Monica Armitage, Psy.D. is a Licensed Psychologist. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Central Florida. She received her Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University where she received training conducting therapy and psychological assessment with children and adults in outpatient and residential treatment settings. Dr. Armitage completed her pre-doctoral internship at Baylor Scott & White Health in Temple, Texas where she completed rotations in child/adolescent psychiatry and child development. During this time, she provided therapeutic interventions and conducted assessments with children ages 3 to 17. Following graduation, she completed her postdoctoral residency at Citrus Health Network, Inc. in Hialeah, Florida, a residential treatment facility for adolescents with behavioral and emotional disturbances.
Dr. Armitage has a passion for treating children, adolescents, and their families. She has experience working with children, teens, and young adults, as well as parents, caregivers, and teachers. Dr. Armitage provides services to children, adolescents, and young adults with behavior difficulties, including disruptive behavioral disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), as well as Autism Spectrum Disorders, anxiety, depressive symptoms, and adjustment problems. Moreover, Dr. Armitage has experience providing ADHD, autism spectrum, developmental, psychoeducation, and psychological evaluations. She often takes a behavioral and/or cognitive behavioral approach to treatment. She is well-versed in group therapy, behavior modification, crisis intervention, parent management training, and social skills training.
Dr. Nicole Vaccaro has a Master’s degree in Counseling from St. Edwards’s University in Austin, Texas and holds a Doctoral degree in Counselor Education from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. She has worked as a mental health counselor in a variety of settings such as insurance, DUI and Drug courts, private practice, a Traffic Safety program just to name a few. She has also taught counseling classes to Master’s level students and supervised Master’s level students during practicum, in addition to teaching practicum courses. Dr. Vaccaro works with adult clients and her areas of interest are the following: Chronic illness, depression, anxiety, Hormonal issues (women), and life transitions (divorce, career change, and the like).
On a personal note, she hails from the Washington, D.C area. Dr. Vaccaro spent her childhood living abroad in such various places as The Philippines, Vietnam, France, and Switzerland. She has traveled all over the world as her father worked both for the army and then later for the Federal Government. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, movies, travel and is passionate about health and fitness. Dr. Vaccaro also loves animals and has a cat named Callie.
Dr. Talia F. Barron is a Clinical Psychologist, and native of the Tampa Bay area, who specializes in comprehensive neuropsychological, developmental, and psychoeducational assessment. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Barron completed her pre-doctoral internship at Child Provider Specialists in Weston, Florida, where she became highly proficient in the administration of a wide range of psychological measures for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and social and emotional difficulties.
During her doctoral training, Dr. Barron gained diverse experiences providing evidence-based interventions in outpatient individual, couples, family, and group counseling formats. She has training in early intervention, parent-child, parent-teen, and emotion regulation group interventions for individuals presenting with emotional, and behavioral concerns. In addition, Dr. Barron is well versed in cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral treatment models, and validation therapy applying client-centered treatment strategies. She has also conducted numerous social skills groups in private practice, community-based, and educational treatment settings. In addition to her practical experience, Dr. Barron has taught courses in Adult Intervention, Integrated Report Writing, and Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling, and has supervised others conducting individual and group therapy, crisis management, suicide assessment, and case management for populations with histories of violence and trauma.
Above all, Dr. Barron is dedicated to providing patients with a friendly, warm environment, where all individuals can experience ease with establishing professional rapport and feel confident in the delivery of competent, proficient, and valuable services. She strives for each individual to gain a greater understanding and awareness of their limitations, while simultaneously encompassing their various strengths, so as to feel empowered in managing their respective challenges. Psychoeducational and Psychological Evaluations may be requested for a variety of reasons. Within Dr. Kinsler & Associates, Dr. Barron conducts evaluations to address the following concerns: Academic Readiness, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Behavioral Concerns, Developmental Delays, Diagnostic Clarification, Gifted Testing, Law Enforcement Pre-Employment Psychological Screenings, Personality Testing, Post-Traumatic Stress, Specific Learning Disabilities, and Vocational Rehabilitation.
Jelyn Young, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology at the University of California in San Diego. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. Dr. Young has extensive experience working with adults, children, adolescents and families, serving populations within inpatient and outpatient, juvenile rehabilitative programs along with other multidisciplinary programs. Additionally, she also has experience working within school systems to address educational challenges, including adjustment, learning disabilities, and ADHD.
Dr. Young’s personal statement: My work is based on the belief that people want to have balanced and fulfilled lives and that they have within themselves the resources to achieve these goals. I believe that psychotherapy can help individuals effectively use resources within themselves to increase self-understanding, to improve decision-making, to resolve problems, and to create new paths to the lives they want. I strive to collaborate with clients to understand their unique situations in a culturally sensitive and competent manner. Whether it’s with the individual or entire support systems, we can all work together to make things better.
Major theoretical approaches I utilize include Cognitive Behavioral, Behavior Modification, Solution Focused, Emotion-Focused, Person-Centered, Motivational Interviewing and Existential.
These approaches are used to address: Depression, Anxiety, Children and Adolescents, Chronic Impulsivity, Coping Skills, Social Skills, Developmental Disorders, Family Conflict, Grief, Learning Disabilities, Parenting, Peer Relationships, Relationship Issues, Self Esteem, Adjustment, Acculturation Conflict, and Testing and Evaluation.
