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.
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. Crystal Blair 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 Dr. Blair’s professional nursing career has been within the VA Healthcare system. Dr. Blair’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.
Dr. Taylor is a licensed clinical psychologist. She received her Master’s degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, KY. Her doctoral degree was earned at Argosy University in Tampa, FL. Dr. Taylor has experience with all age groups, including children, adolescents, adults and elders. She has provided services in both inpatient as well as outpatient settings, including work with rural and under-served populations. She completed her post-doctoral training through James A. Haley VA Hospital, where she provided psychological services at one of the hospital’s community based outpatient centers. Her post-doctoral training also allowed her to be involved in research at the Florida Mental Health Institute’s Department of Aging and Mental Health. Although much of Dr. Taylor’s clinical work has been with the adult population, she also received pre- and post-doctoral training through the Hillsborough County School System where she completed both educational and psychological assessments. Additionally, she has experience providing consultation and treatment with residents in long-term care facilities, including the evaluation of capacity.
Dr. Taylor’s areas of expertise including difficulties with adjustment, mood disorders, grief and loss, anxiety, substance abuse, and those issues naturally inherent with cognitive decline. She utilizes techniques and strategies from cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, and Adlerian therapy. Although she believes that challenging one’s thoughts and core beliefs is crucial for behavior change, she also recognizes that developing a safe and trusting relationship between the therapist and client is an essential part of the change process.
When not working, Dr. Taylor enjoys engaging in activities with her friends and her church. She is an avid animal lover, and is a member of a supporters club for her favorite sports team. She also spends time learning about the use of food as medicine, and finding natural remedies for common ailments.
Dr. Julie Rubler Jones is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Florida, and received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Carlos Albizu University in Miami.
Dr. Jones has worked with clients in the school setting from preschool through elementary school age, adolescents in the juvenile correctional system, adults in the correctional system, chronically mentally ill adults living in the community, and geriatrics in assisted living and nursing home settings. Working in both the school and correctional settings, Dr. Jones has learned the importance of advocating for the needs and rights of her clients.
Dr. Jones has experience with individual and group therapy as well as crisis intervention, competency evaluations and case management as well as supervision of other clinicians.
On a more personal note, Dr. Jones is a wife, mother and animal lover. Living with her husband, three sons, a bearded dragon, a leopard gecko and four cats, Dr. Jones understands that there is no perfect person or perfect life. She feels strongly that with the right motivation, effort and support, most people can make amazing positive changes in their lives.
Dr. Villanueva is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Dr. Villanueva received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Central Florida and her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Florida. She is a board-certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
Dr. Villanueva utilizes a collaborative therapeutic approach with patients, combining medication management and therapy for an individualized holistic practice that is evidence-based. Her methods include offering motivational interviewing, cognitive-based therapy techniques, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to address nutrition, stress management, and achieving quality sleep for the greatest positive long-term benefits for both mental and physical health. She enjoys working with individuals of all ages to address common psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, ADHD, and PTSD.
She is a member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Neuroscience Education Institute, and American Nurses Association.
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 has been a part of our office staff since 2013. 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 theater arts. Her career goal is to become the creative director of a fashion PR firm.
Ashley Guerra is a member of the front desk staff. She is in pursuit of a Health Sciences degree. Ashley has worked in a customer service environment for over three years. She has an enthusiastic personality, management experience, and is strongly committed to customer services. In her free time, she enjoys exploring hidden local gems in our city, spending time with her dog, and window shopping.