviors). She is also the author of a blog for Psychology Today entitled "Beyond Self-Destructive Behavior" Dr. Wupperman has presented at multiple national and international conferences, and she regularly conducts seminars and trainings for licensed clinicians, pre-doctoral and postdoctoral psychology fellows, psychiatry residents, social work interns, and graduate students. Dr. Wupperman recently completed her third grant-funded clinical trial to investigate a therapy (Mindfulness and Modification Therapy; MMT) that integrates mindfulness, cognitive behavioral techniques, dialectical techniques, and motivation enhancement to target emotion and behavior dysregulation.

Dr. Wupperman has extensive experience providing mindfulness-based treatments, DBT, cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and motivation-enhancement therapies. She specializes in treating clients who struggle with anxiety and/or problem behaviors (issues with alcohol/drugs use, binge eating, anger outbursts, chronic avoidance, etc.) that interfere with living lives that fit their values. She understands that these behaviors are often used to cope with difficult emotions and may seem impossible to resist. Thus, she uses a compassionate and empirically supported approach to help clients decrease problem behaviors, address the urges and/or anxiety that often occur when the behaviors are decreased, and begin to live lives that feel more meaningful and fulfilling.

Maren Westphal, Ph.D., Clinician, received her B.A. (Honors) in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (With Distinction) from Columbia University. She is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pace University and also serves on the faculty of Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Westphal’s research focuses on individual differences, psychosocial processes and neurobiological mechanisms that explain variability in response to adversity, ranging from resilience to psychopathology. She has co-authored journal articles and book chapters on emotion regulation and resilience and presented her work at numerous national and international conferences. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in the mood and anxiety disorders program at Mount Sinai, Dr. Westphal worked as a clinician and researcher in the Trauma and PTSD program at Columbia University. Dr. Westphal has been trained in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and family/couples therapy. At Pace University, she teaches doctoral and masters-level courses on CBT, health psychology, evidence-based practice, and the role of culture in counseling. Dr. Westphal specializes in treating adults coping with traumatic life events and stressful life transitions. Dr. Westphal also has experience treating individuals with mood and personality disorders, relationship issues, infertility, medical illness, chronic pain, and obesity. Dr. Westphal is fluent in English, German and Spanish and draws on her clinical expertise treating patients from ethnically diverse backgrounds and her research on emotion regulation and resilience to help individuals and couples identify strengths and challenges that may arise from cultural differences.

Nicholas Demas, M.A., Extern, PsychologistinTraining  is a predoctoral extern at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (AICT). Mr. Demas received his B.A., cum laude, from Tulane University and his M.A. from Hofstra Unviersity. He is currently enrolled at Hofstra University where he is en route to receiving his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology under the supervision of Dr. William Sanderson. Mr Demas has provided clinical services at Hofstra University’s Anxiety and Depression Clinic, conducting individual therapy sessions with adults. Under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Scardapane, Mr. Demas also provides clinical services at Hofstra University’s Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Clinic. He has received intensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). His clinical interests include treating anxiety, obsessivecompulsive disorder, depression, trauma, and personality disorders. Mr. Demas is a psychologist in training.

Aspasia Hotzoglou, M.A., Extern, PsychologistinTraining  is a predoctoral extern at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy (AICT). Ms. Hotzoglou received her B.A. from Hunter College at the City University of New York. She is currently enrolled in Hofstra University where she has received her M.A., and is en route to receiving her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Howard Clinical Psychology under the supervision of Dr. Howard Kassinove. Ms. Hotzoglou recently completed a clinical externship at the Early Treatment Program, Northwell Health. There Ms. Hotzoglou conducted individual therapy with teenagers and young adults who were experiencing psychotic symptoms for the first time, and coled a recoveryoriented group. Prior to this experience, Ms. Hotzoglou provided clinical services at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital Community Mental Health Center conducting individual therapy with patients who presented with a wide range of disorders including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and trauma. Furthermore, she provided didactic seminars to medical residents on various topics in psychology. Ms. Hotzoglou has also provided clinical services at Hofstra University’s Institute for the Study and Treatment of Anger and Aggression, and DBT clinic, conducting individual therapy sessions with adults. Her clinical interests include treating anger, anxiety, mood, and personality disorders. Ms. Hotzoglou is a psychologist in training.