Dr. Maryam Behdarvandi, PhD, is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of Florida with over 25 years of experience in India, Iran, and the United States. She received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pune, one of the most prestigious universities in India, and has completed additional training in behavioral medicine, psychotherapy, and counseling at the University of South Florida and Tampa General Hospital. She has considerable experience in international and multicultural issues, particularly with college students, having served as the Liaison between the Counseling Center at USF and International Student and Scholar Services. Dr. Behdarvandi has strong communication and interpersonal skills and is fluent in both English and Farsi, offering therapy sessions in both languages.
Dr. Behdarvandi’s areas of specialty include depression, stress, mood disorders, anxiety, grief, relationship concerns, parenting issues, PTSD, and OCD. She welcomes individuals of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and works with a wide range of patients, offering therapy to individuals, couples, and families through the entire age spectrum including children, adolescents, adults, and elders. Her approach to therapy involves principles from CBT, behavioral therapy, rational-emotive therapy, and acceptance-commitment therapy. Her style is collaborative, using a personalized approach tailored to the needs of each patient to help them to become more mindful, insightful, and harmonious. Dr. Behdarvandi provides a safe and supportive environment for her patients and their families with the highest standards of confidentiality and privacy. She provides a warm, supportive, and non-judgmental space so you can feel respected and comfortable discussing your concerns to achieve your goals and move forward.
Dr. Behdarvandi thinks of her work as a way of helping patients make friends with themselves. She believes that we torture ourselves by holding onto our painful memories. We play endless “recordings” in our minds that create anxiety, depression, or compulsive and destructive behaviors. She views mental health as an approach to promoting wellness, not just relieving mental illness. Dr. Behdarvandi believes that living well has to do with developing the skills and tools needed to face life’s challenges. Happiness is not the absence of problems. Rather, it is the ability to deal with them effectively. If you want to feel better, Dr. Behdarvandi would love to work with you to develop greater resilience, bring healing to painful wounds, and help you create a healthy and meaningful life in an atmosphere of respect and trust.
Dr. Luzmarie Rondon Rios (en espanol)
is a Psychology Resident, who received her bachelor’s degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, and master’s and doctoral degrees from Ponce Health and Science University. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Psychological Services Center in Ponce, Puerto Rico where she gained experience working with children, adolescents, and adults, providing individual, couples, and family therapies, as well as group therapy. She has also had training conducting psychological evaluations for educational, emotional, and developmental disabilities. She also had training providing diverse psychological measures to couples in order to identify their primary focus of distress.
In addition, Dr. Rondon Rios has provided interventions in private offices and school based settings. Her primary therapeutic techniques include: crisis intervention, CBT, Behavioral, Solution-Focused, Dialectical, and Applied Behavioral Analysis. Her assessment interventions with children and adolescents have being primarily to help parents and teachers address their concerns and provide recommendations regarding: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Adjustment Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Learning disabilities, and Behavioral problems. On a personal note, she believes in the importance of the family and significant others as a key for recovery and success in daily life struggles.
Dr. Higgins is a Child, Adolescent and Adult psychiatrist with over 12 years of experience in residential, community and private practice settings. Her holistic, integrative approach is recognized for its effectiveness in diagnosis as well as treatment. She is a member of the Anxiety and Depressive Disorders Association of America and The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology.
Dr. Higgins completed her undergraduate degree in molecular biology at Princeton University as well as graduate studies at University of Miami School of Medicine. She obtained her Medical Doctorate (MD) from University of South Florida College of Medicine and completed her Psychiatry Internship at Duke University. She is also trained in Integrated Energy Therapy, Level’s 1-3.
“Our greatest potential lies not only in our accomplishments, but in the magnificence of our authentic Selves. There is no state of wellness that is not impacted by our connection to this innermost Source. In my years of experience as a Psychiatrist and Intuitive counselor, it has been my observation that our most difficult challenges, then, occur when we have lost this sense of “true North”. Our triumph comes when we grow inwardly enough to make conscious and informed decisions that bring mastery to our lives, our careers and our relationships. We become the “creative alchemists” of our own existence, capable of transforming the mundane into the extraordinary.”
Crystal Blair, ARNP is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. She received her Master’s in Nursing at the University of Florida and completed her Postmasters at Florida International University. A majority of Crystal’s professional nursing career has been within the VA Healthcare system. Crystal’s practice philosophy is that of holistic care. She believes in order to keep one well, attention must be given to the interconnectedness of the physical, mental and spiritual beings. Crystal is continuing her Doctoral studies at the University of Florida, where her capstone is a policy analysis on Florida’s new Controlled Substance Act.
Shavel Sistrunk is a college student pursuing a degree in psychology with a specialization in art therapy. Shavel is full of creativity and loves working with children. In her downtime, she enjoys writing poetry and working out with her family at her local YMCA.
Marissa Kinsler is a part of our front office staff. She is a senior Marketing student at the University of South Florida and a graduate of Howard W. Blake High School of the Arts, where she studied theatre arts. She is currently acting as the Creative Director at her church and is an active member in her youth and women’s groups. Her career goal is to become the creative director of a fashion PR firm.