Helen Butleroff Leahy, RD, CDN, offers nutrition counseling specializing in weight management, eating disorders, Type II Diabetes, GERD, IBS and medical conditions requiring nutritional intervention. Ms. Butleroff Leahy is a Registered Dietitian by The Commission on Dietetic Registration and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist licensed by NYS. She is winner of the "Certificate of Achievement Award" and "Activ8 Kids Mini Grant" from the NYS Department of Health for her nutrition program targeting obesity in NYC public school children. In addition to her private practice, Ms. Butleroff-Leahy gives nutrition presentations for the outpatient Psychiatric Clinic of New York Presbyterian-Cornell Hospital, for state legislators, United Nations Health forums, law firms and has been employed by GHI for TV segments on portion control, dehydration and healthy lifestyle choices. She also runs "The Nutrition & Fitness Education Intiative" that has now reached 2100 NYC school children. Click Here to visit her Website

Sindhu Shivaji, Research and Editorial Assistant, graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Psychology. While completing her undergraduate degree, she actively participated in a number of psychology and neuroscience groups in the area. Ms. Shivaji spent time working as an intake coordinator at Arista Counseling and Psychological Services, as well as a research assistant in both Dr. Michael Morris’s lab at the Columbia University Business School and Dr. Catherine Monk’s lab at the Columbia University Medical Center. She also enjoys volunteering at programs for disadvantaged and developmentally challenged children, such as Cassidy’s Place NYC. In the future, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Martin Viola, Research Assistant,received his M.A. in Forensic Psychology summa cum laude from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, in May 2016. His research interests lie in the intersection between psychology and the wisdom traditions, integrating aspects of spirituality, religion, meaning-making and mindfulness into CBT. Having previously worked with Dr. Peggilee Wupperman and Dr. Ma'at E. Lewis at John Jay, he has a special focus on adapting cognitive behavioral therapies to support diverse populations. His future aspirations include fluency in Spanish and entrance into a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.

Andrew Villier, Intake Coordinator, received his B.A. in Psychology, summa cum laude, from Hunter College. His previous experience includes working as a research assistant in Dr. Douglas Mennin’s READ (regulation of emotion in anxiety and depression) Lab at Hunter College, where he completed his undergraduate honors thesis studying the physical symptoms often present in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. Andrew is also interested in atrisk youth and adolescent populations, which led him to work as an intake counselor at The Door, whose mission is to empower young individuals to reach their fullest potential. Concerning his future aspirations, Andrew plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Tatini Mal-Sarkar, Research Assistant, received her B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from Columbia University in May 2017. She is currently a Master's candidate at the Mailman School of Public Health, specializing in the social determinants of mental health disparities. Her research interests are primarily within anxiety and eating disorders in female adolescent populations. Her previous experiences in psychiatry and social psychology, combined with her background in sociology, have informed her passion for diversity within the mental health field. She is also intrigued by the role of media in mitigating misperceptions of mental health in popular culture. She hopes to next acquire her doctorate in clinical psychology, ultimately specializing in the cognitive behavioral therapeutic approach.

William C. Sanderson, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University. His primary areas of research include anxiety disorders, depression, and cognitive behavior therapy. Dr. Sanderson’s clinical expertise is in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for patients with anxiety and depressive disorders, and he has been treating and conducting research on such patients since 1983. Dr. Sanderson is a Founding Fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy and he has participated on numerous national committees, including the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV Anxiety Disorders Workgroup, and was recently the Chair of the American Psychological Association Division of Clinical Psychology's Committee on Science and Practice (a Task Force aimed at identifying and promoting the practice of empirically supported psychological interventions). He has published seven books and over 80 articles and chapters, primarily in the areas of anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and CBT.

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